A Balancing Act: Community Members Share Insights about Running a Business and Family Life

Holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are an opportunity to celebrate the often unsung heroes in our lives, parents and carers. Every year we shower them with flowers, chocolates, and restaurant meals, or we organize special events. But what about the parents, carers, and family members behind the businesses that offer gifts, services, and experiences? How do they do it? 


In this article we highlight parents, carers, guardians, and family business owners to understand how they balance business, life, and everything in between. Let’s jump into some great tips and invaluable insights.  


Owning a biz while being responsible for someone else is so hard but so so worth it. The level of freedom is PRICELESS.” Dina, @DLRosenberg

Photo by sydney Rae on UnsplashPhoto by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Be prepared: Square Champion parents and carers share their insights and advice


Running a business can be a liberating experience. Depending on the type of business, you can set your own hours, provide for yourself and others, work from home, and control your income to a certain extent. You can also offer opportunities for your children to work in, manage, or own the business you build one day. 


A lot has been written about family businesses, from the behemoth Walmart, which is still controlled by the founder’s family, to Aldi, a discount grocery chain founded by two brothers, and Panda Express, a venture started by a husband and wife. Yet how many of the thousands of articles on those companies discuss how they found great, affordable childcare? How do they manage their busy work schedules alongside the schedules of other family members or dependents? 


Recently we asked our Square Champions to share their insights and advice on the topic of running a business while caring for others. Square Champions not only find time to manage their own businesses and care for their families, but they also help others here in the Community. Here Square Champions share the challenges they faced and benefits they’ve experienced while running a business as a parent, carer, or family member. 💗


Remember to celebrate your wins. It’s easy to beat yourself up if something goes wrong. Look around and remind yourself where you are and how you started. That is an investment, and it is likely growing in value as you continue to work on it!” — John, @JTPets 


Photo by Natalie Pedigo on UnsplashPhoto by Natalie Pedigo on Unsplash

Let's hear from sellers:


What are the challenges of being a parent, guardian, or carer while running a business?

“The biggest challenge I find with being a parent and running a business would be adjusting your hours and times when something may come up. Whether that be a school cancellation, sick child, or time off from school. Of course, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem if one had employees, but if you are a multihat wearer, this can get tricky.” — Dan, @Minion


“Gosh, there are so many. During COVID my daughter was still under school age, so she went to work with me anyway. I did less facials and more of the boutique. She went every day. I had tons of games and caved in on a TV in the back room to keep her occupied. [...] Once preschool started I had more time to take facials and get all of the details of running a business done during work hours versus after she went to bed. BUT I was limited by her school schedule — pickups, drop offs, holidays. [...] But, now with kindergarten 45 minutes away, the scheduling and being everywhere is tough. I blocked out ALL school off days for facials and found someone who wanted to rent the studio on those days.” — Doran, @Doran


“I think when you run a business and care for others, there can be a perceived feeling that you’re always dropping the ball somewhere. Five and a half years in, I KNOW I’m dropping the ball, and I do my best to make sure those balls are in my business and not for my kids. My mantra is ‘there’s always tomorrow’ when it comes to work. I do bring a lot of work home, but I do try and have memorable moments with my kids when I can. It’s difficult to be pulled in two directions, but it’s worth it.”  — Dina, @DLRosenberg


“You lose yourself in the business sometimes. Finding family time is a real struggle. And finding family time without an interruption is almost impossible.” — John, @JTPets 


“For me, I think the biggest challenge is constantly feeling like I’m being pulled in multiple directions. When you’re an owner, the lines between work and home are very blurry. The success/failure of the business is ultimately on your shoulders, so you don’t get to simply log off for the day or really take a day off. Which means that often, even when I’m home, I’m receiving text messages, calls, emails — and I really hate dividing my attention when I’m with my kids.” — Michelle, @mksavage


“Time. Time is what it comes down to. Time to make it to a dance competition or to see the Christmas play, etc. Running a business takes 120% of your time, and raising kids takes 120% of your time when they aren’t at school. That obviously clashes a lot.” — Robert, @VanKalkerFarms



Dina, @DLRosenburg and familyDina, @DLRosenburg and family

What are the benefits of being a parent, guardian, or carer while running a business?

“The main benefit for me is the flexibility. Although there is very rarely a full day off, I have full control over my schedule and can take time in the middle of the day for whatever my kids need. I’ve also been able to keep both kids home with me until they were 2+, because I just plan my workday around their needs. I never would have been able to have that flexible of a schedule at a more typical 9–5 job, and I wouldn’t trade it.” — Michelle, @mksavage


“Some of the benefits can be a first-time employment for your child. This can help teach them responsibility, finances, and time management. This is all assuming that they are interested in the business that you are running.” — Dan, @Minion


“Sick days, vacation days, etc. I just bring my daughter with me, or I can take it off to go on trips then. I like to think she is getting a valuable bit of life lessons about running a business. She loves helping with the front desk and inventory and bank deposits. I give her a couple dollars to deposit into her own account when she comes along. And last-minute birthday party invites or school projects are easy — [you can just] grab a gift when you own your own shop!” — Doran, @Doran


“I love being able to run out during the day for an event for my kids and not having to ask for permission or feel guilty. It’s priceless.” — Dina, @DLRosenberg


“Depending on what business you are starting, you can have your kids around the whole time. Having a farm and garden center, our kids are growing up in it, they participate in it, and they can be around us all the time. Teaching them good work habits and letting them have fun while we work is so much better to me than sending them off to before- and after-school care while I would grind away for some corporate job that I could lose at a moment’s notice.” — Robert, @VanKalkerFarms 


“Saying this as a child of a small-business owner as well, your kids will learn so much more than you can ever imagine. Work ethic, empathy, and the knowledge that hard work is necessary in life even if it doesn’t pay off in the end. And, if you’re in the food service industry (or any customer-facing business, I suppose), how to deal with the pain-in-the-rear customers who think that they’re too good for you.” — Ryan, @ryanwanner


“Your kids are always excited to check out the business, and they think you are a superstar because you own a business.” — John, @JTPets



Photo by Marten Bjork on UnsplashPhoto by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Do you have any advice for parents, guardians, or carers who are considering starting a business?

“Be prepared. Just be sure to have a plan for anything that may come up when dealing with a child and running a business. You have a responsibility to your customer and your business to be on time, but you also have a responsibility to take care of your child. Just plan accordingly if things happen because they are bound to.” — Dan, @Minion


“Work out your childcare schedule just like you would a business plan. Research camps, schools, sitters, and family that can help. Things change in business and school schedules, so realize that flexibility is your biggest obstacle and asset.” — Doran, @Doran


“For parents, if your children are at the age of understanding what’s going on, include them in your decision-making process. Their lives are about to be upended in ways that you can’t even imagine, and you have to build that trust that it may be crazy, but you will still be there for them but in a different capacity. And always have a good support structure in place for both the kids and you.” — Ryan, @ryanwanner


“Involve your kids where you can. We do local deliveries, and they love to come along. They love to help stock shelves on a weekend (usually means more work for me after to clean it up), but part of the fun for them is seeing what I do at work, so make them part of it and let them pretend to own the store with you.” — John, @JTPets


“Kids events have to be prioritized within the plethora of events there will be. ASK your kids what is the most important for you to be at versus what is ok to not be. You might be surprised that they think the random volleyball game is more important than their band concert or whatnot. [It’s highly unlikely] you will be able to go to everything, so make sure what you are going to carve out the time for is what they want you to be at. And each kid will be different.” — Robert, @VanKalkerFarms


“Don’t do it alone, and don’t do it without systems! Make sure you have support at home AND at your business, so you can do what you need to do in either arena at any given time. Systems and support make a lot more possible (instead of it all riding on your shoulders at work and at home)!” — Michelle, @mksavage


 🔈‌ Let’s Talk Business: Managing Motherhood with Michelle Savage  



Michelle Savage (center), with her sister-in-law, Mariah (left), and her husband, Tyler (right).Michelle Savage (center), with her sister-in-law, Mariah (left), and her husband, Tyler (right).

How do you like to be celebrated on holidays like Mother’s/Father’s Day? 

“A guys day with my son!” — Dan, @Minion


“We do a mommy + daughter trip somewhere that has room service, where I don’t have to cook or clean.” — Doran @Doran


“Just appreciating them … telling them how important they are to me and that I see them.” — Dina, @DLRosenberg, Amityville Apothecary


“I really value verbal affirmation, knowing that I'm appreciated and valued. Other than that, I like to have a slow, relaxing day, where I don’t have to make any decisions!” — Michelle, @mksavage


“I do everything in my power to get to spend the major days with my daughters (birthdays, holidays, etc.), and when that isn’t feasible, I make sure I celebrate as close to the day as possible. Since my girls grew up in the business, they understand if things change. As for Father’s Day, I’m just happy if I get to spend part of the day with them outside the business.” — Ryan, @ryanwanner


“I really love just being left alone to unwind. Let me have a relaxing day at home with you, maybe make me breakfast, let me work and watch TV, then perhaps we go out for a family dinner somewhere other than the golden arches. … Down time is rare for most entrepreneurs.” — John, @JTPets


“Every day is important, and what a kid does on a random Tuesday to help you or just having a good conversation with you can mean way more than a fake holiday can.” — Robert, @VanKalkerFarms 


Even more words of wisdom from the Seller Community


Recently we asked, “How do you balance family time with running your business?” Our Community of sellers shared their candid experience and some wonderful advice about the importance of lists to make sure everything gets done, switching off your phone after hours, planning your day/week, and scheduling family events that are important to you.


Finally, I’d like to end this with a HUGE thank you to all of our contributors and to their families. We appreciate the time you spend here in the Community in addition to the work you do, seen and behind-the-scenes, at your businesses and for your families!


Dan Hebert, @Minion, Scorpion Coating Plus

Dina Rosenberg, @DLRosenberg, Amityville Apothecary

Doran Poma, @Doran, HauteBeautyGuideByDoran.com

John Alexander, @JTPets, JT Pets - Natural Food & Supplies 

Michelle Savage, @mksavage, Savage Goods Cafe 

Ryan Wanner, @ryanwanner, Golden Pine Coffee Roasters

Robert Van Kalker, @VanKalkerFarms, Van Kalker Farms


Thank you! 💗

Helen is a Seller Community manager at Square and is the editor of the Seller Community blog. She writes about small business and the owners and entrepreneurs who are a part of the Seller Community.


This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. For guidance or advice specific to your business, you should consult with a qualified legal professional.


Cover photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash (you got this).


Loved reading this! Y'all continue to inspire me! @Minion, @DLRosenberg, @Doran, @JTPets@mksavage, @ryanwanner, @VanKalkerFarms 👏

Square Champion

Glad to be part of it and awesome to read how others also cope with family/business life balancing act.


Thank you very much @VanKalkerFarms for taking the time to share! Appreciate you.

Square Champion

Thank you so much for putting this together @Helen! I loved hearing from the other Sellers -- this road can feel pretty isolating sometimes, and knowing there's a community of other caregivers out there is incredibly comforting. There's so much wisdom and perspective here too -- lots to think about!


Ahhh thank you @mksavage. I couldn't put together pieces like this without your help and the help of the Community! 

Square Champion

@JTPets I love the line "Involve your kids where you can." 

I think it's so important to show your kids how hard work can be rewarding.

It shows them a lot of valuable life lessons. 

Square Champion

I loved so much of what @JTPets shared -- involve your kids where you can, remember where you started, celebrate the wins -- all such great reminders. My oldest just turned 5, and I'm trying to think of ways I can begin to involve him (we have a restaurant). Would love suggestions from anyone who has walked this path before!

Square Champion

I love this all so so much! Running a business and being a parent can be so tough sometimes BUT the rewards can, and usually do, outweigh the tough times. I can't wait until my little guy gets older (I mean I can wait but also can't....you guys get it) and can help my husband and I in our businesses. The skills he'll be able to learn will (I hope) benefit him greatly and give him different perspective than his friends may have.

Square Champion

@alexandriak I think about this all the time -- what a unique experience it will be for our kids to grow up in/around a small business. I feel like they're going to learn so much, but there's also just something really cool about seeing the behind-the-scenes of what your parents do all day. Not everyone gets that perspective!

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