Category Archives: Blog Series

Important Management Strategy #5: Self Management

Last week I shared with you my experience with Business Management and what I found to be important. This week is my final post to the series, Important Management Strategies  for this Work-At-Home Mom

Last but not least, self awareness. There are times I feel like a forgotten pot, boiling over on the back burner. The energy evaporates and no water is left to cook the meal. When that happens, both home and business suffer.

Having to be on overload, constantly, I knew I needed to start taking better care of myself.  This is when I created the daily routine I mentioned in my post Time Management. One of the most important parts of that is “me time” in the morning and “me time” in the evening. My kids are adjusting to the idea beginning to understand that Mommy has to recharge her batteries, too. I’m hoping in time, “me time” can be more about me.  That was not enough, with all that has to be done, I need more energy to get through my day.  I was still missing something.

When I first started out, one of my first clients was Jonathan Bailor, author of The Calorie Myth. He also produces a podcast called SANE Show. My company transcribes those podcasts, and my entire team loves them. The subjects range from healthy eating to food myths and truths, and address many health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

Those podcasts turned out to be the key.  It was not just the stress I was putting on myself that was depleting my energy but the food I was putting into my body that was making me feel sluggish.  These podcasts have helped many people on my team, and they are still changing my lifestyle. Though I am by no means perfect, I have begun to incorporate many of the healthy living myths an truths I have learned by just proofreading transcripts from this one client. I do feel different when I follow the SANE lifestyle when compared to old lifestyle habits. It has been a smack in the face, a wake-up-stupid, life-is-knocking-at-your-front-door difference.  If you need a change in your life, check out some of this guy’s websites: www.sanesolution.com and/or www.thebailorgroup.com.

Also, check out his co-host, Carrie Brown, cookbook author, recipe developer, and food photographer for The SANE Solution / Calorie Myth www.carriebrown.com

A tired you is not the best first impression. There is too much competition for a client’s business to allow that to happen. A well-rested, confident and engaging you will receive a much better reception. So rise and shine with feet planted firmly on the ground, a crazy but happy family life, and a home-based business plan worthy of making you a success!

Passages On a Page (Blog Series for the Book Club)

Let us know the passages on a page that jumped out at you, touched you on a personal level. How they made you feel. Did it make you laugh or cry? Did it make you think or where you repulsed. Share your thoughts and start a discussion to see how others feel.

Book of the Month: “Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte

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Chapter 1, page 6

“I had been part of an internal work group at the Washington Post researching way so few women were reading the newspaper”

I chuckled after reading this passage. It touched me on a personal level. My husband talks current events to me all the time and when I look at him and say, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” he would ask me, “How do you not pay attention to what is going on around you?” I would just laugh to myself in a bit of annoyance. I think I pay perfect attention to what is going on around me: kids, husband, bills, budget, meals, cleaning, shopping, and all the responsibilities of running a business. Could I sit down and read the paper? Yeah — most likely — if I wanted to, but that’s what I have him for. When I ask him that same question, “How do you not pay attention to what goes on around you?” I get the same answer, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” I guess that’s what he has me for.

 

So, I am taking my own poll on this topic. How many of you women out there read the newspaper and keep up on current events?

Important Management Strategy #4: Business Management

Last week I shared with you the importance of stress management. You are the foundation of your business and you need to be determined and focused. The success of your business will depend on the characteristics of its founder, you. Smarts, strength, confidence and willingness to learn from one’s mistakes can make a business. Lack of those characteristics can break it. I prefer to look at these lessons as learning aides, not failures. They are, quite simply, lessons I needed to learn in order to succeed. Finance, accounting and marketing strategy are the fundamentals. If you manage others, leadership and team building become critical factors as well.
I didn’t just breeze through it all. There were dark days. There were tears. Giving up seemed so much easier than trudging forward. But my perseverance is paying off, and the blood, sweat and tears are worth it! I am not going down this time. I feel more confident than ever as I chase after this success story.
Luckily, it didn’t take much financing to start my home-based transcription business and the expenses gave tax-filing benefits. I’ve always been good with numbers and ledgers, so accounting wasn’t an issue for me. Planning and organizing are definite strengths of mine. Leadership, team building and marketing, however, gave me a real challenge.
After doing extensive research and understanding what other online employers offered, I knew that in order to find loyal, talented people for my team, I would have to attract them with something more than the norm. So I took a chance and offered a higher pay scale, and rather than making people wait for their money, I paid them for their work within 24 hours. It worked.
I was also honest with them, and they knew I was just starting and would not be able to provide steady work at first. They were OK with that, saying they would fill in with other work until I was ready. But they stayed in touch. They cooperated with and trusted me, and together we built a strong team. My team is the framework of my business. I know now that it is not only my attributes that will bring this company to success but the attributes of my team. No matter how strong you are, if you have a weak framework, you will suffer. Just as you ask others to trust you, if you find someone you think is worth the effort, you need to let go and trust them also.
The marketing of today is very different than the marketing of the past, because most of it is online. It can be a big bad wolf trying to blow your house down. The old “if you build it, they will come” motto doesn’t work so well in the online world, because you’re competing with millions of other people with millions of other websites.
My website went live a few months ago, and I’m taking it one day at a time. So here I am, reinforcing my analogy in reference to my business and houses, while writing an opening blog series for my new blog, Business Mom Chronicles. My last article, Self-Management will bring this blog series to an end. Fortunately, I have much to say and will continue to update you in my journey of being a Business Mom.

Preparing for the Holidays

The sweet smell of pumpkin spice, Yum! Wish it could all be that nice. It’s that time of the year where I am checking the supermarket receipt for my free turkey (or ham) and skimming the stores for the items on my Christmas list. A season filled with so much love and joy only means more things to do in the limited time we have. The stress of this holiday season can get you down, worrying about the pressures of gift giving and getting, the lack of time and money and all those extras added on to a relentless to-do list.
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Important Management Strategy #2: Time Management

The old saying “not enough hours in the day” rang true for me from the beginning. It became difficult and at times impossible to put family first once I started my transcription business . My time-management challenges went off the charts. I could literally work through the night if I didn’t need sleep. Once the kids were tucked in, the computer would call my name until the wee hours of the morning… yawn! Of course, on nights like those, a ‘kid-call’ was also on the agenda; one or the other needed attention. Then, before I knew it, morning had arrived and it was time for diaper changing, breakfast, and a new day. The problem was that I wasn’t ready for it and had to drag myself out of bed. I was a walking zombie.

This was not working.

Yes, I am guilty of letting my child sleep in my bed. Never thought I’d say that, but double duty with twins drained every ounce of my energy. I figured if people could have six dachshunds in bed with them, I could have my children. With the kids in my bed, I slept. And sleep saved my sanity.

OK, so now I was a WAHM instead of a stay-at-home mom, and it turned out that was easier said than done. My days were unorganized, work was scattered, and I had to retrace my steps on more than one occasion to get my bearings straight. It was horrible! My family suffered, and my business would have surely failed if circumstances didn’t change. The time-management skills I had developed to raise my children now needed to be utilized to get my business in order.

I created a daily routine that remained the same on a day-to-day basis. Using my cell-phone calendar, I blocked out time, setting a loud reminder ring with each task. Keep in mind, I do check and respond to emails all day long; WAHMs have to master multitasking That is a must have skill.

I broke it down like this:

7:00-7:30:    Wake up – ME TIME

7:30-8:30:    Business/Emails /Organize and create daily task list

8:30-9:30:    Breakfast routine

9:30-11:00:  Back to Business

11:00-Noon: Matty & Ally Time

Noon-1:00:   Lunchtime

1:00-3:00:    Chore Time/Housekeeping/Bills/Errands to run

3:00-4:00:    Matty & Ally Time

4:00-5:00:    Back to Business

5:00-6:30:    Dinner Routine

6:30-7:30:    RELAX

7:30-8:30:    Bedtime routine: Bath/story time/good night

8:30-9:30:    Back to Business

9:30-11pm:   ME TIME (if I have priorities with work then it is back to business)

WAHMs know how quickly a day can turn sour. This daily routine is not set in stone; it is a map of the day that I try my best to follow, but coloring outside the lines is allowed. If we need to veer of the path for a little while, the GPS will reset itself.

With so much to do and so little time to do it, brings me to my next week’s post, Important Management Strategy #3: Stress Management.

Management Strategy #1: Family Comes First

As I previously mentioned in my introductory post that family comes first, I decided to quit my job to stay home and raise my children.   I wanted to see them reach each milestone, spend those developing years with them, help mold them into responsible individuals, comfort them in their pain, enjoy their happiness and, yes, bask in their love.

As wonderful as it all sounds, it is easy to lose this concept. I did, and found myself more stressed than ever. I ignored my children and became angry when they needed my attention the most. My kids were becoming unruly and hard to manage because I was not giving them what they needed. The purpose of being a stay-at-home mom went out the window, along with my patience.

I decided it was time to hire outside help for the workload. Some suggested a nanny, but I didn’t like the idea. I thought it suggested a replacement for me, and that is not what I wanted.

First, to begin to reestablish a connection and turn the situation around, I began to block out two, one-hour time slots in my day. During this time, each one had my complete and total attention. I found this very effective.

In my quest for outside help, I looked to my trusted circle for help. Quiet-time tasks became the perfect time to call upon grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, most of whom were quite receptive to helping busy the little ones with an outing to the park or other child-friendly locations. They found these activities to be wonderful bonding sessions. I began to work with other moms in the neighborhood, alternating playdates with them, allowing them to have a breather as well.

Maybe some of these methods will work for you, too. There are a number of resources around us that we sometimes do not consider. Being a Business Mom and finding time to put family first can be challenging when we are pulled in so many directions. Which will brings me to next week’s post, Important Management Strategy #2: Time Management

 

Important Management Strategies for this Work-At-Home Mom

This past year, my transcription business has begun to take off, and I’ve been faced with the challenges of running a business while trying to be the best mother possible to my three-year-old twins. I know there are many other women out there doing the same thing, since current statistics indicate an upsurge in stay-at-home moms becoming work-at-home moms (WAHMs).

Being a WAHM provides many rewards, such as the ability to be there for the first step, first word, bath time, story time, while allowing us to keep one foot in the grown-up world.

WAHMs have all kinds of roles: Head of Marketing, Accountant, Project Manager, Housekeeper, Event Planner, Teacher, Chef, Taxi Driver, and Disciplinarian. The list is never ending! So, I blog to you a series, Five Management Strategies for this Work-At-Home Mom: Family Management; Time Management; Stress Management; Business Management; and Self Management.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be posting an article each week relating to my experiences, my failures, and my successes in this journey. I am a strong believer that family comes first, so join me next week in Family Management. I hope that you decide to follow me as I explore ways and test the limits of being a successful Business Mom.