I get asked all the time for my tips on how to be a work from home mum. From the outside it seems so easy, right?
Especially when you look at photos like this top one ^^^^
All. So. Dreamy.
But behind the scenes, getting this picture-perfect photo involved a 4am start, a makeup artist, hairstylist, professional photographer and fancy clothes from Witchery, Country Road, Trenery, Ralph Lauren, and Marcs.
We do not roll like that every day! Hell, most days I don’t even wear makeup or *cough* brush my hair.
See the real behind the scenes snapshots over on my Instagram account.
Perks of Working From Home
People think, ‘I’d love to be a work from home mum’. You get to stay at home all day in your pjs, go on lunch dates, down tools on a sunny day and go to the beach, work as you please, spend time with your little ones and bypass all that full-time work angst. You get to be your own boss, make your own decisions, live the life you want and change your office every day.
And all of that is true (when you get smart and leverage of these income streams)
However, here is the thing…
All of that does not just fall in your lap straight up.
It is awarded to you as you action – determination, self-accountability, motivation and mindfulness.
What no one tells you is that it’s possible to WAHM all types of wrong and not get to enjoy any of the good stuff. You have to actually learn how to work from home, otherwise, you can end up working more for less, and be trapped in an online business that does not give you freedom and profit.
Like I was.
How I Failed at Being a Work From Home Mum
Way back when my son was four months old, my husband started a new job without asking how much his salary would be.
That’s just him. He made a few assumptions based on a few factors, but neither of us really knew, so in his first week when he got a payslip it freaked me out to learn it was a lot less than I’d hoped. I took myself out of maternity leave and frantically started my website and design business back up again.
Running on complete and utter stress and in my sleep-deprived state, I WAHM’ed all types of wrong. I worked until 3am, and as soon as my head hit the pillow my son would wake up. I worked through the day with my son and 3-year-old daughter hanging off me. I worked off my phone at the park, and I did not practice self-care. My husband and I were on completely different wavelengths and he resented me for leaving the kids with him and going out to work when he got home from his long day at work.
The ultimate result was PND which took me to my knees. Not only couldn’t I run a business, I couldn’t adult any longer
I am not telling you this story to scare you. I am telling you because in hindsight, it was the making of my success and I am grateful the Universe gave me this lesson to learn. It was absolutely instrumental in my journey to creating the six-figure business and freedom I have today. I don’t work late nights. I work when I want and I stop when I want. Currently, I am writing this blog from a cafe, while waiting to have a facial and massage.
All because I learned how to be a WAHM in a way that worked for me, and my experience is really the crux of why I now focus on creating businesses with freedom and profit for our Business Jump clients using these behind the scenes little known income streams.
I do not subscribe to the Gary Vee hustle 24/7 format in order to grow a business. However, Gary Vee did give me the ultimate tip, which resulted in all our new Business Jump clients receiving my favourite business book as a surprise in the mail for signing up with us. So I still ‘loves’ him a lot…just not the hustle.
A business should work for you. You should not work for your business.
What I want to most transpire from my story, is that to be a successful WAHM, you need to be protective and mindful of your mental state. It is a journey of self-discovery and having a heads up that other things will potentially change too, like your relationship with your husband (read more about my experience on this particular topic in my Facebook group) will help you not be shell shocked if it happens.
There will be loads of shit to figure out along the way, but take a deep breath and know in your heart you’ll ride with the ebbs and flows. If you have a day where you feel like you’ve done it all types of wrong and your freak flag flies at everyone around you, forgive yourself and know that tomorrow is a new day and you can try again. Thank you Gabby Bernstein for teaching me that.
Here is How I found Peace and Success Running A Business From Home
I stopped working so hard
Sounds a bit crazy, right? The general consensus is that we have to work hard to make money.
When working and running a business, we want quality over quantity. If you are feeling uninspired or unmotivated, the chances of actually creating meaningful work are slim. And, even worse, it takes us longer to do things. It is far better to sign off and get some fresh air, be present with the kids, get an early night. Whatever it takes to switch off. For me, I secretly love watching trashy TV.
Do whatever you can to recharge your batteries so you can log back on with full cylinders running. You’ll be ten times more productive and able to get shiz done quicker.
For a self-confessed workaholic like myself, who truly loves working every second and seeing our clients create a business they love, this was very hard for me to action.
But I forced myself to do it and with practice, I started to see a difference between the work Nat created when burned out compared to how easily everything flowed when I was fully charged and inspired.
Whether it is stopping for 10 minutes or the rest of the day, feel it out and go with it.
Be very picky about how to use your time
As busy mums, time is like gold dust and I am extremely picky as to how I spend it and I only work with income streams that can be scaled, like these ones.
When I am in work mode, I literally go into what I call a ‘work coma’. I am so intently focused on what I am doing, that I will ignore everything around me. I don’t answer calls from my hubby, I don’t reply to messages on Facebook, I don’t do anything but focus on my work. I am pretty cutthroat with who I spend my time with in real life too, simply because my family, my business and my best friends are my priority. I know I can’t do it all, so I focus only on the parts of my life that reallllly matter and are aligned with my personal and professional goals.
I am not saying you have to be this cutthroat. It all depends on the height of your dreams and goals. I happen to have massive empire dreams, and to achieve these dreams requires sacrifice. I have sacrificed a lot to get where I am today, but for you, scale it to a level that you’re comfortable with and take it from there. Start with simply being mindful of where you are spending your time.
Beg, borrow or steal for time without the kids around
I can hear you through the keyboard, you know.
You’re saying, “What the hell does that mean, Nat? I started my own business so I could spend MORE time with my children, not farm them out!”
Ok, yes you are right. But, let’s reframe this.
You do know how hard working with kids around is, don’t you?
It’s akin to brushing your teeth with Tim Tams. Sounds nice, but in reality, it’s not.
Sometimes, it takes mental strength like, reeeaaaaaal mental strength to not throw the laptop out the window when the kids have interrupted your train of thought for the millionth time that minute.
When your concentration gets repeatedly broken, little things start to feel stressful. Guilt starts to set in that you aren’t spending time with them and all of a sudden you realise it has taken you two hours to spell check a blog when it should have taken 10 minutes. Hubby comes home and gives you a kiss hello instead of going straight over to help with the kids and you go skiz because he didn’t read your mind and help out straight off the bat. Bastard.
I think we’ve established that type of WAHMing is not fun or productive, right?
By removing the kids from your workspace, you can be more productive and get stuff done in half the time it would have otherwise taken you. Which also means you can go back to them being a normal, sane, happy mum and wifey. Your business will reward you for it, too.
If you are like me and don’t have any family around, then consider daycare, family daycare, negotiating with hubby or finding a like-minded mum you can do swapsies with. My son goes to daycare five days a week, not because he HAS to, but because I WANT to work five days. The key here is freedom to make choices and live the life you want. When he started with just one day, I did not feel financially ready at all to make that commitment, but you have to start walking in the direction you want to go and believe that everything falls into place when you set your intentions.
Failing outsourcing care for your little one/s, work strategically during sleep times. If you have a baby who wakes every 20 minutes, do small tasks that you can get done within that time frame instead of trying to bang out a two-hour blog. If you can count on your baby sleeping for that two hours, do the blog. It is the broken concentration we are trying to avoid here and maximising our productivity in the short spaces of time we have.
Work smarter, not harder
Write a list of everything you are doing, all the repeatable stuff, and ask yourself, can I automate it?
For example, when we have a new client on board with Business Jump, I have automated the system so that when they pay the deposit, a program called Zapier recognises the payment has hit my Paypal account and sends a zap to my accounting software, Freshbooks, which tells it that we have a new client and to put their details into the system and raise an invoice.
When I log into Freshbooks the invoice is waiting for me and I simply check and hit send. This saves me the back and forth getting the clients details, entering them into Freshbooks and raising an invoice. About 10 minutes per client. We had 17 new clients onboard last month so that is approx 3 hours of work I saved myself.
Another automation I have set up is my emails. I use Active Campaign to handle a lot of our business enquiries, and given that last month we had over 200 enquiry emails I estimate this has saved me hours upon hours. This is time I can instead spend on working ‘on’ the business, or picking my littlest up from daycare and taking him to the park while the leads roll in. It affords me freedom to live my days how I want, and this is what I teach our Business Jump clients.
It is about harmony, not balance
One of my fav things to do is drive and listen to business-related podcasts.
So, on our recent six-hour drive up north, I gave the kids free range on the iPads, all the snacks they wanted and told them not to talk to me until the timer I set for 60 minutes went off.
I listened to a podcast where Lisa Nichols was interviewed. Lisa has appeared on Oprah and is the author of Abundance Now, and what I learned from her blew away those last pieces of guilt I had about balance.
Lisa said, it is not about balance, balance shouldn’t be the goal and to let that shiz go.
Here is what it’s about…
So, if we spend 20 hours working like a crazed business mum, but two hours of really, really high-quality mum time, that is totally ok. Great in fact. Isn’t that option loads better than 10 hours of work time, and 10 hours of being half present and snappy with the kids?
I actually stopped driving, pulled over and ordered her book. If you want to check it out it is called Abundance now, by Lisa Nichols. I love purchasing my books from Book Depository as they have free shipping.
Whatever is working, do more of that
If you haven’t heard of Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Work Week, it is time to acquaint yourself. He teaches the 20/80 rule.
What it means is, identify what 20% of your actions, inputs, or products or services will create 80% of what you want, eg sales, leads, new followers, likers, emails, etc.
Then strip everything away and zone in on maximising that 20% of what is getting your 80%.
For example, if 80% of your sales are coming from Instagram and you are spending less than 20% of your efforts there then stop focusing on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and ramp up Instagram.
I literally feel I could write a whole other million words on how to WAHM smartly, but shall leave it here. The biggest thing I want you to know is, it is not about some secret tricks you have to buy from the black market. It’s about using our time as wisely and smartly as we possibly can. I hope from my heart, the above tips help you in some way.