Hey, it’s guest post day! I’m happy to have Elise Adams sharing her adventures in growing a home-based business while raising a family. I think her perspective is quite valuable for any of you who are interested in doing the same. Enjoy.
After 18 months of experimentation as a work-at-home-Mom/entrepreneur I’ve made lots of mistakes and a little money too! Why don’t I share what NOT to do so you can make more money instead of mistakes.
Don’t assume your spouse understands what the heck you’re doing!
When I first started my professional organizing business (as a joke–that grew a bit) my husband wasn’t miffed, he was just confused. It made sense to him that I had big dreams and a great idea. Exactly how this idea was going to work was, however, perplexing.
At the time he was semi-employed and we had lots of wiggle room in our schedule. This didn’t really simplify things though. I learned quickly that I needed to articulate exactly what I was doing, what adjustments we’d need to make as a family and the benefits we’d all gain from my ‘hobby with a dream’. The first benefit was a happier Mommy…and that he has always been able to support. Later on came the financial benefits too.
Don’t spend more money than you make!
Of course this seems a lot easier said than done. Especially at the beginning of a new endeavor. We had determined that we wouldn’t go into debt and we’d go slow enough that the business would pay for itself.
These guidelines seemed simple enough. But it took very specific wrangling to be sure to stay within the shores of investment/growth and ‘just paying the bills’. For the first six months I was very confused! How do I pay for printer ink and my domain name when I only have 3 clients?
After having several clients/customers cancel on me after I’d committed time to their projects, however, I decided I’d never again spend time, energy or money without having the payment IN HAND! No matter what home-business, extra-money project you’re working on, it’s a good principle.
Don’t ignore the kids!
Ha. ha. This might sound obvious right? The mistake I made at the beginning was treating my business so much like a frivolous hobby that I didn’t communicate how it fit into our family…to the kids too!
After a few months of making excuses or avoiding the obvious questions (and long talks with my hubby) I realized that to be a good example to my children, I needed to step up with all of what was important to me. So both my husband I started referring to my business time as ‘work’. ‘Mommy is going to work now’.
Now, after a year or so of this habit my kids accept freely that when I ‘go to work’ in my basement office that I am unavailable and their dad is ‘on deck’ for them during those times. Even my almost-2-year old waves to me as I head downstairs with a fresh cup of coffee!
OK. So that won’t cure all your worries or simplify every confusing aspect of being a stay-at-home-working-mom! But I can assure you that it will eliminate at least 2 or 3 tantrums…by your spouse anyway.
One thing I’ve learned over these past 18 months or so is that as a partner with my husband in this ‘survival organism’, as a friend likes to call it, what I contribute encompasses all my pursuits. When I do the laundry or do a grocery run OR when I’m focused on my work projects. I’m not diminished as a wife or mother because of my wide interests…in fact I am more present, peaceful and joyful! This isn’t an either-or choice in our home. Working AND being a mom is all about being my whole self while contributing fully to my marriage and kids’ lives too.
Elise Adams, ‘Executive Assistant to the Stars’, credits her real-life struggle to climb out of poverty and into a life of abundance as the source of her stick-to-it-attitude. She juggles a blended family with her Bahamian husband of 3 years with 6 kids ranging in age from 17 all the way to 19 months all while building a successful, growing online business. Working with individuals, families and businesses across the US as a coach, assistant and professional organizer has given Elise a one-of-a-kind perspective on the life and family strategies that really work! Find out more iin her new free video series From Chaos to Calm.