Being a business owner is one of the toughest jobs in the world. And so is being a mum. Some of us are crazy enough to do both at the same time. This episode shares some of my thoughts on juggling mum/biz life.
In this Episode:
02.15: Working out the right balance for you and your family
03.40: Getting help both in and out of your business
08.08: Building flexibility into your business model
10.56: Be kind to yourself and take a break
12.57: Don’t compare yourself to others, learn from them
15.42: The importance of taking care of yourself
As a mum to two very young boys, people often ask me how I go about juggling motherhood and business. And, well I certainly don’t have it all figured out, today I wanted share some of my thoughts about how to go about balancing the two hardest jobs in the world.
You’re listening to the Clare Wood podcast, where we talk all things business, finance, marketing, and mindset for entrepreneurs, sharing practical tips, and actionable advice to help you take your business to the next level. Introducing your host: me! I’m Clare Wood, I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, and a reality tv addict, and I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life, because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two. Now let’s dive right in to today’s episode.
As usual I like to start my solo episodes by doing a shout-out to someone who has taken the time to leave me a review of the podcast. And today that is Katie from Rise and Roar Design who does layouts for brands doing good. She says she finds the content “relatable and helpful”. Thanks so much Katie, who I actually had the pleasure of meeting recently in person. If you are listening, hello and thank you so much for the review.
Now, being a business owner is incredibly hard and emotionally draining. Everyone listening is nodding their head I’m sure. There is another gig that is really tough too. Arguably even tougher and that is being a mum. And some of us are juggling both. So you have these two really tough jobs colliding. My kids are really quite young, at the time of this recording they aged 2 and 4 years, so most of this will be based on my experience and I can only imagine the challenges change over time, but regardless I’m sure there are some principles that will remain the same.
Working out the right balance for you and your family
My first suggestion is to work out what the right balance is for you and your family. For me, I just couldn’t be a full time, stay at home mum. I just wasn’t cut out for it. But I also really want to spend time with my children. So for me, what that balance looks like is 4 days a week – we have the children in childcare 3 days a week and then my hubby and I do half days each on Monday and Friday. What this balance looks like will be different for everyone, there is no right or wrong, it’s just about finding what works for you and your family.
Whatever you work out what that right balance is, write it out and slowly start to transition towards it. For example. I started only doing one day a week after having our second child. Then, we’ve increased it overtime as my business has grown and we’ve been able to put the kids into more days of childcare. Then, I imagine as the kids start to enter school, we’ll transition our businesses again to adapt and evolve to a system that works for us when the kids are in school.
Getting help both in and out of your business
Now my next suggestion, GET HELP! Firstly, in your business. Sit down and have a think about what is your zone of genius? What do you make money for doing? And then start to think about what other parts of your business you can outsource. I know delegation can be tough, but when you have the right team, it frees up your capacity to do what you do best. When you go through the process of outsourcing, I strongly suggest you create some systems and document tasks. I just did mine in a simple excel spreadsheet and then when you outsource everything is super clear. What processes need to be done. This is particularly helpful when you have process-orientated tasks to be done.
I also strongly suggest that you setup a password management system, so you can easily hand things over to someone new. That way, you have a mechanism for protecting passwords and sharing the with people, if you do need to change people within your team.
So now you have documentation around the tasks that need to be done and you’ve also got a really easy system to share passwords and logins for someone new that may come into your team.
One more hint is to setup some directories, with any documentation that you regularly share with people outside your business. So for me, I have a Dropbox account that I put my branding documents, all my photos from photoshoots, and it’s setup to add and remove people with ease.
For example, if I have someone doing branding or design work for me, or web development work for me, they know exactly where to go, and I know all my files are saved there. Again, it’s easy to add and remove people as required.
The next thing is to get help in your home. Hire a cleaner, get a chef, gosh, whatever it is you need. I’ve spoken about this on the podcast before. We’ve got a cleaner who comes twice a week. You might be listening and thinking that is all good and well for you, and I know I talk about hiring help flippantly, because I am quite blessed in terms of where mine and my Husbands businesses are at financially, but I want to be super transparent here. We have actually gone backwards financially in some periods, especially after my second son was born. We had lots of overheads in my business and our house, and my income had dropped significantly. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting this is good or right, and you should seek financial advice from a qualified advisor, but for us we made a decision that it’s a short period of time and we want to set ourselves up for success to make things easy for us juggling two businesses and that’s why we chose to invest when perhaps we didn’t have the financial capacity at that exact point in time. Like I said, I know that’s not going to be right for everyone, but that is a decision we made and I wanted to share that, because I don’t want you to think it’s all well and good for her to hire help, because we actually did go backwards for period of time there.
The next type of help, that I think you should get, is as they get older, get the kids to help. Anyone with older kids is probably laughing at me and thinking you don’t know what it’s like. But already, my 4 year old can dress himself and he can help with basic things, so I do think there is an opportunity there to try get your kids to help out around the house too.
People say I’m lucky to have a husband that is so hands on with the kids and around the house, but in my opinion I think it’s just as much as man’s responsibility as it is the mother. So, while I love we have a lot of balance in our house, he isn’t doing me a favour by equally caring for his children and helping out around the house. I think that this is something for women to remember.
Building flexibility into your business model
The next suggestion that I have is to build flexibility into your business model. Don’t commit to close deadlines if you have really young kids. Even if a client begs you. Because anyone will know if your kids aren’t sleeping or get sick and you’re stuck in a situation where you have a tight deadline, you could face burning yourself out. Unless of course, you have a babysitter or someone you can call on if you do want to commit to tight deadlines like that. And if you do want to work like that, maybe you could charge a late fee to help with those additional costs.
The next thing I would say is manage expectations with your clients. This is closely related to the last point. Don’t commit to tight deadlines and don’t commit to things that you really struggle to deliver, because as you know, when you are juggling young children and a business, things can be tough sometimes.
I personally refuse to book my coaching sessions back-to-back because I want to be flexible with my clients. What I mean by that is, I work with a lot of mums myself and even those who don’t have children, things happen right, and people ask to move things around. And I want to be flexible and cater to my clients as well. So I don’t book my coaching sessions back-to-back and I suggest you do that same. Make sure you leave some breathing room in that way you structure your business. The other thing you will find when you offer flexibility to your clients, if you work in a coaching or consulting capacity, is that if you ever are in a situation where you need to move something around, then hopefully they will be understanding.
Being present in your business and with your kids
The next tip that I’ve got is be present. Either be working or muming – is that even a word? Trust me, I have tried many times to work while looking after the kids and I can assure you, you aren’t doing anyone any favours. You get stressed, the quality of your work decreases, the kids get frustrated and want your attention, and I’m sure this comes across in the quality of your work. I’m a firm believer of trying not to work while kids are in your care. If you can’t afford childcare, look to work on weekends or after hours when your partner can support, or even find a business buddy, and take turns looking after each other’s kids. I really believe your business, you and your kids deserves that space.
Be kind to yourself and take a break
My next tip is to be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break. I have not been very kind to myself at varying stages through motherhood, and I’m sure so many mums can relate. When I look back on when my second son was born, I was getting zero sleep and still expecting big things from myself professional, especially when you have a young child. Tressure the time. When one of my mentors, Pru Chapman, told me when I was pregnant and stressing about my business, she said “So you’ll get their 6 months later, you’ll still get there.” Make sure you take that time to sleep. Rest if you need it, and enjoy the time with your kids, they are only young once.
Don’t beat yourself up about decisions you have made, but equally if you aren’t happy about something, implement some changes to start moving forward. And on this note, sleep and looking after your mental health is essential. Obviously for everyone, but particularly mums.
I went through a stage where I was getting such little sleep through trying to do all the work in my business and with my kids not sleeping great, I literally starting going delirious from lack of sleep, I couldn’t stop crying, and it reached a point where I went and checked into a hotel room on my own. Just so I could sleep. Do what you need to do, to keep yourself functioning and healthy and happy.
If you are struggling with your mental health, see a counsellor. If the kids aren’t sleeping, look at getting a sleep coach. Do what you need to do, to keep yourself healthy and happy.
Don’t compare yourself to others, learn from them
Next, don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. I used to compare my results to that of other business coaches that didn’t have children. How ridiculous! And then, I compared myself to those who did have children. Your journey is yours alone, you don’t know how much support someone else has got, you don’t know how long they have been in business, how often their children are sleeping, so be kind to yourself.
My husband has this great saying, if I ever get into a mindset funk, he says “how’s that working out for you.” Wasting your energy on beating yourself up is exactly that. It’s a waste of energy. It’s not serving you and it doesn’t help. I strongly suggest if you get stuck in a cycle of comparison or a mindset funk you can’t snap out of, a coach or friend is great to bounce off. When you are in a situation, it can be so overwhelming and you can’t see the wood from the trees, that is why it is good to get an outside perspective, some fresh eyes and help give you practical solutions. I know so many times I’ve felt really stuck in a situation and someone from the outside can see it super clearly.
On this note, do some mindset work. Have a mantra “I am a great mum and an awesome role model to my kids.”
I’m going to flip this on its head as well, because I know we were just talking about not comparing yourself to others, but the flipside is, why not find some inspiring role models (ie other mums in business), and rather than look that them in a comparison way, start to challenge yourself and think HOW are they doing it? This realisation came for me, when I looked at others in my industry and saw they were creating scalable products, whereas I was growing my coaching business more and more and trying to juggle that with children and I was getting burnout. So look at others and see what tips and advice you can take from them. Find out how they are managing the juggle, in terms of hours and support, and see if you can start to take some learning and implement them into your business.
The importance of taking care of yourself
Next I want to talk about that old cliché, selfcare. This as a mum, is super important. I strongly recommend you get some exercise. I love getting to the gym and we get out on a family morning walk every day. And for me, that’s not a luxury, that’s a necessity to keep me healthy and on top of my game. Make sure you schedule nights out with friends and times to run a bath or watch tv. Whatever selfcare looks like for you, you need to prioritise it. It’s not about being selfish. Selfcare isn’t selfish. If you are happy, you will show up in the best way you can for you children, your partner and your clients in your business. So taking care of you is actually helping other people.
If you are a mum and listening to this, I just want to say a few closing words.
The fact you are listening to this podcast, and investing time in learning new things, I know that you are an amazing mum. And I know you are an amazing business owner. You can create any life you want for yourself. You can do this, just start taking the steps towards the life you want to create.
So to wrap up today’s episode:
- Work out the right balance for you and your family and start working towards that.
- Get help both in your business and out of your business – everyone needs support!
- Build flexibility into your business model – set yourself up for success
- Be present in whatever role you are doing- work hat on or mum hat on.
- Don’t forget to be kind to yourself
- Don’t compare yourself to others
- Find some great role models and implement their systems and structures that they are using.
- Lastly, please don’t forget to take care of yourself. Selfcare is important for everyone, especially mums in business.
Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today and I hope you have an amazing week.
Thank you so much for joining me today, if you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you subscribe to receive future episodes, and I’d be so grateful for a review on apple podcast! If you’d like a copy of the show notes or any of the links mentioned today, please jump over to clarewood.com.au/podcast and remember that Clare is spelled CLARE, have a wonderful week and look forward to chatting to you again soon!