What are you Juggling? Oportunities in Small Business Ownership

As a father of three, I often come back to a phrase I once heard. “In life, there are rubber balls and glass balls and you are always juggling.”

The rubber ones are the things that bounce: that work project, for example, that will still be there tomorrow if you plan in advance. But the glass ones — your family, say — are precious. You can’t drop them. Of course, what’s rubber and what’s glass can shift according to circumstance. You might have to put your family to one side for a day or two while a big project becomes precious too. The only person who controls that is you – you get to set what matters.

That’s not always easy in traditional employment. But Australian parents finding ways to make business work to their advantage. According to a new study, more and more Australian parents are being drawn to small business ownership – becoming their own boss so they don’t have to sacrifice family time for work.

The soccer match vs. the career

As a dad myself, I know the last choice any parent wants to make is whether they can watch their children’s soccer games versus having a career.

That’s why I loved reading through the results of Xero’s Working Parents survey, which revealed the flexibility that small business owners are creating for themselves. 

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Parents who work for someone else are more likely than those who own their own business to say childcare arrangements (21% vs. 14%) cause them stress over the summer holidays.
  • The vast majority of parents who run their own business (94%) say they spend more quality time with their children now than they did in their previous jobs.
  • Most parents (64%) say they would consider starting their own venture in order to have more time to spend with their family and have flexibility to fit in with their kids’ schedule (64%).

Doing it for the kids

Those numbers equate to real families. We chatted to Xero customer Christy Hind – mum-of-one and owner of boutique babywear brand Little Maggie Moo, for example – to hear why she made the decision to start running a business once she got a sense of the extra time it gave her with her daughter, Maggie.

“What originally started as a creative outlet quickly turned into a money-making venture – especially once I got a grasp on what it meant for Maggie,” she told us. “Unlike my previous 9am – 5pm job, doing my own thing gives me the freedom to make work fit around my daughter’s schedule and gives me more quality time with her – I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“From payroll to invoicing, I can comfortably run Little Maggie Moo from my mobile which gives me the flexibility to take a longer holiday over the Christmas period when Maggie is home, or go along to her after-school activities without work needing to be put on hold. This really helps alleviate the stress of making childcare arrangements – not just over summer but all year round.”

Happy holidays

In today’s digital age, work-life integration has never been more achievable. Almost three quarters of parents with their own business (74%) say they are able to work remotely more often now than in the past due to cloud tools and technologies.

That empowerment really means something to me – because I know our children are only small for such a period of time. I turn around now and see my almost 15 year-old daughter and wonder where the time went. We all need that time to push our children on a wave or play a few rounds of beach cricket. Those moments are like precious glass.


Originally posted by Trent Innes. https://www.xero.com/blog/2016/12/doing-it-for-the-kids/