Okay all of you business moms out there, this episode is for you. I started my business in 1999, six years before I had my twins. But I remember being worried about how I was going to manage my business and continue to grow once they were born.
I know I’m not alone. So on today’s episode, I’m going to share what I’ve learned now that my twins are 18 about balancing motherhood and my career! Lets dive in.
I hear from talented photographers all the time who love their craft and really want to turn it into a business but are worried about balancing both a business and a family.
They’re afraid the business will take too much time.
That it will pull them away from their kids.
The belief is that you can’t have a successful business without giving 200% of your time to it- and when you have a family, that is just impossible to do.
Well the good news is, you can absolutely be a great mom, great parent and also build and grow a thriving business.
I’m living proof that it is 100% possible.
I was a full-time stay at home mom to my twins when they were little, and even through their teenage years.
I was at home in the morning helping them get out the door, I was there when they got home.
When they were little I walked them to school and picked them up. I volunteered. I ran carpool. I did all the “mom” things that I wanted to do, while running and growing my business.
But I did learn a few things along the way about balancing the two that I’m going to share with you today. So here we go.
Tip #1: Remember you get to build a business that works for YOU!
The great thing about having your own business is that you are the boss, so that means, you make up the rules.
You get to set your schedule, you get to decide who you work with and you even get to decide how much you get paid!
How amazing is that?
Having that kind of freedom and flexibility makes us some of the luckiest people in the world!
BUT, I know it doesn’t always feel that way!
Running a business can be hard. I’ve been mentoring and coaching other photographers for over ten years now, and I see a lot of people, mostly women, forget that they are actually the boss in their business and that as the boss, they get to make the rules.
Instead, they put a lot of pressure on themselves to work hours that aren’t a good fit for them.
They take on work they don’t want to do because they think they should.
And they set rates for themselves that are too low, so the work they are doing isn’t really profitable.
Creating a work/life balance starts with knowing what your needs are and what your family’s needs are, and then creating a business that actually accommodates those needs.
But to do that, you need to know what you want.
Tip #2: Ask yourself what YOU want
So what do you want?
When my twins were little it was important to me to stay home with them. I worked hard to get pregnant. I struggled with infertility and those babies were two little magical miracles to me. And I wanted to be with them.
I didn’t want to send them to childcare, not because I have judgment around that -I don’t – I just really wanted the experience of being home with them while they were little.
So to accommodate that, I set up my schedule so that I only saw clients on the weekend when my husband would be home to take over childcare duties.
As they grew and started school, our needs shifted!
I wanted more time with them on the weekends, when they weren’t in school, so I changed my schedule so that I no longer worked on Sundays. And I made sure my rates were profitable, so when I was away, it was worth it.
Was it always easy?
Did I work during nap times and after they went to bed?
But when things got hard I would remind myself that I’m the boss, which means I get to make the rules.
So if the rules needed to change, I gave myself the freedom to change them.
And I encourage you to do the same. Especially when your kids are little.
Remember, you run your business, not the other way around!
Tip #3: Set clear boundaries, with your clients AND your family
Another piece of advice for moms who are balancing family and business is this. Set clear boundaries, with both your family and your business.
Your family needs to know that what you do is a “real” job and that it needs to be treated with respect.
I see way too many (mostly) women- trying to squeeze in time for their business in between everything else. So they work when they should be doing things like eating and sleeping- and that’s not good for anyone.
When you have clear boundaries, you have work time and you have family time, both are healthier.
So when you are at work, treat it like work. And let your family know!
Likewise, when you are with your family, set the boundary that work time is over! That means, no answering email or texting clients over dinner, at the park or when you’re in bed.
Trust me on this one… you will be so much happier!
I had terrible boundaries for years and it left me feeling like a failure as a mom and as a business owner. No matter what I was doing, I always felt like I was being pulled in the other direction!
That stopped when I reminded myself, that A) I’m the boss and get to make the rules and B) I set boundaries with my family and with my business.
Tip #4: Create systems
Setting and keeping boundaries gets a whole lot easier when you have systems set up in your business to help with efficiency.
When you are at work and away from your family, you need systems so you are not wasting your precious time re-inventing the wheel!
Creating systems for marketing, onboarding, session flow, sales and post session flow will save you SO much time!!! We all know that when you’re in business, time is money. But when you’re a parent, time is EVERYTHING, because kids grow really fast!
Having systems in place will help you make the most of your time away from your family.
It’s also really good for your business because when you create systems and automate things like marketing, scheduling, sales and post production, you have more time to work with paying clients!
I spend a lot of time teaching specific systems for everything I mentioned above to the photographers inside of Sandra Coan Certification, and what I see over and over again, is that putting the systems I teach into practice has a direct result in helping people spend LESS time working while also booking MORE clients and making MORE money!
Tip #5: Get help when you need it
My last piece of advice is this.
You don’t have to do it alone.
Photography can be a very isolating job. Most of us work alone. We don’t have colleagues to bounce ideas off of. We don’t have people who understand our industry to ask for advice.
It can be hard.
If you are struggling in your business.
If you need help setting boundaries, getting more clients, creating systems to make it all easier AND you want to feel CONFIDENT in what you do, and kick imposter syndrome to the curb, get your name on the waitlist for Sandra Coan Certification NOW.
This program is an absolute game changer! And you will be shocked at how far you can go with a little help and support.
I’ll link the waitlist in the show notes!
And if you are struggling with work/life balance, remember, you are the boss! So you get to make the rules. Create a business that works for you and your needs, and trust me, you’ll be so much happier!