Making time for business as a working mother

Hello Leveraged Mamas! Here is the second instalment of my video diaries, where I share very honestly about how I go about making time for business, as a working mother. You can either watch it, listen to it, or read it (abridged version)! Yes that’s how much I value your time ♡

If you’d prefer the podcast:


Making time for business as a working mother - promotional image.

Photo by Matt Cannon on Unsplash

Today I’m going to be talking about making time for business as a working mother.

This is a Video Diaries post, the second one I’ve done. The last one was three months ago when I was just figuring things out, but I now have stuff to share with you that might help you on your journey.

The journey from working mother to online entrepreneur

One of the things I’ve become really clear about is that this blog is about a journey: from a salaried 9-5 working mum and journey to becoming an online entrepreneur, with complete flexibility over time and income.

I kind of knew this when I started the blog, but there were more motivational posts – I think these are quite important because the journey I want to take you on is actually a really big one.

From a stable job where you know you can go in, and you know you’re going to get holiday pay and you’re going to get sick pay – until they run out that is – and you’re going to get paid a regular amount at regular intervals.

To this big unknown land of being an entrepreneur – of generating your own income, and working your own hours, doing what you love, dealing with people you like, being around people that you like.

With any big journey you’e going to come up against fear and limiting beliefs, so I think these are a really important part of the transformation.

The entrepreneurial learning curve

The topic of todays’s post is about making time to actually focus on this new business. But as an entrepreneur, you’re not going into a known thing – it’s not like becoming an Avon lady or buying a franchise where you know exactly what to sell and how you will make money from it.

As an entrepreneur you’re actually discovering new things, so for me it’s not just about stepping into a business that becomes immediately profitable. There’s been a LOT of discovery.

I’ve had to be extremely committed to get to even this point. I’ve not made a cent – I have nothing to sell, I have nothing to offer you for you to pay for. So right now, every minute that I put into my business is a labour of love. It’s a hobby right now until I make any income.

So you need a certain level of commitment and drive to be committed to something like this. Because this is a long haul thing. I may not make any money from this business for some time yet.

This is where WHY comes into it

If I take you back to the beginning which wasn’t that long ago – just a few months. I was burned out, from working and breastfeeding a young baby. And I had just never really recovered from the sleep deprivation that we experienced when she was really young.

Back then I thought – how can I sustain this? How can I work more when I’m burned out on 4 days a week? We needed more money, because we needed to pay off debt and save. I couldn’t really understand how I was going to do that.

I was really worried about the future. I was worried about how we would deal with things once our baby was in pre-school, and we were subject to the 12 weeks school holidays that every parent has to deal with. We had just had a big round of sickness, where everyone was sick, and because we have very little family help, my husband and I have to deal with that so our annual leave and sick leave – just whittled away and we thought – how are we supposed to take an actual holiday with no leave left?

So that was when I thought – there must be a better way! What is a better way for me in my new lie as a mum – I need to generate more income but I need more flexibility, but I can’t work any more than I am now.

So that was the beginning, and what started driving me towards looking for different solutions, and a different lifestyle.

Teaching online?

That’s when I realised that I wanted to continue helping and teaching people – which is what I do a lot of in my professional role as an Agile coach. I help people enjoy their jobs more, I help businesses succeed with complex projects. I help teams work better together.  I help. This is my role and I really enjoy that side of it.

And I enjoy teaching and coaching people and helping them to do ways in better and new ways, so that they can succeed in business and in life.

So I realised that I wanted to continue doing that, but to get more flexibility, there needs to be less face to face and one on one teaching and more one to many – me to many.

How can I help people in a one to many fashion? Well I can teach and coach online – I can deliver my help and skills online; build up a digital product that people can come along and pay for and get something out of. \

Maybe it’s transactional, but maybe it’s transformational and they’re like wow this is a really big thing that I’ve learned from you. And that digital product is perpetual and I can improved that as I learn about how it’s helping people and how people are using it and the results they’re getting.

Maybe that’s an online course, maybe that’s an online coaching program, I don’t know yet.

So, simple right? No! Oh my gosh there’s so much to learn to be able to do that!

Ok I want to become an online entrepreneur, but there is just so much to figure out.

But teach what to whom…

What do I have to offer people?

Who can I help?

Who is my ideal audience?

Marketing – it’s a totally different world now. Traditionally, marketing and advertising was done in print, and television – broadcast to the masses. Now things have changed so much with social media where you can segment people down to the people you can really help.

I don’t have to mass market my product – but I can actually find you, the people that I can help, that I have something to give to, through social media.

So that’s a lot of new learning that I’ve had to do and am doing, so that I can figure out how to build a profitable online business.

How to deliver your message

How to write – you would have been my blog posts and how they’ve changed over time. I was very rusty at writing and I’m getting more into a flow of it now, but – learning how to write so that it engages people and gets your message across.

Along the way I’ve discovered that video is also a really effective medium for delivering your message, because people are time poor and maybe they’d like to listen on the go instead.

People prefer to see who I am rather than necessarily read my posts.

As you can see, for me to go from where I was to making a profitable online business – there’s a heap of learning, and that’s what I’ve been doing.

A lot of my time goes into learning.

Structuring time

So what I had to do – to create time for all this learning, to create time for writing and producing content, and figuring out my business model – I had to become really structured with my time, and also understand where it was going.

It’s a bit like money or food – if you want to start managing it then you start by seeing where it’s going first.

How I created time for my business

There was a few ways I created time.

#1 – I get up earlier

First of all – my daughter wakes at 6am, so I wake at 5am and write, or write my goals til 5.30, then get ready for work and by the time she’s up, we can have breakfast together.

So I claimed half an hour a day which has been really useful for me to get up and going and focus on my business first thing.

I’ve up until this point, worked during her nap times – I work 3 days a week and am home 2 days with her, but I’m really structured with that time. I know I’ve got around 2 hours during nap time to work so I decide exactly how I’m going to use that time before it starts. As you know as a parent though, it doesn’t always work out that way and we’ll talk about that in a bit.

#2 – I pull the occasional husband card

On Wednesdays my husband starts work early and finishes early so that I have a couple of hours in the afternoon to work on my business while he looks after our daughter.

#3 – I dedicate one whole day just for business!

And now – from today actually, extremely exciting – I now have one whole day a fortnight to focus solely on my business, as my daughter is with her carer and I am off work.  My husband and I met for a working brunch (as he’s a software engineer and is able to work remotely if he needs to). It was wonderful! A bit of time with each other which is a bonus.

So now I’m home – I wrote the outline for this video at brunch, and now I’m home recording it in chunks.

Different types of work have different needs

The content creating

I have to divvy my time up because writing and content creation is the creative stuff, where you have you have your head down and creating, and I don’t like to be interrupted.

The strategising

Then there is the strategising – like, figuring out, who is my audience, where am I going to find them? What do I have to offer them? What does my business model look like? What am I going to create that is going to be valuable to them? What is my content strategy?  So I don’t need to concentrate as much for that so I can do that any time.

The learning

Then there is the learning – I do a LOT of reading. I have three or four books on the go at any one time, a lot of them are entrepreneurial type books. I am also doing a course – Your First 1K with Femtrepreneur.  So that takes up quite a bit of time.

And then there are all the other things I want to think about just to do with my business – like researching other people that are doing similar things to what I’m doing, so that I can find other people in my niche.

So I have to be very very strategic and ruthless with my time.

The 3 biggest challenges so far

But this has not been without challenges.

Challenge #1 – Sleep issues

Sleep issues! My poor baby – she is two years old now, and she’s getting her two year old molars which are pretty painful for her, and they’ve caused her quite a lot of sleep disruption. The learning and reading in the evening has gone out the window for the past few weeks as there’s been a bit of crying before bed, so it’s taken a lot longer to get Mila to sleep.

Then we’ve had to cut her day naps to an hour as she hasn’t been sleepy in the evenings, and she’s starting to show signs that she doesn’t need that much sleep in the daytime, so where I used to have two hours in the middle of the day to work, I now have only an hour so that’s been halved – so there’s been a little bit of adjusting there.

Challenge #2 – Freaking out

Every now and again I have a “what the F am I doing??” moment, and my limiting beliefs rear their ugly heads and say;

  • You can’t do this
  • You don’t know anyone that’s doing this! Why would you be able to do this?
  • You’re not smart enough.
  • You don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve to be different.

All these horrific limiting beliefs that have held me back so far but, now I’m in a position to be able to see that that is what’s happening – that’s a limiting belief, and I’m going to question it, and dig a bit deeper, and not just let it stop me in my tracks which I have done previously.

This has been huge – for me to get on top of these limiting beliefs or just at least past them for the mean time. It’s been a huge reason why I’ve been able to progress with this business, and just go forwards without constantly being held back.

Challenge #3 – Information paralysis

I’ve also gotten into the trap of too much studying, too much reading, too much learning. Then I’ll discover someone who I think is awesome, so I’ll start listening to their podcasts but then I think “oh God I’ve got so much work to do, how am I going to do this? It could take years”… which is just agh… but I think “let’s just park that for now ok?”.

Or I think – oh no I’ve only got one chance, if I do this wrong people will think what the heck is she on about and never listen to me again. Hey that could happen but it’s ok!

Trying to be perfect at something – for example trying to understand internet marketing. I could study that for years and never make a cent. So there needs to be a nice balance of studying and learning but also putting these things into action SO…

6 learnings so far, to share with you

My big learnings from the last few months is that:

Learning #1 – It’s okay to iterate in public

You are welcome to see my growth, and my transformation, and my failures, and I’m totally ok with sharing it all with you because I want you to see this – I want you, in your own dark moments to be able to think well Peti went through this too, it’s normal for me to be feeling like this.

Learning #2 – It’s ok to try new things

I’m ok with trying new things – podcasting, video blogging, writing in different fashions, engaging with my audience in different ways. I’m just not afraid to try different things, despite what people might think as it just doesn’t matter. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Can you think of any successful person who has never failed once on their way to success? If you talk to anyone who is successful in any sense, I can guarantee they’ll tell you that they failed along the way repeatedly. Failure is where the learning is. I’m just not afraid to do it in public. Lucky you , you get to see it all!

Learning #3 – You get better at managing time

I’ve become incredibly good at managing my time – between being a mum, an employee, and an entrepreneur. And I’m not afraid to call myself an entrepreneur – I know I haven’t made a cent from this business yet, but hey, I’m trying, and that’s cool. And I get to call myself an entrepreneur – it doesn’t mean I’ve made any money from this yet. So I’ve become really good at managing my time and this is a lot of what I can share with you and help you create your own online business, despite being a really busy working parent. It’s still possible.

Learning #4 – There are others doing this too

I’ve learned about some incredibly inspirational people and it’s helping me to believe that there is another way – I don’t have to be in the mainstream and do what everyone else is doing. I can do what suits me and my life and my personality.

Learning #5 – When you broadcast, you can help

I’m giving so much more than I was before. I like to help people. Through this blog I’m able to start conversations and to help people.  For example next week I’m running a workshop for some women I work with at Assurity – to help them kick start some progress on some major goals. It’s actually content for this blog that I’m trialling with them, and they’re all quite interested in it. I’ve already had someone from that group of women approach me and say hey – I’ve decided to this really big thing and I’m going to kick start it with your workshop and your challenge. This is really exciting to me! This makes my day. This makes me feel really great about what I’m doing – helping people to address big things, and make progress and be fearless. I’m able to do that through this blog which is a catalyst.

Learning #6 – People like to see you

I’ve learned that people prefer to watch videos of me more than reading my posts – perhaps I’m too verbose! Maybe they skip stuff haha. But I’m not afraid to be here with very little make up on – it doesn’t matter, people see me like this every day so what’s the point in doing my face up.

So, if you want to make time to start a business as a busy working mum, here are my top tips!

My top tips for making time for a business as a working mother

Top tip #1 – Get super clear on your why

If you understand why you’re driven to do something, you’ll find it really, really easy to make that thing a priority. Every time you think – oh I don’t have time to do that, or some other priority comes along and hustles and bustles for your attention, you can go nu-uh, that’s just not as important to me as this other thing.

My why for creating this online business and trying to replace my salaried income with income from my business – from leveraged income – is so that I can spend more time with my family. More quality time with my family. So that I don’t have to farm my daughter out during school holidays because I’ve run out of annual leave, or, I don’t have to work when she’s sick, or I’m sick, because I’ve run out of sick leave. I want that flexibility, I want that freedom. I want to be location independent. That’s a big why. So every time I think oh I don’t want to get up this morning at 5am – I remember my why and it makes it so easy for me.

Top tip #2 – Make it visible

Make your shizz visible. By that I mean – whatever you’re doing, whatever your priorities are, whatever you’re spending your time on – make it visible. Because it’s the stuff that’s invisible that swallows up our time and we don’t even know it.  You’ve heard me talking about going for a scroll – on social media. You could spend 4 hours a day on that easily. If that’s really a priority, then write it on a posit it an stick it on the wall alongside your other priorities, and see how it weighs up. But there’s all the other things that you do – make it all visible. The only way you’re going to be able to prioritise properly is if it’s visible. If you put all this stuff up, like – write it on post its and stick them on the wall, you’ll soon be able to see patterns and see where you’re time is going. So if you can see you’re spending so much time cleaning, maybe that’s a trigger – dammit let’s get a cleaner!  It’s the same advice I give about money and it’s the same for anything you want to manage better, if you want to know where it goes, first you’ve got to make it visible.

Top tip #3 – Prioritise ruthlessly

It’s only once you’ve ‘made your shizz visible’, and you understand your why, that you can start to prioritise ruthlessly. Question everything you do – why am I doing this?  Hold yourself to account – do I really want to be doing [this thing] when I could be doing [this other thing?]. That prioritisation is your key to unlocking your super productive, uber entrepreneurial self.

Tweet: RUTHLESS prioritisation is your key to unlocking your super-productive, uber-entrepreneurial self @leveragedmama RUTHLESS prioritisation is your key to unlocking your super-productive, uber-entrepreneurial self

Here’s an example – you don’t see successful CEOs sitting in agendaless, worthless meetings for an hour at a time – they’ve learned the art of prioritising ruthless and they do it every day. They delegate, eliminate, or something else – they only work on the stuff that’s really high value.

Top tip #4 – Schedule your business time

Schedule all of your time, but just to start with, perhaps schedule the time you want to spend on your business. Even if it’s just learning – say you’re just thinking about starting a business at this point: prioritise it, and then schedule it. Actually put it in your calendar – and look at your calendar. Make it known to your loved ones – hey this is what I’m doing.

Top tip #5 – Treat your time like a gift

Your time is a gift – treat it like that. It is precious. Every minute that you have is precious. It is a treasure – it’s for you to spend however you please. What you spend your time on is what’s important to you.

So if there is a misalignment there – if you’re spending time on stuff that’s not important to you, well you’re going to feel a bit bleh. So just reframe it and think – every minute that I have today is a gift. I am alive, and I can choose what I do with my time. It really is a gift, so start treating it like that.

Like I talked about in the 5 things to eliminate to get more Me Time – eliminate the stuff that is low value. Don’t waste your time on stuff that adds no value to your life.

Top tip #6 – Question your limiting beliefs

When you freak out, because you will, it’s time to go deep. What you’re hitting on when you hit fear – like – oh my God what am doing I can’t do this, I can’t make money from an online business – that is a fear, that is a limiting belief. Stop yourself, and ask yourself – why is this coming up? Hmm, why? Why do you think you don’t deserve this? Just question things – rather than letting the limiting beliefs stop you in your tracks, go deep and work it out, where is it coming from?

A limiting belief will stop you and get in your way – stop you from progressing – unless you look it straight in the face and figure out why it’s there. Question your limiting beliefs.

Top tip #7 – It’s OK to let go sometimes

Occasionally, everything’s going to go ti#’s up, just because you’re a parent, and just because you have a job. And that’s ok. You just have to let it all go occasionally.

This past few weeks my baby’s been teething, so she’s been coming into our bed in the nights, so in the mornings I can’t exactly wake at 5am and do my usual writing, or put the lumie lamp (the sunlight lamp) on as she’s there in the bed haha. It would blind her. And in the evenings my studying and learning has gone out the window as we’ve been having the tough bedtimes, she hasn’t been going down easily. But I know that when I do get time to focus on my business, I’m going to be so focused – I ain’t going to be scrolling, I’m going to be focused.

It’s ok to just back off from your biz for a little while, when life gets in the way. Life is life, work your way around it – be like water.

Key takeaway

So the key takeaway from today is:

If you want to start a business you can! But you need to prioritise your time and make sacrifices here and there to make it happen. To be able to do this easily, you need to be deeply connected to your why, and then ruthlessly manage your time.

Thanks so much for joining me again!

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