I’ll let you in on one of my deep, dark secrets…
Starting a business with both a 9-5 and children at my feet made me feel like I was trying to run but had a rope tied around my waist.
Told you I’ve be sharing truths about juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood….
I had resentment for the high needs of little people (even though I loved them to pieces) and also resentment for all the big names who got to build their businesses when they were young, in their 20s and with oodles of energy and time.
Until I decided that:
- My business can exist on my terms
- How other people run and start their business, is actually none of my business
- What other people want and do in their business… isn’t necessarily what I want
- Excuses are like poop – everyone has them and they stink
- Perfection is the enemy of success
- My business got to be wildly successful running on minimal hours
And once I decided to take radical responsibility for my success, and just get on and do it anyway, the resentment disappeared.
I’ve built, created and run my entire business with babies on my hip and the vast majority of the time I’ve also juggled my business between part-time (and full-time) jobs.
It gets to be easy, I promise.
Here’s 7 Truths about juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood (from someone who has built her entire empire around naptimes and 9-5’s and reached six figures in revenue whilst working only 6 hours per week):
Know that Balance is a Myth
Almost every single mother I know has felt hoodwinked by the notion of finding balance and being able to successfully juggle all the things. And it’s a giant lie.
Balance is a unicorn (just like perfection): it doesn’t exist.
What if it was more about a pendulum that swings from side to side. And what if you gave it permission to swing towards your business sometimes.
And… sometimes that pendulum always swings towards your family – meaning that you create and hold strong boundaries.
Just get on with it
When Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand was pregnant with her baby, she asked the Queen how she managed to juggle everything and the Queen replied “well, you just get on with it, don’t you?”
You can let your children become an excuse as to why you’re not succeeding and prevent it from allowing you to show up, get things out to the world and engage clients, or you can just get on with it and muddle through.
It’s not an if… at some point your children will interrupt you, even if you have childcare most of the time. There will be times when it’s school holidays, or sick days or lockdowns (!!!) but the more you can accept that it will happen, and that you can still show up and just get on with it, the more you’ll untether yourself from the invisible rope holding you back.
Most people will get it… and the ones who don’t likely aren’t your people.
I’ll never forget that one time I was doing a live webinar for what I wanted to be my biggest ever launch and… it was lockdown. I had zero other options for childcare and I’d paid all this money in Facebook Ads to invite people to show up with me.
So… I prepared. I made sure I put on a movie and I gave them each a lunchbox with snacks.
Right outside the door, in case they decided that they needed to come in, I placed a whole bunch of toys – many they had never played with before.
And my third stop was right beside me I had a bag of chocolate. My plan was that if they came into the room, I’d hand them the bag of chocolate and they’d run away and everything would be fine.
Well, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans and what actually went down was…
Almost immediately after I started the webinar, they had a huge fight right outside the door (I’m laughing as I type this), then one of my children came into the room and started whinging and crying and tugging on my sleeve mid-webinar.
Aha, My chocolate! I thought and handed her the bag. Indeed, she did not run away, she continued to whinge at me while she did not run away – but in fact stood right beside me eating.
My audience (the exact opposite people to the ones who you’d think would want to see children – people who are triggered by others in this situation) were outraged. They left the webinar in droves.
Just kidding. They were completely fine and yes they could hear my kids and it all just made me seem like a normal human being. They were actually lovely about it.
How you handle situations, whether or not you continue to show up, how great your advice is and your confidence… is what really matters.
Every decision you make is a vote
Every decision you make in your business is a vote for the type of business you want to have. You can get sidetracked by all of the big names out there with their giant teams, giant businesses and 16 hour work days or you can go back inside and decide what kind of business you *actually* want and make choices based on that.
Every time you take on another 1:1 client, you’re voting for more 1:1 work and if you don’t have much time, it’s important to make decisions about whether that business model is in your best interest.
When you work with a coach who a giant team… or works 76 hours per week… you’re voting for a business that is the same.
Your decisions matter.
Boundaries are everything
There’s one thing I’ve learned (and am still learning) about owning and running your own business and it’s that there is that there’s never an end to the to-do list. Especially once things take off, it can become an endless avalanche of Instagram DM’s, emails and clients who want your help. There will be people from all across the globe who want you to work at a time that suits you, and especially if you open your messages up for unlimited support (as I do) – messages can come at any time of the day.
If you allow it, your business will swallow you up.
And if that happens, your personal life and business life will blend into this messy, ugly, exhausting mess.
It will fuel resentment, both within yourself and your partner and you’ll burn out pretty quickly.
Biz boundaries have become an essential part of what I do, and what I preach to my clients.
I switch off at night, after school, Fridays and weekends so I can create time with my family.
Sure, I break them from time to time, and that’s ok (we all do), but when my clients feel burnt out and exhausted, it’s usually because they’re breaking them continually (or don’t have them).
The same goes for exercise and self care. You have to find time for them first, before your business… and then if there’s no time left, it’s time to look at where else you can find that time or how else you can structure your business so that you can achieve success on your terms.
Follow your own path, not others.
For several years in a row, I didn’t choose a word of the year, I chose a song.
The song (which I still have on a playlist today) is Surfin’ by Kid Cudi. I freakin’ love that song.
For the longest time I sat in comparisonitis with the big business coaches and their giant teams and their double on double growth and I felt paralysed and stuck in victimhood about why my business wasn’t like that (even though my business did really well and I had started later on).
And it kept me a little paralysed to be honest.
The reality is that the chapter of business that I was in, was completely different to theirs, and not only that, but what was important to me and what I wanted… was also totally different.
I needed to turn inward again and consider what I truly wanted.
It wasn’t (and still isn’t) a large team with a skyscraper and a New York Times Bestseller.
For me, it’s presence and being able to walk my girls to and from school.
It’s not money guns and private yachts.
It’s being able to step away and travel whenever I want to and take midday naps… with the salary that beats what I was earning in my corporate role.
And truth be told… if that means that, because I’m not prepared to work 16 hour days initially to build my business and grow at a particular rate, I’m comfortable with that.
Simplify, Eliminate, Automate and Delegate… in that order
As I wrote before, there are always going to be a million things on the to-do list of your business, especially when you’re a parent and your business needs to have flexibility and space.
And one of the biggest shifts I’ve found with being a parent and a business owner is that you don’t have the ability to just ‘keep working until late’ – once it hits 2.30pm – I have to down tools and pick the girls up from school so whatever work that needs to be done, has to be done in that time frame.
- Your website will always need updating
- You’ll have an idea for a new program or lead magnet
- There will always be a steady stream of emails coming into your inbox
- There will always be some *new* and trending social media tool or platform that you could take advantage of
There are oodles of things you could (sometimes should) be doing in your business, but just because something is good, doesn’t mean you need to do it.
What you need to do is what is necessary.
And I am so tired AF of everyone sprouting ‘hire a VA’ as if that will solve all your problems. Y’all – virtual assistants are incredible, but if your business needs to be streamlined and efficient, first make sure that you’re running lean by eliminating busy work and automating things that could actually be automated.
Otherwise, you’ll just be passing on busy (and ineffective) work to a virtual assistant.
Focus on what is necessary, and simplify, eliminate, automate and delegate… in that order.
You are here to build a life, not an Instagram account
Visibility is one of the most important elements of running a business- but when it feels tiring, exhausting and overwhelming, I always remind myself of my why.
My why is to support other women in wellness because I know what it feels like to be called to create ripples in the world, but it’s also to be able to enjoy and be present with my kids.
I don’t want to worry about how I’m going to manage 10 weeks of school holidays within a 4 week paid annual leave window.
I don’t want to have that sinking feeling if one of my girls is called home sick from school.
For years, I’ve had this beautiful vision (that I get to live) of walking my girls to and from school every day.
And I don’t want to be penalised financially for wanting and having that freedom.
That is my why.
When the me who comes through the (figurative) door is crabby because my business is feeling hard, it defeats the entire purpose of having my business in the first place.
My why and the vision for my life is not about having 12 million followers on Instagram.
It’s not about gold bikini’s and private jets.
And it’s not about replacing the chains of a corporate job for the chains of my own business.
And so when it feels hard, or it feels like I’m chained to social media or the voices of others – I call myself back to what it is I truly want.
And it’s a life. Not a social media account.
Growing a business at the same time as growing little people is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a giant test of your grit and stamina. It’s gritty and at times messy and it’s far from perfect, but, 5 years’ in, I wouldn’t have it any other way.