Wanna know the secrets to running a business while raising kids? As a parent, I know firsthand the two of the hardest things one can ever do: run a business while raising kids. Over the past 4 years, it has not been a breezy walk in the park; just as every entrepreneur knows that setting up and running a business is a task no less easier.

So how do you become a successful businesswoman while raising kids in the Philippines? In this article, I’ll share my 12 tips and honest thoughts on what it’s like trying to run a business while raising a toddler, doing the majority of the house chores, how to maintain some level of productivity and sanity, and how to find a balance between family and business that may just work for you too. 

12 Secrets To Running a Business While Raising Kids Philippines

1. Learn to give a firm “No”

As your business starts to grow, the number of people that want to talk to you will seem to grow exponentially – be it your customers or your children. To keep your life manageable and your sanity at bay, you need to learn to say no – both within your professional and personal life. This is where time management comes in.

Scheduling is key.

*For example, in my case, as I am part of the 4 am club, I force myself to get out of bed at that time to have at least 2 hours of peaceful worktime with no interruptions.

*At 6 am, everyone in the house is up so I have to prepare breakfast, cook my husband’s baon, do the laundry or a little cleaning, attend to my son’s needs, and the list goes on all the way up to 2 pm. If I’m lucky that there aren’t too many errands, I can have an extra two hours of work, 30 minutes of exercise, and maybe another solid hour for some shut-eye.

*2 pm is when I intentionally resume working as I need to squeeze in everything I need for my business before my scheduled “walks” with my son at 5 pm. During that timeframe, whenever my son asks if we can go outside for a walk, I usually refuse right away and explain politely that it isn’t time to head outdoors and that I am still busy.

But as soon as the clock strikes 5pm, I make it a point to drop everything and draw my attention back to my son, the rest of the household chores, and church activities up until bedtime.

Again, time management is the key.

2. Set clear boundaries

How do you focus on work when your kids are at home and you don’t have any privacy? By setting clear boundaries – for yourself and for the kids.

Some parents set a clear visual cue to let their kids know when it’s time to work. This could be as simple as closing the door of your bedroom or home office for a scheduled time each day. Other visual cues like putting up a sign or another object to tell them when you’re busy can also help.

3. Set up a dedicated workspace

If you haven’t already, then it is a must to create a separate area as your dedicated workspace. Better if it were in a separate room however I am aware that it’s not always possible, especially with mini homes. Or what if your house is filled with supplies that aren’t shipped to customers yet? In that case, try to find a workspace in a non-communal area of the house. But if that still doesn’t work then go back to tip no. 2 and that is, setting boundaries with your family and creating rules for when and how they can get your attention when you are working. This will put a limit to the times work bleeds into personal life and vice versa.

4. Don’t hide your children

I can vividly remember my son yelling “Mama, wash my pwet please!” in the midst of an important online business meeting with a client. As proof, I still have the recorded clip which I would share with my son when he comes of age! While I wanted to drown in a sea of embarrassment, I had somehow saved face since I had initially informed the client that my little one was just nearby and that his joyful heart sometimes overpowers his obedience.

But here’s what I’ve learned: the more open you are with your clients about your family and how you juggle them with work, the more understanding they will be. At the end of the day, clients just want to do business with you and these rattling moments are things you can get a good laugh out of.

5. Have reliable childcare

Generally speaking, the business world is not geared towards people who are the primary child caregiver. There will be times when you need to attend a meeting or visit a supplier, in which case you will need someone to look after your children. In that case, you have least four different childcare options ready if needed. These are your partner, lolo or lolas, tito or titas, friends, or maybe hire an on-call babysitter. With these options, you should be able to juggle the demands of both the business and your family.

6. Prepare to work at an ungodly hour

As I mentioned earlier, I wake up at 4 am since I have long forgotten about having a 9 to 5 working existence. You see, there are times when you’ll love having the flexibility to put your family first, for example, your child’s recognition day. But, there are also times when you find yourself sending emails at midnight and wishing you’d go back to a more normal working-hour schedule and pattern.

7. Get things automated

Investing in automation and efficiency means the more systems and processes that can be automated or run efficiently without your physical presence, the more time you can have on the more valuable work-based tasks and quality time with your loved ones. Some examples are using online banking or digital banks, and earning passive income through investments to help boost your earning potential.

8. Outsource as much as possible

I had to learn this tip the hard way. I was a one-woman team who wanted a hands-on experience of all things needed to scale my business. But years later, I realized that trying to be superwoman didn’t make me “super” at all.

I know you know that as soon as you become a parent, the to-do list never ends. Add in a business to run, and you can easily feel guilty if you try to steal a bit of “me time” back. The good news is that you can get more of your time back by outsourcing or delegating the low-value tasks that do not play to your strengths. For example, you may designate tasks in your office to your staff while also having a kasambahay to do some of the chores or watch over the kids for you.

Go ahead and hire a consulting agency if you deem it necessary as asking for help can bring in so much relief on your part. Just remember that while hiring experts is a good idea, putting them on a pedestal is not even if they have more experience.

9. Balance your business, family, and “me time”

There will be times when your business will need more of your time and attention wherein your family and “me time” will suffer. Similarly, there will be times when your family will demand more of your time.

a. Self-care

While balance is good, this can lead to being burned out since you do not have time left over for yourself. Remember, self-care is vital and you cannot pour from an empty cup if your cup is empty.

b. Pay attention to the kids when you can

Remember that kids need to feel heard and loved, so make sure that you pause and really engage with them for a few minutes of TLC even during your work hours.

c. Reward good behavior

As mentioned earlier, I take my son out for walks after working as this is my way of thanking him for allowing me to finish my tasks without the constant nagging. You can reward kids for good behavior by doing a family activity at the end of the day such as eating their favorite meal together, watching a movie or playing a game.

10. Be realistic with what you can achieve

Don’t fall into the trap of setting yourself unrealistic targets or unrealistic expectations then feeling miserable when you fall short. Unless you can afford a full-time kasambahay, a yaya for the kids, and a complete staff to take care of office work, the house will not always be spic and span, and dinner may not always be freshly cooked and served on time.

11. Remember why you started your business in the first place

In times when I feel drained and I forget that there’s more to life than just business and taking care of the household, I sit back and remember my mission, my aspirations, and why I chose this journey of entrepreneurship. If you’ve experienced the same, it’s worth remembering why you’re running your own business. Are you aiming to achieve FIRE or retire before you hit 40? You can always go back to the 9 to 5 corporate existence (which can still be rewarding), however, there is nothing quite like having the flexibility to build your professional life around your family commitments.

12. Accept what you can never change

In the crazy world of business and parenthood, things are not expected to just unfold smoothly and perfectly at all times. Emergencies and problems just sprout imminently out of the blue which can make life more challenging. Sometimes, accepting that there are things beyond your control can ultimately lift the weight off your shoulders. What is important is that you learn from every hurdle on the road and learn how to avoid it in the future. Success is only achieved when you are not let down by tribulations that will come your way, but instead, you take problems as a challenge that are meant to happen to teach you invaluable things that make you emerge as a more successful entrepreneur.

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12 Secrets To Running a Business While Raising Kids Philippines

By Ameena Rey-Franc

Recognized as one of the Top Finance Blogs in the PH. Ameena Rey-Franc (founder of TTP) is a former Banker and BS Accountancy graduate turned Blogger, Keynote Speaker, and entrepreneur. Currently an RFP delegate, she is also the Author of a book about Financial Resilience and has held seminars for reputable companies like GrabFoodPH, Pru Life UK, VISA, JPMorgan Chase& Co., Paypal, Fundline, Moneymax, and many more. The Thrifty Pinay's mission is to empower women to LEARN, EARN, and be FINANCIALLY-INDEPENDENT no matter what life stage they are in.