Running a business isn't always as glamorous as it seems. Sometimes its hard to see the truth of a growing company behind a beautiful website. Add in motherhood, and you've got a whole lot of priorities fighting for the first in line.
I think mothers have the best business minds because we know how to CEO like no other. We run entire households, manage schedules, throw killer parties, and love with all our souls. We know how to budget and dream, and create beautiful things out of very little sometimes.
Here are five truths that I've lived through growing Little Sun Hat.
1. Your family comes first. Always.
Inevitably someone is going to get sick. Someone is going to need you in the middle of the night. And you shouldn't "just check Instagram real quick" at a soccer game. Yes, you have this new baby business in your life, and it takes a ton of care and hand holding especially at the beginning when you're figuring out what the heck this new thing is, but you can't check out of your real life.
At the risk of sounding like the annoying little old lady at the grocery, you don't want to miss a thing at home. Your family will only be "this little" for a short time. In the almost four years of growing Little Sun Hat, I sometimes wonder when did my baby and toddlers become kids? Did I really soak every moment up with them at that stage as I could have. Then I shake it off, because who needs that mom-guilt trip.
But really, family comes first here.
Emails can wait.
Sorry if you're waiting on an email from me. ;)
2. Your office might be your dining room, the neighborhood Starbucks, or even your car.
Meetings and emails. Emails and meetings. I have schlepped fabric samples to the gym, held meetings in the Los Angeles fabric district alleyways, and Face Timed with a naked toddler in my lap. I have walked trade shows with babies strapped to my chest, and drug my sweet husband to all sorts of craft shows. Business Mama gets done what needs to get done.
It wasn't until last summer that we moved Little Sun Hat out of our home dining room "office" and into a space in our hometown downtown. Going to work every day makes me work harder and smarter (hello commercial space rent) but also has me re-evaluating our company needs and growth plan. Do what you can, use what you have, especially in the beginning stage.
3. You are going to forget something. Probably many things.
Multitasking is not that easy. Oftentimes when you start a mom-owned business you do everything. The creating, the photographing, the marketing, the selling, the shipping, the follow up, the "wait how many products in each season am I supposed to have", and then there is the paperwork and accounting. Basically its up to you to keep every plate spinning in the air and then switch gears to make dinner.
Give yourself a break. The new business starting and growing pains season is seemingly long and you may wonder why the heck you started in the first place. But figure out a way to do what you do best, and forget the rest. Don't literally forget to clean your bathroom, but maybe ask a friend who loves you more than anything to come over a help out an hour a week or so. You'll return the favor as soon as you can.
4. You might change your mind. Or maybe you just need to change your hair.
And it's okay. The most stressful thing about being a mom run business is that there is no road map. Maybe you decide that the path you've started on isn't the one that feels right. The best thing about being a mom run business is that there is no road map! You can totally pivot and keep working on finding what you love.
Trying a new hair cut/color for a while usually helps me out of the funk, and I fall back in love with the work I've started.
5. You have to take care of yourself.
If you're struggling and wondering why your business isn't moving in the direction you want it to go, try these three things I've been working on. You will be happier, your children will be happier. Your business will benefit from a leader with a clear mind.
a: If you drink soda, cut it out. Today. I am addicted to soda, and if I bring it into my office/house I will drink it all.day.long. (Now, we all need a little soul food here and there, but I think we get into the mentality of "treat yo self" way too much. And the things we use to treat ourselves usually aren't life giving. Instead of grabbing that soda, I started drinking sparkling water. Instead of ordering pizza after a hard day, I have been asking our older kids to help out. Now Spaghetti Squash and a decadent salad is our go -to. Learn how to make an amazing sauce, its not that hard and its so much better for you than store bought.)
b: If you aren't exercising, start by taking a walk everyday. Even if its only 15-20 minutes. I've been exercising with the Kayla Itsines app, and I love that its short and I don't have to think about whats coming next, that I can do it at home or a gym. And there is a huge community of ladies doing it with me.
c: Mama, please put your phone away at night. This is still something I struggle with, and I'm working on un-plugging at 5pm until the next morning. Its so hard. But giving my family my full attention, and getting enough sleep is life-giving. You don't realize how much you need it until you actually get a full nights sleep.
d: If your brain is too full of things you need to do, make a list. Make a hundred lists if you need to. Just get things out of your brain for a moment and out into the open. Prioritizing what needs to be done, and what can wait will help in your day to day.
Bonus tip: keep your life simple. You don't have to say yes to everything. Love your family, love yourself, and love your work.