I often get asked how I juggle everything I do. Business, blogging, the boys. People get the impression I’m ‘bossing it’, but in all honesty you only see about 10% of my life through social media.
You don’t see the anxiety, tears, hours of staring at a screen with no inspiration or ideas. The constant questioning what I do. The rushing to and from my studio to print orders, then back by 3pm for the school run. Dragging the kids around to the post office. Fitting my work around swimming lessons. Staying up until gone midnight to pack orders or write blog posts.
Not only that, but there’s the financial stresses. Worrying about how I’ll cover the nursery fees each month, and although I can’t really afford it, without that day at nursery I’d never get anything done.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Without time away from the boys I’ll never grow Ada & Alfred. But until it’s paying me a salary I can’t afford nursery.
I manage to survive on the small about of child tax credits I get, but they alone just about cover nursery.
Anyway, I’m not here to moan about how hard things can be, well not today anyway. I just wanted to paint the picture of the what it can be really like to try launch and run a business with 2 young children.
I know a lot of bloggers who also have a small business, either their blog is their business or they do something else like myself. So I asked them what advice they’d give to a mum in business and here’s what they said…
“Know when to switch off! I blog from home and try to make sure I have my set times working and not working”. https://thriftyyorkshiremum.com
“Learn how to deal with Mum guilt because you will have it in droves. Make sure to remind yourself that your child will grow up seeing you make it work and it’s going to teach them SO many life lessons along the way”. mummyandmoose.co.uk
“Make a plan for the holidays, you might think you can’t afford any childcare but you can often find cheap holiday clubs run by local churches and some local councils run free activities where you can drop your children off for a few hours”. BusinessforMums.co.uk
“Have a good network of people/tribe doing the same job as you. It’s so good to have people to bounce ideas off and also does support so you don’t feel so isolated”. www.anklebitersadventures.co.uk
“Plan your time. If you sit down to work with no plan then you’re not going to achieve as much as you possibly could as you’ll be darting back and forth from task to task or simply “faffing” and will walk away having achieved much less than you wanted to. Time is precious, especially when working to school or nursery session times. We need to make the most of it.” www.mummyinatutu.co.uk
“Minimising distractions is critical to productivity so block out work time, during which social media and even chores (if you’re a WAHM) are banned. I also find it’s helpful to do tasks in bulk, such as photographing, editing, scheduling social media, invoicing, etc.” www.refinedprose.com
“Book your holidays and days off a year in advance! Mark out all the school holidays, bank holidays etc then choose and cross out a few weeks where you get time off to do whatever you like and be strict about sticking to them. I did it for this year and the whole life balance thing is amazing because of it.” www.hellocuppies.com
“Be gentle on yourself. There is only so much time in the day and we try to cram in so much with work, kids, meal times, housework etc – when you have your own business it can be hard to switch off, so plan the times when you are going to work and the times that you are going to give yourself a break. You’re doing the best job you can, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to get everything done each day”. www.frompenniestopounds.com
And the tips I’d give you are…
~ Be realistic. Don’t start a business in an area you know nothing about. For example, don’t set up a children’s clothing brand making your own clothes if you’ve never used a sewing machine in your life.
~ Be patient. You can expect orders in the first week. Or month even. Why would anyone buy from you if they don’t know you? Think about exposure and building relationships and trust first, then the sales will come.
~ Be organised. Easier said than done I know, but it really does help. Especially when you’re predominately a mum, like me. I was only saying tonight that my main role is a mum. I’m not employed so I can be there to take Lamb to school and pick him up at 3pm. Take them both to their swimming lessons, dentist appointments etc. Because I’m at home (albeit working at home) it’s my responsibility to sort the kids. My work schedule has to fit around them, which is why is needs to be structured and organised.
~ Schedule. I am so guilty of not listening to my own advice. I NEVER schedule social media, but I know my days would be so much more relaxed if I didn’t have to keep updating my socials every day.
~ Be passionate. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, why would anyone else be? You need to be able to sell yourself/ your business so be true to what you love and do something that means a lot to you. I studied fashion design at university, so having my own clothing brand is a dream come true. But I have other passions too. I’m addicted to make up and it’s a dream of mine to do an MUA course on the side of my little small business. It’s on my bucket list and I hope one day I can tick that off.
~ Finally, my favourite piece of advice that I find myself using regularly…