Whether you’re the CEO of a marketing company, a freelance graphic designer, or an Etsy store owner, there are certain things that every self-employed mom needs to do to maintain sanity and success. Being self-employed comes with a lot of challenges and those can be magnified by attempting to balance work while also being a parent.
What does it mean to be self-employed?
When you’re self-employed you don’t work for a specific employer. You are your own boss. You decide who you will work for, when you will work and how much you will charge for your product or service. Sounds pretty sweet, right? And, it can be. However, being self-employed is not all about comfy clothes and flexible schedules, it requires a ton of motivation, grit, and hard work.
If you’re a self-employed mom (or thinking of becoming one) and you want to maintain your successful business, along with your sanity, then check out our list of nine things every self-employed mom needs to do.
Things every self-employed mom needs to do :
1. Know your “why”
Being a mom is a full-time job. Being a self-employed mom is more than a full-time job. When you’re trying to juggle being a parent, running a household, and keeping your clients happy there will be moments when you feel like it’s all too much. This is when you need to know your why.
Why are you hustling? Is it to ensure the bills are paid or to give your kids extra opportunities that you couldn’t otherwise afford? Is it because working makes you feel productive and amazing? Is it because you are passionate about what you do?
Whatever your why is, make sure it is clear in your mind. Knowing your why is what will help you to stay motivated when you inevitably hit a rough patch.
2. Join a mastermind
A mastermind is a group of like-minded individuals that meet regularly to share ideas and keep each other accountable. Being self-employed can be tough and a bit lonely, if you’re the one and only employee. So, it’s nice to have a group of people to check in with.
You can commiserate, provide feedback, and work through problems together with people in your group. You can also meet in person, or gather via video chat if you’re spread out geographically. The goal is to find a small group of people that will keep you feeling motivated and supported.
3. Practice self-care
Unfortunately moms are still responsible for the majority of household chores — even though we’re working more and more. So yeah, it’s important that every once in a while we take a little break — a moment to recharge the batteries and maintain a shred of sanity!
Whether this comes in the form of daily exercise, regular dinner with friends, or a monthly massage, make sure you’re taking some time for yourself. Remember, as the leader of your family, when you go down due to illness or burn-out, the whole team suffers. Self-care is not selfish, it’s ultimately good for everyone!
We’ve all heard the saying, “if you want a job done right, do it yourself.” While this often feels true, as a working mom delegation is key. If you want to avoid working every waking moment and begin to cross off some of the items on your “to-do” list, then you need to allow others to help.
Go through your list of tasks and see who can share the responsibility. When it comes to chores, get the whole family involved or even hire a cleaner, if you can afford it. When it comes to work, see if there are any tasks that can be completed by a virtual assistant. By delegating some of the smaller tasks you can focus more time and attention on the big-ticket (and big money-making) items.
5. Protect your time
This is especially important if you run a business out of your home. When there are no physical boundaries between work and home, it can be hard to distinguish between “work-time” and “home-time.” To maximize your time it’s important to set clear boundaries with your friends and family in regards to your working hours. “No Cheryl, you can’t drop by at 11 a.m. uninvited for a quick coffee and chat because I’m working.”
It’s also important to set boundaries with yourself. While one of the perks of being self-employed is having more flexibility with your schedule, you don’t want to spend your entire day cleaning the pantry or doing laundry when you should be finishing a report or replying to a client call. When you’re self-employed, self-discipline is key.
6. Create a workspace
As a self-employed mom, you want to create a working environment that is clean, usable, and peaceful. This is especially important if you are working from home. Working at your kitchen table in a space riddled with dishes and kids’ toys (or even more distracting, real-life toddlers), is not going to bring out your most productive self! Aim to create a space that makes you feel calm, focused, and motivated to work.
7. Design a reasonable schedule
You can only burn the candle at both ends for so long. This means staying up all night and getting up at the crack of dawn to work on your business, in addition to caring for your children and household, is not a great long-term plan. You need to design a schedule that allows you to eat, sleep, work, and even have a little time for relaxation and fun.
Spend some time in the evenings, or once a week, going through your list of tasks and scheduling when you will get them done. Then (here comes the hard part), do your best to stick to that schedule.
8. Learn to roll with the punches
Life is unpredictable. Life as a parent can be extra difficult — you truly never know what’s going to happen. This means that flexibility is key. When something happens that messes with your day, you need to use your problem-solving skills and do your best to get back on schedule. To be successful you need to work efficiently and avoid procrastinating — because you never know what could come up at the last minute and you don’t want to be scrambling to hit a deadline.
9. Enjoy the present
This might sound a bit hokey but it’s the truth. As busy working moms it seems like we’re always striving for something more. And, while it’s great to be ambitious and set lofty goals, it’s also important to enjoy the here and now.
So, when you’re with your family, enjoy your family. When you’re out with your friends, embrace that time. When you’re self-employed it’s hard not to think in terms of opportunity cost, but make sure that it’s not always about the dollars and cents. Be aware of all the great things you have going for you right now.
You’ve got this!
Being a mom (or parent) is arguably the most challenging (and rewarding) job on the planet. Being a self-employed mom just takes the challenge (and potential for rewards) to a whole new level. That can be daunting but it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed both in business and as a parent. You just need to actively manage both sides of your life.
So, when things get crazy try to remember some of these tips. Take time for yourself, reach out to others who are going through a similar experience, delegate where you can, and be sure to remember your why!
–By Jessica Martel