Time. There never, ever is enough of it. And then a baby comes along and it gets worse, much worse.
The number one questions I get from people over email and in person is, “how do you find the time?” How do I find the time to take care of 4 kids and run a (small) online business.
My first response to these inquisitions is that I don’t do everything–not even close. There are a lot of things I leave half done, or don’t do was well as I should, but even with this, it is tricky to find the time to crack open the computer make something happen online. There is a reason, after all, why it has taken me so long to write this 4th and final post in the series of Building an On-line Business Through the Baby Years. I knew I had to write on this topic and I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle it. Plus, Josie was been going through a prolonged want-to-be-held-all-the-time phase.
But, I’ve been thinking and thinking about it. I could offer all sorts of “schedule ideas”, but I find that stuff to basically be crap. When I started blogging I had very small kids that napped daily for 2 or more hours, so after picking up a bit I had a nice chunk of time. But, as the kids have grown, naptime has died (WHY!). It works for some to get up and work before the kids are up–but that falls to pieces when you are up with a baby at night, like I am. Plus, I am naturally a nightowl. Between babies I tried for a while to get up early, but the kids just started waking up earlier too, so I stopped doing that!
All of our lives are different, and as a mom of growing children, our lives are constantly changing, as are our schedules to try and find time to do anything for ourselves.
My latest strategy is to dedicate 8-9pm every day to working on my latest “big project”. This is the hour right after the kids are in bed, assuming we get them to bed on time. So, each evening I head straight to my computer and work for 1 hour and try very hard to shut the computer after that so I can spend some time with my husband before me head to bed. I need to get better about keeping it to an hour.
But, in the end, finding the time to blog or grow an on-line business boils down to two things: Being Passionate, and Having Long Term Goals. With passion and goals, you will FIND time to grow your business. Without passion and goals you’re better off spending your time and energy elsewhere.
Every good business requires passion because it is hard frustrating work. I love what I do, but I have hit innumerable tedious roadblocks along the way. I’ve labored for weeks on a PDF only to realize I formatted it all wrong and had to do it again. I’ve spent afternoons perched up on chairs and tables attempting to take photos of my newest project, only to realize that the lighting was all wrong and I would have to do it all over again. I’ve had projects fail and poured my heart out in posts that people criticize.
It’s all happened and yet, I keep at it because I love it. Really, I love all of it. I love the challenge of learning new programs and computer code. I love the community of women I’ve met and the conversations I’ve been able to have with so many other like-minded women. I still experience a thrill every time I hit publish or send or share. I doesn’t ever seem to get old or boring for me.
Sure, some days I get frustrated. I’ve walked away from it all for weeks at a time before, but I always come back because I am passionate about what I do here and because of that, I continue to prioritize this little business and make time for it, even when a new baby comes along.
LONG TERM GOALS
For most people, blogging doesn’t ever turn into anything. Blogging certainly doesn’t have to become a business, but it can “become” lots of other things. My mother is one of the most dedicated bloggers I know. For her, her blog is so much more than a blog. It is how she evangelizes, journals and records our family history and as a result it is an important part of her life.
More commonly, though, bloggers just sort of fade away. And that’s fine. Blogging starts for most as a hobby and that’s what happens to hobbies. We enjoy them for a while and then we move onto other things.
But, in order to turn a blog into a business it needs lots of time and attention and the only way to use that time wisely is to have some clear and exciting long term goals. Even on a smaller scale, if I sit down at my computer without a clear goal for what I need to accomplish I can fall down a google/pinterset/facebook hole so fast it’s sick, resurfacing only when the baby cries and my precious tiny window of time is closed.
Goals are SO IMPORTANT. I know I’m not the first one to say that, but especially when juggling a baby and other small children, in order to spend your precious time well, it needs to be used with purpose. Every day I think, what small tasks can I do today that will contribute to accomplishing my 2 big goals?
A small note here. For a while I was chasing the wrong sort of goals–goals I ultimately had no control over. My goals concerned things like pageviews, follower numbers and getting selected for sponsored posts. All of these things can be easily tracked and sure, it’s exciting when the numbers go up, but all of the small tasks I did to accomplish these goals never directly paid off. In the end I had no control over if people came to my site of decided to hit “like” on facebook. And that was frustrating.
Now I set goals I have total control over accomplishing. My goals have to do with completing products, doing things consistently, creating meaningful relationships with readers and collaborators, and following all the way through with my projects. Since I started setting these types of goals I have been much more successful–and much more happy.
And, if you’ve read this far, you deserve to know–here are my 2 big goals at the moment:
- Create and Publish a Comprehensive Planner Specifically for Catholic Mothers, addressing all areas of life including running a home, raising kids, nurturing a marriage and praising God. (a real, tangible book–rough draft is getting printed now!!!)
- Designing an Alphabet Sampler with all of the Saints.
So, the first goal is a little bigger than the second–and I might be a TON more excited about the first, but this is what keeps me coming back to the computer each day. I really believe in what I do and create here. Sure, it is a TON of work. Sure, I might be so frustrated with Adobe InDesign that I could scream until I’m blue in the face, but I keep at it. I will achieve these goals…and you will be hearing more about these projects soon.
So, there you have it. If you have the passion then set some exciting goals and get to work. With a baby I don’t have the time that other’s do, so my timelines aren’t nearly as aggressive as I’d like them to be, but I keep chugging along, a little each day. Setbacks happen but I keep moving forward and even though this ultimately might take a little bit of time away from my kids, I think we all are better off. Not only is mom a happier person, but my kids have a front row seat for what I am hoping to build.
Thank you for being here–and keep at it Momma!