Building a successful business is no easy feat, and when you’re a mompreneur it certainly isn’t any easier. Implementing strategies and systems into our businesses to support us personally AND professionally is vital, however, in order to maintain sanity. Below find 3 strategies successful mompreneurs implement to maintain sanity.
Strategy #1 – Sleep
For years (and years… and years…) I thought I could grow my business by working more and sleeping less. Twice this way of thinking resulted in illness – mentally and physically. I am committed to never following into this pit again, and I am equally committed to help you avoid it as well.
In 2008, following three years of sleeping 2-3 hours a night while building an online craft supply store while also working a full-time job as an interior designer, I found myself suffering from anxiety, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Please note that lack of sleep alone does not cause these symptoms… I had also been neglecting to take my thyroid medication. Diagnosed with hypothyroidism shortly after birth, this was a BAD idea.
The combination of neglecting my thyroid and lack of sleep resulted in me being admitted to the mental hospital on January 2, 2008. Friends, I share this with you because I don’t want to see you there as well.
I know we want to see our businesses thrive. I know we all want to be the next big success story. But no sacrifice of our physical or mental health is worth the success.
Two months after the birth of our twins, I returned to The Sutton Companies full-time in March 2015. For the next 18 months I pushed hard – and by hard I mean HARD – to have the major breakthroughs I saw so many others having. July 2016 found me in the hospital with shooting pains down my arms, high blood pressure, and the doctor warning me to cut out stress or the next time he would be seeing me with a heart attack.
My second – and final – string of months of 2-3 hours of sleep per night was shut down immediately. Amazingly, my anxiety was almost completely cured within a week of enacting a solid sleep schedule.
No, I do not sleep 8 hours every night, however I make sure to get a minimum of six. Last night I actually slept for 10 hours and I woke up feeling completely refreshed, full of ideas and completely guilt-free about putting my rest before my business. I urge and plead for you to do the same.
NOTE: Katie Henry and I discuss sleep on episode 004 of the Positive Productivity podcast. Click here to listen.
Strategy #2 – Automation
We live in a day and age where software exists to automate so many areas of our businesses. From invoicing to marketing, sales to support, none of us should feel the need to have our electronic devices permanently attached to our hips. (And if you’re like me, when the kids are at home your hips may already be otherwise occupied.)
With only a few exceptions (ie doula, insurance agent) clients should never be trained to expect responses during your off-hours. In Positive Productivity podcast episode 90 (releasing in April 2017), Tanya Paxtot reminded me that even clients who hire me from the other side of the world are aware of my time zone, and unless I allow them permission to contact me after my working hours, they should know better than to do so.
I have yet to encounter an email platform which does not have an out-of-office response system. If it is difficult to imagine not responding to an email after 5pm, set up an OOO response letting senders know what your office hours are, that their email was received, and when they can expect a response.
Your nights and weekends should belong to you and your family. What you choose to do during the hours when your family doesn’t need your attention should be up to you, and in my opinion would be a great time to work ON your business rather than in it…. Of course I would rather that you engage in more self-care however… I’m writing this on a Sunday afternoon so I would by hypocritical to say no work whatsoever. 😉
In addition to the simple Out of Office response, tools like Infusionsoft, Harvest, MeetEdgar and (the list goes on and on!) provide great opportunity to automate almost all our internal systems so that we only have to do the work we have to do. For example, I can’t automate ALL the work I do for clients, however anything I can – i.e. social media posts – I do.
If you would like more information about my 4 favorite social media tools, click here.
Strategy #3 – Team Building
I am guilty of trying to do everything myself. If it couldn’t be automated, I thought I had the strength and skills to handle it myself.
Unless the task is specifically in your area of expertise there is likely another person you should be hiring to perform those tasks for you. And this doesn’t just stop at business tasks. Use this for work around your house as well.
Example #1 – September 2016 found me with 40 episodes recorded with guests for the Positive Productivity podcast. While I had every intention of launching in June and then in August, September found me stalling because none of the episodes had been edited and my logo still hadn’t been designed.
I can only think to credit God when I say one day I had the “Aha!” moment of, “Kim, hire help!”
Now I have a graphic designer I LOVE, an awesome podcast editing team, a phenomenal transcription editor, and a website support team. I also have the most incredible online business manager who is as excited about the direction the business is going in as I am.
Example #2 – I’m a mom of 5, and house can look like a tornado ripped through when not maintained. Without a major kitchen remodel we can’t add a dishwasher (and we lack space for a portable), however one of my least favorite chores is dishes…
What I DO have, however, is a teenage son who constantly wants money. Score for mom and dad – Dishes get done, and we don’t have to spend time during the day which could have easily been spent building our brands. Win!
Chores don’t have to be limited to teenagers. Even our three year old daughter and two year old twins have chores. They help with cleaning up toys, putting away groceries and taking recyclables to the bins in the garage.
Example #3 – This example needs to come with a word of caution as it could be accompanied by more work instead of less if not executed properly. If your business is a service-based business, there is absolutely no reason why YOU have to be providing all the service. You can slowly (and I stress slowly) build your team to support additional clients. Please note, however, that you need to constantly be aware of what’s going on with each project just in case the contractor falls ill or goes missing. In the end it’s YOUR reputation that is on the line, and you need to do what you can to protect it.
TIME FOR FEEDBACK
What systems and strategies have you set up in your business to help you maintain sanity? Or what areas of your business could you use support in? Please comment below!
Kim Sutton is a Digital Marketing and Launch Strategist and owner of The Sutton Companies, which includes Sutton Strategic Solutions and Kim Sutton. A graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is passionate about helping business coaches, life coaches and speakers spread their messages and products to those who need them.
An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. You are invited to schedule a complimentary 30-minute Strategy Session by clicking here.
In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she spends with her husband, Dave, and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.
Join Kim’s Private Facebook Group, The Positive Productivity Mastermind here.