Being a mom and a business owner // #thestruggleisreal
A little over 7 years ago, I became a professional photographer. And then, a little over a year ago I became a mom. ((If there were theme music associated with this blog post, it would be really dramatic, with obnoxiously loud drum noises building suspense as these two things, my life as a business owner and becoming a mom, collide)). Don't get me wrong. Becoming a mom has been the most amazing thing to ever happen in my world. Sounds cliché, I know, but it's true. My little girl rocks my universe, about 1,487,978 times an hour. Equally, being an independent professional, my own boss, and chasing this wild dream of turning my passion of photography into a business rocks my world.
You see, the struggle is real. I mean, really real most days. Motherhood takes total focus, 1000% dedication and every ounce of emotional, mental and physical juice that I have. And, by happenstance, small business ownership takes total focus, 1000% dedication and every ounce of emotional, mental and physical juice that I have.
Like I said....the. struggle. is. real.
As I type this, looking at my sleeping babe on the video monitor, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride. I hope I'm doing ok at this mom thing (cue: reassuring emails) and, although the to-do's stack up and there are endless amounts of photos to edit (always), this little business of mine is allowing me to be here.
To sit here, in this chair, and nurture my business while I simultaneously nurture my baby. And that, is worth the struggle. Now, to be both a mom my kid is proud of and a photographer people actually want to hire, I have to be intentional in every decision I make. Lots of thought goes into intentional action and I've come up with three rules that help me stay on the right path. Rules that help me keep my sanity, while also keeping my baby and my clients happy.
Rule #1: Set a schedule (with boundaries). One perk of my job is that I can do it from home (in sweat pants if desired). One drawback is that I can do it from home (in sweat pants if desired). So work is always there, here and everywhere around me. Always. I swear sometimes I can hear photos whispering from my Mac as I walk by "edit me, edit me".
When you work from home, you need to figure out a schedule that works for you and your family- and then stick to it. Fight the urge to have the laptop open during family time. Turn your ringer off so that calls go to voicemail and you don't hear your email notifications. Arrange childcare so that you have ample time to focus on your business, which will subsequently leave you with ample time to devote to your family.
Rule #2: Delegate anything and everything you can. This can be anything from asking your partner to take over meal prep or grocery shopping (thanks, hubby!), hiring a cleaner to come in once a month and scrub down your bathroom, or even partnering with a virtual assistant to help run your social media or online marketing campaigns (holla at your girl, Raquel!). As much as I like to think I can- I've learned the hard way that I realistically CAN'T do it all alone. And, if I want to do it all well, I need to find people I can trust to help me. Just like parenting, small business ownership takes a village!
Rule #3: Prioritize your need to be organized. Have you ever tried to build something without setting up a solid foundation first? Doesn't work out that well, does it? In parenting, you need to lay down a foundation of love, affection and care in order for your little baby to grow big and strong. Your business is no different. Don't skimp on paying for systems for your bookkeeping, project management, etc. Document your systems so that you can refer back to them and improve them along the way. Do things right the first time so you don't have to go back and undo things as business booms. Nurture your business like you would a newborn. If you do, things will run smoother, and you'll be able to spend more time with your actual baby!
None of this is easy. I get it. I'm living it as we speak. I have to remind myself everyday to focus on one thing at a time. Because if I focus on the endless list of to-do's, I'm bound to loose my sanity.
But let's be honest. These are awesome problems to have, right?! Each of my clients means the world to me because with each photograph I take, it helps me to be able to live out the life I want for me and my little family here in LA.