Finding the Time to Work on Your Business Amid the Chaos as a SAHM

Stay At Home Mom ...whew

I feel the overwhelm just typing those 4 words.  But add Business Owner and ...WOW!! **mindblown** Your life as a MOM has the potential to be turned upside down ...Literally.  You are already trying to juggle play dates, appointments, sports, activities, manage your home, get meals on the table...And now you want to add starting and running a business to that?  Well, I am here to tell you it is possible! I am living proof...YOU CAN DO IT!!!  All you need is some…... 

Hard Work
Motivation
Dedication

With a little hard work, motivation and dedication combined with the following 8 Tips and Tricks and you’ll be able to…..

Find The Time To Work On Your Business Amid The Chaos  

It’s time to clock in.  Let’s Get To Work!!

1. Treat your business as a job.  

What is a personal business?  It’s your job. Your employer and you are the employee.  You may not have to clock in, you may be flexible on when you work, where you work and what you wear to work, but a successful business doesn’t get that way without effort. I find that having this mindset has helped me and my business.  I challenge you to treat your business as a job. Work on your business daily or at least weekly. Not a “do it whenever you feel like it” hobby or craft time. I know this might be difficult especially when there is no money coming in. But,  this is the time you should be working even harder.

Don’t forget...This “thing” you’re doing, your business, your dream IT IS LEGIT! But you need to put in the time.  If you want to make serious money, then you need to take your business seriously

2. Manage your time more effectively.  

Do you ever ask yourself, “Where did the day go?”  I bet you would be surprised to find out how much time you spend unproductively.  I definitely was! Let’s do an exercise. Get out your phones, tablets, computers ...whatever is in your hand the most during the day.  Now my addiction-- *ahem*--device is my iPhone. If you also have an iPhone, follow the simple steps below. If you don’t have an iPhone, I am sure there is some setting or app that can help you track your time.  If you can’t find something, just set a stopwatch or timer when you start playing a game, surfing the web, etc. and then take note of how much time you spent.  

  1. Go to Battery Settings
  2. Select “Last 10 Days”
  3. Go to Battery Usages by App
  4. Select Show Activity

Now...Be Honest.  How much time have you spent on all your social media apps within the past 10 days?  What about YouTube or Netflix? Are you shocked? Now, what if you spent this time working on your business instead?  Think about how much you could accomplish with this time!!! I challenge you to use this information as a wake up call and start doing something more productive ...like working on your business! I understand this can be hard when all of your friends are always posting fun times on Facebook or watching the latest binge on Netflix or even going out on the town.  There’s nothing wrong with any of this, in the future. BUT (and this is a big one)......

Right Now….

You are different.

You are motivated. 

You are going to stop at nothing to be successful.  There will always be time for fun but now ...is the time for your business!  You are working HARD and you are not going to quit!

“If you will LIVE like no one else, later you can LIVE like no one else.”
-Dave Ramsey 

So, the next time you find yourself vegging out on the couch and reaching for that device...STOP!  Dedicate this time to working on your business so that you may LIVE like no one else later on!  THIS is what needs to happen in order to get where you want to be.  Okay, lecture over. I am coming down off my soapbox.  

Let’s move on!

3Your Business and Your Kids...

Now, let’s talk about the kids. Those beautiful bundles of joy that you can’t and wouldn’t live without.  No matter what their age, even grandkids, for you lucky people. They consume time like the cookie monster eats cookies.  When the storm is over, you have nothing left to show for your time but a big mess. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. It just takes a little more strategizing and planning to be able to build a business and raise children at the same time.  

One thing that has helped me is working during nap or quiet time.  Quiet time is for those children, like my 4 year old, who have grown out of taking naps.  She spends this time reading books, playing quietly in her room, watching a movie etc., as long as it is quiet.  And believe it or not, we all look forward to this time. So, for 2 hours each day, I have a bit of peace and quiet to be able to get some work done.  If naptime isn’t an option for you, try waking up earlier before the kids get up. My kids usually wake up around 7. So, if I get up at 5, I have a good two hours for work.  Are you a night owl instead of an early bird? No judging here. There’s nothing wrong with working at night after the kids go to bed. The point is, do whatever works for you and your family.

4. Make it part of your daily routine.  Include your business into your every day-to-day schedule.

Do you have a routine?  It’s usually easier and more effective if you’re able to get into a routine and schedule out time for your business.  Block out time every day for work and stick with it. Soon it will become a habit. This is the best way that I have found to get more done.  

In addition to nap time, I have been able to schedule work into my routine by hiring a sitter for 3 half days each week.  On the other 2 week days, while my 3 year old goes to pre-school, my 2 year old and I go to the gym. She goes to the daycare there while I work out.  After my workout, I get some work done at the gym’s internet cafe until it’s time for pre-school pick-up. Then we all head home.

I THRIVE off routines and they have transformed my family.  But, It wasn’t always this way. I feel that Mom life has helped me become pro routine because children need consistency.  My kids thrive off having a routine and a set schedule, so I incorporate work around them. This works for my business and my family.  It’s a WIN WIN. However, it wasn’t a simple process. I wasn’t always a routine scheduled person. It took time and some creativity to find what worked for my family.  So, if you are in the trenches of overwhelm and life is so crazy that you can’t even find time to take a breather-- don’t worry, I was there too. Start small. Set a goal of 1-3 hours each week. Some time is better than nothing.  Even a little bit can go a long way!

5. What are your goals?

What would you like to accomplish this week?  Write it down. Make a list. I have always felt that writing my goals down on a physical piece of paper has helped me to achieve them. Because of this, I am a huge fan of Post-it notes. If one of my previous employers didn’t have them, I would go out and buy my own.  They helped me keep track of deadlines, sales and promotion meetings etc. I had a billion things to remember, so over time, I relied heavily on these little guys for making checklists, reminders and keeping things organized. 

Now, as a SAHM, I have transitioned to the longer lined Post-it notes to create my to-do list for the day.  These also work great for my business. Making a list will force you to make goals and also encourages you to keep them! Just the act of checking things off the list is so satisfying.  I get a sense of accomplishment, a little rush of adrenalin, each time I cross something of my list. Check, Check and Check! WOOHOO!

6. Outsource It!

There are so many little things that go into running a successful online business.  So many in fact that you may find you spend most of your time doing busywork, admin, posting to your Etsy shop etc., when all you would rather do is create new products and designs.  I found that outsourcing has been a key factor, my bread and butter, to keeping my online business going and a success. Outsourcing has freed up my time. Time is what I value most in my business and it’s also what motivates me. Time with my family.  Time to do what I want to be doing in my business. Time for myself. So, the more time I can free up, the better! Freeing up time allows me to expand my business and focus on the areas I enjoy or I am the best at. Some examples of Outsourcing options that I have used...  

  • Freelancers
  • Long term contractors
  • Babysitters 
  • House cleaners...on occasion **wink-wink**.

However, hiring someone else to work on your business, especially virtually can be hard. I get it! Your business is your baby right?? How could you possibly hire someone else to do what you do? I know how you feel. I felt the same way when I first hired someone to help me with my SVG Design shop on Etsy.  This was my first hire and it scared me to death. Was she going to take advantage of me or ruin what I had worked so hard to build? BUT, it ended up being the best decision I ever made in my business! Now I spend my time doing other, more important things that I enjoy or need to focus on. I also have more time for my family and myself.

If you still can’t find the time to work in your busy life, then hire a babysitter to come and watch the kids while you work.  Hire someone you know and trust. During the summer there’s many high-schoolers and college students looking for extra cash. This is a great time to utilize these younger (aka cheaper) babysitters. If you’re on a tight budget, maybe it’s time to sacrifice some of the luxuries you’ve been paying for in exchange to pay for a babysitter. This could be fast food, or your Starbucks or your craft supplies! Little things like this can add up. Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice at first in order to achieve long-term success.

Outsourcing could be the answer to freeing up your time and growing your business.  If you are considering outsourcing, think of all the areas that feel the heaviest in your life right now?  Is it the laundry? Is it listing your items onto your Etsy shop like it was for me? What about all the busy work that takes up the majority of your time?  What could someone else easily step in and do for you with a little bit of training? Start small. Hire someone for just a couple hours a week and see how it goes. A trial period of sorts.  It will allow you to see their work and determine whether they are a good fit for your business. Give them something small and agree to re-evaluate in 60 days. Remember-- baby steps!

7. Learn when and how to say no.

It’s hard to believe that one little word can have so much power.  Saying yes to everything can lead to feelings of overwhelm with everyday life, and feelings of resentment and anger toward those that you can’t say no too.  You, your family and your business suffers. So you need to learn how to set clear boundaries and say no! Yes, this is easier said than done. I know because it has been hard for me too. I looked at what I was doing that I could let go of.  I chose to no longer do custom orders. I just didn’t have the time for them anymore. 

Maybe saying no for you means not scheduling play dates with friends that fall within the hours you’ve set aside to work, or maybe it’s choosing not to do free work for extended family and friends? Establishing clear boundaries will allow you to work when you plan on working.  You will be able to accomplish what you need to do to get done. And, most importantly, you’ll keep the promises you have made to yourself. By setting boundaries and saying no, you’ll start feeling the heaviness and overwhelm begin to lift. You will be able to breathe again and not have to worry about trying to be superhuman. 

8. Remember, nobody is perfect.  Allow yourself to be human.

As mamas, I feel we are too hard on ourselves.  We set unhealthy expectations and when we don’t accomplish what we set out to do, we begin negative self-talk spiral.  We need to remind ourselves ...We are nurturers, raising amazing littles. We are business owners, housekeepers, drivers, chefs, the list is endless.  So, we need to allow ourselves some overwhelm. It’s okay to take a break, to take time to figure things out. If it takes you awhile to get your business off the ground or to dedicate as much time to work on things as you’d like, that’s okay.  Pay attention to your body, yourself. What is it telling you about starting a business, your life, your family? It might be time to pause and re-evaluate.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1

There are different seasons that we go through in life.  It may not be the season to be working on your business right now. Maybe it’s time to enjoy your littles because they grow up so fast.  When the time comes that they don’t rely on you for everything, then it will be your season. This doesn’t mean that you stop working on your business completely, just don’t go all in right now.  Sometimes being overwhelmed is a sign from your body that you need to take ‘er easy for now. So yes, this business mentor is telling you that it may not be your time right now! If you feel like you are drowning and can’t keep your head above water or working on your business is more than you can handle, it might be time to ask yourself “Is is really the right time?” Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t. Try the above 7 tips first and if you still are unable to get on top of things, it might be time to take a step back.  This is your decision. If you chose to wait, then that’s OKAY. Your time will come when you can work on your business without the guilt, without the overwhelm and can give it your all.

Just because you want to have it ALL, doesn’t mean that you, your family, and/or your business have to suffer.  I have provided you with some options to help your life and business run a little more smoothly. But, we all know that there will be times that nothing you do or try will turn out the way you hoped.  Sick kids, car problems, weather, you name it. Those days you need to hold up your hands, surrender and accept that tomorrow is another day and move on! But, if you still can’t seem to manage your business, your family and your life, it’s important to listen to your heart and accept that it might not be the right time to start a business.  Allow yourself the time you need to prepare so that when the right time does come, you’ll be ready to give your all to your business. Only you will know what is right for you and your family.  

Cheers!

Kasey

How has starting a business impacted your life, your family?  What have you tried to find more time to work on your business?  Was it successful? I want to hear from you. Please respond in the comment section below.  

2 comments

Kasey | Pen + Posh

Hi Lisa! Great question. I think any time that you are able to dedicate is worth it and will pay off in the end. It’ll take longer to get it up and going but where you’re starting by launching an Etsy shop instead of building a following, building a site from scratch and where Etsy has a big customer database already there, I think 2 hours a week is doable. Just really use your time wisely, do some research and focus on the most important things that will help you gain traction on Etsy and most importantly don’t get hung up on all the nitty gritty details! I find all too often that people focus on their logo, or branding instead of getting their shop up and going. Little things like this you can change later on. I hope that helps!! Good luck.

LisaP

Lots of great tips, thank you. I’m a former graphic designer, now SAHM, with 2 little boys… a three year old and a 9 month old. The three year old doesn’t go to preschool, just a parent’s day out program, and hardly naps anymore. I’ve been in the very beginning stage of opening an Etsy shop for awhile because I really miss design and I want to contribute to our income again, but it’s so hard to find time.
My husband doesn’t want us to pay for any additional childcare before we see some income, so it’s a catch-22.

After reading your article, I think I could manage at least an hour or two a day most days before or after they go to bed. In your experience, is that enough to get it off the ground? Since I would be giving up my only “me” time it would be nice to know my chances of success.

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