Have you ever seen one of those work-from-home ads? You know the ones with the mom sitting at her computer and her desk is immaculate, and she has a baby in her lap. Her hair and makeup is done and she has a really cute outfit on and they are both smiling and perfect. Working from home does not look like that. At all.
Over the summer, one of the boys snapped this picture. I think it portrays perfectly what my life actually looks like. Most days we gather around the kitchen table, mom, dad, even grandma, everyone brainstorming and collaborating, it is a family business and everyone plays a role.
How it all started:
We had just moved into our new house, the boys were about two and three and they were tucked away in bed for the night. Mike and I were talking when out of nowhere he said, "You know when the boys start school you will have to find a job." I was a little startled by that statement.
"I have a job", I said. "I'm a stay at home mom."
"Ya but once they're in school, you're not just going to stay home all day and we need the extra money."
I did not like the sound of that. If I went to work full time I knew I would miss out on a lot. I would have to be out the door in the morning before the boys and I would return late. School's out at 2:50 and a job is 9-5 plus commute. And what about summertime? Plus, what kind of job would I even get? I don't have experience in my field, I don't remember much from college, would I have to go back to school? Who would hire me? I would be competing with twenty year olds. So much was running through my mind.
The next day I talked to my mom who was already running a successful home business with Young Living. I already loved the oils and my mom had been poking me to do the business for a while so after talking with her, I took a leap of faith and decided to try it.
I became a work from home mom that year and I've never looked back. About a year after that Mike quit his corporate job and joined me. It's been pretty awesome and crazy and I've discovered a few things along the way.
1. You'll need to have a family meeting.
It's important to sit your family down and explain to them what you are doing. Give everyone a clear explanation of your vision and goals. Show them how this new life will be a change but will benefit them in the future. Ask for everyone's help. Even the little ones can help by doing things like staying quiet when mommy gets a work call. My boys know that if I do this, that means more family vacations and they love being a part of that goal.
Be sensitive with your spouse as well. When working from home, especially if you have a networking business and are working with your friends and family, the lines between business and personal can become blurred. It becomes easy to talk business all the time because your life is your business and your business is your life. For me it has been crucial to set aside time just for Mike and I, with no talk or mention of work. It's important for the relationship because I would never want him to feel neglected or unimportant.
2. You'll still need help with the kids.
Working from home gives me great flexibility to decide when and how I want to get my work done. My office can be anywhere, the kitchen, the car, the children's museum, pretty much any place with an internet signal. I get a lot of work done here and there, as I go about my day. But sometimes I do need help.
If I'm meeting with someone I may need to leave the kids at home with a sitter (unless of course that person also has children and then we turn our business meeting into a playdate!) Mike has been very good about supporting me with this part. Anytime I need to leave or lock myself in my office, he takes over with the kids. If I didn't have him I would definitely be looking into getting a mommy's helper to help out at least a couple times a week.
3. It's going to get messy.
Someone once told me, if you're going to do this business, you're going to have to be okay with messy. It's so true. If you're the type of person that likes everything to be neat and orderly and tasks completed before the next one begins, you're going to have to get over that real quick! At any given time I have about seven projects that are going on, unfinished. To do lists are endless, I am never caught up with phone calls, and the post it notes, don't even get me started, my desk is a sea of post it notes.
Household chores will also take a back seat for a little while, and it's okay. Eventually everything will get back to normal. The beginning is always the craziest, but you will have a clean house again, soon, I promise.
4. You'll need a schedule.
Working from home is freedom but that freedom will get you in trouble if you don't stick to a schedule. You have to set boundaries or risk burnout. Set aside times of the day for phone calls and emails and don't be afraid to call people back during those prearranged times.
5. It's not for everyone.
When I first started building my home business I naturally told everyone about it. I was excited, maybe a little too excited. Who wouldn't want to do this with me?! You stay home all day, travel the world, do what you want, and money comes in the mail? Who would want to not do that? Lots of people.
I've realized that this is the best choice for me and many others like me, but still not for everyone. Mike and I enjoy being together all the time, we always have. Even when we were dating we were always together. We've never taken separate vacations, we rarely do "guys night out" or "girls night out". So for us working together from home comes naturally. I've learned that my job is not to convince people that they need to do it but rather to nurture and support the ones that are looking to make a change in their life.
6. You will become a better person.
Working from home and building this business has forced me to grow in every area of my life. I've had to teach myself discipline, organization skills, and how to overcome procrastination. I've had to learn how to be a mentor and understand people. I learned how to overcome my shyness and low self esteem. I learn all of these things by studying the works of successful people that have done it before me. I am always looking for something new to learn because it is a critical aspect in expanding my own success.
Working from home and growing my Young Living business has been the most rewarding experience. I am truly grateful for every minute of it. I love who I have become, I love the friendships that I have made, I love the family time that we are able to enjoy every single day. It's been a major blessing. I am so grateful to my mom for poking me into this life.
If you've ever thought about the possibility of working from home, do it. If you have some questions or want to know more about working with me, email me. I won't sugarcoat it. I'll tell you just how it is and we can decide if it would be a good fit for you.