Can we mix blogging with boogers? Pay rolls with play dough? Tantrums and trading? Dora and deadlines? Can we in fact mix business with baby?
As a stay at home mum and business owner, I would say that we can, we just need to have some realistic expectations, a good head for time management and the planning and flexibility ready to withstand a last minute vomit heading out the door to meet a client.
Going back to work is always a challenging aspect of parenthood no matter at what age and at what level you decide. For many people, the lure of flexible hours, being your own boss (although at times it seems the little people are ruling the roost) and being able to turn a hobby into something more lucrative is enough of an incentive to have a go at being a work from home mum or dad.
Sarah O’Bryan, a mum of three, believes balancing children and career is a tough job – but with the right approach anything is possible. As a mother, Sarah knows just what difficulties mums go through and has written a practical no nonsense book with tips to have it all! And I have 8 of them to give away!
I also got the chance to interview Sarah about some of the important aspects of combining Business and Baby at Home:
1. Writing a book such as this suggest you have based it on your own experiences as well as having spoken to many other women. What do you think is the number one primary challenge that women face? How would you advise they tackle that challenge?
Juggling your time between all your various responsibilities as a WAHM is the biggest challenge. In every 24 hours you end up wearing many different hats … carer, taxi driver, salesperson, cook, office administrator and so it goes on! It can get stressful being pulled in so many different directions. So you need to be organised, enabling things to be done as efficiently as possible. It’s no longer a nine-to-five gig, you just pick up where you left off, at any opportunity. It’s good to remember that this is just life. It’s busy and stressful, but fun and exciting at the same time – try and enjoy the ride!
2. Working form home myself I know there are many challenges as well as many great advantages. I know for myself and others there can be times that you feel your job is not being taken quite as seriously, because you don’t actually head out to an office as such. Is this something you have ever encountered?
Definitely when I first moved the business home from an office environment, it really rocked my identity, as even I felt I wasn’t presenting as a professional anymore. Over the years, I’ve sensed some people have judged the work-from-home set up. Thankfully times have changed a bit since then, and it’s now more common for people to work from home. My confidence has also grown, and I know, from home or an office the quality of work is the same.
3. If you had your time over again, what would be the one thing you would do differently when starting a business from home?
I’m not sure I’d do anything differently, not to say I haven’t made mistakes, but I’ve learnt more from them, than when everything is going smoothly.
4. Do you think women start businesses with babies with a realistic expectation of the challenges, or are they often surprised by the reality?
I think it’s hard to imagine what it’s like until you’re actually doing it. I think there is an expectation it will be a lot easier than it is, and that because you’ve thought of an idea, the customers will come. In reality, businesses require a lot of hard work and determination. You need the perseverance to keep going, even when you’re having a bad day, or you’re feeling lonely. I think the other surprise is that having a business is a small percentage of doing what you love, and a large percentage of actually running the business … dealing with customers, doing the bookkeeping etc. Many people are absolutely brilliant at what they do, but horrible at running a business.
5. We are lucky I believe now with technology and the online world making it easier for us to start up businesses from home. Do you think we have it easier than our own mothers or those from even 10 years ago when it comes to starting a business? What different challenges do we face than they may have in years gone by?
I agree, technology is absolutely making it easier. We can effectively communicate with clients or customers wherever we are. However I think there’s pros and cons to now, versus 10 years ago. I think we have more opportunity, society is more accepting of the WAHM, but the cost of living and real estate is much higher, so there’s more financial pressure. I also wonder if the expectations on parenting are greater, with kids doing lots of extra curricular activities.
6. What is the one piece of advice you always give someone when they enquire about starting their own business from home?
If you want to work from home, find something you’re passionate about. Something, whether it be a service or product, that brings you joy and happiness. As that’s what will encourage you to work, even when you’re tired, or lock yourself away in the office, even if there’s piles of washing to be done!
If you would like to win one of 8 copies of Sarah’s book, just head over to my Facebook page and like if you havn’t already. Then leave a comment below telling me about your experiences of running a business at home if it is something you currently do, or if money wasn’t an option, what business would you like to start up at home?
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