How Taking My Kids To Work Grew My Entrepreneurial Footprint

Last Thursday was “Take Your Child to Work Day” across the U.S. My daughters, Jaidyn and Brianna, got to come to work with me – right down the hall from their bedrooms.

While I thought I was giving them a grandiose glimpse into the world of our business, I ended up learning far more from them.

Today I’m going to share just a few of the takeaways I learned from my mini-entrepreneurs. Not only did they have a great time working with and for me, but they gave me a fresh perspective on our business.

I’ve always known I have great kids, but now I know I’m also raising brilliant business minds.

Born Entrepreneurs

I learned our children are natural-born entrepreneurs. They are FULL of ideas (some silly, some brilliant) on how to build and grow a business. It’s our job to help them sort out the possible from the not possible – and then turn the not possible into something that CAN work given a little help.

It’s really no different from any business ideas you or I come up with. Some of them work straight out of the box, and others need some tweaking. The key is getting those ideas on the table and working with the ones that make the most sense. Even for young children, my daughters came up with a lot of business ideas that made perfect sense.

Intuitive Sponges

Our kids pick up on more than we realize. They’re always watching, always learning, always absorbing the events and activities going on around them.

Not only did my daughters dress is “mommy work casual” for coming to work with me, but they shared some golden nuggets they had tucked away in their hearts. I asked them to write cards thanking a few current clients and they said, “my mom says gratitude is important…”

This melted my heart and reminded me anything I say, negative or positive, has an affect on their developing outlook on life.

Kids Are Capable

Kids are far more capable than we give them credit for. During the work day, I had them:

  • write thank you’s
  • research blog post ideas
  • research my competition
  • create social media posts
  • create a promo video for our company
  • file mail
  • handle all my linked in messages
  • and more!

Not only did they finish tasks I gave them, but they did so with enthusiasm and took great care to do things as I had shown them. They picked up on new things quickly, and excitedly waited for me to give them more to do. I was blown away, not only by their eagerness to help me, but that they also seemed to really enjoy what they were doing, which means they enjoy and appreciate what I do.

Just Keep Swimming

I think Dory in Finding Nemo was on to something with her little mantra to “just keep swimming”. I found having a to-do list not only kept everyone occupied, but focused.

It was pretty marvelous, watching them move from one task to the next. I had them create their own SCRUM board and they LOVED doing it. Brianna said “that’ll be really good for me, because sometimes I don’t complete things all the way, so that will really help me.”

….Hmm… I’m thinking of re-doing our chore chart to this method!

Gimme a Break!

One especially valuable lesson I learned while working with my kids was to take frequent breaks.

My girls got a tad restless during the work day, and really I usually do too, but I normally push through and just keep on working. They didn’t. They intuitively knew that a quick snack, or walk around the house (or a trip to the mail box) would re-set their process and they could get back to work (more focused and determined prior to their break, I might add). I need to do this more often, too. Breaks aren’t a waste of time, they’re a necessity and help you make more productive use of time.

I was glad for the day to work with my girls, show them what I do, and have their help and input. It was a great day spending time with them, and one I’ll cherish for a long time to come. They not only helped me get a lot of work done, but they helped me see the business world through a new set of eyes.

I’ll leave you with this:

J & B Video

 

3 Small Ways To Bring Big Results Working From Home

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a virtual assistant, or other key remote employee, you have the perk our friends in the corporate world long for: working from home. So many people consider this the number one amenity of owning their own business. Working from home and creating my own hours? I’ll admit, it is indeed a perk.

That said, however, it is not as flexible or care-free as one might picture it. There are definitely struggles that come with working from home. The dishes don’t do themselves, your midday meal doesn’t magically appear from a drive-through window, and the laundry somehow finds itself spread across every horizontal surface within reach. Add to the mix any children you might have running around, who need to be fed, cared for, and paid dear attention to, and the distractions multiply exponentially.

Today I’m going to share three tips, that while seemingly small in nature, will create a big impact in your ability to successfully work from home.

1. Dress For Success

One fantasy shared by many is the chance to work at home in sweats, pajamas, or other sorts of ridiculously comfortable, and unfit-for-public attire. As appealing as it may seem, it’s been shown time and time again to seriously hamper productivity.

Wearing non-work attire makes it far easier for your mind to focus on distractions. If you work in pajamas, you’re going to spend your time thinking about how comfortable your bed is, how to get last night’s nacho cheese out of the leg of your pajama pants, or perhaps you’ll even find your mind drifting to your favorite Saturday morning cartoons.

When you dress for success, you’ll remain focused on the tasks at hand, and make better use of your time. The real kicker is, when you need to hop on an impromptu web meeting, or even drive to a last-minute on-location meeting with your client or colleagues, you’ll already be entirely presentable.

The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort. Clothes have come a long way, and there are plenty of affordable work-clothes that not only look sharp, but feel amazingly cozy and comfortable.

Trust me on this one. When you get up in the morning, get showered, dressed, and put together from head-to-toe. Your productivity will see a stark increase over you trying to work in slippers and sweatpants.

2. Dedicate Your Work Space

Having your own, dedicated work space is imperative to maintaining focus and productivity. When you have consistency in your work environment, your subconscious knows when you’re in that “place”, it’s time to work. It’s no different from consistently preparing food in the kitchen, or brushing your teeth in the bathroom. There are certain places to do certain things, and working at home isn’t any different.

Not only is it helpful for your mindset to work in a dedicated space each day, but it’s helpful for keeping track of important documents, equipment, notes, or other resources you need to find in a crunch. If you’re spreading yourself out over different rooms, counters, etc. it can be too easy to lose track of important notes you need to retrieve at a moment’s notice.

I know there will be times you’ll be more productive if you can just stretch out on your sofa with your laptop. There are always exceptions to every rule. That said, it’s important to be consistent and find a work environment that appeals to your senses and helps keep you focused.

Create a space that’s comfortable, appealing, relaxing, and as free from distractions as possible.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to create your home office space, check out our Pinterest boards for some inspiration, and see what our team finds beneficial for home office setups.

3. Get Out

It can be too easy to be tied to your work, even from the comfort of your own home. In fact, since you’re already home, and able to be in your most familiar environment, you might find yourself “trapped” within the walls of your abode.

As important as it is to stay focused, be productive, and work on taking your business and the experience of your customers to the next level, you also need a break.

Getting out for a walk, a favorite coffee, a meal, and especially some socializing, is so important.

We aren’t designed to work constantly, and we aren’t designed to hole ourselves up for long periods of time. We’re designed for relationships, and before you forget how to foster one, you need to get out of your house once in a while.

Make it a point to break up the intensity of your work with routine outings. Go to the gym, go to the mall, and disconnect yourself from your tasks for a while.

Breaks are not just a chance to do something different for a time. They’re a fantastic opportunity to reboot, refresh, and relax. If you find yourself in a creative rut, or up against an idea-block, get out of the house for a bit and clear your head.

Not only will it do wonders for your soul, but your productivity will often find a new groove once you return.

Implement these three small changes, and I promise you they’ll have a big impact on your ability to work from home.

What have you done differently to make working from home a successful venture for you?

 

Three Ways Children Taught Me to See Life Differently

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and hadn’t finished packing for my 5:55 a.m. flight. After only three hours of sleep, I muddled my way through the airport, and onto my first of two flights that day.

I was headed to San Diego, to work on a project with a client I adore. I was tired and really would rather have been in bed. This was not the way I intended to start my trip.

I have four girls, and at that time they ranged in age from 18 months to 11 years old. As a work-from-home mom, there is an exceptionally large sigh of relief at the tail-end of summer that washes over me when I’m on a flight for two hours. Alone. Without shrieking.

My first flight was uneventful, and I expected more of the same as I claimed my seat in the rear of the second plane, flying from Phoenix to San Diego. I’ll just read the rest of my book, Day Job to Dream Job, and snooze a bit on the plane. Or so I thought.

As we sat on the jet way, waiting for what felt like hours, two little monsters began squealing away behind me. Likely two or three years old, they were making quite the scene at 7:00 a.m. As a mom of one of “those kids” on a plane, I immediately empathized with the parents. I could imagine them praying in their heads, “Dear God, shut them up.”

People around me began to get restless. We had been waiting to take off for some time, and the littles were losing it, screaming unintelligible things. Clearly, they wanted to take off, too.

Suddenly, it was as if a switch turned on in their heads. No, they didn’t stop screaming, but they began to scream with purpose. The young boy began to encourage his sister, and the two – in unison – began their new performance.

“One, two, three, GO!” Their excitement built with each chant, and they got louder and louder as the anticipation of our take-off grew with each repetition of their new mantra.

Oh, people were irritated. The tired mom next to me, with a sleeping child in her lap, tried to force a smile. The burly ex-football player shifted in his seat as he grew ever more irritated about his sleep being disrupted. And me? I started laughing. Silently to myself at first, and then an all-out belly laugh along with those kids.

They were excited. They wanted to get going, and they were thrilled at the anticipation of the adventure they were about to embark on. Their innocence reflected only the joy of what was to come – not the anxiety of being stuck on a jet way, or stress of the meeting they’d be late for if the plane didn’t arrive on time.

I began to realize, in the increasingly louder chants of “One, two, three, GO!”, that we’re all somewhere along this path, waiting to go, wherever our destination may be.

I learned three important lessons from those children behind me:

1. Those kids didn’t care about the hang-ups or delays. They were just excited to get going. It made me wonder about how often we get consumed by the speed bumps in our day, and neglect one important truth: the journey is life. And when we’re only focused on the destination, we miss out on the best part. I learned that perspective is so important.

2. I learned that perception changes things. Whether the glass is half empty or half full may be an age-old question, but it also may be the lens through which you could make or break your day. Your decisions. Your life. If we can change how we perceive circumstances, and default to hope and optimism rather than annoyance, we could rewrite the entire blueprint of our life’s journey.

3. I learned that our priorities matter. Had I been so consumed with having a moment of rest on my flight, I’d have completely missed out on the pure joy laughing with those toddlers allowed me. I got off the plane that day in a great mood, much better than how my day started. Why? Because I made it my priority to have a good time. I wasn’t preoccupied with myself or my agenda. It’s a beautiful thing when we can step outside of ourselves and just be.

How do you handle those speed bumps in your day? In your business? Do you enjoy the course, implementing the things you learn when you fall down? Or do you shift in your seat like many of the passengers on the plane with me that day, terrified of what’s to come and inconvenienced by the hindrance to your plan?

Life will hardly ever go as smoothly as we plan in our head, so take it from the kids in row 19: get excited, and enjoy the sweet anticipation of what’s to come. Even if you don’t know exactly what that is.