There is absolutely NO denying that I COMPLETELY and TOTALLY love what I do.
In my teen years, there were several things I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’. The main thing I wanted out of life was to be a wife and mother. That was my ULTIMATE goal, my dream. My dream started to come true when I met and married my husband.
And then I became a mother, not just once, but five times over.
I am blessed. VERY blessed.
Another dream I had was to teach, which I now do, by homeschooling our five children. Our eldest had gone on to graduate 2 years ago, and the second will soon follow.
Living in the country was another dream of mine. We’ve got that, working on getting to a bigger ‘scale’ of country living.
My other dream was to own a business.
I never really knew what, or how. The closest thing to my ‘own’ business I had in our earlier years of marriage was first selling Avon and then providing day care in our home.
Everything I have done from working as a Long Term Care Aid, an Activity Co-ordinator in a Nursing Home, several waitressing jobs, working a couple of jobs in Holland, to doing my ‘own’ thing in the home has all helped to prepare me for this time, running a home business.
However, I’m still learning the most difficult lesson of all. A skill that can not truly be acquired by any course, or work shop, or any degree one may attain.
How to balance it all, and balance it well.
I really do try my very best to get it all done. I commented on facebook the other day, in a moment of frustration when the product photos I had taken for last week’s stocking had some ‘not so great’, that any wahm (work at home mom) who claims to be doing it ALL is not only fooling others, but she’s also kidding herself.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there ARE work at home mom’s who are running successful home businesses with kitchen counters that are ALWAYS clean, children who are always well dressed, and of course well behaved, and teens who never have a need that goes unmet.
Home business owners with happy husband’s who never have to go to sleep at night without their wife by their side because she’s busy at the computer listing the next day’s products until 1am.
Home business owners who homeschool and teach their children for a minimum of 3 hours a day, Monday to Friday without interruption because there are deadlines to be met, custom orders that need to go out, and orders that need packaging.
Maybe there’s homesteading mama’s who run home businesses and find the time to actually RIDE the horse they always dreamed of owning, instead of spending the day working while watching said horse in the pasture outside her studio window.
All this makes me sound unhappy about it all, doesn’t it?
I’m not! I do LOVE what I do. ALL of it. But, I really need to learn how to balance it all a little better. Everything is balanced just fine until there’s “extras” which are important. Finding time to visit with friends and/or family. A special date comes up. Helping a neighbor by caring for their homestead while they need to be away. Making time for my children, and my husband, to do special things.
Some days I think maybe I should hire someone. For a while, I had some outside help. I had hired a friend to do all my listings for me, and that worked out well, but the problem with a small business is that to make money, you have to spend money, and I always have so much money already going out the door to fabrics and other supplies, that to add the expense of a helper, is REALLY difficult. There’s a fine line there that I can’t seem to get quite right, at least not while this business is the main source of income for our family.
So… the family helps! When my husband is without work, he helps with the fabric cutting. Our eldest daughter helps with some of the packaging, and sending out emails. Even our son helps. Once a week he does all my snaps. That’s really a huge help. He does them so efficiently!
The one job I would GLADLY hand over to an outsider that I could completely trust, would be the packaging and shipping.
When I began this business, I never dreamed that I would spend so much time packaging orders, and so much time sitting at the computer processing orders and handling customer service and web work.
I am a creator. A designer. A seamstress. Sometimes even a writer & a photographer.
I am NOT, however, a computer techie, or a lover of packaging things.
Thankfully, my husband does the actual shipping. This saves me quite a bit of time. Rather then ME standing in line at the post office for hours a week, he is. Hee hee. I feel bad saying that with such happiness.
Last week he helped with packaging the orders too. This was great! Rather then spending 6-8 hours packaging, it only took us about 4. Leaving me with more time to be doing other things. That night, it was to sleep. We finished packaging orders at about 12:30am. Had he not been helping me, I would have been up until about 2:30am OR, your orders would have had to wait yet another day.
We’re looking at ways to improve things. Maybe two shipping days a week again? I’m not sure. There’s only so many days in a week, and at least four of those days must be spent on actual creating, instock, custom orders, and wholesale. Another day each week is spent on photographing, editing and listing products and sending custom order photos to customers. That leaves two days a week. Hee hee. Amazingly enough, I actually like to try and get just one day off a week, usually Friday’s, and that day isn’t REALLY a day off, but rather spent answering questions on facebook and email in the mornings and early afternoon as the products go live and customers need answers quickly. Then Friday afternoons are ‘mine’ and we try to do something fun.
Since one day a week is already spent packaging and shipping… well… that adds up to seven days a week already… so if you’ve ever wondered why sometimes packages just don’t seem to get out as quick as you think they should/could, now you know.
Balance… where to find that… I’m still looking.
I have some great articles and books to read on how/where to find that, but… well… I just haven’t had the time to read them…