By November 26, 2012 Read More →

Small business – how to work less and put family first

A small business owner describes his day

Work from Home Wisdom - Paul Cox, SpinLessPlates, small businessLast week Paul Cox of SpinLessPlates told us why he is so passionate about getting the right work/life balance as his daughters grow up. Today he outlines exactly how he runs his own small business to achieve this:

What does your working day look like, Paul?
I wake-up around 6:30, catch up with social media and then have breakfast with my girls. Next I take the dog for a walk and use this time to focus in on my priorities for the day.
By 8:30 I’m sitting tight for my “power hour” to work ON my small business and tackle work that is closely aligned with my business goals.
At 10ish I’ll catch up with correspondence relating to SpinLessPlates before sorting production stuff for Fings. I have lunch with the kids and spend the afternoon on marketing activities.
I have my “sneaky 5-minute cuddle” with the girls around 4pm then I’ll finish work by 5:30 after reviewing Fings enquiries.
As much as possible the evening is quality family time and then my favourite time of the day is reading the girls their bedtime stories.
I finish my day planning tomorrow and ensuring I have a fixed schedule of tasks with deadlines to keep me focused. This daily discipline is one of the reasons I can get more done in less time.

How do you organise your small business in order to be part of your daughters’ lives?
I purposely designed my business so I can run it from anywhere. It means I can be flexible around my daughters and we can take family holidays abroad without it affecting my work. This means I rely on cloud-based software. I use:

  • Xero for my accounts
  • webmail for my email
  • DropBox for storage
  • SimplifyMyBackup for backup
  • and of course SpinLessPlates for my business management
  • Google Docs for documents and collaboration with some suppliers
  • Skype and GoToMeeting allow me to streamline my communication with clients and customers
  • My telephone lines are diverted to a call answering company and the calls are returned twice a day. VIP customers only have my mobile phone number
  • I’m currently working on the iPad app for SpinLessPlates. When that’s finished I’ll have my small business in a bag. For me this represents the total flexibility I’ve always dreamed of. With my ipad, my Moleskine and my favourite pen I can operate my business from anywhere.

    What advice do you have for parents running a small business?
    Simple. Never put your work before your kids. I was once told that kids spell love T I M E. That has always stuck with me.
    Work will always be there tomorrow so never miss those important milestones like parent’s evenings, sports day or the first day at school. Nothing is more important than those memories and no amount of money can bring those moments back.
    I know my mum has regrets about my childhood and she spends every moment she can with her grandchildren. However times have changed and instead of “to be seen and not heard” children are often at the centre of family life.
    Fortunately today’s working practices are a lot more flexible and technological changes have made it possible to work around family commitments – or indeed from anywhere.
    I think it’s possible to a fulfilling family life alongside a super successful small business and I’m determined to continue streamlining my business so I can work less but earn more.

    Paul’s business SpinLessPlates has developed from his personal mission to keep work and family in balance. His software enables small business owners to streamline processes.

Posted in: Family

8 Comments on "Small business – how to work less and put family first"

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  1. Great post Paul. I use pretty much all the same cloud based applications for flexible working too – and love Xero – recommend it to my clients all the time.

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks for the comment Annette.
    Got to love being a home based business and having cloud software to give you massive flexibility.

  3. Lucy Ignatiadis says:

    Brilliant Article Paul.
    I think it is really important today to ensure you have a positive work life balance and I love your comment about children spelling love as time.
    I agree with Annette I also use most of the same cloud based applications and couldn’t live without them.

  4. Loved your blog I am a nightmare for working too many hours and then feel guilty about the kids so it made me think but I do make sure we have great holidays together.
    Also got some good tips in how to organise myself 🙂

  5. It’s so important to strive to achieve the work/life balance…. something I’ve not always achieved in my life. But I have spent an awful lot of time with my kids as they’ve grown up for which I’m truly thankful. I wish all this cloud stuff had been around 10 years ago….

    Great article Paul.

  6. John Banks says:


    This is a great post. Being a Dad of two girls too I know exactly what you mean. I value the time with them too much to waste it. Ok sure, I am probably guilty of working too much on the odd occasion but they will always come first.