My husband and I run multiple ecommerce businesses, and as such, have everything from “mature” sites to brand new online stores that we’ve launched quite recently. It’s been quite a journey for us over the years, but last year we also decided that maybe it was time to throw a baby into the mix!
Of course, we had some idea that our life would change completely, everyone knows that right? But when our baby boy was born in May 2015, I really didn’t understand just how completely and utterly dependent he is on us. Much like our younger businesses really.
Fortunately, we spent the nine months of pregnancy relatively wisely. In hindsight, there was always more we could have done, but we spent much of that time focused more on developing systems and building our team than “chasing the next big thing”. This meant training people to do our customer support, shipping, web development, and marketing, so that we would be able to spend our limited time steering the ship, instead of rowing the boat.
Even having done that though, the first few months of our son’s life have been difficult for me. I love our businesses, and it’s been difficult not being able to grow them as much as I’d like due to lack of sleep, lack of time, and lack of energy. Trying to find the balance between being a new mum and being an entrepreneur is a challenge, and will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. It’s easy to feel guilty about not growing our business when I’m spending time with our son, and it’s equally as easy to feel guilty when I’m focused on our businesses instead of our baby.
What I am extremely thankful for is that our online businesses do allow us to spend so much time with each other and with him. If we have a bad night’s sleep, we can simply take the next day off, as we now have good systems, and a good team to help us not just run our online stores, but grow them as well, even if we’re not always the most energetic business owners at the moment!
If I was to give any advice to new mums who are juggling their newborns and a small business, I would tell them to not be afraid to ask for help. Outsourcing is a whole new ballgame, and a skill in itself, but learning this new skill can make your life a whole lot easier. When you do find other people or businesses to help, it’s really important that you are extremely clear about your goals, and what you need them to accomplish for you – leave nothing out, and leave nothing to chance. Also make sure that both you and they are clear about what needs to be delivered, and by what date the task should be completed. If it’s a task that will take a while, ensure you have set out clear milestones as well. This way you can discuss what’s happening at regular intervals, and make sure that every one is on the same page.
So just as you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help with your real baby, don’t be afraid to do the same for your business baby. If you do this, you may just find that your baby will help inspire you to achieve more in your business rather than less.
About the Author:
Tessa Hartnett is co-founder of MensRingsOnline.com.au, MasksHQ.com.au, ForeverFascinators.com.au, HammockHQ.com.au, and BowTieHQ.com.au. She lives in Brisbane with her Husband and Son, and has been working full-time in her ecommerce business since 2010.