Very quickly I’ll give you a run down of my mompreneur journey so you know that my advice is legit. I have lived through this sh*t.
I am no stranger to working my schedule around that of my children. When I first began creating my online business, I had a new-born baby, a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old. Plus as soon as my youngest was a year old I went back to working part-time as a waitress on evening and weekends. So the average day was pretty full. These times were not easy, I barely saw my husband and I was exhausted. Not the ideal way to birth a business. I had not yet discovered the importance of self-care or the magical trick of actually creating more time in the day. Plus I didn’t have a business idea fully formed, but was working 20-40 hours a week on getting something going. I tried my hand at wedding planning, travel planning, I even sold Avon for a while. All I was able to accomplish was realizing that whatever I did would need to have a ton of planning involved because I love it! I also realized that I could learn basically anything – I could research online, take courses, read books – I put myself through a self-imposed curriculum that has been going on for 5 years now.
Once I finally found my direction and decided to set up a virtual assistant business, I was on a mission! I remembered the first few days after I had the idea I spent every spare moment on it. My kids watch extra TV that week, the house was not tidy and I had more energy and focus than ever. “OMG”, is all I could think, “this could not only replace my waitress income, (my very first goal) but I could actually stay home with my kids, not have to mess around with childcare and actually see my husband.”
The brightness of my future against my exhausting present was enough to keep me going – for a while. Eventually I burnt myself out, well ok, I burnt myself out multiple times before finally getting the hint.
Now I am at a place where I am getting more than 8 hours of sleep, have the luxury of working only with clients I enjoy, I am exceeding what I first thought of as ‘income goals’, and still get to spend more quality time than ever with my kids. Yup, I am a lucky b*tch and proud of it!
So here are my top 5 tips for working at home when you have kids/ another job/ any time-consuming thing happening.
Mompreneur Tip #1 Self-Care, Self-Care, Self-Care
Say it with me, “I will put myself first.” I don’t care if it is for 12 minutes a day. You can and will find the time for this. Wake up 15 minutes earlier, prop up your pillow and meditate. Or if your kids always wake up before you, no matter what – do that meditation as soon as they go to sleep. Ignore the emails, ignore the dishes – you will be so friggin amazed what a little quiet time does for a super stressed mommy. Make a scheduled time in your calendar and do something for yourself, guilty pleasures like watching Vampire Dairies are great, but take your self-care time seriously and use it to get quiet. You can hear all kinds of amazing business ideas and advice right from your own head if you only take the time to listen.
Mompreneur Tip #2 Kill the Time Wasters
Figure out what you waste the most time on and then work to cut that out of your day. So many people say that they would love to start a business but they don’t have the time. Bullsh*t. If you can find 30 minutes a day to take the tiniest steps you are getting there. Chances are pretty good that you can find WAY more than 30 minutes a day. So get to thinking, how are you wasting your time? As an example here are a few of my time wasters that I still fall back into from time to time:
- Netflix (BINGE WATCHING)
- Google analytics – or any analytics, easy to obsess – better to let it go
- Working on random little things and concentration on none of them (so multitasking as a time waster)
So even if you were to cut out an hour of TV in the evening – now you can either work on your business idea at night if you have the energy, or if you are like me anything after 9pm is brain off hours so get to bed early and get up early to put the hour in then.
Mompreneur Tip #3 Help!
Enlist help. Hire a babysitter to come in for a bit or send your kids out for a day or 2 a week. When my kids were young I tried to just ‘do it all’ and realized that was a bad way to do it. You need some time to schedule meetings or just be distraction free for a few hours a week. If you can’t afford to pay a babysitter (or don’t have grandparents to pawn them off on) try swapping out with another mom. When it is your turn to watch all the kids use it to bake something or just sit and play with the little ones. As a bonus if your kids are old enough, just the playdate’s company might be enough to keep them busy long enough for you to get on your laptop for an hour.
Mompreneur Tip #4 Cover Your Ears
This is by far the most productive tip I have ever put into play. Picture this: a full day’s work ahead, you are set and ready to go. You look outside (snowstorm = no school) you look to your kids (crazy and excited and LOUD). Hmm, well how the heck are you going to get all that work done with this extra noise? Park you and your laptop in a central location that you can watch what is happening and avoid large fights. Set each child up with a few activities or playsets – hold off on movies and TV as long as possible on days like this. As soon as the kids are busy, grab a pair of headphones, find some music you can work to and giv’er! Personally when I’m writing or doing strategic marketing work I need some music with no words. I will go for classical or meditation music. Sometimes I find I end up flowing instead of working accomplishing much more, much faster by just relaxing. Keep your headphones at a level so that you can listen for distress, but concentrate on the lovely music sounds to get through your tasks.
Mompreneur Tip #5 Rally When Required
Have to get a project done and know you’re gonna have a sick kids home with you? Get to bed asap and get up a 4:30am for the day, then nap with the sick kid. What is a few hours sleep lost? Use this tactic sparingly as overuse may result in burn-out but for a limited number of days you can survive on a crazy schedule, just remember your self-care. Need help wanting to rally? Add like 15 minutes of reading or listening to a motivational book daily and remember what you are working for.
Those are my top tips for working at home when you have kids and are a mompreneur, I’m sure I’ll learn many new lessons as my kids grow and I have to figure out how to work at home with 3 teenagers…
If you need a little help or direction starting online I’d love for you to check out my super affordable coaching program 🙂