Having kids, running a business, and managing a household can seem like a daunting job with no end in sight, especially if you aren’t asking for help. I’m a single mom. Until December, I was also a full-time undergrad student, running two businesses, and trying to make sure our house didn’t smell. I bargained with my five-year-old daughter to feed the cats in the morning, so they wouldn’t eat her breakfast, just to get some help.
Even if you aren’t a single mom or a student, delegation can be tough. Husbands forget the garbage, and kids can be so busy with homework, staying alive, and taking baths, one can feel guilty asking them to do anything.
The problem is, and I’m sure you know this … if you try to do it all something is going to break.
The real question to start with is if you had more available time, how would you best use it?
Get a Nanny or Part-Time Sitter
If you feel like you can’t get anything done because you are finding Barbie shoes and cleaning up melted crayons, consider childcare.
If you feel like you are working 80 hours a week and not seeing your children, this isn’t your option. You could hire a responsible neighbor kid to play with your kids after school until dinner time. They might double as a date night sitter.
You could use a service to find a sitter for the daytime or evening. Many let you map out when you would ideally like help on a weekly time grid.
If you need help or have multiple small children, a full-time nanny may be for you. Believe it or not, some families still employ live-in nannies, and I’m not talking about rich families either. If you charge $75 an hour for your services and you pay your nanny $15 to increase your productivity, you make more money.
I used a Mother’s Day Out program for four years. The one we used was on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-2. Not full-time care, but it was super cheap, less than $12 a day. Often we could also have my daughter’s teachers keep her at their house over the summer.
Related Content: 3 Questions Small Business Owners Should Ask Before Hiring a Nanny
Utilize a Housekeeper
So you want more time with your kids and business, but your house suffers?
When hiring a housekeeper, make sure they will complete the tasks you need. Some won’t do laundry. Some won’t do hand washing dishes. Some won’t pick up stray items and will expect you to put things away before they clean. My two must-haves are laundry and litter box. I’ll bargain on picking up if they will do those.
If you enjoy cleaning or it is your stress relief, don’t hire a housekeeper. Save your money to hire someone to do the tasks you hate.
Hire a Mommy Assistant
If you are one of those people who enjoy cleaning, and you want more time with your kids, a Mommy Assistant might be for you.
I suggest Mommy Assistants all the time, and people often ask me what I mean. A Mommy Assistant is someone who helps you with any various task. My brother works for me often and does items like picking up dry cleaning, going to the post office, scanning receipts, folding laundry. A Mommy Assistant, aka a Personal Concierge, could also pick up and drop off your kids at school. They could help you make lunches.
This person would best be used to do tasks that it might be weeks before you got to them too. My dry cleaner once sold my clothes, because I took so long to come back and get them!
You don’t have to use this type of assistant every day. Figure out what would work best for your schedule and the person you hire. You might only want them to come on Tuesdays or once a month.
Invest in a Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistants (VA) obviously would be the only one of these options not in your house. They would typically be doing business-related tasks for you like sending packets to your clients before calls or scheduling your blog posts.
A Virtual Assistant is right for you if you only need business tasks done or you need someone who has tech skills like membership software, Pinterest, or other skills you might not readily find in your local community. There are some different types of VA’s. You may need a technical-minded one as I mentioned before or you might want one who specializes in writing and editing. The great thing about VAs is you don’t have to have just one. I use several – one helps with guest blogging and editing. Another helps with my social media.
Related Content: How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Your Business
So Which Tasks Should You Outsource?
Remember not every solution works for every family. You might hire someone, and they might not work out. One of my business colleagues desperately needed an assistant, so she hired five, and the one that shined was the one that got the job. She’s had that same assistant now for eight years. Many VAs offer trial periods, or trial rates, that you can take advantage of to see if they are a good fit.
If you are anxious about who to hire, do a mini-interview. Meet your candidates out in public, somewhere safe, and do short interviews back to back. Let them know upfront that you will only have 15 or 30 minutes to talk with them.
If you find two who you can’t decide between, be upfront and let them both know you are going to try them out and see which one works out better. It’s always better to be upfront and honest, so you both have the same expectations.
Erica Cosminsky is an HR Business Strategist that works with small business owners to design strategies and structures to keep these hard-working ladies from being sued by the very people who work for them. She is a former Corporate HR Manager, has four years of experience running her own virtual team, has a BS in Organizational Leadership focused in HR, and just started as a grad student in Industrial and Organizational Psychology forced in Workplace Efficiency. Honestly, if you have a question about working with people, Erica can probably help you. You can reach her at The Invisible Office or on Twitter @Cosminsky