You know how life has its ups and downs? Last week I was getting bogged down by everything – working, cleaning up after the family, not having much time off to myself. I still very much believed in helping mums get businesses of the ground, but all I could see was a long, hard slog ahead. The days here are getting shorter as winter approaches, I was tired and if I’m honest, a bit bad tempered too.
So I took a few hours off (steady on, Helen!), got stuck into a good book – fiction, rather than my usual business books – and tried to get things back into perspective. Then I got an email from Erica Douglas that sums up exactly why I’m doing all this. Here’s her story…
“In 2009 I was working part time as a waitress, a job I enjoyed but that was physically demanding. Events that year meant I had to resign leaving me with very little personal income (I was earning £100-£200 from my blog). A few months later I found myself well enough to seek work again, I attended the Job Centre every week only to be disheartened to find that the recession meant that opportunities were limited. With every week that passed and every visit to the job centre I felt more and more depressed and my self-esteem was suffering.
I’d been trying to make a go of things online but the small amount of income I was earning via my blog wasn’t really enough. In October 2009 my husband told me to stop looking for a job, just like that, just stop. He promised that he’d make up the difference between my waitressing job and the income I was making online in overtime (about £200-300 per month). I took his advice and, well, he never had to do any overtime. My husband is a sensible guy, he figured by taking away the barriers it really put me under (good) pressure to follow my passion and soon as I started taking it seriously I started earning an income. I ‘work’ for around ten hours a week now on various things but predominantly my income comes from training business women how to use the internet more effectively. I chose that niche as it’s something I’m hugely passionate about but there are a ton of different niches out there.
My target next year is to earn a ‘full time wage on part time hours’…
My target in the first six months this year was to exceed my waitressing income £400-500 per month. My target by the end of this year was to earn more than £1000 per month working just ten hours a week (I’m not lazy, I’m studying full time too!). Last month I exceeded my target, I know it’s not a huge amount (I’m not rich, yet!) but it was a big milestone. My target next year is to earn a ‘full time wage on part time hours’ and I calculate that as £1500 per month before tax.”
Why was Erica sharing all this? Erica, Antonia Chitty and I have put together a pack of books that will help mums start their own businesses. In Erica’s words:
“I’m sharing this personal information because I want you to know that this is accessible, but it’s not a get rich quick scheme. These books will teach you how to build a proper business that you can run flexibly around your children.”
Sometimes you need to hear someone else’s story to bring things back into focus. Erica reminded me why I started Business Plus Baby. I wanted to help women build a working life on their own terms, not to have to put their children into full-time childcare (unless they wanted to) and spend all their earnings on it. To earn a decent income but still have plenty of time to spend with their young children. To make use of their talents, keep their skills fresh and perhaps discover an entrepreneurial streak. To open up possibilities and opportunities.
I wanted to help women build a working life on their own terms
Because I’m passionate about my subject and also online, blogging is the perfect way for me to do that. But an online business is a long haul, it takes a lot of patience and determination.
So if you’re knee-deep in hard slog and flagging a bit, remember you’re not alone. Whether you’re thinking of starting a business and daunted by all the challenges ahead or you’ve hit a tough patch after starting your business, keep at it.
Keep taking those steps forward and make sure you’ve got the company of other business mums (we know what it’s like). From time to time reconnect with you reasons for doing all this. Take a little time out if it all gets too much.
Keep going and all those steps will add up to something really amazing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave me a comment :0)
4 Replies to “Finding it tough as a mumpreneur? You’re not alone…”
A friend of mine once said to me that she thought I had the worst of both worlds working for myself with small children. Certainly I feel like I’m always juggling a million things and not doing anything quite as well as I’d like, but reading your post is really heartening, and all the reasons for starting my business are still there.
My top tip is when I feel it’s all getting a bit much, I take time away from the computer and brainstorm with a notebook and a cup of tea – always inspires me!
Hi Zoe, I’m also a big fan of the notebook. It’s very satisfying to scribble down ideas and also to put a line through them when you’ve done them! I can see where your friend was coming from, having a business and children can be both the best and the worst of both worlds. When it works it’s great, but there are definitely periods of hard slog and frustration along the way. Hang on in there!
I found Erica’s story really motivating too helen – well worth reprinting!
Good advice – achieving a balance can be tricky. I used to think I had to work every single minute my daughter was in pre-school (only 2 morns a week!) but recently have started going for a walk/jog on the beach after dropping her off at pre-school and before starting work. That little bit of time to myself is good for mind, body and spirit and means I approach work raring to go.