Being a work from home mum is the ideal for so many of us. Being able to chose our own hours, work around the kids and family commitments. It’s amazing, BUT it’s not easy and I made so many rookie mistakes that I have well and truly learned from!
I’ve been self employed for almost five years now. Firstly with my cake business for four years then the blog took over my life and ended up becoming my other business. My lovely sister is also now a work from home mum after coming into partnership with me and managing Handmade Queen of Cakes whilst I run Gym Bunny Mummy as a professional blogger and freelancer.
1. NOT KEEPING TRACK OF MY FINANCES
I admit it, I got a bit carried away with the whole self employed thing and managing my own accounts. I bought a lovely little binder to keep all my receipts and invoices in. Filed them away all neat and tidy. Sounds perfect right? Nope.
Why? Because I didn’t keep on track of my spreadsheets. Even though I’d filed my receipts well, because I hadn’t updated my spreadsheet as I went along I ended up with a mammoth task of going through all the receipts, trying to figure out what they were for in some cases, then typing it all into Excel.
I don’t make that mistake anymore. I make sure I keep on track of my admin as soon as possible. If I can’t update my spreadsheets straight away, I have an admin day to catch up so I’m not leaving it weeks, or even months!
2. NOT REALISING YOUR WORTH
When you first leave your job to become self employed or start a business you obviously want to take on as much work as you can. It’s scary knowing you don’t have a salary to fall back on, worrying about how your going to pay the bills if this is a bad month. BUT you have to know your worth.
In the early days of my cake business I was taking on customers with such low budgets. Some people have such high expectations for such a low budget, I was creating these cakes that my customers loved but when I worked out the hours put in I was barely making minimum wage. I had to up my prices and realise my time and talent really was worth paying for.
It’s the same with blogging, I don’t take on every project I’m offered. If something is a lot of work for little pay then I’m going to say no and stand by my rates. This is a business, if I’m going to stay in business then I need to know my worth.
3. THINKING I CAN WORK WHENEVER I WANT
In theory this is probably the main reason so many mums want to work from home BUT you need to realise you don’t always have the CHOICE about when you can work.
If a job can be done today, then do it. Some days I’ll do an hour here, a couple of hours there, but I do it.
When I started out I made the mistake of thinking ‘llI have plenty of time to get things done and meet deadlines. You take the day off thinking you’ll work later or catch up tomorrow, then something happens. The kids are ill and are off school for a couple of days so you can’t manage to get your work done, or you fall ill and have to have a day in bed.
It’s amazing that you can take the time off without having your boss on your case but that work still needs to get done so don’t keep putting things off. You need to really manage your time properly.
4. NOT SETTING A SCHEDULE
At first the novelty of working from home was great. I didn’t mind working in the evening, responding to messages & emails, taking on extra clients but before you know it you’re working all hours. Not going to bed until 2am and getting up at 6am.
Even though you work at home you also have other responsibilities, a house to run, kids to look after etc.
Working flexibly is amazing but you also need to set yourself a schedule otherwise work takes over your life. Set yourself hours that are dedicated to work and work only, then when you are not working you can relax and spend the time with your family rather than constantly checking your phone or having the laptop stuck to you.
5. NOT REALISING HOW LONELY IT CAN BE
I loved the idea of working from home, and still do. I couldn’t ever imagine going back to work for someone else BUT it gets really lonely.
You obviously know you’ll be working alone but you just don’t realise the true meaning of alone until that’s you all day every day. It wasn’t too bad when Archie was only in pre school as I had my mornings to work and afternoons with him but now he’s in school full time it’s just me, myself & I.
I love having the extra time as it means I don’t have to work as many evenings & weekends but it gets so lonely being at home on my own all day.
I’m going to look at different options that I’m not staring at the same four walls all day. Maybe heading out to a coffee shop a couple of mornings to work. Potentially arranging some collaborations with other bloggers & YouTubers. Or even just taking an hour out to meet with other mums for a brew. We all need some adult conversation sometimes!
Now I’ve learnt from my rookie mistakes I feel much more positive. I love being a #mumboss and working from home, it really is my dream. Having my own business is what I was meant to do. I’m five years in so I must be doing something right eh?
Do you work from home? Have you ever made the same mistakes I did?