How to manage family life while growing a business
Friday, November 25th, 2016

For business owners with kids, days often involve a careful juggling act of work and childcare. Business calls and emails are regularly interspersed with school drops, emergency trips to the doctor, swimming lessons and playdates. Business-owning parents are master organisers and social fixers. Or maybe just the harassed, sleep-deprived wretches you see sprinting back from school because they forgot the PE kit (again).

Indeed, a Telegraph and OMD survey of readers that were entrepreneurs found that 44pc felt that running their own company and raising a family was hard. Many do manage to be successful at both, although they sometimes wonder quite how they did it.

Sian Goodson, founder of executive recruitment business Goodson Thomas, has been performing a "juggling act" since her first child, Catrin, was born in February 2016. She hired extra staff to cover for her, but Ms Thomas was back in the office within days of giving birth. "Business didn't stop, but I was able to work around Catrin. It was a real juggling act. This industry is so client-led that it's difficult to mothball a business for any length of time, and I was conscious of the risk of turning away potential clients," Ms Goodson says.

Life became even more complicated as her husband was leading a management buyout at his business at the same time. Needless to say, they couldn't cope alone. A cleaner was hired, a nursery was found and friends and family were called in to help.

"In the first few weeks, we were lucky enough to be able to call on friends and family for help. When Catrin was four-and-a-half-months-old, we put her in a nursery. [My husband] Tim drops her off at around 8am and I pick her up just after 5pm. I spend a couple of hours with her before bed, feeding her, giving her a bath and playing, before doing a couple of hours more work," she says.

Some home working also eases logistical problems, but Ms Goodson says good time management and efficiency makes things work. "We've introduced a lot of workplace thinking into our home life," she says. "We're a lot more pragmatic and there's a lot more rigidity. I break my days up into chunks now, rather than just seeing how it goes."

A version of this article was originally published in The Telegraph

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