July 07, 2008,
K.S. asks from Traverse City, MI on July 03, 2008
How to Work from Home?
Hi! I'm trying to start me own business and I'm having a really tough time getting anything done. My 2 1/2 year old doesn't nap anymore and my 10 month old naps for about 30 min. everyday. Between them and the housework I don't have a lot of time left for me, let alone a business. I know there are women out there who do this everyday and manage to run a sucessful business too. My question is how? How do so many people to the seemingly impossible. I'm going to do it; I'm not giving up. But I would appreciate any advice or ideas on how to make my days have longer hours : )
A.H. answers from Detroit on July 03, 2008
I provide Massage/ Reflexology from home. I make sure that I keep up on the housework daily, so that I am not overwhelmed when I know I have someone that will be coming in. My studio is always 'ready to go' as I have it cleaned and prepped.
My days begin with making the beds, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen and while I am doing this, I still manage to pop up ads on my sites and then still have fun tickling and playing with my son (who will be four soon!).
The days I work: I make sure I get as much done on housework as I can, and take my son to my sitter's (either my MIL or SIL). I get back and do the finishing touches: vacuum, light the candles in the living area, bathroom and my studio and then I put on the music in the living area and studio. Doing this clears my mind and prepares me, too.
The nights I work: My husband and I clear away the mess from dinner, all the toys from my son playing and then he takes over most of the 'bedtime' routine. My sessions begin at 8pm and as I do not have a 'lobby', most of my clients do arrive exactly at 8pm as they know I have a child (and it's still very quiet compared to other places I have worked! LOL!). Before the client comes in; I give my son all the hugs and kisses he can handle, rub his feet (to make him tired) and then I am off to open the door and greet my person! :)
I guess all in all, to run a business from home for me; it involves the help of all my family. That is what makes it helpful... Even my little one helps by picking up his toys, he greets clients on Saturday (if he's on his way out with Dad) and I let him pull my weekly contest winner. He loves it! He enjoys helping Mommy with her work! ;)
I have learned it does take dedication, time and much patience. It can be done and when you have the help of your family, and faith... much can be achieved!
Good Luck! (I hope my rambling helped! LOL!)
C.L. answers from Detroit on July 03, 2008
I have a 1 1 /2 year old who does nap about 2 hours a day. I do a lot in one day though... I'd suggest doing things when they go to bed or get up earlier than them.
Also, sit down on the weekend and plan out the week and what has to be done. Plan ahead weeks in advance for projects and then plan your day. I do any little things that I can with my son.. like I have him help me make dinner or give him a fun activity to do. I stay very focused so that I can spend any available time with him, but also get little things done with him.. like laundry and housework.
You could also hire a mother's helper to play with your kids while you are there for a couple hours a week so you can get the most important things done quicker.
D.D. answers from Detroit on July 05, 2008
I have worked out of my home for the last 4 years. You either have to fit in your work when the kids are sleeping, or consider daycare or a sitter one or two days a week. (or more if you start making $) I had to schedule my conference calls around the sitter, and get up and do the rest at 5am. (exhausting for ME!)
I have a mother's helper that is a godsend - Im here in the house but she plays with the kids and keeps them busy while I do some work at an hourly rate less than a reg sitter.
I think the most difficult thing is the "no boundary" of not actually being "at work". So, spouses, and other AND the kids think you are available. Its harder than most people think.
L.G. answers from Detroit on July 07, 2008
You've gotten some great responses from the others, so I'll just say that I agree with what they say and then add one more thought. The others have already mentioned developing a daily/weekly/monthly plan to handle the things you do regularly. This includes things like housework and grocery shopping and running errands. The more you can create a system for these things, the less you have to think about them and waste time trying to "fit them in."
You also mentioned that you are committed to your business, and I think that is *key*!!! That belief in yourself and your business will start opening some doors for you that wouldn't exist if you were still on the fence about whether you really want/need/can do this job.
So the thing I wanted to recommend is very simple: Set boundaries. All over the place. You have to be the one that creates them so that your husband, children, friends, neighbors, family know that you are unavailable. Set a schedule of your work hours. Get the mother's helper or the sitter to come in. Have your husband take over from 6-8:30pm. There are many options, but it sounds like so far you haven't delineated any time to commit to your work hours.
I've been a WAHM for three years and I have three children under six. My coach had me do several things that made me set myself up for success in my business. The first was to commit to it. The second was to get buy-in from my husband and family, since it affects them. The others were to create an office space, to set regular office hours (and keep them) every week (sometimes this was only three hours a week, but I did it regularly), then to open a business checking account, and to set aside money for my expenses in a business savings account (use this for the sitter, home office expenses, etc.).
What I realized and what I have seen in my friends and clients many times is that we as mothers don't often take our businesses very seriously at first. We do it only when we can steal a minute when the kids are sleeping or watching tv. Or after we've done all the other things we are responsible for (without asking for help or delegating some of it, like housework and errands), and we do it on the couch or in the car or with a baby on our laps.
I'm not saying that any of this is wrong, but it eventually leads to a lot of frustration and resentment for everyone. If you set up some clear boundaries and some expectations for your clients, family, etc., then everyone will know when you are available and when you are unavailable. Have your sitter or mother's helper keep the kids away from you during your work hours. Perhaps first you have to give yourself permission to take this time for yourself or for your business. It's hard, I know! I spent the first three years of my motherhood feeling like it was wrong to leave my kids with a sitter or to even not be available when they needed/wanted me. In short, I had no boundaries and was just struggling to be everything to everyone.
I love my work. My business is a source of immense fulfillment for me, and my family understands and supports this. My older children know that I'm off-limits during office hours, when the sitter is here, and they understand when I give them the kitchen timer and say "I need to do some work for 15 minutes. When the bell rings, you can come and get me" when the sitter isn't here. And I quit when the bell rings. That way they know I'll be there for them.
And as I write this, my two boys are begging me to do something since they're bored, so I got a bit long-winded and rambled, but I hope this helps you!
To your success!