Your Small Business Doesn’t Have to Be About Money

As many long time readers on this blog know my wife runs a daycare out of our house.  While its not the most profitable one in the city it does meet our needs as a family just about perfectly.  You see when my wife started the daycare the end goal was never about making the most money (thankful otherwise she would so be in the wrong line of work), instead the business has other goals.

The genesis of the business came about after our first son was born 10 week premature.  While that in itself was a scary event we both had concerns about his development and wanted one of us to be home with him.  Since my wife was by far the most qualified out of the two of us (she has a degree in sociology focusing on children and family studies) it made sense for her to stay home.  Just one little problem: we couldn’t afford for her to stay at home and earn nothing at the time.

So my wife came up with the idea of running a daycare to earn some money, not lots of money.  So while she isn’t making money hand over fist or anything, we have enjoyed numerous other benefits from the business:

  • Our own kids aren’t in care.  Which was the primary goal of the business and now just something that as a family we feel is important and not to mention is a huge cost savings to the house of about $800/month on an after tax basis.
  • My wife can be picky about clients.  Since she offers a high demand service she can pick people that she will like to work for, which makes her life way less stressful in the long run.
  • Our kids genuinely enjoy the other kids.  Since my wife is picky about clients, our boys end up with kids the actually like playing with and they tend to form strong friendships.  The highest compliment my wife receives is when the parents show up the child is whining “But I don’t want to go home.”
  • Grant money.  My wife may not make a killing on daycare fees, but she is well supported by grants from the provincial government since she is licensed (over $3000 in 2010).  So as such she is continuing to build a better and better experience for the kids and she continues to attend training to get better at her job.  As such her program more recently is starting to edge into looking more like a pre-K program than just generic child care.
  • My wife doesn’t have to work full time.  This is partly a function of client demands, but often my wife does seek to keep a few days a month with just our own kids.  Since she tries to have this line up with my Friday’s off we can often book appointments and do errands on Friday and leave our ‘real’ weekend free to do more fun things.

In the end the business is perfect for our family.  Yes, my wife could likely be making more money elsewhere, but in this case that isn’t the primary goal.  So don’t feel bad if your small business isn’t a gold mine, there are other goals that you should keep in mind that might just end up being what you need.  So do you run a small business that has other goals than money?  Or if not, what goals would you setup if you started a business beyond money?

2 thoughts on “Your Small Business Doesn’t Have to Be About Money”

  1. Thank you so much for posting this!

    My husband just sent me the link because I’ve been running my business (Rabbat Photography) for over 10 years, but ever since I had my daughter I really slowed down business wise.

    This was a good reminder that one of the reasons I chose to be a self-employed photographer is that I knew it would be a good job for raising a family because I could cut back on the work load to be with my children…even if I do make less money.

    After having my daughter, it was hard to accept that I do make less than before I had her, but I need to come back to articles like this to remind me that money can’t buy family time.

  2. @Danielle,

    Your welcome. I personally wanted to put up this post because I’ve heard of way too many people being obsessed about the money side of the business and tend to forget that other perks might be more important than the money.


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