Being a mum is hard work and then add into the mix, creating a new working venture and all of a sudden, you forget the most important person. You.
It is so important to nurture your mind and body. To create space and time for you. Self-nurturing will give you a sense of worth, peace, calmness but also, will mean that you are in a place where you can cope better with life and its demands.
I get that everyone is busy and that finance may be an issue but ultimately if you don’t make time for you, you will eventually fall into a heap, unable to cope, feeling frustrated and resentful.
Working on the basis you don’t have a private jet and the funds/time to spend days in an exotic retreat, I have put together some simple things that you can do. There is something here that everyone can do and if you can try and do something on a daily basis, I guarantee you will start to see benefits very quickly.
Work space make over
Ensure that your work space has a ‘treat’. I’m talking a scented candle, headphones or mini speaker to listen to music, an inspiring mood board to life the spirits, a delicate bone china cup and saucer for your tea breaks. You know what will rock your world! That way, it becomes a positive space that you want to be in and look forward to being in. Who said that work spaces had to be just functional and utilitarian?!
Go all earth mother!
I will never stop advocating a daily walk! There is plenty of scientific evidence for the physical and psychological benefits of walking. It can be a brisk heart pumping walk or a more leisurely one depending on your mood and needs. If possible, if you have access to green space, utilise this. Be aware of your surroundings. What can you hear, smell, see and feel? Really engage your senses. I also find that walking helps me to sort my head out. I often come up with ideas when out and about and if I walk with a friend, well that’s the world put to rights and solutions to problems delivered on a plate!
Be a home spa pro
Create your own pamper haven at home. You can go all out with the long soak in a bath filled with oils or bubbles, glass of wine, candles – you know the drill! If you are a bit time poor then create little ‘moments’. I have a tube of gorgeous hand creams in every room possible so I always have access to a quick hand scented experience. Put a couple of drops of essential oil in the corner of your shower tray so that the steam carries the aroma up. Have scented candles or oil burners on the go to create a lovely ambience. Have a foot or hand soak using sea salt and olive oil as a scrub. Pinterest is a great place to get some home spa inspiration.
Dance like no-ones looking!
Yup, you heard me right – put together a playlist of tunes that got you on the floor when you were younger and get your groove on! Doing a mundane task like washing up or cooking? Get that speaker pumping or slap those headphones on and waves your arms in the air like you just don’t care. Oh, and don’t forget to let rip with your vocal cords too! Music, just like exercise is a brilliant mood lifter and rediscovering old school tunes has got to be up there in the top 3 of guilty secret pleasures!
Do something different
Nurture your grey cells and do something you have fancied doing but keep putting off. Wanted to try your hand at something creative? Start off with 30 minutes (because you know you can) and see where it goes. Try a jigsaw puzzle or a book genre you don’t normally read. As long as it’s something you want to do and it’s new, give it a go. Not only will you feel stimulated, you will get a sense of achievement at trying something different.
Connect with friends
It can be so easy to become too ‘busy’ and lose touch with friends or not see then very often. We can also make excuses to not put the effort into making new connections. Instead of saying to a friend ‘we must catch up’ and doing nothing about it. Make a specific date.
Most of us can manage an hour somewhere in the week and having that catch up means you can share, compare, problem solve, laugh and let off steam. There is nothing like a valued friend to put a smile on your face and make the world seem like a much better place. And don’t forget new connections. If there is someone that you think you would like to get to know better, take the bull by the horns and arrange a coffee. What’s the worst that can happen? But even better, what’s the best thing that could happen?
I trust that the above gives you some useful ideas to get start on. Like most habits, you have to put in the effort to make it eventually become effortless. But you are so worth it! I would love to hear what you do to nurture your mind and body. Drop a comment below and share the love! If you have loved this post and would like to get more useful stuff delivered to your inbox, then sign up to my email or pop over to my Facebook group. Look forward to seeing you.
As many benefits as there are to working and having an identity apart from being ‘mum’, there are days which can be tough, especially if you are going solo. You might just want to throw the towel in or wonder why you are doing what you do or simply want to hide under the duvet and stick your fingers in your ears!
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean it will always be like this. But life being life, it will throw you curve balls and, on some days, you will rise like a true champion and on other days you will find yourself reaching for tissues and your best mate.
And there is nothing wrong with wallowing in a bit of self-pity or self-righteous but beware you don’t wallow for too long. It’s not going to solve anything or do you any good long term.
So aside from a good cry; good friend; bottle of wine and maybe some chocolate, what’s a girl to do?
Tough day tip 1
Don’t take it personally – it’s been a low turnout for a workshop, people have cancelled or just not kept their appointment and the self-doubt creeps in. You start telling yourself that you’re not good enough, that your prices are wrong or people don’t like your product – you get the picture. That little voice keeps chipping away at your self-esteem. Or it maybe you are pacing around the room telling yourself that people are so inconsiderate, rude, fussy – whatever word you think is applicable. You get angry and frustrated.
Stop. Right. Now.
Have you ever cancelled, been late, not turned up etc? Chances are if you have, you have felt that you have a valid reason or justified it to yourself. That’s exactly the same for your customers. Kids might have been ill. Partner might not have got back home in time to take over child care. Unexpected bills may have arrived. It may simply be they are too knackered to think about doing something else. Sound familiar? It’s purely and simply about what’s going on for the individual and not a personal vendetta against you.
Tough day tip 2
Remember the good stuff – Without a doubt along the journey, you would have had some great comments and feedback. Make sure you keep track of this, whether you create an electronic file, paper file or even a journal. If it is verbal praise, write it down as soon as is convenient to do so. Keep every positive thing that has been said or written. Also, record any great conversations or gesture (someone sent you flowers for a job well done, write that down).
Then when you are having one of those days when you are wondering if it is all worthwhile, bring out the file or journal. Remind yourself of the great work you have done to date. The appreciation and the awesomeness you have created and delivered. If that doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy then nothing will!
Tough day tip 3
It’s feedback not failure – You’ve received a complaint or a feedback form has had a couple of not such great comments on it. Sure, it’s not going to feel great. It may feel uncomfortable. BUT it’s not the end of the world because now you have a benchmark for improvement or tweaking. Remember you are in this for the long haul and whatever your venture is, it is not going to be perfect from day 1. Do you remember the first iPhone and how amazing everyone thought it was? Now look 10 years down the track and this phone has evolved into something somewhat different from the original. That’s not just down to development but to feedback and undoubtedly, complaints. Get into the habit of seeing feedback and complaints as an opportunity. An opportunity to learn, evolve and ultimately, provide what your customers or team want.
Many mums struggle to know what it is they really want to do – they just know they need to do ‘something’. Something that doesn’t involve housework. Something that is so far removed from being ‘mum’, that they can actually, for a few hours, be a different version of themselves. Something that will stimulate, motivate and with a bit of luck, earn some money.
What I frequently see and hear, is people seeking to find their passion but doing nothing about it.
It’s talked about in an abstract manner: “When I find my passion………”, “When I know what I want to do……”, “When my passion finds me……”. There seems to be an expectation that one morning you are going to wake up and kapow! you have your passion.
Hate to be the one that breaks it to you but really, that’s not going to happen.
Finding out what you really want to do happens by design not by accident. By waiting for inspiration to hit you, you are potentially missing out on opportunities to discover what you are passionate about.
So how do you ‘design’ passion?
There is no 1 single thing you can do and different things work for different people but here are my top three strategies that in combination, will get you a long way towards finding that elusive ‘thing’:
Purposeful Step 1
- Take action – try different things that appeal to you. Whether it’s a hobby to start off with and then becomes a paid gig, like photography, making clothes or jewellery, give it a go. If it’s a paid gig, just remember, nothing has to be permanent. You can always try something else but in the meantime, you are working towards knowing what you do and don’t enjoy.
Purposeful step 2
- Write, draw and write some more – free wheel ideas and commit to paper whether in the form of lists, mind maps, mood board or a combination. This should be a continual process not a 5 minute one (unless that proverbial thunderbolt hits you immediately!). Firstly, write (or draw) down what you love doing regardless of whether you think you can be paid for it. It doesn’t matter how random, if you love it, put it down. Then think about how you could utilise those things you like. Join some dots and see what you come up with. Again, really free flow and don’t get caught up with standardised notions i.e. what you think you ‘should’, rather that want you ‘want’ to do. For example, it hit me the other day that I could spend hours with fabric & accessories, looking at quirky and unusual combinations that work well that might not be obvious. It’s a skill that seems to come naturally and I have been a go to on certain occasions for this. I don’t necessarily want to be an interior designer but I could probably have a play and post on Instagram or Pinterest for a bit of fun and see where that leads. It’s a side gig/bit of fun because I am curious and enjoy doing it BUT potentially if people like what I do, who knows……….
Purposeful step 3
- What would you do for nothing? Sure, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to earn an income. But most of us can do that regardless of whether we enjoy it or not. If money was no object, what would you do for free or knowing that there was no financial gain? What do you spend your spare time doing or if you had any spare time, what would you do? You will probably find that this will make things looks a lot clearer providing you are honest. This is for you remember, no-one is looking or judging.
Finding your passion is an evolving process and can change over time. Don’t get hung up on finding ‘the one’ passion or assume that it is just one thing. You can have several passions. The fun is in finding out, think of all the things you will do, read and listen to whilst you are finding your path – what an adventure.
If you have found this useful then you are going to love the book I have written, Beyond the schoolgate – when being a mum is not enough. This book is a quick and easy read that gives you the precise steps you need to take to move you from fed up and frustrated mum to a woman who knows what she wants and who she is.
So, you’re starting to think about working options and on one hand, you like the idea of leaving the house for a few hours and joining the outside world. On the other hand, you’ve got a creative itch you want scratch and creating your own business could be the way to go.
Whatever way you want to go, that is, being an employee or becoming self-employed, will bring about differing environments, experiences and stimulation. Everyone’s circumstance is different and as such, different priorities and values will impact the final decision you make in regards to your new working situation.
The key thing to remember is that you do have choices and that no decision is the wrong decision.
When drawing up a list of what 2 or more options may offer, I always ask clients to simply write down the benefits of the options they are considering. That way, whatever decision made will always be the right one. Yes, of course there may be compromise but knowing that you have weighed up options and made a decision that will always be right, compromises simply become part of the journey/process rather than a negative outcome.
Below I list what I perceive as the positives of becoming either self-employed or an employee:
- You know exactly what income you will receive – therefore you can budget quite easily for your outgoings.
- Can leave the job behind once you leave – so when you go home, you are home.
- Clear directives for job performance – no second guessing what you need to do to get the job done
- Defined working hours – making child care planning and any other commitments easier to organise.
- Colleague interaction – meeting new people means having new and different conversations.
- Company benefits – which vary according to where you work but could mean free parking, reduced gym membership, pension contribution………
- Training opportunities – some companies like to mentor and grow their staff so potentially you could get access or funding for some brilliant new skills.
- Update your knowledge and skills – technology and working practises are constantly changing so going back as an employee means that you can update/upskill your current knowledge.
- Low cost – apart from maybe updating your work wardrobe and travel costs, your outlay for becoming an employee is low.
- Negotiation opportunities – these can be at interview stage or once you have your foot in the door and proved yourself. Some employers are keen to implement family friendly policies so you might be able to negotiate hours, working from home on some days, or salary increase.
- Security – whilst job security is not guaranteed 100% these days, chances are there is more stability when an employee.
- Unlimited earning – not that I am saying that you will become a millionaire overnight but you certainly have the potential to earn more than being an employee.
- Create your own day –choose your hours and when you work them. Choose your location too. There have been days I have sat in my ‘office’, times when I have grabbed my laptop and gone to a new café, park or the beach (yes, really!). I have even put together a yearly plan at a busy trampoline centre.
- Develop your business acumen – you will be learning and developing lots of new skills related to your business (and no-one needs to know if you’re a complete beginner at something!)
- Personal development – trust me, you will learn a lot about yourself. You will develop various traits such as resilience and of course, you will invest time and money into your personal development because that’s just how it is with owning your own business! You will be stimulated, stretched and challenged in ways you may not imagine (but all for the greater good!)
- Flexible – your business can be designed to fit around other areas of your life as you see fit.
- Follow your passion – this is your chance to create the job of your dreams rather than just doing something because you have the skills or it’s what you are familiar with.
- Great bonding – chances are you will meet many people (face to face and online) on your solo enterprise and the great thing is, you have more choice in who you have to deal with. In other words, they will not be colleagues that you ‘have to’ get on with but people you can choose to spend time with or politely move on from.
- Support – yes, you are going solo but there is so much support if you want it – from networking groups to online groups. The amount of information and support I have received (and given) in some of the groups is amazing. You don’t have to do it all on your own.
- No daily commute – travel as and when it is needed rather than defined.
- No bosses – sorry, I had to put that in!! But hey it’s a great one – you answer to no-one but you. No office politics – how liberating is that?!
You’ve got the idea.
You have a clear vision of where it could take you. You positively pulling at the bit with enthusiasm to get started.
Then you realise that money is tight.
The doubts creep in.
You wake up at stupid o’clock, your mind whirling and negative voices whispering in your ear. Those hours between 2am and 4am can be soul destroying.
Money feels like the major issue coming between you and your goals. So, you start to tell yourself that you should give up before you have started and the frustration and resentment starts to build.
Before you know it, you have talked yourself out of your idea, parked it and feel frustrated and resentful because you feel like there is no way out of how you are feeling and what you are doing.
Well the good news is, most micro businesses can be started on a shoe string. I’m not saying it’s easy, but with determination (which of course you have in buckets loads), it is possible.
Here are some of my suggestions to building up your initial start-up fund.
- Have a good clear out and sell your unwanted stuff.
A few suggestions would be:
- Local Car boot sale
- Facebook selling groups
- Mobile apps such as decluttr or vinted – there are absolutely loads of them
- Get someone else to pay.
Yes, you heard right! Have you got a birthday coming up or another occasion where you receive a gift? Ask your nearest and dearest to pay for, or towards, something that you need for a business such as insurance or a course to upskill.
- Do an exchange of labour aka a skills swap.
You want a jazzy original design for a business card and your artistic friend would absolutely love some laser coaching for a current issue. That’s how I managed to get an original watercolour to use for a business card. Or you need some babysitting so that you can attend a course or appointment. What can you do for others that they cannot do themselves and see if they are happy to provide something for you in return.
- Good at crafty projects?
Start making and selling online at places such as Etsy, Facebook, Folksy. Just make sure you are not spending a fortune on materials!
- Be an expenditure expert.
Get up close and personal with your finances! Are there direct debits going out for things you do not use (think gym memberships, magazine subscriptions……….)? Can you get a better deal on your utilities and save money? Do you have a savings account lying dormant and unused? I discovered I had 4 – not with huge sums but collectively, they paid for some cheap printing of business cards. Shop around or haggle with current provider for your annual renewals such as home and car insurance. Have you got any returns waiting to go back to the shop?
- Host a ‘business’ fundraising event.
It could be a curry night, a girl’s night in pamper party, BBQ and Pimm’s garden party, bingo or quiz night – the only limit is your imagination! Be upfront and say that you are trying to raise funds to start a micro business and obviously you have to provide the chosen food, entertainment etc. so that people are getting something for their donation.
- Be on trend with vintage and upcycling.
In other words, consider second hand for items you might need such as a desk, a printer, shelving. Look at Facebook pages, freecycle etc. to see what you can get for next to nothing or free. It might not be your dream piece of furniture or technology but if it tides you over or frees up cash for items or services that you really need, then it’s the way to go for minimising outlay.
Set up a crowdfunding page showing how much you need to raise and what you are raising for. Just be mindful that to ask for pledges of cash, you will need to be able to offer something in return which is great if you are planning a product-based service but if you are service based, you will need to remember not to over commit on your time and then not be able to deliver. Popular crowdfunding sites include www.crowdfunder.co.uk and www.gofundme.com Again, there are many out there.
Those are just a few suggestions to get you going. What have you managed to do to raise funds? I would love to know in the comments below.