Plan for flexibility

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There are many reasons why people choose to run their own businesses and for many a key reason, especially if they want to work whilst raising a family, is flexibility. Having control over your own time can make all the difference when trying to find a balance between work and family needs.

I originally started my business with two young boys to think of, but recently the benefits of being self-employed have been emphasised as I have to sort out issues with my parents.

Fortunately they moved down to Wells from the Midlands a couple of years ago so they are on my doorstep and this has proved to be a godsend. My father has Parkinsons, a degenerative condition that makes his life increasingly challenging, and my mother also has health issues.

My mother has recently had a week’s stay in the RUH in Bath and I had to juggle preparing my father’s meals, daily visits to the hospital, my younger son’s GCSE exam stress and work at the same time. This would all have been so much more challenging if I had a regular job.

Now, running your own business does not, of course, mean that you have a license to let clients down by cancelling appointments at short notice and leaving urgent work undone. You cannot have flexibility without building it into your work life.

If you fill your working week with client meetings and customer work, you will still find it as difficult to deal with short term family emergencies as if you were in employment. More so possibly, because you may not have anyone to cover the urgent work that needs doing.

However, if you build slack times into your work week – knowing that either the young or older family members could have need of your time at fairly short notice – you will find it much easier to deal with crisis situations as they arrive.

You may have to forgo some income, but you will find coping with the situations life throws at you far less stressful.

Fiona 🙂

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