As I get ready to send my little guy off to preschool in the morning, I am beginning to reflect on what these last three years have been like as a stay-at-home mom who used to have a part-time job, then started a business, then started helping out with our new franchise, and then signed on as a consultant for a direct sales business. It really has been difficult to juggle everything and not drop a few balls here and there. Who am I kidding, I've dropped more than a few. But we've made it out alive and I have to say that getting six hours of "free" time a week is going to feel like an amazing stay-cation...I may actually get some work done on one of my three businesses too! I figured that through all of this, I can definitely provide some helpful advice to other parents out there just beginning the journey of stay-at-home entrepreneurship.
First of all, I want to mention that starting a business, whether it's signing on to an already existing direct sales company or becoming a franchisee, or mostly starting something from scratch that requires a great deal of consumer education for acquisition, it's going to take more time than you expect to see the dollar signs come in, no matter how great the business model is. The most important thing is to start as small as you can financially, especially if there are no other funds to fall back on. Babies and kids are always going to need more things than you think they do, and things like cloth diapers can easily become an obsession and get out of control. But I digress..invest as little as possible to get the ball rolling out of the gate to test the market, your sales abilities, as well as find out if this is going to be something that you really want to do.
On that note, whatever business you are getting in to to either create an income for your family or supplement another income, you have to really love it. You cannot just be in it to chase dollar signs. This is going to be a business that you are going to take time away from your child to do. You will lose massive amounts sleep in order to get things done. Nap times and bed time will sometimes be all you can look forward to in order to get to that project that's sitting on your desk (that also happens to be covered with stickers and temporary tattoos). If getting to projects or responding to emails for your business starts to become something you dread, it's not the business for you. Of course that sounds like a no-brainer. But there is a big difference between going to a job you greatly dislike day in and day out just to get a paycheck and finding as many mini moments as possible throughout the day in between cooking, cleaning, laundry and hopefully playtime to get five minutes of work done. If you're not happy with what you're working on, you will put it off and it will not get done. It's a lot easier to get distracted at home by an adorable little munchkin than it is in a cubicle when you're already there.
Along the same lines, know your limits and be realistic. There really are only twenty-four hours in a day and you do need to sleep. Don't set yourself up for failure by assuming you can complete forty hours of work while being a full-time parent at home. You probably won't even be able to get twenty hours of work in. And you cannot beat yourself up over the fact. Find ways to work your business into your time with your child. Try to get into a business that markets to parents in your similar life stage so that you can reach out at playdates and playgrounds, do work while you're not really working. If you're in direct sales, find some other moms who are as well and schedule a time for everyone to get together, each one brings a friend who isn't in direct sales, and allow each business owner some time to share while the kids get to play. Also understand that not every week is going to be the same, commitments to home and family will change and the first thing you may have to sacrifice is your "work" time.
Most importantly, remember why you are going out on your own to create income for yourself and your family as opposed to working a full-time job and paying someone else to raise your child. Being a stay-at-home mom really is one of the hardest and sometimes feels like the most thankless job there is. There are no benefits, sick days, weekends or vacation time. And when you throw being a mompreneur into the mix, there is even less time for you. But understand that your child getting to see you day in and day out is priceless. No one will ever love your child the way you will and no one can raise them to be who you want them to be, but you. Once the money starts to come in and you have a bit of a cushion, don't be afraid to hire a sitter here and there to give you time for you, or hire a cleaning service to at least take that off of your plate. Just don't lose site of the goal of spending as much time with your kids as you can while they're little. It really does go by way too fast.
For those interested to know a bit more of the specifics, I started Video Baby Books after my son was born when I realized that as a professional filmmaker I was sadly only capturing my son's milestones on my cell phone and I wasn't "in" any of the videos. Knowing that I couldn't be the only one with this issue, I sought to create a business to help parents like myself that really wanted professional level documentaries of their families. My husband and I opened a Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in Valencia, CA this past April and not having our family time has been difficult. I recently signed on to sell Neal's Yard Remedies (NYR Organics) a certified organic health and beauty line out of the UK. I seek to live as clean and pure as possible when it comes to what we use on our bodies and this company has so many amazing products that selling them turned out to be an obvious choice. Feel free to check out my online store at: https://us.nyrorganic.com/shop/francinekozlovsky