Starting your own home business can be a very fulfilling experience. It offers many new and exciting challenges, with the hopes of providing financial security for you and your family. To this end, a home business also requires a serious commitment and can easily consume a large portion of your time if you don’t plan properly.

Finding a happy medium was a major issue for me when I first started my business. I was waking up early, going to bed late and spending all day sitting in front of my computer. I felt guilty when I was in my office that I was not spending time with my family; then when I was spending time with my family, I couldn’t stop thinking about the long list of tasks I needed to complete for my business. I couldn’t understand why I was spending so much time in my business with little results.

While searching online for business opportunities, you’ve undoubtedly encountered claims of how working only a few hours per week can result in a successful home business. Although it is true that after your business is established you could potentially devote less time towards it, this is not normally the case in the beginning.

If you’re new to online marketing or the home business industry, you should initially plan on spending at least 2-3 hours per day researching your products and developing your website. You should try committing even more time if you’re not working a day job or have other obligations prohibiting you from doing so.

Believe it or not, one trap to avoid is spending too much time on your business It’s very easy to become immersed in your business because there is always something to do–a new product to review, updating your website, responding to emails, etc. Before you know it, you won’t have time for anything else.

This can be especially problematic when you have a family. For many of us, the benefit of spending more quality time with our family was the reason we started our home business to begin with! Because so many new home business owners struggle between spending time with their families while trying to get their business off the ground, I offer the following tips.

1. Take one entire day off per week. Yes, this means NO WORK. Spend time with your family and friends and as far away from your business as possible. Believe me, the business won’t go anywhere. Plus, the day off will help to alleviate burn out. If you’ve worked more hours than usual in a particular week, take two days off.

2. Set aside 1-2 hours every evening for family time. From 5:30-7:00, for example, you could have dinner with the family, help the kids with their homework and squeeze in time for walking the dog. If possible, try to choose this same time everyday. A structured schedule will allow you to better plan your time.

3. Stop working at a specific time every evening and stick to it. For example, you can turn off your computer every night at 10:00 p.m. You can use this time to catch up on the news and tend to other personal matters. This is also your time to relax and unwind from a hard day’s work.

Learning to manage your time is critical to a successful business and living a full and happy life. There’s nothing wrong with being dedicated to your business, but your family should be your first commitment. Make time for your spouse, children, parents and friends now, because before you know it, you’ll be wondering where the time went.

What tips do you have for a new mom looking to build a business without sacrificing her family?