Running a business and raising small children is a struggle most people can understand. ScrapMills may only be a side-job for us, but it is far from “part-time.” We both work full-time jobs outside the home so that leaves late nights and weekends to work on anything else.
Through the course of doing this I’d like to think we’ve learned a few things worth sharing. Here’s three:
It’s Not Easy
Of course operating your own business, regardless of the scale, can be tough. I’ve always felt that for makers it is especially difficult. Unlike retailers or wholesalers or independent consultants, everything you sell has to first be designed, built, assembled, or crafted, creating entire workloads that add hours to the process. Like all things, it becomes harder when you add small human beings that can’t care for themselves. You can’t cut wood and chicken nuggets at the same time.
It may sound obvious, but you have to accept that raising a family and building your business is not easy. Everyone who does it will tell you the same, no matter how good their Instagram page or Etsy shop looks. Know you’re doing your best and that’s all you can do.
It’s About Your Priorities
Getting orders out and delivered on time is important. Making sure your customers have a good experience and enjoy their interaction with you is a must.
But at the end of the day, your customers aren’t the ones you’ll be putting to bed each night. Your customers don’t need help with their spelling words or need a story read to them.
Silence that voice deep down that accuses you of not spending enough time with your children or your spouse. Don’t feel guilty about the work piled up in the other room.
Be honest at the beginning that orders take a little bit longer than you’d like, but you are working on getting that time down. If there’s a two month backlog, own it. There will always been another order, but there will only be 52 chances in a year for a Friday night slumber party in the living room floor. Decide what your priorities are and don’t apologize for them.
It’s Worth It
Growing your business and growing your family will take a toll on you. You’ll probably be tired as soon as you wake up or stay up too late and question your choices along the way. But know that doing something you enjoy and providing a little extra income while you do it is great path to take.
The best part is that it really isn’t even about the money you’ll make. Sure it helps, but the most significant thing is that your children will see you working towards something. They’ll see that the right way to achieve success is through hard work and commitment. It’s late nights and weekends. It’s getting up early and staying up late.
It’s a value they’ll carry with them.
And that makes it all worth it.