Name and type of Business:
Simple Living Media; it’s the umbrella for a variety of publications I’ve got my mitts in, most notably SimpleMom.net. I launched SimpleKids.net this year, the first daughter blog of Simple Mom. The next one is set to launch in August! And I’m currently writing a book, due in bookstores for the 2010 holiday season.
How long have you been in this business:
Since February 2008, so just a little over a year.
What is the biggest challenge about having your business and family under the same roof?
Creating boundaries around work time, so that I’m fully engaged and “all there” when I’m mama and home manager. It’s my most important job, so I want to have the most energy for it. It’s important to me that my business not deplete my health for the sake of my family.
How have you managed child care:
Good question that I’d like to find the answer to! Right now, I’m the main childcare, sometimes holding a baby on my lap and typing one-handed, and other times reviewing my daughter’s reading lesson while on a Skype business chat. My kids are 4 and 17 months, so it’s definitely a big challenge to working from home. We’re also homeschooling, so I definitely don’t really have any down time – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a possibility we might hire a young teenage girl this summer to be here one day a week while I work in the other room.
What is your favorite part about being in business for yourself? Least favorite?
Since we live overseas, I love that I can work from anywhere, on my own time, around my priorities. If my family and I need to leave town for a week, I simply cater my business to my family life, and make it happen. I love working on my own terms. My least favorite part is the tendency to feel guilty, some of it confounded, some of it not. There are times when I’m tempted to feel guilty, as though I should be playing with my kids all day. But we all work, and we all need to – that’s how we’re created. But there are other times when that voice in my head tells me I’ve been working too hard all day, and my kids need me. So I listen. But it’s still a challenge to have those reminders running under your feet all day.
What is your favorite part of working from home? Least favorite?
I love that I can work and still be around my kids all day. I don’t miss their first steps, the everyday conversations, the raising them up in the work at home while earning income for my family. Home is my favorite place to be. And I can stay here as much as I want. My least favorite part is that sometimes I get cabin fevered. While I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else, there are those days where I’d like to have an adult conversation, or interact with other people. Usually, my husband and I compensate by my working at a coffee shop for an afternoon while he stays home with the kids.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as a work at home business owner/employee?
Skewing my priorities so that I work to please other people instead of my family. Saying yes to everything at the beginning. You start getting PR requests, and you feel like you shouldn’t turn down anything, so that you can network and build relationships. But then you lose sight of the reason you started working in the first place – which for me is to support my family from home. Once I made a conscious decision to be more mindful of my main work goal throughout the work day, I started making wiser decisions about what to say yes and no to. Now, I say yes to very little, but those things I do say yes to, they mean a lot.
What is the best decision you’ve made as a work at home business owner/employee?
Outsourcing those things I just don’t have time for. I recently “hired” my husband a few hours a week to handle my massive PR requests, email inbox, and the financial side of things. He only does it 5-10 hours a week, but it’s such a load off not having to use precious brain cells on those things. Now I can focus on my first love, and the reason I started blogging from the beginning: writing.
What advice do you have for anyone considering starting a work at home business or job?
Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes at the beginning to launch. Blogging as a business takes a lot – a LOT – of hard work and long hours. But don’t let that discourage you. If God has this in mind for you, He’ll provide you the energy and time to make it happen. Just don’t go in, blindly thinking blogging is a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a real job.