By Stephanie Ciccarelli
September 7, 2011
Do you run a business based out of your home?
The Internet has opened many doors including the ability for freelancers to work from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. That being said, many freelancers are parents with preschool aged and home schooled children!
Hear from some professionals who have found a way to make working from home (with kids!) work for them in today's VOX Daily.
You're likely not alone if you can relate to the thought of a toddler crawling up your leg as you quote a client, a baby's cry getting on a recording or constant interruptions from kids who somehow are constantly hungry. Such are the joys of working from home with little children in tow!
Before we moved our company's headquarters into a business park, David and I used to work from our condo in the heart of downtown London. God knows how we did it with two small children and the sounds of the city bubbling through the century old building, but with some grace, we managed to get by.
I still remember our routine for when the phone would ring. We'd take turns answering the phone to speak with customers. The person who didn't get the phone grabbed our toddler and dashed to the back of the condo so that the other could pick up the phone with relative silence and confidence.
The strategy, although somewhat hectic, worked out well when there was only one child to care for.
When our second child was four months old, David intelligently sought alternative office arrangements and moved our company into our first office at the University of Western Ontario's Research Park.
While we can't and don't claim to be the poster children for how to successfully work from home with kids running a business where you need to pick up a phone, I've managed to stay at home over the years working exclusively online using email and social networks as my primary mechanism for communicating. Having chosen to stay at home and raise our kids, I had to find the best way possible to be both a mom (first and foremost a mom!) and secondly, someone who works from home. I spent about one year at the office before I headed back home prior to the birth of our fourth child, Olivia.
I work when I can but find that there are days when something's gotta give and it's not going to be baby Olivia! When you work at home as a parent of young children, there's the need to do other things to maintain your living space, cook and see that the children are cared for. During the course of a typical day my kids, eating (sustenance is good!), work and then house cleaning take priority. When my work day draws to a close, generally around 3:30 p.m., being a wife, mom and other domestic responsibilities take over with work hopefully (but not always) left until the next day.
Melba Sibrel has home schooled her fifteen year old son since he was a wee lad while concurrently running a home-based recording studio as a freelance voice talent since 2003.
While work is important, she has recently come to terms with the fact that school needs to come first. She relates, "It's just me (no supportive father in the picture) so that can mean some hard financial sacrifices at times. But if you get on a schedule that works for your family and environment, you can make it work. I'm up at 7, start work at 8 then stop for school. We school from 9:30am to 12:10pm, lunch break 'til 1:30pm (I get in about 45 minutes work of work or errands in there) then finish up school by 3:15. I work for another hour, start dinner and take a long break until 7pm or 8pm. I work again until 10pm or 11pm -- sometimes midnight."
Melba gets her housework and yard work done mainly on Saturdays and tends to work Saturday and/or Sunday afternoon as well. She and her son take off time for fun and have some weekly events they're involved in some nights, so that will usually cut into work or can be worked into as part of her son's education. Melba notes that scheduling and sticking to the schedule within a certain range is all very necessary. She adds, "Being able to monitor work opportunities with eye while engaging in a grammar lesson is a good skill to have. Outside gigs require planning ahead: taking him and schoolwork with, or leaving him home with a distinct assignment plan."
There are a lot of fathers who are deciding to stay at home with their children. Some dads doing this include Markham Anderson who has a six year old with Autism. Mark records early in the morning and late at night. He relates, "I work around my boy!"
Another voice talent and producer who works from home is Scott Fortney. Scott enjoys the unique benefit of being able to not only stay at home with his daughter but also has the joy of tutoring her in the art of voice acting and is already booking her jobs!
Andy Boyns records voice overs from home in Istanbul, Turkey. His young son is also a great example of a voice talent in the making being brought up in a studio environment. He is frequently at his father's side learning all about the business of voice overs and how to use his voice professionally.
Laura Branch Mireles has two boys, aged 9 and 11, who always get her attention before work. She noted, "Now that they are in school all day, I try to have things completely wrapped up by the time they get home. There is that occasional time when I have something after traditional business hours, but I try to wait until my husband gets home so he can take them out of the house or remind them to keep it down while I record. I keep wishing for that WhisperRoom, but it just hasn't appeared under my Christmas tree yet!"
As I noted, my husband David chose to move out of our home-based business and embarked on a journey outside of the home. Similarly, voice talent and producer Tim Lundeen has also decided to work in a different space.
Tim shares, "As a freelance audio producer and voice talent, I made the decision 'not' to have the studio in my house for productivity sake (can't really sound-proof with 3yr old and a 9 month old in this particular house)."
Tim has a valid point. Sometimes soundproofing isn't an option for whatever reason. Also, if one's sanity and productivity are at risk working from home, relocating your business or opting to run your business outside of the home from the start is a prudent decision.
Do you have anything to add to this conversation? Whether it be tips for working from home with kids or something else, I'd love to hear from you.
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