Do you ever look at your competitors’ or your peers’ businesses and got all frustrated at why your business doesn’t take off as quickly?
Here are 7 lessons I learned from running a full time etsy shop (plus two other businesses) and homeschooling two toddlers.
Firstly, let me say that I don’t know about you, but for me, it's not that I don't think I'll get there. It's that it takes me time. A really LONG time.
You see, I not only run two full time etsy shops, I also homeschool 2 toddlers while tending to my backyard flock and tiny homestead AND growing a third business where I teach other etsy sellers to do the same.
So without further ado, here’s 7 things I learned while running three full time businesses and homeschooling two children:
Routine is KEY
I’m not talking about a schedule here, but a routine. This means that our day looks more or less like this:
- Morning routine,
- Breakfast (always the same to save me thinking while I'm still sleepy),
- Outside time in the summer (inside time in winter)
- Nap (my work time),
- Outside time or sensory activities,
- Business time.
This keeps surprises to a minimum and allows me to know instinctively what comes next, without planning too much or having to think about it.
Granted, there are always changes like doctor appointments, trips to the mall or things like that, but when they come they just fit into one of the outside slots, so the routine more or less stays the same
I stayed at home to be with my kids, and their education comes first. This isn't always easy to remember or to implement and it's definitely hard to see your business go slower, but that was my decision and I cannot compromise just to get ahead of my competitors.
Find out what matters to you most – if it's your kids or your house or your pets – put them first and schedule everything else in between.
For me, this means that I only work when they sleep, except for occasionally checking my email and facebook, but it's never for more than a few minutes at a time and it only happens when they occupy themselves anyway.
Preparation is EVERYTHING. If I had to cook every meal on the same day, I'd go nuts. Not just because the sink would constantly be full of dishes but because there'd be no time for anything else.
This doesn't mean my kids eat frozen meals, on the contrary, we cook everything from scratch, but I prepare food to last us a few days. This may not work for you, but perhaps you can try prepping slowcooker meals in advance and thawing as you go.
Same applies for outings. I always have a bag full of extra clothes and other essentials in advance and if I know we're going on a long trip, I prepare everything the night before.
That means batch things up.
Instead of writing one social media post every day, write a month's worth over a day or two.
Whatever we do in batches, we do faster. The first few might not seem quicker to you, but as your brain gets used to the activity, your speed will automatically increase in speed.
I do this for production, shipping, writing blog posts and so on.
Look at your business processes and identify key points where you can batch things up to save on time. My advice is to start with the most time-consuming ones. For most businesses, that would be production and social media.
This ties in to the previous point. If you are efficient and batch things up, it's easy to be consistent in your business. It's easy to stay on top of things.
Decide on specific days to accomplish specific tasks.
For example, I take the first week of every month to get all my blog posts/social media posts covered. The next week is dedicated to production (shipping happens in between, as orders come), etc.
Show up. Fully.
Don't miss out on your kids growing, on your marriage or your life just because you're too busy building a business. Make sure that when you're doing something, you're fully there (stop answering emails while watching a movie with your hubby!).
As I’ve said before, I do this mostly by prioritizing and having a routine, so that everything has a time and a place, and I don’t feel pressured to always be connected.
I don't know about you, but even though I would love to think of myself as a super mom, I’m still a human being.
I learned the hard way to give myself a break. That when I've had two hours to sleep, it's okay to rest instead of work.
Don't sacrifice your physical or mental health just to get ahead in your business. It will happen anyway, but you won't enjoy any of it if you burn out.
Sometimes your business will seem miserable. Sometimes you’ll think that your children really ought to go out more often.
You might end up thinking that those frozen meals of yours are detrimental to your child’s success -but hey, I want to tell you today that you’re enough.
You do enough.
It’s not easy to run a home, much less a business. And we all juggle other commitments in life.
But at the end of the day, we’re human. I’m not perfect, my businesses are not perfect, my children are not perfect but I can tell you this:
When you do your best, you get ahead.
And tomorrow you’ll be a better person. Or at least a better rested person ;)
Maayan Naveh helps Etsy sellers grow their shops and their handmade businesses without selling their firstborn.
Her favorite past-time is napping and making homemade ice cream, and her two children are (hopefully) showered and fed.
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