by Astra Dwyer, WPICC of On Your Day Events.
This article was chosen as the favoutire article, by Astra’s WPICAlumni peers, in a internal WPIC contest .
Being a mother of four and a business owner is a balancing act meant for a trapeze artist (seriously). The joy (ahem) of 40 little fingers that magically find their way to the keys of my laptop. Four tiny, but vocal, humans that need (and that I enjoy giving) my constant love and attention. Four incredibly tug-at-your-heart-strings bundles of cuteness wrapped in more cuteness, that cause instantaneous heart melting. Oh and I did not forget my sweet, caring and phenomenal 6 foot human I married eight years ago, that is incredibly supportive and attentive to the boys (Yes all boys. You can hear the noise now, can’t you?). We also have aging parents that we love and adore, that need our help on a weekly basis. Now that you have a sense of my world, you may have a hectic family life as well and feel relieved to know that you are not alone. The big question is, how in the world is there time to run a business? Truthfully, I barely had any time and felt that I was burning the candle on both ends and in the middle. There was a constant tug of war happening between business and family. I knew that I could have both, but I also knew I had to make changes so that both could thrive. There are no hard and fast rules to owning a business and having a family. But I will say this:
Be Mindful of What Your Whole Self Needs to Keep Your Whole Self Happy and Healthy
By “Whole Self” I mean spiritually, mentally, physically and of course financially. From understanding this one concept, you will be able to build on the following steps in your own way. Every business owner is unique and all of you reading these steps will take them and use them differently.
1. Assess (and re-assess) your business foundation, not just your goals.
Setting monthly and yearly goals will push you to new levels of success. However without a proper foundation, you will find that you may start to struggle with meeting your goals. Assessing your clients, family life, how much time you have dedicated to both, physical/mental health and how much time you devote to your personal well-being. Where are you suffering? Where are you excelling? Assessing and re-assessing your foundation will make your day-to-day tasks and family lifestyle easier to manage. Your family is always changing. You are always changing. What you decide to do this year may not be what you need to do next year. Ask yourself, how conducive is my business foundation to my personal and business needs right now?
2. Routine is key.
Not just for children, but for you as well. We schedule our days around daycare, feedings, naptime and bedtime. How often do you schedule time for Social Media postings, vendor meet and greets, daily business tasks and down time? In order to be successful, you will need to dedicate at least three hours per day to just your business (not clients) to make sure that it’s running effectively. How did I do that? It wasn’t easy, so I began to dedicate my early mornings as a time to rejuvenate my brain, using prayer and meditation to start my day. After I had this quiet time, I would be in a calm state of mind to review my to-do list for later that day. I pre-scheduled my work hours (each day may be different but I schedule at least three to four) and concentrated on replying to emails and other household/child duties in the meantime. Once I set this routine for myself, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders! I didn’t feel rushed, trying to fit in what I could, when I could. I was MUCH happier with how I was running my business in the background and was able to give my children more of my time and allowed myself to recharge. Ask yourself, what routine do I need to introduce to improve my work/life balance?
3. Understand your value (Oh, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t be so hard on yourself).
You are valuable. Recognize that. The sooner you recognize your abilities, the sooner the “what” and “how much” you do, won’t affect how much you believe in yourself. Focus on what you are doing and enjoy the process. I was constantly hard on myself about how many weddings I did per year, I assumed there was something wrong with me if a couple didn’t book my services. I felt as if I failed meeting after meeting. I felt that I, as a person, was not valuable. Thankfully, I had many remarkable reminders from my couples and their families that were extremely happy with their planning experience. Everyone made the same comment- that they felt so relaxed the entire time because they trusted me and had 100% confidence in my abilities. That is what I wanted for them. That was one of my goals! Mission accomplished! With every happy couple, I am reminded why I love what I do and that I am successful. I just had to be aware of how truly valuable I am! Ask yourself, what positive skills or characteristics do you have that you usually ignore?
4. Recognize when your imagination helps you and when it hurts you.
I always thought that I would never compare myself to other wedding planners in the industry and truthfully, I don’t. Then one day, I found myself wondering why I wasn’t busy (Four kids, I know. Funny right?). Why didn’t I have weddings booked every weekend? Is what I’m doing really valuable? It must be me. It has to be me. What am I doing wrong? Oh man, what do others in the industry think of me? Then, my imagination went into overload.
I became focused on what my business wasn’t doing that I lost sight of what my business was doing and what I had already accomplished. I was comparing myself to this mythical business owner that never breaks a sweat, has no issues booking clients every weekend and that everybody loves! Well, I soon realized that if I lived up to this mythical expectation, my children wouldn’t know I’m their mother and that six-foot human (I should really stop calling him that) would ask for proof of ID every time I opened the front door. I realized that a “normal” workload for every planner (and business owner) is different based on their life and personal needs. I am right where I need to be, laying brick after brick to build my Rome. I now let my imagination run wild with all of the incredible possibilities that will be. Ask yourself: what personal thoughts are helping or harming my success right now?
All in all, remind yourself that you are amazing at what you do. You can give thanks for the little or big humans that make your world a better place, the clients that are happy that you made their lives easier and most of all give thanks for who you are as a person. Take the time to recharge. Take the time to accept, love and appreciate where you are right now. The future holds so many possibilities for you. Just wait and see!