“Where’s Mommy?” my son asked. “Where do you think she is, Brendan? She’s at the computer,” my husband replied in an annoyed tone.
I overheard this exchange between my son and husband two years ago (when my son was three) and had a huge realization.
While I was working on the computer—writing new posts, planning my editorial calendar, invoicing advertisers, responding to email and social media—my family had no idea what I was doing.
To them, it looked like I was just farting around on Facebook, or worse; neglecting them.
But I wasn’t. I was working. Hard, too.
Earning a great income. Making a difference in the lives and businesses of other mom entrepreneurs. Building a solid career for myself. Why couldn’t they see that?
The answer was simple. They didn’t know that I was working because I had a black curtain on my home business. Yep, just like the Great Oz.
I never talked about my work. I never let them see my work. I didn’t let them help. And I never showed them the money. No wonder they didn’t know I was working!
I knew then that if I wanted a successful home business, it had to be a family affair. It was time to pull back the black curtain on my home business and let them in.
Here are five ways to do just that:
1. Tell your family about your business.
Sit down with your kids and your spouse and tell them in the simplest of terms what it is that you do. Easy, right?
2. Let them see you in action.
If your family wants to learn more about what you do, let them see you in action.
Invite them to sit with you while your write a blog post or record a podcast. Let them watch you work on a new design or respond to customer service emails. Your home business will become more “real” once they see you with their own eyes.
3. Talk about your day.
At dinner time, give everyone a chance to talk about their day and when it’s your turn, share! Tell them about the new client you landed or your latest press mention.
Be open with them about the ups and downs of your business, and be sure to include both achievements and disappointments. You’ll show them how much you care about your business and that everyone has good and bad days.
4. Make them part of it.
I’m not suggesting you name them to your board of directors. But if your kids can and want to help, let them!
Younger kids can do simple things like load the paper tray in your printer or fill boxes with bubble wrap. Older ones can man the phones or answer email for you.
My eleven year old daughter turned my 2012 business plan into a Powerpoint presentation that’ll wow potential investors. Seriously.
Eventually, you might be able to hire your kids, give them some business experience that’ll look great on a college application or spark their entrepreneurial spirit.
5. Show them the money.
Tell your kids and spouse how much you’re making from your business and how it’s helping the family—paying the bills, taking them on vacation, buying dinner, or outfitting them in their clothes.
So go ahead, pull back that black curtain and let ’em in. Your business and your family will be better for it.
How are you going to let your family into your home business?