Yeowwwww, I’m here with my blog pal Heather of Just Love.ly, and together we have put together a handful of business + blog tips from some of our most-favorite friends. Running an online business and writing a blog is no small task — we know! We are “Women in Business”, or that’s the title they give us. Is it supposed to be something special and that’s why we get a label? We say it’s something to be proud of. As a woman, your life can be full of emotionally draining, fun, chaotic, busy-ness… and that’s before you even have your morning coffee. So imagine all of those feelings wrapped up alongside a business you are trying to run. Whether you are dreaming, starting out or are in the middle of it all — having a hand to help you along the way is one of the perks in being a girl. We can be strong, we can be weak, we can fail, we can climb mountains… one thing is for sure, we need our girlfriends!
Today we are sharing a 2-part post series. I’ve got half and the rest is over at Just Love.ly — together we share some amazing advice to keep you inspired in your business. Some very influential friends are sharing below how they manage to schedule things around their home lives, who they look to for guidance and if they ever need help along the way.
Do you have hired help? If so what kind & how did you find them? Yes! My business partner and I hired a friend of ours who takes care of our book keeping, sponsorship program, blog editing, administrative duties and client contacts. She is SO helpful and an absolutely invaluable asset to Maiedae and our design business. I think the trick is finding someone who LOVES what they do. Create an environment that encourages them to use their strengths and passions. I know Leah loves what she’s doing and I trust her to do a great job. Another aspect about Leah that I love is that she takes great initiative and is a raving fan of Maiedae. Find people to put in your corner who LOVE your business, who have great character and love what they do. I suggest looking at your friend group, acquaintances or conducting interviews. The best is when you come across that person and see the spark and passion on your own that fits your needs. You’d be surprised who is available to set aside 20-40 hours per month to help you out when they are able to do what they love.
^ Savannah of Maiedae
Do you keep to a specific work schedule? I work from home and I try to keep office hours. I have two employees and they show up at 9am every morning so I typically plan on starting my work day the minute they arrive. With an online business it’s easy to work late into the night but I try my hardest to block off family time from 5pm until around 9pm. I’ve found that I’m more refreshed when I take a few hours away from work to focus on family. Another thing: I always try to close my books and get my monthly accounting done right at the beginning of the next month. It’s much easier to close the books when everything is fresh in my head. Plus, I think it’s really important to keep up to date with how my business is performing month-to-month. When tax time comes I’m not so overwhelmed anymore!
^ Ashley of Lil Blue Boo
How do you find balance between working in your home and living there, too? In all honesty, finding a balance between work and life in my home is a continuous challenge for me (especially because I had an office/studio outside of my house for many years in the past). But being a small business owner is a never-ending learning experience, and along the way, I’ve discovered some key things that help me in my quest to create a healthy balance. The most important thing I can recommend is to take at least one weekend day completely off from anything work related. Your brain and body need time to relax and recharge, and you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are after a full day off (two is even better). Another necessity to creating a balance is to set up a work space separate from the rest of your home. A different room is ideal, but even a designated corner is better than spreading your work throughout your house. Having a separate space prevents you from being easily distracted, and allows you to feel like you can leave your work “at the office” when it’s time for regular old life.
^ Melissa of Bubby and Bean
Do you keep to a specific work schedule? I find it super helpful to keep a pretty strict schedule as far as when I work and what I’m working on. I mess up at this a lot, and when I do – I make a lot more trouble for myself! Because I have a few different projects going on, I try to schedule what days I work on what and I also try to schedule two whole days a week where I don’t work on anything! Sort of like a “weekend”, but split up within the week.
^ Jessi of Naptime Diaries
What are some of your favorite online resources you use daily?
*I love Oh My! Handmade Goodness to keep me fresh and HIGH on handmade.
* I am a big fan of Design Mom to gather inspiration. She’s like a muse; her new video series is AWESOME.
* Etsy Storque and of course Pinterest. It makes me so creative to view other creative projects.
* Twitter is a daily favorite, @amyturnsharp.
* You can find magic here. Spotify. GO. Now. Twirl in the workshop. Make time to dance and sing each day.
What we need as makers and artists is INSPIRATION. all the time. You can find it in people and books and nature and ANYWHERE — you just have to look.
^ Amy of Little Alouette
What are some of your favorite online resources that you admire and look to for guidance? For myself the one thing I have learned is that running a business (of any kind) is trial and error. And that’s ok! You have to learn along the way what will work for you and what is right for your life – both personally & professionally. Just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you, but I think that’s the fun part. Grabbing inspiration from everywhere, finding guidance where you can and supporting other businesses in the way they do things. A couple of my favorite resources online that I check on the daily include: The Maven Circle, Handmadeology, and Oh My! Handmade. Each of them offer great advice that you can use for so many parts of your blog, business & life. Some other types of inspiration come from my own friends online. It fills my heart to see them successful with their own projects, new adventures or when they just share bits about their life!
^ Heather of Just Love.ly
Wanna know what I have to say? Head over to Just Love.ly to catch my answer on Heather’s blog + hear from a few more friends!
We would love to hear from you! Join in on the discussion in the comments ~ answer a question below (or all of them) or let our guests know what you think of their advice!
- Do you keep a specific work schedule?
- What are some of your favorite online resources you check out daily?
- Do you use hired help for your business?
- Being a business owner isn’t for everyone, how does someone know if they are cut out for it?
- In what ways do you try to find balance in your home if you work there, too?
Love ALL the answers! And so many new (to me) blog links!! I’m at the beginning of my business journey, but I try to do my business stuff in the daytime and save late afternoon/evening for my family. I turn off comments on weekend posts so I’m not tempted to get on and “answer” them.
I love these posts! As a mom of 3 working from home, I can relate to every women here. I just hired my first seasonal employee (who also happens to be a friend), and I feel so LEGIT now! :)
@Jenn, Yeowwwwwwww! :D
Perfect timing. I needed to read an article like this right now. Thank you. I am emailing this to myself to read again & again. Also heading over to catch the other half. It helps knowing there are other women trying to fit everything in to their life and just how they do it or attempt to do it. :)
@Jen, Seems like twice a year we re-visit our processes and update them. Things are constantly changing, and that is good! I used to feel like this was a bad thing… if we were needing to update this often surely we were doing something wrong. Nope! Turns out growth simply requires updating! xoxo
Oh my goodness, I so needed this! I asked my friends yesterday how they do it all. It’s hard balancing home/baby/husband/etsy shop/me-time and something is bound to be forgotten. I love hearing from moms & business owners who have it figured out and are willing to offer tips and advice to others. This is so great! Thank you!
April here from I Sew Lucky:) Even though I have had my “business” for 4 years now and is pretty successful in the world of handmade, I feel lost in the “business” sense. Truthfully, I feel I am not smart enough for that side of it and just want to create. For sure that must be downfall at the moment. Managing the “books” as you say. I am a 1 woman show and know that at this time it will have to stay that way. Wish, wish, wish I could have a blog like the ones I read. I have 5 kids and one on the way, so in that aspect I feel that could have some great things to share.Not a writer here so that is my fear that others will see how horrible I am at that. I do love Gussy!! She is great and is always there for me when I have questions to ask:) xoxxo
@April Foss I Sew Lucky, Hey you! Thinking back on our email conversations, is there ANY way to hire an assistant? What about an intern? Someone to help you with the business side of things: email, managing your books, marketing/PR? I remember that sounding scary — there was no way I would hire someone to help. But I do think if you want anything to change then something has to change. :)
Think about it from a logical standpoint — don’t put any emotion into it. What can you change so your business can grow/be what you want it to be?
Honestly, I would not even know how to get started or what to ask for. Really, I am telling you I feel lost in the “business” part of it. What I know how to do is create. As far as hiring somone right now, finacially, it will have to wait. Thinking I need to learn about what I need and what to ask for and how to ask for it. All you woman amaze me how you know eachother and connect with eachother. I pretty much live in a box:/
@April Foss I Sew Lucky, Then you need to ask someone that does know — because it’s totally OK and normal to not know everything! Start Googling the questions you have. Keep sending emails, asking questions. That is how you learn, and it’s so exciting!! :)
I’ll copy + past what I wrote to someone else below:
“If your products are priced correctly you’ll be able to afford help, because you should have labor built in to your pricing. Every item you make should include all labor costs, all materials used, profit + overhead.”
These four things will allow you to hire help and get your business going in the direction you want it.
Start with a simple outline: what do you need? Then ask yourself: who or what could help me? Then work towards crossing off those line items. Baby steps. It’s all about baby steps.
Thank you ladies for sharing such a fabulous post. lil’ alice is just a baby, she’ll be 1 Jan. 1, 2012. It was a hobby but became a real business. Is it normal to 2nd guess to have made it a business. It sounded all fancy and morally correct.
So my question is: are most of the bloggers/shops a business or have ladies kept it a hobby? Like the ones that participated in the post.
I found that people were questioning me if I was a business & collecting taxes etc., because my biz is successful & I stay busy on a steady basis.
Now I will answer one of your questions. How do I balance my time between the shop, family etc.
I work outside the home too. Approx 10-20 hours a week. I have 2 boys, so junior high homework is awesome, not! I love to cook & bake so I am always cooking dinners. We have 2 sports 4 nights a week. And then some, that’s just the basics and equal amount of stuff that everyone else is doing. I manage my time because I am a time management freak. I am not late for anything. I’m a mental list maker, so I know when and what needs to be cleaned or washed or cooked or when I have a meeting or …… So I look at my day, see what commitments I have outside of the home & then based on time in between I either do house work, prepare meals or do biz stuff.
@Katy (lil’ alice), I think there is a mix of both hobby + full-time income featured here. However, I do know that these women take their businesses seriously, so if they are taking time away from their families to work then they have made sure it’s worth it financially, emotionally, etc.
My experience is the quicker you are to take your business seriously the quicker others do, too. When I stuttered over what I did, what Gussy Sews was, people weren’t sure what to think of it. But once I perfected my “elevator speech” they no longer questioned. Sure, some have questions because they are curious, but the doubt was removed.
If you are collecting money from something you are selling you need to be reporting that. Regardless of how serious you take your business. The IRS takes it seriously and you’ll be expected to pay taxes on that income.
WOO HOO, January will be a big milestone for you! :)
@Gussy Sews, thank you Maggie.
“When I stuttered over what I did, what Gussy Sews was, people weren’t sure what to think of it. But once I perfected my “elevator speech” they no longer questioned. Sure, some have questions because they are curious, but the doubt was removed.”
that’s is wisdom that is going to stick with me & I am going to work on & speak more confidently of it! Greatly appreciated.
@Katy (lil’ alice), yeowwww! MUSIC TO MY EARS! :)
I often feel the same way you do. I’ve only made a handful of sales, but if I had help, I think I could do more. I don’t know if you have someone in your family who can help, but eventually I would like to work my mother into my “business”. She’s been retired for almost a year now, and complains all the time about being bored. She started looking for a job (with no luck, actually) just so she could have something to do. We’ve discussed working together to build an Etsy shop, and I’m hopeful that it will all come together. I know I couldn’t pay her an actual wage, at first. Maybe there’s someone out there who would love to learn from you or maybe needs something productive to do during the day. I like the suggestion of taking on an intern.
@sabrina, If your products are priced correctly you’ll be able to afford help, because you should have labor built in to your pricing. Every item you make should include all labor costs, all materials used, profit + overhead. Let me know if you have questions!! :)
[…] Maggie shares a post on Simple [But Valuable] Tips to Juggle Business and Life. […]
You have been so great at taking my e-mails so I will be writing another one to you soon:) I have always thought the pricing part was one thing I had right:/
@April Foss I Sew Lucky, I wanna see some updates from my original email to you ;) What have you had a chance to work on or think about?
Thank you for writing this! I’m sure I will be referencing it a lot in the coming months. I’m taking my first year off from teaching and staying home with my little one, but still developing an selling lessons online. Thanks again!
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