Firstly, can I say, that is totally a setup! And secondly, yes you read that right.
Why are babies good for business? Why are they bad for business?
That is a matter of opinion, but mine is; you can have the best of both worlds if you allow it.
After all, if you are about to or have started a business to fit around your family, then don't let anyone, and I mean ANYONE fool you into thinking it's a bad idea.
In fact, there are more and more mumtrepreneurs popping up all over the planet, rocking a business to their terms, and having babies in tow.
People ask me ALL the time, how I manage to fit it all in.
I have 3 children between me and my husband; Emma-Jane 9yo, Olivia 2.5yo (going on 17 years if I may add), and Brody 1yo. All of which have their own little-superpowered personalities.
I have organised Alfresco Bites, Bloom Collective and Black Fox Creative, all from home, whilst raising babies.
You cannot tell me, ever, actually in a million years, to go back to working full time for someone, when I'm living proof, that you CAN actually have a successful business, and fully functional family, but it comes with compromise, challenges, and opportunities, that all and all has balance.
So here are some of my tips for you, if you do decide to keep your dream of having a business and babies;
Not once, did I ever think that counselling was a bad idea.
This comes in many forms, your parents, your mentors, your counsellors, your doctors, your friends, your family, but most importantly yourself.
The one nugget that you need to write down, safe keep, scream out loud; you can not make your family, or your business successful if you do not give yourself room to breathe. That is going out, doing the things you used to enjoy prior to kids, hell, do it without the kids, and the husband. Invest in yourself.
Food is also a HUGE partner in crime or dimes for your business, your stomach is the second brain, and if you are filling it with crap, then you will perform in the exact same way.
Exercise, it doesn't even matter if you walk around just to get some fresh air. It will give you space to be in the moment, and hey, you may even get a bit of inspiration on your walk to your local coffee shop. Paddock in Cambridge is my favourite hang out, it's my Zen zone. It gives me peace, conversations with adults and freaking wholesome, and delicious food. Winning at life when I am there.
HAH, that was supposed to be a short version, but any...how...,
2: Surround yourself with things you love, and that inspire you
Kids can be draining, grizzly and sometimes in a matter of minutes state of full peace, happiness and joy, all because you kissed it better.
If I don't get worn out but their emotional demands (of course age and stage), it is nice to head into a hot cup of tea when they are in bed (IF THEY SLEEP!!!!) and dive into a wonderful magazine, or do some creative brainstorming.
You need to be curious about new innovations within your industry, more so, as it will spark some passion back into your business.
3. Realise that sometimes, the kids have to come first
If that means your cuppa goes cold, or you need to discuss your plans with your client if your kids get sick, then so be it.
Olivia was 13 months old I found out I was pregnant. I had just started the season of Alfresco Bites, and worked all the way through it pregnant, and did it single-handedly.
I remember when the season stopped, and that it was nearing the end of my pregnancy, I was getting quite anxious about me not earning a wage, and started my design work up again gradually when he was 6 months old. Something I didn't really want to do until he was at least one. After he was born, he ended up in the hospital a few times and my clients were more than understanding.
Also sometimes, they can take a little while to settle and sleep, and then in case you may have a rough night, just try not to be too hard on yourself. If they have had a hard night, then so have you.
Ask for help if you can. Sometimes I would put them into daycare for a few hours, as my family don't live within 30 minutes of us, and that would give us all enough respite to tackle and survive the rest of the day.
4. Communication is essential
To your partner, to your family, to your customers, to your friends, and yourself. If you are not coping, ask for support. If you need to take a break, say so. If you want to grow your business, reach out to others. If you want a mini holiday just to catch up on sleep, without the kids, then ask.
5. Know that not everyone will be on the same page as you
And that is ok. In fact, it is kind of powerful that they aren't. When people don't understand why you are bringing babies along to a professional meeting, then let that be inspirational for them. You are changing the world in the moment they see that it can be achievable.
What I used to do with Brody when he was 6 months old, was either plan the meeting on a time that he would be asleep, feed him prior or at least reschedule the meeting if I reaaaaalllly had to. Other times I would carry him in a sling, or take the pushchair, and carry on as normally as I could.
Most of the time, the clients use it as an icebreaker, and actually generally, dependent on your target audience, they could end up finding a lot to talk about with you. One time we got so caught up in talking about babies, that we didn't even cover the business we were there to discuss, we were both quite impressed by that and caught up via email briefly afterwards.
6. Be prepared and improvise if required
One thing babies do teach you is how to manage your time correctly and to be flexible.
I will tell you the number of times on my hand as to when the kids slept at the same time or even slept more than 2 hours at a time during the day.
Going out was much easier than it was staying home sometimes. When Brody was little I would often opt in for meetings out with clients, as he was far more interested in what was happening around us, and was quite content with people watching whilst sitting in his pram. Makes it a little trickier now that he is almost walking though.
Tips and tricks of the trade will come with time, as to what works efficiently or not. Often I would only get a 60 minute power hour to really dive into the design work, that I could do on my computer, or make phone calls in silence. Once they were awake, I would reply to emails, and send proofs that I had already attached the file loaded into a draft, that I just had to typeset it and hit send.
Sometimes I would work in the evenings, whilst hubby was home, and use Boomerang for Gmail for sending clients emails, as it would wait until a specific time to send it so that you could finish writing it at 10 pm, but the client won't get it until 9 am, for example. This way you can still set the expectations with your clients, without compromising your day to day routine.
You have to be flexible to their schedules, and as you may or may not know, babies do not have one.
Spend the time with them, they are only young once.
Admire their cries, their smiles, their toes, their hair, their smells and all the surprises that come with having a family. You can celebrate them, as well as have a successful business.
What I have found helpful is writing everything down in a diary, about my big hairy plans, and about all the "Stuff" that I need to get off my chest.
Your mindset is your biggest tool to gaining momentum in your life. If you can lead your thoughts in a positive way, you will find everything will start to change over time too. "What you focus on expands."
8. When you haven't got clients
Work on the business, get re-evaluating every nook and cranny of your business. What is working well, write it down, what is not, again, write it down. You have had a family now, which means your time is VERY precious. What can you automate to make it more time effective, and cost efficient?
When I had Olivia, was when I actually knew there was more to me than I realised. Although I had a fairly unusual birth experience, I know that it unlocked this HUGE potential in me. It's almost like I truly understood what I valued and what I didn't. Actually one of my really great besties who had babies before me said, "Taz, you'll be surprised as to what you learn you no longer have time for." She was right.
You choose what you do with your time, every moment, every task, every little investment you put into your career or family, is up to you. Although there will be moments where you feel like the universe is against you, it will surprise you with golden learnings "nuggets".
Which brings me to my last suggestion;
9. When all else fails, keep going
You didn't sacrifice your body, your mind, your soul, to go back to doing the same old unhappy job, or to miss out on your babies milestones.
Sometimes I get that people have to go back to work full time, and I really do get that. What I am suggesting here, is keep aiming for the stars, keep pushing for your dreams.
Even if they happen 10 years from now, you are manifesting your desired outcome by becoming obsessed with it.
Surround yourself with other Mums, Dads, Parents that are doing it. Surround yourself with people that keep you happy, and lift your spirits when the tears are rolling hard and fast. Surround yourself with your dreams. Keep going.
Kids are adventurous, kids are strong, kids are resilient, and so are you.
Don't let anyone talk you out of your dreams.