As you all may know I have run my business from home as a Work At Home Mum (WAHM) for more than 7 years now. I began as a tiny start up business with less than $250 to spend and one tiny study in our old small house. I started because I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from my little one even before he was born. I started building a business structure with that end goal in mind; the flexibility and choice to stay at home with my children. My stock was kept in a small cupboard and my computer was more than 5 years old. You learn and you learn and you learn and you keep learning. Now I have multiple warehouses being used for our stock and my own on site office as well as big old storage space in this home. Across this time I have run my business with my children in my care: excepting a combined total of around 9 months where we had the support of an Au Pair in our home. We were still together ♥ You can read more about our experiences with finding an Au Pair here and listen to me talk about my business here.
Despite what I know is success in my business, I’m still a one woman show and I manage everything for our blog and store alone around my family life, including all of the packing etc. I’ve grown my business through the pregnancy [including severe hyperemesis gravidarum] and birth of 2 newborns that became babies, toddler and children and taken so much from it. Much of the great side of it all is the people that support me, from friends and family to inbound and outbound couriers and postal workers to friends proofing work and even lending me clothes for photo shoots :P. Extremely heart warming.
I feel like I have come to a great spot with my office and desk area and just in functioning as a working Mum. It feels great to share my WAHM office tips with you. I’d love to hear your tips back too!
Pip’s WAHM Office Tips
Get your lighting right – Super important and of course for us natural light was very important in the planning of this home when we built. I can’t say that the lighting in my office area is actually that great!! But the natural lighting is ace. That encourages me to work less at night :P, which is good discipline as I’m addicted to working at that time 😛
Start a ritual of tidy – Tidy each afternoon. You won’t get anywhere if you have to sit down and clean up before you can do any work. It might take some shuffling in your soul if you are not a tidy person by nature. Try it. Breathe.
Sit right – Get a good chair. A comfortable one. One that won’t topple as multiple children climb you. Mine has four sturdy legs. I can’t stand office chairs on wheels. Mine has wings so that I can rest a sleeping breastfeeding baby head on it instead of putting them down. Of course I don’t preference BF in front of the screen, yep I want to soak up and nurture the simplicity and beauty of feeding and being with my babes. But reality is, I also have times when I need to work and feed. I structure my work space so that it compliments that actual life I live and not to mimic an office environment.
Be inspired – Don’t be scared to put beautiful, artistic wonderment in your professional spaces. I have pieces of fabric, notes from my children. All the inspirational nourishment that lights the spark in my productivity. Being a successful WAHM is so much about effective use of time.
Goals front and centre – I put my goals up on the wall right where I am working, so that when it all gets hard – and it does – I look at them and remember why I need to keep going. The keeping going is the bit that makes you stand out from the crowd. Don’t hide them away. Look at them every day.
Surround yourself with your self – Your work space is a reflection of you. It is your space to own and nurture. Like a little snapshot of the best you have in your head and the way you see the best version of you. You want your space to say YES this is where I want to be, this is MY work. You want it to offer you motivation and inspiration. Think about your favourite colours, artists, entrepreneurs and infuse your space with all this individual stuff: make this a personal space to be that turns on your GO switch. You will buy prilosec online uk work better in so many ways. Don’t only focus on goals but also accomplishments. Some days you will need this reminder of how far you have come as much as the wonderment of what could be in the future.
Invest in good tools – If you have the ability, invest in tools that are going to make your work more efficient. The right desk, lamp, computer – these things are all adding to your end result. The less time spent on dodgy software, hardware, equipment the better. #honestlyihaventhadamousepadforover6monthsWTF #promisetotakemyownadvice
Separate work and life – I only keep my work life at my desk, or items that connect with my professional identity. I file home life in another room. Im not sure if that makes sense given that I have said make it personal, but Im saying – its your unique professional space. I don’t keep water bills on hand here. Make sense? If you don’t have the space for that, think about at least having a separate filing system for life stuff. Work can feel so much more overwhelming if it is muddled into your other commitments and vice versa. Divide and conquer! Doing things this way is also much more efficient for future growth or that odd time of having a helper.
Be realistic – I have my work area set up with the reality that my children are often with me or moving in and out of it with me. There isn’t much that they can get at down low. I don’t keep cups of water near my desk. Always my KK bottles and I close the lid routinely as I work with children climbing in my space and spills would be a disaster. Within a metre of my desk there are spaces that children can be and play without feeling like they are under my desk at a call centre. My entire house is child friendly so that if I have eyes off for a split second, the things that the children can access are safe. The loungeroom adjacent to my office space has children’s items in EVERY cupboard. There are craft items galore for them – saved toilet rolls, scrap paper, pencils. Its a fun and safe space in addition to their play room. The work room with the important stuff in it has locks so that they can’t get in trouble for touching things that they shouldn’t. If they aren’t for children, then they aren’t accessible. I don’t lock myself in there, my work space is open plan and I work out here where I am accessible to the babes. But the ‘stuff’ they can’t get to is in there and I rarely have any issues with them being in that space. I just talk with them about it all, they seem to get it but I don’t put the responsibility for knowing what is important on them.
Communicate – With your children [even tiny babies], your partner. Your customers. With everyone. Let people know that you are working, what your needs are. Who you are. Be transparent. It helps to work as a family team. You likely couldn’t do this without them and they are likely your inspiration! My children don’t day nap much, so I am up front when I want to work in the day. I say I was thinking I might do X job, and that I could set up X craft for you to do next to me along with X nice food to eat at that time. I find that making snacks helps me get a burst of quiet time if I need it.
Love a list – I am a crazy woman for lists. They really drive me to get done what needs doing. I don’t have the lists to pressure myself to achieve everything on them, I have them so that nothing gets forgotten or left off. I simply move off one list what wasn’t done, to a new list the next day.
Have you home life under control too – I can’t work if my house is crazy. I get writer’s block and productivity stifling. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to pay attention to your personal budget, your house organisation and ensuring that the basic can run a little. Turn off work and have house days where you can that all day, and I would recommend those days being weekend/start of the week when you can give yourself a clear clean palate to be in. Make it easy for others to drop around and help you [doesn’t really happen here but LOL if you that’s a reality for you!] by having order in your home.
Stuff I haven’t said/What’s not on my list. Set office hours: Nup. Doesn’t work for me. I have to be flexible or I am not able to commit to the type of attentive care I want for my family. Dress for success: this isn’t reality for me. I LOVE fashion, love to look great. Still I couldn’t achieve everything I do and look awesome right now. I’m successful and happy whether I am wearing trackies, jeans or designer get out. I am me no matter what I am wearing. Ordinary is perfectly ok with me on the daily day. You do what you can.
Genuinely from heart hope that my ramblings can move you closer to your dreams of success at being a work at home Mumma xx