My Secret to Staying Sane While Running a Creative Business as a Mom

I think sometimes I get so hung up on bad timing and things happening TO me, when really I should be focusing on how they're happening FOR me. The past couple of weeks for me have seen a series of good timing things happening and I'm still a little in shock at how the universe is aligning for me and things are falling into place.

 
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First of all, after months of consideration, I decided to consolidate my White Coast Creative business with this one and offer all my design and virtual assisting services under one umbrella. I had kept them separate as a way to organize the content I was putting out, but I just reached a point where I realized that (1) my audiences were basically both the same, (2) managing two separate websites/social accounts/businesses was too exhausting, and (3) all my passion had shifted to Bloom from White Coast and I figured it would just be easier to consolidate.

I made this change and transferred all my content over to this Bloom site a couple of weekends ago, and by the following Wednesday, I'd booked four new clients. I was so surprised! The previous two months I'd only had four clients total, and in a matter of days I'd doubled that. I wasn't even entirely sure how they were able to find me, because I assumed that as I transferred content over to this site, it wouldn't rank as well in search engine results for some time at least.

Then, by the following Tuesday, I'd booked three more clients. THREE MORE CLIENTS. That put me at seven! Tuesday before I went to bed, I had another inquiry, and Wednesday morning I woke up to ANOTHER in my inbox. Talk about flabbergastion. Flabbergastation? I was flabbergasted.

I am so grateful to be booked out so far in advance. There is so much security in knowing I'll be staying busy for the next several weeks and bringing in income for my business, but I also started to get a little overwhelmed. I'm doing this almost full-time some weeks, and it's hard to keep the balance of not neglecting my business in favor of my children or vice versa when the work piles on like this.

I hired an assistant last month to do some part-time freelance work and immediately after Wednesday's inquiry, I contacted another to do the same. With my virtual assisting team growing, I'm confident and excited for all these new projects because I genuinely love what I do and who I work with.

Now, as happy as I am with what I do, it does take a certain emotional energy from me and I've noticed two things as that energy starts to get drained:

(1) I start to stress about the work-life/home-life balance which usually results in a tipping of the scales towards prioritizing work because clients are paying me for these things. I get cranky and reclusive at home and take breaks from my family to get stuff done, which only leaves me disappointed and guilty about the lack of time I spend with them.

(2) I have a hard time focusing on projects and giving them the full creative quality they deserve. My ideas aren't as far-reaching as I'd like them to be, and I have to start turning down projects to stay afloat. I don't enjoy the work as much either, and it starts to become a burden.

The past few months, I've learned the value of taking a few breathers every once in a while to help with the stress and to keep a balance to my life, but I've also learned another secret weapon that has revolutionized my game: creative networking and taking time for myself.

I've belonged to Facebook groups and online communities in the past where I could interact with fellow entrepreneurs, but I've never gotten as much value from them as I have recently from some networking groups I've joined. My friend Calli invited me to join her Tuesdays Together group a few months ago and I've gone every time since. I leave these networking sessions feeling inspired and energized with new ideas. I love interacting with other creative business owners and asking and answering questions to get new insight into the world of running a business. I've also partnered with some close friends to start a Mastermind group where we bounce ideas off each other. We're all so invested in each others' businesses and want our group to succeed, so it's easy to get a lot of value from and give a lot of value to these friends as we work together to grow our side hustles into full-time ventures. We're even taking time next weekend to jet off to Salt Lake for a mini retreat! Meeting with other creative entrepreneurs has taught me a lot and I think it's really helped me understand my clients on a new level.

There was a time not too many months ago where taking even an hour off once a month to attend a meet-up would have made me feel guilty for the time spent away from my husband and kids. These days, I feel I'm successfully balancing those work/family commitments even better than I was before, and I'm taking so much more time for myself than I ever would have felt comfortable with before! I have five hours a week that the boys play at a nanny's house and I am left alone to work out, pig out, and bust out projects and proposals and invoices, and those five hours are worth so much more to me than what they cost financially. I am reunited with my boys a happier, more fulfilled person, and that makes me a better mom.

For some reason, I had always believed that all I was good for at this time in my life was to raise these kids. Then, I had the life-changing inspiration that I was not providing the best for them by perpetuating that belief and not allowing myself to grow. I love my children, and I want the best for them. I'm living my life more purposefully now, and I'm better for it. I'm caring and providing for them, and caring and providing for my business, and it's not overwhelming or stressful, and I attribute that to taking the time to prioritize myself, meeting up with fellow creatives, and working alone a few times a week.

I feel like my life has been a series of "perfect timing" opportunities the past few weeks and I'm going to ride this high for as long as I can!

 

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Rachel Cottrell | @rachelacottrell

mama to twins • drinker of the Dew

Rachel is a huge fan of TJ Maxx and chocolate chip cookies. She is currently working on updating her 1940s home with her husband.


 

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