As the owner of a booming side gig, juggling my work from home balance has been one of the most challenging tasks to date. If you asked me 4 years ago what I pictured working from home with 3 kids would be like I may have painted a picture of a mom sitting at her desk working away while her kids color in a coloring book nearby. Homemade dinner on the stove, house clean, kids bathed. And as she waited for her coffee to brew, she scrolled amazon ready to spend money from her recent paycheck.
Fast forward to real time today. Two of my kids are thankfully in school most of the day and my youngest is so attached to my hip that I know where he is and what he’s doing at all times. My desk is full of paint and wood. I like to call it an organized mess. My dinners consist of meals 5 ingredients or less. My house is clean between the hours of 8pm- 7am when everyone is asleep. I do still wait for my coffee. In fact, I wait each time I reheat it in the microwave. No, it’s not perfect but I do feel happy. I feel happy because I finally have achieved the work from home balance I was looking for. It took a couple years to figure out what works best for our family.
When I started my business, Little Rustic Home, it was not completely intentional. I was a stay at home mom. I ran a daycare service out of my home a few days a week for spending money. One day, I made a pinterest inspired craft which I posted to social media. A friend loved it and requested me to make her one. Then another person, and another. Before you knew it, I was building a business page and taking orders. I became popular and fast. No one was making what I was making. I was the pioneer of scrabble arts where I am from and people were coming from pretty far away just to buy one.
The first year of my business was wild. It was a whirlwind. I was focusing so much attention on my business. It was something I never knew I wanted. I loved the extra money, I loved meeting new people, and I loved owning something that I could truly be proud of. I was trying to make everyone happy all the time. It wasn’t until after I took a break from orders for a little while to make me realize how much time I spent on the business.
I was caught up in the hype and I felt I started to put my family on the back burner in some cases. I had my phone on me during dinner and holidays and even at my kids’ games. There were days I didn’t even eat with everyone because I was so busy getting things done by a certain time. I was caught up in the new business and finding it very hard to departmentalize work and family. I felt stressed. I felt even though I was getting so much accomplished, something else was also failing. After I stopped taking so many orders, the messages stopped flowing as frequent. I didn’t feel the pressure to pick up my phone immediately, every time it dinged.
I realized at this time, I needed to make a balance. I was not happy and something needed to change in order for me to excel in both my business and my home life so I started by changing my hours. I work more in the middle of the night which I ended up loving, personally am a night owl. I don’t require a ton of sleep and I’ve found that I get the most stuff accomplished when I can be on my own with the only distraction being Netflix asking if I am still watching. I also work very early in the morning before the kids are up. I have found I could spend time with my kids all day, make it to all of their games, and be present for them as a mom.
I cut my hours back. Instead of trying to fit everything in immediately even if that meant I’d have to work through the night, I worked no more than 40 hours a week. I figured I am only going to get bigger and it’s time I start treating it as more of a business. I realized it’s okay to have a day off.
Another thing I felt needed to change was my constant sense of urgency. I stopped rushing to my phone every time it dinged. There is a time and a place for business. I try and unplug for important dates and times like family time, birthdays, my kids sporting events, holidays, and trips. Due to pickups I feel it necessary to keep my phone open on weekends unless of course a date I mentioned coincides on a weekend.
What I have come to realize is that people that buy from me know I am a small business. I have grown an amazing relationship with my customers. They know I have a family. They all understand that I will return the message as soon as I can. I think the reason people do buy from me is because I am a small business. I am a stay at home mom and I am a work at home mom.
Juggling being a mom, taking care of a home and then also running a business isn’t for the faint of heart. It is chaotic. It can still be stressful. There never seems to be enough time in the day. But once you work out those business kinks, It is also doable. It just takes practice. It takes patience. Not only is it doable, but once you figure out what works for you and your family, you will feel a sense of accomplishment in not only being a mom but a proud business owner. I will probably never drink fresh brewed coffee but I am very happy and proud to be a stay at home mom with a boomin’ side gig.
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My name is Angie. I am the owner of Little Rustic Home. I am a stay at home mom with a boomin’ side gig. I do all of the designing, staining, cutting and creating of the pieces. My husband works full time himself but helps whenever he can with everything. I am the chaos coordinator of 3 absolutely amazing little boys. They are 3, 6, and 7 years old. They are the behind the scenes muscle. Little Rustic Home is not just a local business. It has become our little family business. We love meeting new people and creating items you can’t find in any store and we’d love to help make your house a home!