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One of the hardest things we are faced with as parents is the work-life balance. At Rainmakers, our goal is to help you spend less time working so that you can have more family time. Today, we’re going to be sharing some advice from our friend Shay Cochrane, a working mom just like you who has been able to work less while spending more time with her family. For you working mothers and fathers out there, this is for you!
Master Your Schedule and Boundaries
Shay only works sixteen hours a week, and she only works on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In fact, she’s been doing this since she started her business! Those two days are full, eight-hour days where she goes all-in, but that allows her five free days a week to do what she loves.
She and her husband are even able to dedicate Friday to being a “date day” – not just a date night, but a whole day to spend together. That sounds pretty awesome!
Shay is able to do this by maintaining her boundaries and scheduling. Even in the early stages, she was able to implement structures that allowed her to say “no” so that she could say “yes” to the things she really wanted.
One of these is structured business hours. Shay has always been very strict with her business hours– she doesn’t get Slack messages on her phone and doesn’t check her work emails outside of her working hours. She communicates all of this to her team and her clients and has done so since the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey. Those clear office hours and clear boundaries around messaging keep her from being pulled into her work at all hours and let her maintain that time for her family.
Know Your Family’s Needs
Everyone works differently, and everybody’s family situation is different. If you want to balance work and family, you need to know exactly how you work and how that fits in with what your family needs. It’s not just about working a limited number of hours; it’s really about figuring out how to be a business owner while still showing up in your relationships with your family. What does your unique situation call for so that you can thrive in all of those things?
For Shay, she realized early on that she doesn’t work well on multiple things at once. It was a struggle to multitask as a business owner and a mom– so she made sure that she separated the two roles. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation; instead, you need to be honest with yourself about what you need to thrive in your various roles.
Overcome a Limited Mindset… By Embracing Limitations
Early on as parents work and try to maintain relationships, there’s often a limited mindset where they try to optimize without really seeing how their business will be affected. One of the ways Shay was able to overcome this mindset was through a gardening metaphor.
Imagine that you’re growing pumpkins. You can grow a vine with 20 little pumpkins, or you can cut the other pumpkins off and all the resources for growth find their way into the one pumpkin, allowing it to grow exponentially larger. If you treat your business like these pumpkins and say “no” to small opportunities for revenue growth and funnel all of your energy into your primary idea, it will allow you to devote your time and energy to what works for you.
Focusing on one or two things and really trying to do them well can have exponential benefits compared to spreading yourself too thin. Limiting yourself to the effort that really works and to certain hours can help direct your focus and help your business grow– without taking away from family time.
Find A Passive, Scalable Path
Shay’s first business was photography, but now she runs a stock image site that provides all kinds of images for other businesses. This is essentially a passive version of what she’d done before. When you’re trading dollars for hours, you have to realize that there are limits to what can be done– and for some people, this makes perfect sense. You need to know what “enough” means for you and whether you are hitting your goals or not.
If you’re not hitting your goals, look for ways to increase your revenue through passive or scaleable income streams. You don’t want to overextend yourself, but you very well may find things in your wheelhouse that have a lot of return for a little effort.
If you want to more easily meet your “enough,” you should join the Rainmaker Family Challenge. Our Rainmakers are working parents just like you who want a better work-life balance that prioritizes family time over work. Join us and learn how to make it rain!