“Being a WAHM (work-at-home mom) is _____”
We’ll of course I had to answer, so I wrote:
“crazy, absolutely crazy, but I love it!”
It’s true, being a WAHM, owning your own business, writing science curriculum, and homeschooling your children is crazy. Some days I want to pull every hair on my head out, some days my eyeballs hurt from spending far too much time trying to design a cover, but most days I can’t imagine doing anything else!
I’ve learned what I have about business from life experience as we seek to run and grow Elemental Science. I know that I still have a lot to learn as we continue to expand and I know that I couldn’t do any of it without the other half of my brain.
Today, I thought I’d share with you all 5 things that I wish I had known about owning your own business and writing before I started down this road.
1. You will not spend all your time doing what you love, but you will love what you do.
I spend about 60% of my “work time” actually writing, which is what I thought I’d be doing 95% of the time. The reality is that there are lots of other things that have to be done, like learning how to use a new computer program, answering emails, mailing packages, dealing with artists, and designing covers.
For instance, the cover for our new book The Sassafras Science Adventures, which I’ve been dreaming of writing for years, took like twenty different times to get it right, seriously, almost twenty different designs!
Don’t get me wrong, I love playing in Photoshop and it’s worth the effort. I love the process of creating, especially if I’m not the one doing the drawing, but that wasn’t time spent writing.
There’s a lot more to publishing a book than just writing what goes between the covers.
2. Social Media is your best friend and your worst time-killer.
Social media can be the most effective way to get the word out about your product, but it can also be the biggest time-sucker of your day.
You want to use social media to your advantage, but to do that, you must be on social media, frequently, meaning you will loose more of the time for writing what goes between the covers. Now, some larger companies pay someone to do this for them, but the reality is that you will not be able to do that, at least you won’t be able to do that right away (see #4)!
You have to find a way to balance the need to be a part of social media with the time you have available to be on social media. This is one I’m still working on figuring out, I’d love to be more active in social media, but if I do that I lose more of my precious writing time or my non-negotiable family time. So, I have had to learn to be ok with what I can do and not worry about what I can’t.
3. Remember what your priorities are.
I heard somewhere that, “if your not purposeful with your time, it will disappear” and that “you spend the most time on the things that mean the most to you“.
God and my family are my top priorities, but if I’m not careful this can get skewed. When you start selling products, you feel pressure to put out more products or to create more useful products. If you let it, the pressure can cause you to place the business and deadlines above all else.
The reality is that I am a wife and mother first.I work for myself so that I can be there for my family. It’s ok if I take time to cuddle my son when he awakens early from a nap (my normal work time) or if I read a chapter in a book to my daughter before she goes to bed, instead of answering all those emails that have piled up during the day.
You have to remember your task list, but also be flexible enough to postpone things when your priorities need you to.
4. You will not become easily or instantly rich.
It takes a lot of work to get to the point that you are ready to publish a book and a fair amount of work once you’ve published it. It will not sell itself, well at least not very well.
You have to be accessible to your customers, willing to listen to their needs and make the changes you see fit. You have to continue to produce as well as work to get your name out and there will be a lot of time and money involved in that.
I read somewhere that it can take up to five years for a business to turn a profit and be prepared that your first profit year, won’t be all that grand. You have to really love what you do or you will never see the day when you make enough to make it worth all the effort.
5. Enjoy the journey
There are tough days, like the ones when people say harsh things about you that you know will be forever immortalized on the internet no matter what you do to change them.
There will be good days, like the ones when you get an email from someone who says that you “saved science education at their home”.
Hopefully there will be a way more good days than bad days, but you have to be prepared for the fact that not everyone will like your products. The key is to take the good and the bad, to change when you need to, and to enjoy the experience as a whole.
Remember it’s your products they don’t like, not you, so enjoy the journey!