The reality of running a family business

We love running a family business, and the freedom and flexibility it gives us. 

We all get up at 730, with no stressful commute on our itinerary. The Littlest Voiceover gets dropped off at school at 845. Then if we’re not up against it Ian and I might sit out on the patio and enjoy a cup to tea and some breakfast before we clock on.  

Ian then takes the 10 steps to his studio, and I’ll stay in the garden with the laptop on my knee if the weather’s kind, or I might even put my feet up and work from bed. 

At 3pm my laptop is shut and I’ll go get Amber from school, take her to whatever club or play date she’s got that night, or go to the beach for an ice cream. 

But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. 

There’s no off button. 

We’re self employed, and we work from home, Ian does the voiceovers, I do the admin side of things and the little one does voice over work too. And that’s it. If we don’t find the work, deliver the work, invoice and chase through to payment, then the bank is going to be empty come payday. 

No one is going to bail us out (no furlough or government assistance for us through a pandemic). There’s no guaranteed salary, no minimum earnings, no safety net, no security and nothing to fall back on. If we don’t feel well there’s no one to cover.

Deadlines are met, always, because if we lose a client, then we lose money.

So the boundaries get blurred. We may occasionally have leisurely eggs at 9am, but we’re often un-leisurely editing at 9pm. 

I’m writing this on Thursday morning with wet hair, because truthfully getting up at 730 isn’t enough time, and the inevitable bobble drama with the 5 year old meant I didn’t have time to shower before school drop off. And now we’re nearing the end of the month my hair is dripping on the laptop faster than the payments are dripping into the bank account. So I’m chasing up the unpaid invoices before I have breakfast. 

This evening, we’ll more likely be looking at client pitches than drinking pitchers because we rarely get chance to catch up during the day, with Ian usually in the studio in voice sessions.  

We’re just getting over the sleepless nights brought on by the tax bill that arrived with an extra zero than was expected. Unfortunately the taxman doesn’t scent his bill with the same fluid due date that seems to perfume some of the invoices that I send out. 

But we’re still exhausted, because last night Amber was up coughing all night. Cough cough cough, relentlessly.  Ian and I got about 2 hours sleep a piece. And today we are scheduled to record a video podcast with one of out clients at the Baltic. Amber thankfully bounced out of bed, and bounced off to school. But not as resilient at our age, Ian and I are drowning ourselves in coffee and hoping no one notices our eyebags hitting the floor.

Once all the voicing, editing, pitching and invoicing has been done, it doesn’t stop there, no cleaner will anonymously come in to clean up after hours. So I’m inevitably tripping up over Ambers toys and cleaning up cat sick as I’m answering clients calls. 

But sometimes there are quieter days and when we’re on top of things, we might sneak off and have a nice lunch. And we’re quick to react to any emergencies with no boss to ask for time off, like the time when Amber fell at school and bust her mouth or Tuesday afternoon when I was editing, a job that I enjoy but find hard… when I remembered that I promised Amber I would make her a guitar headband for ‘Rockstar Day’ at school on Wednesday. I hadn’t done it and wouldn’t have time Tuesday night. So Ian picked up the editing while I picked up the glue gun. Crisis averted.

And that’s it in a nutshell running a family  business, constantly finding yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. But loving every second of it. 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email