Self employment can often be the route to the flexible work that you desire as a parent. Creating your own hours, working to suit your family, not having to deal with crippling child care costs. Whilst the image of working for yourself provides all this and more, running your own business isn’t a sector that is owned exclusively by enterprising parents. If your business came before your child, the thought of juggling baby and budgets can be create concern!
Many clients come to me to work through the questions “Can I take a break?” “Will the business survive? “ “How am I going to balance it all?”
I’m so lucky to be surrounded by inspiring women who have built and ran a business and combined it with a new baby and a growing family. This week is the first part in a two-part blog with advice from Mums who had their business before their baby.
Frankie runs Frankie Lynn’s Shoe Emporium and has been running her business since 2013. Her son was born on 1st September 2016.
My business has taken a number of evolutionary twists and turns since 2013. Originally it was an emporium filled with all kinds of stock inspired by the whimsy, alternative and fairy tales. Since that time I decided to refine and streamline what I do to predominately hand crafted shoes inspired by fairy tales.
I informed all the customers that I would that I would be taking time out certainly in September and October, but since it is a small business that I run from home, I can be pretty flexible. Plus, I LOVE making shoes and kind of feel out of sync with myself if I cannot create so I struggle to not keep working on my craft to be honest.
My husband is extremely supportive of what I do and understands how much it means to me. Although I look after our baby Murray during the week whilst my husband is at work, we have an agreed schedule of ‘me time’ hours do that we each get time to do our own thing.
Time management is undoubtedly the greatest challenge for me, particularly whilst Murray is still so small. I only have a few hours for a few nights each week to work on my business so it’s essential to get the most out of it. I have created myself a skeleton ‘work week structure’ and then at the beginning of each week I create a list of tasks that must be completed that week, how long they will take, then I schedule then into what day that week they will get done. I have to stick pretty rigidly to it too otherwise I fall behind (and spiral out of control) very quickly.
My advice to new Mums? Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, particularly in the early days. You need to take the time to find your ‘new normal’ and adjust to it. You will develop and tweak how you work and don’t worry too much if you cannot do it all straight away, your customers will understand if you communicate clearly with them.
Jordan Garvey is “The Blogatory”, a Social Media Manager and Copywriter and her baby came two years after her business
I had decided to take six months maternity leave, but as the time got closer to return to the business, I realised I wasn’t ready, so I have taken an extra three months and will be back in December. I have put the business “on hold”; some clients have moved on and others are eagerly waiting for me to come back.
My greatest challenge so far is overcoming the guilty about leaving my daughter for a few days a week. I’m lucky that my Mum will have Ida for a few days a week, so we are easing everyone into It and she has her for a few days whilst I am on maternity leave.
My advice to other business owners is, do what feels right and trust your instincts. Of course being self-employed and having a baby is tough and you have to make money but just remember that your happiness is also key.
Kelly Ravenscroft (aka Keep Fit with Kelly) is a fitness expert and health coach who had her second child when her business was four-years old
Being a fitness instructor meant that I was much healthier during my second pregnancy than my first. In fact, I ran a Pilates class the day before my son was born! I was back teaching when he was 14-weeks old. It was so easy, this my more than a job, it’s my passion!
I was lucky to have trusted people that took over my classes whilst I was on a break, but I took over as soon as I could! I still ran the business side during nap times and in the evening when my very supportive husband was home.
The business did take a slight dip, in my job people came to my classes for me, so when went back to work there was a transition period to get ti back to where it was before. However, 2016 has been better than before so it didn’t take too long!
My advice? Get as organised as possible and take on help where you can. You are only human!
What wonderful advice. How will you apply this to your business? Who do you know that is juggling a baby and a business? Forward this to them!
Sign up to The Balance Collective newsletter to get the second part of these tips in your inbox. Anyone signed up to the email received the blog before it is published, as well as motivational updates and special offers.