This week, we had the chance to chat with Kellee! She is a wonderful mom, friend and mentor! With a hectic schedule, she knew life would pass by way too fast if she did not make a career change. Fortunately, Kellee found Moms Making Six Figures and was able to achieve the balance she craved. But, with every career comes a challenge of prioritizing what is truly important – read on to see how Kellee manages this task in her life! Read More!
Meet Jennifer! She is not only one of our mentors at Mom’s Making Six Figures, but first and foremost, a dedicated mom to her two beautiful daughters. We asked Jennifer if she would be willing to share some advice as a successful working mom. Because whether you are a new mom, or a seasoned-pro, work and home-life balance is something that we are all in search for… Read More!
Over the last couple weeks, I discussed the two main challenges of working from home: Maintaining self-discipline and dealing with a lack of community. In the final article in this series, I’m taking a closer look at some of the other, often overlooked, challenges of working from home.
When you’re at a corporate job in an office building, working from home seems like the ultimate scenario: A flexible schedule, time with your kids, and the ability to work without someone breathing down your neck. What’s not to love? However, once you begin working from home, you quickly realize that it has some downsides of its own.
No job is without its challenges, and I would still choose working from home any day over a typical 9-to-5 career! Let’s look at some of the lesser-known challenges you may face as a work-from-home mom and how to overcome them.
Being a mom means juggling a whole host of responsibilities. From school pickups to drop-offs, grocery store runs to cleaning the house, the old saying is true: A woman’s work is never done! It’s no surprise then that when you work from home, there are many distractions that may keep you from actually working.
You may find yourself starting the laundry before you start your work, thinking, “I’ll just do this one thing real quick and knock it off my to-do list.” But before you know it, you end up cleaning the entire house and it’s time to pick up the kids—the day is gone! Does this sound all too familiar? If so, welcome to work-from-home motherhood!
To avoid being side-tracked by chores, schedule in laundry day and other chores. Be sure to order your work around your busy mom life.
You may also want to designate a working space separate from your living space, if possible, to help you stay productive and prevent you from seeing the distractions. It will also put distance between you and the refrigerator—another go-to distraction for work-from-home moms.
2. Dealing with the (Un)Reliability of Employees
If you’ve set up a business at home and hired a remote employee, you face a whole new set of problems. What if you send them a retainer and they never do the work? Or they do the work, but it’s far below expectations? You’ll either need to find a new worker or train the existing one—both of which take valuable time.
One way to combat this is to use well-known, reliable platforms when hiring freelancers. Sites like Upwork or Freelancer may offer some protection for both parties, while giving you the peace of mind that someone else is actively vetting them. You have enough on your plate without having to chase down and hound irresponsible workers!
3. Missing Out on Employee Benefits
Your corporate job may have drained the life out of you, but it had its benefits—literally.
Medical insurance and paid sick leave are just two luxurious benefits that few of us who are working from home can afford to offer ourselves. Often, if you’re just starting out working from home, time spent not working means no income—and if you can’t afford benefits, then you definitely can’t afford to have no income!
The thing is, while no one plans to fall ill, we all inevitably get sick at some point. The best thing to do is to plan and prepare financially for times when you may be sick or simply want to take a vacation. This means making saving and planning a priority, no matter how difficult it may be.
With no company to look after you, it’s all up to you—don’t let yourself down! This article offers more helpful advice and tips on saving money as a work-from-home mom.
4. The Dreaded Question: “What do you do?”
You are going to have to explain to a lot of people what you do because, most of the time, there probably won’t be one word to describe your profession. Then there’s the assumption that usually comes after your answer, as people imagine you lounging in your pajamas all day.
There will always be someone with something to say when you go against the norm. Stay confident in your choice to work from home and don’t worry about what others think. You have your reasons for choosing this lifestyle and it’s helpful to recall those reasons when you get discouraged.
Remember what you’re doing this for—time with your kids, quality of life, dream house—and keep your eyes on that prize! Don’t let anyone make you second-guess yourself.
It may also be helpful to have a concise and well-rehearsed answer ready when you’re inevitably asked this dreaded question. Your confidence will lend you credibility, and when you sound confident, people are less likely to doubt you.
Working from Home: It’s All About Willpower
As with everything in life, your willpower is what will help you overcome challenges. For some, working from home might sound like the easy way out. But, for those of us who experience the work-at-home lifestyle, we know it involves a lot of hard work and willpower.
To fully reap the rewards of a work-from-home lifestyle, you’ll have to learn—and do—what works best for you. Trust me, you’ll find your sweet spot when it comes to work-life balance eventually.
To learn more about how to find success as a work-from-home mom, contact us at www.momsmakingsixfigures.com or (858) 837-1505.
When you think about working from home, three things probably come to mind: Sleeping in, working in your pajamas, and having a flexible schedule. Sounds perfect, right?
But, working from home isn’t necessarily an 8-hour pajama party. Whether you’ve just started or you’ve been working from home for some time, you’ve probably discovered that there’s another side to working from home: avoiding the temptation to procrastinate.
In this three-part series, I’ll look at some of the challenges of working from home and how to tackle them to fully reap the rewards of working from home.
Let’s start with self-discipline.
Do deadlines always seem to creep up on you? With no boss around to check your hours and no set schedule, it’s easy to find yourself relaxing a little too much before reality sends you scrambling.
This lack of discipline can affect your productivity and, ultimately, your success. Here are 5 tips to harness your self-discipline to enjoy the full benefits of working from home.
1. Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Start off simple and keep your goals realistic.
If you’re like me and you love to check things off your to-do list, then do yourself a favor and keep your list short and sweet! Set only one or two “must do” tasks for the day. Giving yourself too much to do will be overwhelming and discourage you from finishing your list.
Once you determine the bare minimum for your to-do list, remember that it’s exactly that, a starting point—build on it little by little until you find your productivity sweet spot. If you can only work when the kids are in school, do that. If you need to break your work day up into 2 or 3 hour chunks to accommodate your toddler’s nap times, do that.
Figure out what schedule works best for you and stick to it.
2. Wake Up Early
The temptation to sleep in is huge when you have no office to go to and no boss breathing down your neck if you show up late. You may even ask yourself, “What’s the rush on this project, anyway?”
However, studies have shown that the earlier you wake up, the more productive you are. According to Inc.com, morning people are more proactive, and as work-from-home moms, proactivity is the name of the game. All of this is actually great news for us moms since most of us have little walking alarm clocks that rarely give us the option to oversleep!
I’ve found that one of the keys to my productivity is rising before my darling little alarm clocks wake up so that I can clear my head and plan my day in peace. That’s not to say that your late night hours can’t be productive. But, let’s face it—as a mom, being a night owl is difficult and exhausting. Because your kids are most active during the day, it makes sense that you’ll need to be, too.
Continue to wake up at the time you used to wake up when you had an office job. But this time around, start your day by relishing the fact that you’re not rushing out the door with a piece of toast in your mouth, frantically throwing on your heels as you head out for a 12-hour work day.
3. Get Dressed
As tempting as it is to stay in your pajamas all day—don’t do it! Pajamas leave your brain in sleepy mode.
When you think of business attire, what comes to mind? An outfit that radiates focus, power, professionalism, control, and self-discipline. That’s the frame of mind you need to be in even when working at home.
Remember, if you look the part, it’s easy to act the part. You want to be self-disciplined? Then dress like you mean it!
4. Stay Ahead of Deadlines
As a mom, we all know that things don’t always go as planned—okay, they pretty much never go as planned! Plus, there are those moments when we just need a little time-out from everything.
As work-at-home moms, the temptation in those moments is to say to ourselves, “I’ll do it later,” or, “I can just finish this tomorrow.” Once you start saying that, before you know it, it’s the day before the deadline and you’ve made no progress.
Anticipate and prepare for those needed time-outs and crazy days by staying ahead of your deadlines. This will help ensure that when you do give yourself a much needed day off, you can do so guilt-free!
5. Reward Yourself
Speaking of guilt-free days off—what an excellent way to reward yourself for the hard work you’ve done!
This tactic is similar to “bribing” your kids into doing their chores, except it’s for you. Do your work before you go get your nails done. Or, treat yourself to ice cream. Whatever motivates you!
Some may call it bribery, but I call it a well-deserved reward. Just make sure you’re disciplining yourself so that your reward really is well deserved. You could even put in a few extra hours from Monday to Thursday and give yourself Friday off. This would give you extra time to yourself to do whatever you want while the kids are in school.
Self-Discipline and Working from Home: Create Good Habits
Some of these tips may seem like temporary fixes, like rewarding yourself with a trip to the nail salon for getting your work done. But you’ll soon discover that once you get into a groove, these tips will become good habits.
With time and practice you’ll learn to silence the procrastinator in you and become a lean, mean, self-disciplined machine! Ultimately, your work schedule will reflect your determination and endurance.
In Part 2, I’ll take a look at another big challenge when it comes to working from home: Lack of community. I’ll share helpful tips for battling the isolation that can drive you crazy.
Looking for a different approach to working from home? Reach out to us at Moms Making Six Figures to learn how we can help you better balance your career and family life!
When I started a small part-time business 2 ½ years ago, I had no idea that it would grow to the full-time business is it today, allowing me to walk away from a corporate career I spent 15 years building! When I tell people I work from home and have replaced a corporate salary within 2 years, I usually get one of two responses – “I don’t know how you get anything done,” or “I wish could do that.”
I feel that many of my friends who are also moms like me think the flexibility of working from home sounds amazing, but they aren’t sure they have what it takes to be productive. I’ll admit that you can become easily distracted, but here are 10 tips I’ve learned along the way.
1. Establish a Schedule
I know for many moms this can seem difficult (especially if you have young children), but it’s a critical element to successfully working from home.
If you do not have a schedule and do not set your intentions for the day, you will waste more time trying to figure out what work to do versus actually getting work done. It doesn’t have to be an hour by hour schedule, but something that becomes routine.
For example, I like to use Mondays as my office day to make calls, send follow-up emails, write my social media posts for the week, and set appointments with current and potential clients – anything office related. Tuesdays through Thursdays, I usually schedule an hour of office/desk time but spend the majority of those days on appointments and networking with others. I like Fridays to be my day to tie up loose ends and tackle all of the tasks that I necessarily pushed off. I have a daily list – I know I have had a productive day when I see all the things crossed off of my list. Even if you only work 2 or 3 hours per day on whatever it is you do from home, it is important to have that time blocked off and know what you intend to accomplish during those hours.
You can accomplish a lot in 1 hour if it’s a focused, distraction-free hour; if you try to squeeze in 5-10 minutes here and there, you’ll likely find yourself stuck in the same spot for weeks.
2. Establish Boundaries
I truly believe this is where most moms struggle. I have a designated work-space in my home. When I am in my work-space during my work hours, I do not spend any of that time answering personal emails or personal calls (unless it’s my kids’ school or my husband, which are really the only exceptions). My kids are now 4 and 7, so we had a conversation in terms they understand; if Mommy is at her desk on the phone, it is not the time to interrupt. And I’m realistic when I’m planning my work schedule, so when my kids are home (day off of school or in the summer), I typically don’t spend more than an hour at a time at my desk. Instead, I’ll break up my work day explaining “it’s Mommy’s hour to work” and give them 2-3 choices of things they can pick to do during that hour. You may or may not agree with this method, but I believe children need to learn to entertain themselves for short periods of time (i.e. it helps them practice self-discipline). I have even caught them playing “office,” mimicking me making my calls, etc. On the flip-side, my kids know they will have my full attention during play-time.
By setting the boundaries and schedule, you won’t have to worry about the guilt of empty promises of “just give me 10 more minutes and we’ll play then…” Your family will appreciate the boundaries. They will learn to recognize when Mom is working and when she is available, rather than constantly interrupting because they’re competing for your attention.
3. Know When You Need childcare
Sure, I started my own business to have more time with my children, but there are times when you may have to put in more hours or attend a meeting and it simply wouldn’t be appropriate to bring your children along. If your children are not yet in school and you work from home, find a reliable form of childcare for the times it is needed, even if it means swapping playdates with a friend.
4. Get Out of Your House
This might be difficult for moms with small children, which is why I mentioned #3. I understand that one of the main reasons we choose to work from home is because we want more time with our children. But working from home can be a bit lonely. While a lot of connecting begins through social media, real relationships are still developed in person. Make attending local networking groups, trainings or events a part of your regular schedule. That’s where you can meet potential clients, colleagues and mentors to support you on your journey. I recently attended a LinkedIn class and not only did I meet great people, but I also chose an activity that would benefit me professionally.
5. Evaluate Your Activities and Priorities
I was a busy corporate mom before I started my own business and either way, when you add a new responsibility, you have to let go of something. No one is going to do this for you. You have to be the one to evaluate your current activities and obligations and decide where your time is best spent. I started by clearing out my DVR; I still like to binge-watch Fixer Upper every now and again, I love me some Chip and Joanna, but TV can be one of the biggest time wasters.
Be clear about your priorities in life and focus on them. Cut down on activities and obligations that don’t help with your priorities. (i.e. TV watching, magazine reading, social activities, mindless Internet surfing, etc.) Make every moment of your life count. Do only what helps you achieve your goals. Learn how to say no without guilt. I really wanted to serve on my daughter’s school’s parent teacher committee this past year but when I looked at the time and commitment, I realized I was still establishing myself as a business owner and balancing my time as a mother. I still contribute, just not by serving as a committee member.
6. Hold Family Meetings
Make sure your spouse understands your business, your goals and your priorities. My husband travels 50-70% of the time for work but he still likes to understand what I am working towards with regard not only to my schedule, but how our children will be cared for on my busy days, as well. We also involve our children at times. When I first started my business, our daughters understood that Mommy had to work really hard and a lot of hours so she could quit her job and be the one to take them to and from school. My husband and I explained that we needed their help, which included doing their chores without complaining, getting ready on time in the morning and understanding that Mommy would have to work late sometimes during what looked to be a very busy upcoming year. To increase their willingness to be helpful, we promised them Disneyland passes if they followed through. Let’s just say incentives work wonders with young children!
7. Get Your Rest
Remember when you had your first child and everyone said “Nap when the baby naps.” I hated hearing that! I used to think “but what about the laundry? I need a shower.” I soon realized an overly tired Mommy wasn’t good for my husband or the baby, so I napped. I am not saying to take naps, but if you are up working until midnight or 1:00 am to work on your business while the kids are sleeping – stop! Lack of sleep will catch up with you and won’t be good for anyone. Go back and read #2. It is possible to work while your kids are awake. Even powerhouse mompreneurs need their beauty rest!
8. Get and Keep Your Home Organized
An organized home will demand less time for upkeep, while a cluttered home will require constant work and suck your energy. Don’t even think of starting a home-based business or working from home until your house has been decluttered and organized and your household maintenance systems are in place. Set up daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and yearly routines for house cleaning. For example, I throw in a load of laundry every morning, it goes in the dryer when kids come home from school and is folded and put away before we go to bed at night. I wipe down the bathrooms Monday morning and wash all the bedding on Thursdays; it doesn’t matter what you do or when, but create your system and stick to it.
9. Dress for Success
I know your PJs are comfy and one of the perks working from home should be that you don’t have to get dressed up BUT, you still have to get dressed, even to work from home. I’m not sitting here in my power suit and heels, but you do need to get out of your PJs and slippers. I wear something comfortable and casual that I can wear outside the house. I even put on my basic makeup. My rule of thumb is – be presentable enough to meet a potential client. If you’re physically ready for anything, your mind will be as well. Believe it or not, this will make you more productive.
10. Let Go
Let go of the idea that you can do it all. Maybe this should have been #1. You can’t clean the house, do all the laundry, run the errands, pay attention to your husband, answer 100 emails per week, plan and prepare dinner every night, print pictures to mail to grandma, volunteer at school, bake cookies for the church bake sale and grow your business…all by yourself. Get over being perfect. If you have the luxury of doing so – hire someone to clean the house. It’s okay if you have to buy the cookies. Ask your spouse to help out a little bit around the house. Feel “OK” if you can’t do it all – remember why you started – to have more time with your family; they won’t mind if the cookies are store-bought. When you are 86, what will you look back and treasure the most? You’ll either look back and love the time you had with your family or wish you had made more time for family. Live in the moment so you can look back and actually remember these moments.
It’s time we all admitted it: whether we like it or not, work is a major part of our lives. And more often than not, it finds its way into our personal lives—usually uninvited.
In today’s world, competition is on a global scale, and multi-tasking is the order of the day. With advancements in technology, everything is “now now now” and “go go go.” While you might brush off your work-centric lifestyle as simply being hardworking, this leakage of work into the rest of your life isn’t always a good thing.
These pressures in the workplace can overwhelm even the toughest among us and have a detrimental effect on our health and personal life. Balancing work and home life is a challenge for many, but add the title of mom to the equation and it’s a whole different ball game. Although us moms are the queens of multi-tasking and getting things done, stretching oneself too thin often comes at a cost—to our health.
If you find yourself having to constantly sacrifice your health, your family, and yourself for your career, something isn’t right. We all have different tolerance levels, but if you’re in an unhealthy work situation, you likely already know deep down (especially with that great mom instinct!) that lines need to be drawn and changes made regarding work.
The question many of us face is: What do you do when your job is literally draining the life out of you? How do you draw the line when your career leaves you no time for self-care (or anything else really) and is directly affecting your health and well-being? I’ve pulled together a few techniques to help you start putting yourself first.
Break Up Your Work
As super responsible moms and employees, we try to do it all with the limited amount of time allotted to us each day. As I mentioned in my post on self-care a couple weeks ago, it’s so easy to lose sight of yourself and your own needs as a working mom. Whether it’s at home or in the workplace, we’re constantly sacrificing our own well-being to meet the needs and demands of others.
That needs to stop, now! Make a conscious effort to break up your work day in healthy, productive ways that will make you feel better and give you more motivation overall. Try the following to prioritize your health at work:
Take that lunch break. Stop squeezing in your lunch between meetings or on your way to pick up the kids. Start by taking some time to sit down and enjoy a healthy meal, and let that be the only thing you do during this time. Don’t eat lunch and check emails. By taking some time out to nourish yourself without distractions, you’ll find you have more energy to finish your work and do something fun later.
Don’t overcommit. Prioritize your work for the day with two or three main items that you know you can reasonably complete during work hours. Before accepting responsibility for a new project, consider whether it means you’ll have to overextend yourself. Remember, stretching yourself too thin easily compromises your self-care.
Take a day off. Regularly. You have vacation days for a reason, right?! Your boss can survive without you, no matter what he or she may say.
Consider Alternatives to the Corporate Lifestyle
Being a working mom is no easy task. And we all know that being financially stable is an important part of our lives, especially when we have kids to provide for. But there is more than one way to achieve this, especially when your job comes between you and your health. Without your health, you aren’t much help to your company, your family, or yourself. Perhaps it’s time to consider an alternative?
Working from home, when done right, can be a great solution to achieving your financial goals and taking care of yourself and your family. Having the freedom to work on your own time—a time that works for your health and lifestyle—with no limits to your earning potential will give you peace of mind rather than added stress. And let’s be honest, stress and the corporate world often go hand in hand. Take the time to look into work-at-home options that will fit your needs.
It’s All About Setting Boundaries
“‘No’ is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott
How nice it would be to simply tell your boss “no” and leave it at that. But the point here is to set boundaries, both with others and with yourself. There’s a difference between compromise and sacrifice, so it’s important to identify what your boundaries or limits are, and communicate them clearly to your boss or coworkers from the beginning.
What makes you feel uncomfortable? When a colleague calls you with a work issue at 11pm and wakes you up from some hard-earned shut-eye? In this case, communicate to your team which hours you’re available for work-related calls (say 8am to 8pm at the latest!), instead of accepting calls at all hours. Continuing to give in to corporate demands and inadvertently be taken advantage of due to a lack of set boundaries only creates a domino effect in your life, negatively impacting your health and your personal life (or lack thereof!).
Get Back to Prioritizing You!
Work-life balance isn’t an unobtainable thing. It is very much a real possibility—and it’s important to achieve for your own sanity and health. By setting boundaries, breaking up your work, and even considering alternative career options, you’ll soon be placing your own health—and that of your family—first rather than always coming in last.
“The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.” – Shannon L Alder
Here at Moms Making Six Figures, we want to help you achieve that elusive work-life balance and start putting your health first. Contact us at (858) 837-1505 or www.momsmakingsixfigures.com to learn how you can work from home on your own terms.