An increasing number of people are choosing to work at home as the internet enables this to be done with so much ease. There are costs involved in going to a workplace away from the home such as rental of property, petrol or gas bills, travelling costs and time and so on which are not necessary if a person works at home. The internet has led to many people working in such tasks as credit card processing, data entry, administrative work, secretarial and even professional work such as accounting and law. Operating a home based business has meant a change in the family and/or marital relationship and this has become an area of family breakdowns and tension which need to be considered when going into any idea of having a work at home career or business.
More than one family member frequently operates a home based business. Sometimes this can be the case if a person is single but typically a married work at home business holder will recruit the aid of others in the family. This is what happens in my family. My husband initiated the business to save me from having to go out to work and so that I could have time at home with my daughter. However as it works out he goes to his full time work place during Monday to Friday and then does some work on the weekend. I on the other hand take care of the family and do whatever I can to keep the business going during the week and the weekend. This is not easy, my daughter who only goes to day care one day a week for socialisation is always pulling me away from my work during the day. My husband comes home and asks me what have I been doing. This led to my comment the other day “You should write an article on how difficult it is to work for your husband”.
The strength of a family based work at home business typically depends on the strength of the marriage. It is important that the family members have the ability to work together. It is very much like the typical marriage in which a couple have to learn to give and take and be forgiving towards each others failures and weaknesses, while at the same time acknowledging each others strengths and be willing to provide support and praise when called for. It is important to know when to work and when not to work, when to be at your daily business tasks and when to attend to the needs of the family. This also means allocating adequate time to do such things as visiting friends, doing a recreational activity together and perhaps even going shopping together. The keyword being of course togetherness however at times this may also mean allowing times to be apart and doing your own thing. Fortunately in our family togetherness is very highly regarded and rarely do we want to be apart during non-working hours.
Making a SWOT analysis, taking the family situation into account can be very important. SWOT is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a business. It involves specifying the objective of the business and identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieving that objective. By doing a SWOT analysis it enables you to prioritise your life goals, your current situation and how to make ultimate gain out of the factors affecting both your business and your marriage.
Married people operating a business need to take a professional or objective approach to their business. The relationship between married couples is different in business than it is in marriage. Tensions that exist in marriage need to be kept separate from those tensions that arise in business. Business and marriage have different objectives. Business is the means to have money to maintain what is most important in life, which for married people should be family life. If working in business is tearing away at a marriage then the business should be the first to go. What is the advantage of being rich if it does not lead to a happy life with those whom we love?
Teamwork is the essence of a married couple working in business together. Teamwork is about working together not against each other. Each should have his or her own allocated role and duties even if it means at times one being in a position of directing the other person what to do. No one should be totally in charge. In my family my husband is generally in charge of analysing the direction of the business and developing our conceptual understanding. My role is administration and taking care of the day to day tasks. We generally share writing content for articles although he is the prime article writer. Work together and success can be yours, work in tension then business failure is more likely to follow.
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