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?
Competition open to Australian residents only and closes 5pm aest Mon 16th Dec
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This Post Has 15 Comments
I don’t run a business from home, but if I did I agree that it’s important to be real with your expectations. As Sarah says above, if you are passionate enough you will make it work!
It’s great to hear from other Mums working from home and how they find the experience.
Thanks for sharing! x
We have a business at home at the moment and will be closing it after Christmas – We just can’t afford it, it’s throwing all our bills behind which is sad because we did everything right, our analysis etc and we just haven’t had the support people said we would have.
I’m currently trying to monetise my blog, or at least lay the ground work for it as well as looking after my 4 month old daughter. It definitely requires a lot of time management and I try really hard not to be on the computer while she is awake because I don’t want her growing up feeling like I ignored her. It means that I am up until about 11 or midnight each night though in order to have time to get everything done during the day around the house, appointments out, looking after her needs and then networking for my blog. Its a stretch at the moment and I’m not sleeping as much as I would like, but my blog is something I am really passionate about so I am persevering in the hopes that it will pay off some day. I would ultimately love to work from home and have an online business selling baby products linked to my blog.
I had my own business from home for one year and just shut my doors in July 2013, but I hope that I will return to my business again one day. It was tough, oh yes…very tough. But unfortunately and unbeknown to me for most of the time I was running my business, I was also battling Post Natal Depression which was diagnosed very late. This made things much more difficult I believe. I was new to it, I’d always worked for someone else and tried really hard to get out of the employee mindset. I do admit also that time management was one of my downfalls and I really needed to think outside the square and not do things the long way and hard way round, but I needed guidance in that area. I really really hope that one day I can return to my business, I was doing something I loved – I was a Social Media Consultant/Manager and also Supported Businesses with their Administration. I really think this book will give me more confidence and ideas of how I can make it work a second time. I haven’t given up just yet.
Awesome interview, I would love to win a copy of the book.
I am currently on maternity leave from my sales & marketing job with a book publisher, and while I’m leave I’m taking the time to explore my options of doing a tafe course to maybe change careers and do something for myself tha involves design and photography. It’s what I love to do and if I could work from home it would save a lot of money in childcare fees. It won’t be any easier but I would rather do that and juggle stuff to do something that I love and am passionate about than continue doing a job where I have achieved all that I set out to and spend most of the money I make on childcare fees anyway.
I use to have my own online business selling scrapbooking supplies. I didn’t find working and being a mother TOO hard (but my son was 6 months old when I started) apart from finding the time. I found it most difficult to be the master and controller of so many fields – the thing I was selling, marketing, accounts/admin, customer service, etc. Eek!
I am a WAHM and having been running my business for nearly 3 years.
It is a really tough gig, harder than I ever thought – but gee it is fantastic too!
It’s so true, it’s one thing to be good at your actual profession, running an actual business is a whole new ball game! It’s not for everyone, but I personally love the variety it allows me.
Anything to help me improve is always welcome, as that it what it is all about!
I look forward to hearing more of people’s experiences, it’s so inspiring!
Love reading about how other women have made it work, great interview, I really want to read the book now! Like Eva, I find time management hard but with 2 under 2 it isn’t just an excuse, it is reality. I’ll keep dreaming and striving though.
Great post/ interview! I’d love to win the book. I worked from home as a freelance journalist when my first-born was 6 months old. It was quite a juggle.
I eventually returned to work part time and also continued to juggle freelance work and working from home.
And now I’ve just welcomed twins (so now have 4 kids under 4) so I need all the tips I can get when it comes to managing it all! 🙂
I think it’s one of the hardest jobs ever working from home, moreso if you have children underfoot as I do. But I suppose it’s also a very fortunate position to be in. I wish I had a room to do my work instead of in the kitchen/lounge etc. I’m just stumbling through it all really x
I run my marriage celebrant business from home with the help of my 14 month old baby girl. 😉
The biggest leap forward I’ve had in my productivity was to find a way to work in almost every room of the house. I can work from the kitchen/family room, the upstairs office, our bedroom and then on my mobile. It means that no matter what’s happening in my baby girl’s day, I can keep chipping away at the ‘to do’ list. I find doing ‘a little often’ enables the best work/life balance for our family.
Hi there! Have liked your FB page. I have always been interested in starting my small business before I had my daughter. I thought about family day care. However, since having her, I have realised kids require much more time, energy and thought as I had presumed before becoming a parent!!! I never got back to my plan about the day care, went back to work. However, I am very interested in winning one of the copies. Pregnant with a second baby, it’s worth reading!!!
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That’s really a great point to bring up.such a great article and I will surely bookmark it for future reference