Ok folks, here you have it, the top 5 Best Perks of Running a Family Business!
NUMBER FIVE: You get to spend EVERY WAKING MINUTE with your spouse! No really, this is awesome! We wake up together, eat together, drive together, work together all day, take lunch together, come home together, go to the gym together, go on dates together, coach basketball together, watch TV together and then go to bed together so we can do it all over again tomorrow. How could this possibly get annoying? It's a blast, really. I mean, who doesn't want to discuss pay apps and asbestos sample reports over tacos at lunch? Isn't it great that our kids pick up words like "chrysotile" and "turn-around-time" by listening to us casually chatting in the car on the way to Tae Kwon Do? Wouldn't it be awesome if your boss followed you home at night and asked you about that big report that is 2 days late while you are trying to watch The Big Bang Theory and drink a beer? When there is a stressful situation at work, you get to come home and keep talking about it ALL NIGHT LONG! Why leave all that stress at the office when you can carry it home and DWELL ON IT!
NUMBER FOUR: When you call in sick to work, your boss is sitting on the couch next to you. I have actually done this one. Picked up the phone in the kitchen and called my husband in the living room to let him know I would not be coming into the office today. I think I mumbled something about a headache, but really, I just needed a break! (See number 5 above).
NUMBER THREE: Your kids get to come to the office when they have a day off school. This is so much fun! They can rearrange all of your highlighters and staple the bottom of every legal pad together with the report binding stapler! How fun for the kids! Those architectural plans layed out on your desk are just calling out to be colored in using the forbidden permanent markers kept hidden in your desk drawer. Besides, who doesn't want every paperclip in the office clipped together in a long chain when you go to grab one?
NUMBER TWO: If the business is having cash flow issues, it impacts BOTH of your salaries! This is my personal favorite. During the first year of running our business we actually started baking our own bread. A lot of people thought it was because we were some kind of off-grid gluten-free hippees that would only give our kids fresh organic homemade bread, but in reality, we just couldn't afford $5 for a loaf of bread!(Do you know you can make a loaf of bread for only $0.37?) This is also why we started growing a garden, making our own yogurt and canning our own tomatoes. It is not that we are awesome parents, (in fact, when I make my own bread I add extra gluten...it's yummy, and makes the bread more delicious), but we are FRUGAL! You have to be when you run your own business. Every dollar matters. Besides, the more we save, the more we get to travel!
NUMBER ONE: You have control over your own schedule. This, as far as we can tell, is really the only benefit to running our own business. Autonomy. Freedom. The ability to choose when we work and how much we work. Sure, when we don't work, we make less money, but we are in control of that. When we need more money, we can work harder, take more jobs, hire more people. If we have some money saved up and we want to downscale the company for awhile, take some time to travel or homeschool the kids for a year or two...we can do that.
Running a family business can be stressful on the parents, the kids, and the pursestrings, but at the end of the day, it affords us the freedom that we value as a family. This...this is really ONLY reason that we can see to run a family business. There is a new term being thrown around lately - FREEDOMPRENEUR - it describes us perfectly. We run our business in a way that gives us the freedom to make the best choices. We choose our location from year to year and month to month. We choose each year whether to send the kids to public school or homeschool, based upon what is best for them at each stage. We choose each day whether we want to go in to the office or work from home. We choose where and when to travel to next, and for how long. This flexibility makes the uncertainties worth it. Sure...we can not always be sure of our next contract, our next job, or even always our next paycheck...but we haven't starved yet. And besides, bread is really much easier to make than you might think. And it only costs $0.37. We'll be ok.