Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Jennifer Erickson

Must Haves for a Single Parent in Business

Running a business is a challenge under the best circumstances. There are never enough hours in the day, the to do list seems to be never ending and incorporating a social life and time for family is next to impossible. Throw in the added challenge of being a single parent and you have a recipe for a potential nervous breakdown on a daily basis!

There seems to be even less time in the day and the to do list is not only never ending but it seems to be multiplying as quickly as the loads of laundry in my laundry room and trying to find time for that girls night out that I have been trying to plan for the last two years really is next to impossible.

So what are the tricks? How do you fit it all in? How do you find the balance between spending the quality time with your kids that you wanted when you decided to start your own business? I’ll have to write an update when I figure it all out!

What I have learned though is that time management and setting boundaries is a huge piece of the puzzle. This in itself is a huge challenge for all business owners, especially in the beginning start up phase. I learned by trial and error that sleep deprivation, consumption of large quantities of caffeine and neglecting myself was not necessarily the best way to run a business and be a good parent. So after the caffeine was finally out of my system and I awoke from a very long nap I realized that I needed to make a few changes or risk losing my mind and my businesses.

So I took a few days off and actually shut down the computer, put down the Blackberry and went to the Zoo and enjoyed time being 100% in the moment with my son, then I dropped him off with Grandma and Grandpa and went to a Hot Yoga class and got my nails done.
How is this supposed to help my business, you ask? Well it helped me re-focus and re-evaluate what was important and realize why I wanted to be self-employed in the first place. It wasn’t until I turned on the computer again and waded through the 1500 e-mails that I had received and found that only 20 of them required my attention and the other 1480...deleted. That was my moment, when I realized that I could do it all, I could be a great mom, have a social life, find time for exercise, run a business and do the laundry without having a nervous breakdown.
I did however implement a few things that have made my business and personal life a whole lot easier!

Here are my top 5 must haves as a single parent in business:

* A fabulous web designer with excellent technical support
* A great automated billing and accounting system
* An incredible e-assistant to handle social networking and website updates when I need a little extra time for me and my son
* An invaluable support system (aka Grandma and Grandpa) and a fantastic childcare facility
* And the most important... guilt free time for me. We all deserve it!

Jennifer Erickson
Co-Founder http://www.childrensdirectory.net/
CEO http://www.itgirlparties.blogspot.com/