Balancing Motherhood And Business Ownership
While I can’t promise a perfect balance of motherhood and business ownership (because I don’t think that really exists), I do want to show you a few programs and practices I use to make it work (most days).
Some days I feel like super mom, other days I feel like I’ve failed in every way possible. Some days I feel like the ultimate business woman, other days I feel like I need a re-do.
It’s not easy juggling two distinct and opposite roles. That’s especially true if you have little ones who are not yet in school – finding ways to keep your business going when your heart and mind are in two different places.
I have found the key to this is to automate as much of my business as possible so that it can run itself while I'm with my kiddos.
Tips and Advice
1. Set Your Alarm
Training yourself to wake two hours before the rest of your house to get started on your day can help you be more proactive, productive, and more successful overall (says recent studies highlighted in this Forbes article). Also, if you’re like me with little ones under school-age, it's tough to work when kiddos are awake, so getting in as much time before they wake is key! **Exception to this is if you have a newborn/infant who wakes very early in the morning. You still need your sleep!
2. Complete House Chores While Children Are Awake
I know, I know. Easier said than done. However, if my little ones are sleeping, I have to dedicate that time to my business as I do my best to not work while they are awake in order to be fully present with them (as if they’d let me work anyway!). I try to get my older kids involved in the household cleaning by giving them age appropriate chores.
3. Set A Daily And Weekly Schedule
Setting certain days and hours to complete specific tasks is a great way to stay organized and on track. I check and respond to emails just twice a day, and I pause my email account using Boomerang (see below) in the meantime so that I am not distracted by an alert letting me know there’s more waiting. Studies show that checking your email fewer times a day reduces stress and increases productivity.
In addition, my days of the week are set up in a very specific way. Certain days are for sessions, while others are set aside for packaging/mail, editing, and bookkeeping. (For example, I know that every Monday is bookkeeping day. Every Tuesday and Thursday are editing days, etc.) This allows me to know exactly what to expect each day and what needs to be completed before I go to bed at night rather than just working off one long To Do list that can get overwhelming.
4. Create a Social Media Calendar
Plan your social media calendar at least a month out. This allows you to remain consistent on social media and/or blog which is better for your business and your stress level. It also allows you to "get in and get out" on Instagram/Facebook rather than wasting time scrolling.
Apps and Programs
1. 17 Hats
I honestly don’t know how I would run my business without 17 Hats. I always joke that it’s the “mothership” of my business. It runs my bookkeeping, client management, calendar, workflow, to do lists, contracts, questionnaires, everything. I recently integrated their automated bookings which allows my clients to book their session, receive their contracts, session guides, and followup emails all automatically without me doing a single thing! It is a complete game changer. If you only get ONE thing from this post, it should be this one. AUTOMATE YOUR BUSINESS. 17 Hats has been the key for me to do this!
I use my business email accounts through gmail which I highly recommend if you are looking for a change. I prefer gmail over the default email programs and Mac Mail. Boomerang allows you to schedule your emails, so if you typically are responding to emails at night when your kids are sleeping, you can set them to not actually send until business hours.
Boomerang also allows you to pause your email account so that your emails don’t come through and alert you until your next scheduled time to check and respond to emails. Lastly, you can set alerts to remind you to follow up if someone has not responded to your email within a certain time frame. No more forgetting to followup with an inquiry or client.
Buffer allows you to schedule all your social media posts in advance (that you created in your social media calendar I mentioned above) which is incredibly helpful. Setting aside a few hours every Monday to schedule a week’s worth of posts will give you more time with your family during the week.
4. Virtual Assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant can be a game changer for your business. You can hand off any jobs to them that will free time up for you such as managing your bookings, calendar, social media, and email. The best ways to find a VA are through a referral from a friend/colleague; however, you can also browse Upwork.