SCORE Small Business Blog

5 Ways to Convince Your Family to Respect Your Business

When you have your family behind you, cheering you on, starting a business can be exciting, fulfilling, and a dream come true. When your family resents your business, your new business venture can be a nightmare.

When I started my first business, I designed it so that when I was ready to have kids, I would be able to work from home and raise a family. I wanted to be able to grow a business and see my kids grow up at the same time.

It hasn’t always been easy juggling my business and personal life and keeping my family from resenting my business, but I’ve made a conscious effort to balance both parts of my life. Ask anyone who works from home about being pulled in all directions, and they’ll admit it’s challenging to give your business and family 100% of your attention, all of the time.

When my kids were little, I tried to work when they were asleep and at school. I didn’t want them to have memories of growing up with a work-at-home-mom who sat in front of her computer all day. I figured out that my plan worked, sort of, when my son told his first grade class on career day that his mom didn’t do anything.

When you work from home, it’s important for your family to support your business instead of fight against you and your business efforts. Consider these five tips for including your family in your business and making them part of your team.

1. Ask for opinions

It’s easy to get closely tied to your business and not be able to see problems or situations objectively. If you ask your family for suggestions for how you could handle problems differently, you may be surprised at the suggestions you get. Don’t discount any suggestions from your younger children. Sometimes clients can act like children and your kids may have a few ideas for dealing with immature and unrealistic clients.

2. Put your family to work

When my third book was published, my sons helped me package and mail books to people who ordered them directly from me. They helped me save time packing books, and it was a good excuse for all of us to spend time together. A friend of mine runs a stable, and during the summer her college-age kids help clean out stalls and take care of the horses when their owners are out of town. Her kids have summer jobs close to their house, my friend spends all day with her kids, and she gets the help she needs.

3. Hold brainstorming sessions

Your family doesn’t have to be involved in your business to the point of making phone calls for you or taking messages, but they can still be helpful. If you have ideas for expanding your business, share the ideas with your family and ask them to help you develop new ideas. Someone not involved with your business or your industry may provide you with ideas you hadn’t thought of before. Also, when your family buys into your business, which they’ll do when they see your ideas put into action, they may be more understanding during the times you need to work longer hours.

4. Do the happy dance together

Whether you get a new client, sell dozens of books in one day, or launch a new product, make a big deal about it and celebrate. Treat your family to a special dinner, order pizza, or wear party hats. It doesn’t matter. The point is to have fun. When you make your family part of the celebration, they’ll know you appreciate them.

5. Let the home office alternative motivate you

It’s been hard work, but for the most part I’ve been able to schedule my business around my family. My motivation? I couldn’t imagine having to go back to the corporate world and work in an outside office. I’d miss too much of my sons’ lives. Also, I’d miss the freedom and flexibility I have in my life. There’s no boss looming over my shoulder, no set hours and best of all, no commute.

Working from home has enough challenges between staying focused, wearing several hats, and meeting client needs, that there’s no need to add resentment from your family to the list. Keep your family involved in your business and everyone will enjoy watching your business grow.

What do you do to include your family in your business?

Lisa KanarekFounder, Working Naked
Lisa is founder of Working Naked, a website that helps small business learn various aspects of working from home through “how-to” articles, videos and product reviews. She is the author of five books and has been a guest on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, and Public Radio’s Marketplace. | Facebook | @workingnaked | More from Lisa

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Discussion (5) Comment

  1. Hi, Lisa.

    Great article, Lisa. I’ve been working from home now for just over two years and absolutely “love it.” I’m lucky to have a very supportive family when it comes to my home-based business. You are so spot on when it comes to celebrating and involving the entire family (my fiance, son (5) and daughter (9)) in my business’ successes! As we entered 2013 we, as a family, took to the time to put together a vision board including the things we would individually and as a family like to have in our lives this upcoming year. As an entrepreneur, I work some pretty crazy hours and my family truly respects Dad’s time when he needs to work. We have planned activities at certain times of the day which really brings our family together. The work/life balance can be challenging at times but we all understand as a family that our overall end goal/desire will soon come to fruition. Thanks again for the post and have a wonderful day.

  2. lisa kanarekVisitor

    Thanks, Sarah. We have to wear so many hats in business and still make time for family, it’s definitely challenging. But most of us who work from home wouldn’t give up working for ourselves, for anything. :)

  3. Hi Lisa,
    I think the advice about asking your family for opinions and/or thoughts on problems is a great way stay realistic and seek new perspectives. I’m going to keep this in mind as I start working from home full time in about a week. And I am working with a SCORE mentor to make sure I get a well-grounded start. New year, new adventures!

    • lisa kanarekVisitor

      Congrats on your new work-from-home arrangement! While your friends and co-workers are taking their daily commute, you’ll be only steps away from your office. Your SCORE mentor will be invaluable to your success. I wish you the best of luck. :)

  4. Sarah L. WebbVisitor

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for this unique perspective on working from home and balancing business and family. I’m inspired by the fact that you’re able to achieve your dreams of family time, flexibility, and a successful career. I don’t think career woman and family woman have to be mutually exclusive identities, as you’ve shown.



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