Some people have an idyllic impression about what a freelance WAHM is all about. Some people believe it is easy work, staying in your pyjamas until lunchtime with your children playing nicely whilst you tap away at your computer. Or drinking coffee whilst working at a café.
The reality is far from this. Or atleast it is for me!
It is children vying for my attention whilst working to deadlines. Takeway for dinner more often then I would like to admit. Piles of laundry waiting to be washed or folded. And constantly reprioritizing and shuffling my schedule to suit my family and work commitments!
Most WAHMs will suffer burnout in the first 12 months of trying to start their business from home. Why? Because during that first year you are trying to juggle EVERYTHING! It is easy to become overwhelmed as you struggle to create a balance between work and home, all whilst getting your fledgling business off the ground.
Create support systems to make your life (and work) easier!
The last thing we want as freelancers and parents is to suffer from burnout. We are too busy for that!
By creating support systems we alleviate some of the stress and workload so we are better able to manage our time and balance work and home life.
The best and most obvious support system is your partner!
Personally, I would not be able to do what I do without the support and encouragement of my partner. Yes, there are times where he does not get what I do, where he sees it as a waste of time (especially right in the beginning when I wasn’t earning enough money). However, I found that as long as I was honest and upfront he generally maintains his status as my biggest support system.
At the moment we are too busy during the week and I am so exhausted by the end of the day that I have not been able to complete as much work as I would like on weekdays. This leaves our valuable weekend time. My partner entertains the kids for a few hours so I can get some work done. He understands that working weekends is not the norm and will not be forever. But for the time being it is the only window I have to be productive. Without his support and help, I would not be able to get any work done!
Have an open discussion with your partner and work with them to create a schedule that will allow you time to build your business whilst balancing home life. Remember BALANCE IS KEY! If that means it will take twice as long to build your business to a point you are happy with, then so be it. There is no point pushing so hard that you burn out. You will lose all joy and passion for your writing business. Not to mention it will be a struggle to be present as a parent and partner when you are so exhausted and overwhelmed.
Use Childcare, a Nanny/babysitter or Occasional Care.
My children currently attend childcare twice a week (with my eldest soon to start 3-year old kindergartern and my youngest to increase to 3 days a week at childcare). This allows me to balance my nursing shifts with my freelance writing business and home life. Added bonus that my children LOVE childcare!
Some people do not like the idea of sending their children to childcare when they are home. Trust me though, if you want to be productive try to send them atleast one day a week. You will appreciate the uninterrupted working time!
If you don’t want (or cannot afford) childcare, look into nannies and babysitters. Sometimes they are more cost effective then childcare and still give you precious uninterrupted hours to focus on your business.
Ask family to help.
We are not lucky enough to have family who lives close by who are able to babysit on a regular basis. If we did, you can be damn sure I would use that to my advantage!
If you are lucky enough to have family you trust close enough to take care of your children on a regular basis, I say do it! Even if it is only a couple of hours a week. It is still valuable time that you can focus solely on your business.
Hire help around the house.
There are so many pesky and time-consuming household chores you can outsource. If you have the budget for it, hire them out to others!
Even if you believe you cannot afford it, think about it this way. If you hire a cleaner for 2 hours a week, that is 2 hours of time you can dedicate to your business. In that limited time, you could punch out an article that sells for $200 (or more). You could cold pitch 20 times, which may lead to several new clients. Ka-Ching! See how quickly that 2 hours pay for itself.
So rather than thinking of the cost involved in hiring a cleaner, think of it as an investment in your business. Feel free to use that line to convince your partner! 😉
What else can you outsource?
- Housekeeper (think cooking and day-to-day tidying up).
- Personal Shopper.
I find that one of my most time-consuming tasks is grocery shopping. It is not just the actual shopping, but trying to get there! You all know what I mean…fighting with a toddler who doesn’t want to change into clothes. Timing it around naps and meal times. Agh! I hate it. My biggest time saver is either doing a grocery delivery or a “click and collect”. You simply order online and a personal shopper packs it all up for you. You then just have to go pick it up (or get hubby to do it on his way home from work)! The added bonus of shopping online is it forces me to stick to our grocery budget.
Ask for help with drop off and pick-ups.
One other time-consuming job is childcare, kindergarten or schools drops offs and pickups. You can create a schedule for you and some fellow parents or friends to help! It will save you so much time a week which you can then spend on…you guessed it…your business!
Other parents and especially working mums are such great support to utilise. They are someone who understands the difficulty of balancing everything, and how isolating it can be working from home. Make sure you tap into this valuable resource!
What support systems do you have in place to ensure your days run smoothly and you are as productive as possible?