As a newlywed I’m not quite sure how I thought I was going to be a stay at home mummy and keep up my usual spending and lifestyle. I don’t know where the money tree was supposed to be or why it hadn’t occurred to me that times were going to be tighter. But reality set in when Keira was a few months old. We had a mortgage on our new house, a new baby, I wasn’t bringing in any money and even just shopping for clothes and things at big w and target was costing us money. I learnt pretty early on that if I wanted to spend money and have my crafts then I needed to bring some money in myself.
So I tried avon – there’s no money in it! I then moved on to tupperware and loved it. I’m a huge tupperholic (yes, there is a name for us) and it was great to be bringing money in although husbands don’t love the plastic that invades your house. But for me it was hard to try to do parties and attend the weekly sales meetings with a baby and a husband who was late home or travelling overseas. But I enjoyed it while it lasted and my mum was helping me out behind the scenes. Doing the tupperware gave me the confidence to set up an online store and give it a go. We went to japan with a big empty suitcase and came home with $1000 worth of fabric. And that was how I started my first online store.
I ran the store for a few years and loved it but also hated it at times. Customer service is hard work. Big online stores have people to do their packaging and posting for them and can post parcels off that night or the next day. Little one woman shops have to do everything for themselves and that means even when you’re absolutely exhausted or had a crazy day or sick kids you still have to get orders out in the mail. It was hard work but it was fun at the same time. I made the most beautiful friends and customers and I did love having all of that gorgeous fabric in my house. I reluctantly closed the store for good last year but feel very lucky to be working with my blog and just loving what I do.
And you don’t need to have a big business mind to be bringing in some money to the household budget! Making and selling things to friends, minding other little ones while you are at home, having a market stall (there are so many great little markets now popping up), selling new or second hand things online, doing party plan on weekends or like me using my blog and working online.
And it kind of strikes me as funny that I’ve never been as busy working as I am now and I’ve never had this many little ones to look after! But working from home is just a dream come true if you can do it and bring some money in. But I’m always clear to point out that you must never forget the reason you are home!!!!! Whatever happens I make sure my little ones know that I’m here for them and that they come first. I’ve turned down trips and I hardly attend any PR events because they are all weekdays when I’m busy on the homefront.
and so here are my top tips for working from home:
– make a list of jobs that you HAVE to get done each day/that week so you can prioritise and not forget anything. Include the personal/family jobs in the list too. Nothing like the feeling of crossing things off a list.
– I don’t do phone calls! Unless you are my grandma or my nana. I do email and text msgs and will answer the phone but I’m not a phone call maker. I never have been. Anyone who has called me will know there is no peace and quiet in this house. And also phone calls can tend to go on a bit too long. I’m a girl, I like to talk. If I have to do a call then I schedule it for the day we have our nanny in so I can be guaranteed a little peace and quiet. I don’t know what it is with little people but as soon as you are on that phone they need something or decide to do something they shouldn’t do.
– if you’re really struggling with time and getting things done then get someone in to help you – whether it’s a student or friend to help you with your business for a few hours or giving you an extra pair of hands on the homefront. If you are making some money then using a bit of that money to get some help could mean you’re in business for longer and a little less stressed out. Or pay them in product!
– when you have deadlines take your laptop to the playroom and outside. I am pretty lucky that having so many little ones means they all play together. This afternoon a littlest pet shop jigsaw and pretending we had a fairy cupcake shop had everyone involved and let me catch up on emails and get some washing done and out on the line.
– don’t let your inbox get out of control. But I don’t know the solution to this because I have over 12,000 emails in mine but I’m getting better at deleting as I go and putting things into folders. It’s just there is a lot of history in my inbox. If you’ve got a secret for a fabulous email inbox then please let me know.
– school pick up is a great time to check emails and msgs and get on your facebook page. I can have up to 3 of the little ones asleep in the back of the van and it’s a good time to check emails and msgs. I like to get to school early for a good park so it’s also a great time to grab a bit of knitting.
– think about which social media is best for you and your work. I was so reluctant to join instagram because I was a little maxxed out in the social media department. I love facebook because my readers are all there, twitter moves too fast and sucks me in and is not necessarily productive so I’m not on there much, pinterest is fun and is great for feeding time or when I’m a bit bored, instagram is how I record my day to day stuff……..and I hang out where my readers are.
– make sure you have lots of times where the computer and phone are switched off! For me this is my baking time, my craft time, my tv time and my taking the little ones out and about. This is us this morning trying to water the garden – we all got wet but had fun while doing a job on my list!
– if you can’t get much done during the day then use your night times productively. I am a night owl which is good and bad….I tend to write most of my blog posts at night, do the photos in the day, team them together, check and double check them and publish either super early in the morning or later in the day. The bad of working at night is that I can feel myself drifting off to sleep while sitting upright with the laptop.
– oh and work on your eyes in the back of your head! Elodie has discovered climbing on to everything and climbing up the stairs faster than I can say ‘where is elodie!’ So make sure you can see everyone and everyone can see you. If I want to sit and do an hours work during the daytime I get snacks out, drink bottles ready, toys out and sit nearby. Everyone can see everyone and I can sit for a while. I love that emerson naps in the daytime.
– Our laundry is next to the downstairs bathroom so every time I go to the bathroom I chuck a load of washing in or fill up the basket. I put the basket next to the door and get it out and take little people outside for a good run around.
– remember you’re not perfect at everything! Oh boy, the pressure we put on ourselves! Lose weight, look good, be fit, have a clean and perfect house, have your kids in 50 million after school activities, help out at school, work from home, cook all your meals from scratch……….who can be perfect at everything! Work out your priorities – clearly exercise is not one of mine but trying to eat right is so I might not be exercising but I am trying to eat right and that makes me feel better. I tidy after dinner or bath time and then again before bed. Not much point in tidying too much before little people have finished playing…..
– don’t overcommit! this is a hard one but know your limits and your workload. Keeping a good calender of what you have on – again both workwise and personally for the family means you can see what is coming up and whether you can take on more or not.
– and lastly always have a good supply of snacks stashed away. Unfortunately there is no vending machine in the home office so I like to know that when deadlines are looming or I’m having a crazier than crazy day that I can find a bit of chocolate in my pantry.
And I’d love to hear if you’re working from home or have any top tips to add. Or maybe you have a question? Fire away………………
p.s my last market is next Saturday 17th November at Leichardt Town Hall from 9am -1pm. I’m clearing all stock out including some lovely new stuff so I can makeover my craft room in time for Christmas. www.mathildasmarket.com.au Come on down and say hi! I love a chat!