My business coach made me write this. Seriously. Ok, so she didn't make me write this specific article. She just told me to write something, anything.
I have done a spectacular job of letting balls fall and letting schedules get all smushed up and forgetting what my goals are. Really, taking a step back and looking at the big picture, it's quite the Jackson Pollock of situations. And one of the things that has just gone to absolute shit is my writing schedule and creating content for the Lexington Mommy website. Somehow in all the insanity, I let the very foundation of my business start to grow cobwebs. I didn't do it on purpose, and it sure didn't happen overnight. But that's neither here nor there at the moment. Right now the focus is on sorting it all out and getting the train back on the tracks.
And so Business Coach Kelly's first round of homeworking includes "Just write one blog post." And in true Kati fashion, I have procrastinated because I couldn't craft the perfect post. Now at the eleventh hour, I'm embracing "Done is better than perfect." So here we go. I'm writing what I need to hear myself.
I'm not saying being a mom who works is harder or easier than being a SAHM. It's apples and oranges. What I am saying is that being a working mom is hard. Period. Full stop.
The sooner you accept that the sooner you can start to face it and figure out how to manage all of the things. I try to be positive and look on the bright side as much as the next person. But positive mantra-ing your way out of this one just isn't going to happen. It is hard! But what can you do to make it manageable and maybe a bit easier?
Moms ask me frequently how I "do it all". I own Lexington Mommy. I am the Community Manager at CoCreate. I also have several social media consulting clients. I homeschool our youngest daughter. And I swear my home/family/personal life has been drifting from one major crazy thing to another for the last upteen years with no break. My answer is almost always, "Not well." But even in this season, I have managed to keep anything from going completely under, and I KNOW what I need to be doing.
I know without a doubt that I have to schedule my time better. I have to block out chunks of time to focus on one thing at a time. As Business Coach Kelly says, "You have to partition your life." This secret sauce is how you can give each thing the time and energy it deserves and needs to grow. And that's why we are doing all this, right? To grow a business?
This partitioning or time blocking also helps you better focus on your family during family time. They need the same attention. And if you know you've just had work hours or are about to have work hours, you won't be so tempted to try to fit in a thing here and a thing there during that family time.
This also means you have to teach your family to respect that work time.
- Lead by example. The more you stick to the boundaries, the more they will.
- Leave the house. That helps a lot to lessen your distractions and to set expectations for your family about your work time.
- Arrange childcare. It IS an investment in your business to pay for childcare so you can be solely focused on work during that time. But it's a worthy investment. And again, it helps you be more engaged during family time.
- Stick to your schedule. When work time is over, put the phone and computer away. When you are in the midst of work hours, step away from the laundry.
Who you spend time with can have a huge impact on your business!
I think of it in three layers.
The people closest to you that you will talk to on a regular basis forever is the first layer. Surround yourself with friends who are your biggest cheerleaders. Notice I didn't say your biggest clients. That's a different blog post. But the friends who are quick to say "That's awesome!" and "How's work going?" and who engage on your social media with authenticity and genuine gifs of "You're a rockstar!"
The next layer is your working peers. This doesn't have to be people in exactly the same business. Find a group or three of people who are also growing their businesses, facing the same struggles, cheering each other on. This could be a local group of people all in the same industry supporting each other. It could be a networking group. It could be a community like we have at CoCreate. Don't just find these groups, but get involved and truly engage with them!
The last layer and the one that makes people gasp a bit is the paid team members. You've heard the whole adage "You have to spend more to make money." Spend the money. Build a team that is both a support to you and leads you. Hire the VA who will set up your systems. Hire the web designer to build your site. They can probably do it way faster than you and create a rockin' end result that will make your life 10 times easier moving forward. Hire the business coach who is going to teach you, lead you, see things from a perspective you can't see because you're up to your eyeballs in day-to-day alligators. A good one WILL help your grow your business faster than you ever could on your own. Invest in you. Invest in your business!
There are absolutely going to be hiccups and setbacks and days you just want to cry in the shower. That's okay!
Give yourself the same grace you would extend to someone else you love.
Give yourself the pep talk you would give your best friend.
Give yourself the Starbucks gift card you would send your sister. Ok, so the last one may be projection but still. We tend to be 100 times harder on ourselves than we would ever dream of being on anyone else. You are worthy of the patience, grace and love you give to others. Plus you are teaching your children to give themselves and others grace and how to practice self-love and self-care when they see you.
You can do this!
It's all a process. Be patient with yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day. (I have to stop with the cliches.)
Growing a business is hard! Being a working mom is hard! But you've got this! Everything in your life has lead you to this stage, and you can do this! We can do this! And stay tuned. We're going to be talking about more business among other things as I know many of you are sorting out new stages of parenthood, of life as the kids are (finally) all in school during the day or have gone off to college and it's a new chapter that for some includes a new business or career.
What business are you building?
Kati Horton started "Lexington Mommy" in 2008, a hyperlocal blog for a suburb of a small city. Even with such a small target market, "Lexington Mommy" has grown to an audience of over 15,000 highly engaged people.
Over the last ten years as a blogger and influencer, she has worked with dozens of brands and businesses from small locally owned businesses to large international brands and has been featured on multiple news outlets.
In 2009, she began teaching other business owners how to create, leverage and grow their online presence to increase their brand awareness, number of clients and income.
Learn more about Lexington Mommy or her social media coaching by emailing her at Kati@lexingtonmommy.com