Modelling business behaviour as a working mum

The struggle is real being a working mum and entrepreneur. I met my now-husband a few months before I turned forty (nearly six years ago) and within six months, I had become a second mum (our term for step-mum) to his (our) three children. Within a year, I quit my full-time job (now that was challenging working 40 hours, running a household, managing children and maintaining a healthy relationship with the love of my life) and began running my yoga, coaching and contracting business. This opportunity gave me more time with the kids and help support all things kids. And believe me, there are lots of things! The mum-guilt kicked in whenever I needed to leave them, and they were quite put out if I wanted (or needed) to be away from them.

Having a diploma in Child Development and trained as an Early Education Teacher (to name a few of my qualifications) it pays to model the behaviour you want kids to learn. So, I model all things business!

This way they can see what working for yourself entails – they know I’m constantly thinking about my clients’ work, needing quiet time for invoicing (as they know that brings in the ice cream money) and time for client calls etc. I’m not hiding the messy moments when clients don’t pay, or feedback hasn’t been great – they’ve seen it all from the jubilation on signing a new client, the happy dance when the ice cream money hits the bank account or the tears of frustration when you are chasing payment and client relationships aren’t steady. They ask questions (lots of questions)! They show me Apps that I can use in my business like https://genial.ly/ which is a bit like Canva, and PowerPoint combined and want to be involved in things and they have been like packing VIP gift bags for Ambassadors for the Antarctic Office, collating print-outs for seminars and receiving the famous Aeroplane Lollies when I finished a 6-month contract with Christchurch Airport.

I know many VA’s work the hours that suit them best. That may be working late at night, once the kids are in bed or over weekends when your partner has taken the kids to the park. However, that isn’t for me. I hold my boundaries firm. I don’t work weekends and on the weeks the kids are with us (50 50 split) I work mornings only. I am present for the kids from school pick up to ferry them to activities or oversee homework. We chat and share about our days. On the weeks we don’t have the kids my hours are adjusted to suit my clients' wants and needs.

However, I also factor in time for myself (I’ve been neglectful of late but making changes) – my mental and physical self needs to be in tip-top shape so that I can support my clients. I have a routine and I’m pretty good at sticking with it. I certainly know about it if I don’t. It shows in my work, my communications, and my relationships.

Best business practice tips I can highly recommend:

  • Don’t sell yourself short, honour your worth and your clients' will.
  • Respect your boundaries and others will too.
  • Block time out to recharge and focus.
  • Allow yourself to do nothing – yep, that’s right. NOTHING. It allows the thoughts to meander through and creativity to spark. You can capture those moments on a pad of paper – jotting it down reinforces the messages being downloaded.
  • Nurture your business as you would your family – the rewards will show for themselves.

With gratitude,