A while back, I was looking for someone to do a redesign of some of my course enrollment info pages.
Normally this is a task I hold onto tightly in my business. (Because, hello…designer! )
But with so many other ‘to-do’s on my plate, clearly this wasn’t getting done anytime soon. So I set out to find the perfect person for the job!
Naturally, I thought of my past Square Secrets™️ & Square Secrets Business™️ students first, because I knew they’d have a solid grasp on design best-practices and visitor psychology, and could be trusted to design me a killer custom enrollment page.
Now, combing through past student’s portfolios is always like Christmas morning for me…
But I was legit floored when I laid my eyes on past student Emily Again’sportfolio!
Exactly .02 seconds in, I knew Emily would be the one. And she did such a freakin’ fantastic job, I’ve actually hired her for several more page refreshes since!
(Hang tight! I’ll be sharing some of my fav designs of hers throughout this post!)
I also had a chance to hear a little bit about her story, and what life has been like since taking the courses, including what it’s been like to navigate business with a new baby on board!
Obviously balancing baby and business is not something I can personally speak to just yet, so I was thrilled when Emily offered to share what’s she’s been learning!
So…mommas, and soon-to-be mommas, this one’s just for you!
Hey, hey there, party people! It’s Emily over at Emily Agan Studio.
I just recently gave birth to a brand-spankin’ new bundle of joy, aka my son, and have new and profound wisdom to share with all of you on what it looks like to run a business all while basking in the delights of a new baby.
Ready for some quotable advice?!
Perfect – on we go!
Before I dive entirely into the practical tips, I feel it’s relevant to take you on a little of my business journey pre-baby.
I began my web design business last year- after being furloughed, breaking my foot, and #pandemic (when it rains, it pours). I had plenty of free time, so I schemed up ways to make the most of it!
It had long been on my list to join one of Paige’s courses, and well, there was no time quite like the present!
So I signed up for Square Secrets and Square Secrets Business – knocking them out in one fell swoop – ready to shift my career and life goals almost overnight.
I knew full well that we were most likely, if not almost definitely, going to be starting a family soon 😉 So the idea of complete freedom and flexibility to take care of a baby was unquestionably on my mind.
I ended up quitting my job later that year, moving to Texas with my husband, going full-time in my business, and crossed my fingers that the web design lemons from Paige would make ample lemonade. Cause, let’s face it, I didn’t have a plan B.
With blood, sweat, and virtual tears, my little business grew. Almost in concordance with my belly since we found out, we were pregnant!
Surprise, surprise… but not really. Haha.
It was slow going in the beginning.
Consultations that didn’t always land, blogging my little heart out with no certainty of readers… but then momentum came.
Months leading up to my due date, I began to see the “lemonade” I was looking for – booking out my calendar for the year and finally making some dolla, dolla bills.
With this boom in business and a new baby on the way, I wasn’t entirely sure how to manage it all.
All this to say, I went into labor early and brought my little bundle of joy to this side of earth sooner than expected – forcing me to put my business model to the test. And come up with some super savvy if not unconventional methods to get the job done.
“So how exactly did I run my full-time business all while keeping a tiny human alive?”
I’m so glad you asked…
You don’t need more time. You need less distraction.
Now that I have a second full-time job (Yes, I’m referring to the baby…), time is so important. Time to work, time to rest, time to dote on the mini version of me that I love with all my heart and soul…
So here is how I’m making it work:
Now, I know what you’re thinking… cutting a little Insta here and a little Pinterest there should do the trick. Just a general “let’s do better” mentality.
I have to say… it won’t work.
I had to delete it all. And here’s why.
The second I had any brain space to myself, a moment of quiet, a time to relax, I kept picking up my phone involuntarily! My brain was so hardwired that it was like that scene of Jim Carey from Liar, Liar where his hand goes rogue.
I kept slapping it out of my palm, “Where did you come from?! Get outta here!”
Think I’m crazy? Try it for yourself…
I guarantee I gained an extra 2-3 hours of my day back just by setting super strict boundaries. Even during business hours, I would put my phone out of reach so I wouldn’t check it EVERY 5 minutes… and that’s not an exaggeration.
It’s a game-changer. Trust me.
This might seem like a strange one but bear with me.
Clutter hinders creativity, and well, you kinda need that when you’re a designer. But it also eats time just to maintain basic household chores every day. And the more you have, the more you have to manage…
So what do you do? Get rid of it! Get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” #mariekondoforthewin
Spending hours doing laundry?
Chuck those shirts you shrank three loads ago and don’t even like wearing because you take a hit in the self-confidence department. Why are you washing things that make you feel like crap? Throw it out!
You’ll find that once you purge all of the things you don’t even want to take care of, there’s more time for the things you do – like your business and your baby!
JK. But what I mean is that the preparation and endless grocery shopping was such a time suck.
What did I do? A combination of pickup and delivery.
Our grocery order for lunch and dinner was virtually the same week to week, so I easily got 1-2 hours of my life back by simply re-adding to my cart online and then picking it up at the store.
Then meal delivery for dinner. In my opinion, one of the faster to make and cheaper meal delivery services, EveryPlate, saved us at night time. It’s usually 30 minutes to make, and I don’t even have to think about it.
If you can benefit from not thinking about what to make even three times a week, it is worth it.
Now I’m not saying that we shut ourselves off and didn’t let anyone come over. Quite the opposite! We let people come over whenever they wanted.
Whenever friends and family came over to be with my little one, I used it as an added opportunity to get more work done. Kinda like free babysitting!
While yes, some of them did want to spend time with me, for the most part, it was all about the baby, which was perfect! They got in their baby snuggle time, and I checked a few more things off of my to-do list.
It might sound like a bad idea to just drop the ball on things in your business… but honestly, when you have a baby, it’s kind of like starting all over again. And when you’re learning something new for the first time, it’s better not to do all the things and focus on the essential stuff instead.
This will look different for everyone but here is how it looks in my business.
Actively working on:
The moneymaker, the most essential thing in my business is working with clients on their websites. This had to stay because this is the heart of my business.
Free consultation calls
The thing that keeps my business going for the future.
Postponed for now:
While I do use this as a form of marketing its not my only marketing method. I get quite a few clients from referrals, so putting this on the back burner, for the time being, didn’t bring my business to a screeching halt and will be there waiting for me when I’m ready to juggle more things.
Perhaps the easiest to let go of… it wasn’t my primary form of marketing and genuinely took too much of my brain space that I needed for my baby and client work… we’ll see if I return to using it in the future, but it did #sparkjoy to let it go. haha.
I didn’t want to shelve this one but had to for logistical reasons, there was just too much set up for me to get done before the baby came, and now I don’t have the time to complete it. However, this is one of the priorities once I’m back on my A-game because, hello, passive income.
Multitasking is not your enemy.
I know, I know, the sage advice in business is not to multitask. Deep, focused work is the best way to be efficient. And I agree with that. But when you’re a new mom, that “deep, focused time” may never happen… and if you wait for it to roll around, a month may very well have passed you by.
So what exactly do I suggest? Multitasking complementary activities, meaning when your body is busy do something else with your mind.
We all do it – tell me you’re not scrolling, answering emails, and sending a memo to your VA while you have your morning poop.
It may not look very classy, but hey, it’s your business, so it can look like whatever you want.
When I sit down at my computer to work on client websites, I’m usually breastfeeding, pumping, and eating. Or, while bouncing my baby to sleep for the umpteenth time, I’m shooting off quick emails.
It doesn’t mean that you multitask EVERYTHING – for instance, bath time, playtime, and dinner with my husband are non-negotiables when it comes to putting down work for the day. But if there is margin to squeeze in two things at a time, why not?!
Sounds counter-intuitive, no? But honestly, if you prioritize yourself, taking a moment to stop what you’re doing and relax, it will only help your creativity.
I wasn’t doing this at first, thinking, “If I just keep pushing through, I can get this done.”
But what ended up happening was – anxiety, creative blocks, and getting distracted to no end.
When I took time to slow down and take a shower, go for a walk, and eat, I was so much faster than before.
A big part of making my business run was asking for help – help from friends, help from family, help from my husband – who also works a full-time job.
It was hard for me because I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone, but I also had business meetings and deadlines I needed to meet. I couldn’t risk the potential, “I’m so hungry, I think I’m gonna die,” baby cries in the middle of a zoom call with a client.
So I bit the bullet and asked for what I needed.
Even if someone could only come over for one hour, that was totally worth it, and I planned my priority tasks around that tag-team assistance for it to work.
Now that I’ve given you my very “profound” and “sage” advice, I realize that my business is unique to me and that my tactics for business + mamahood are set up for my particular definition of success. Haha.
So my genuine advice? Take what works for you and throw out the rest.
Let trial and error be your guide, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Because if you want to make being an entrepreneur work with your new baby life, you will have to figure out strategies for your one-of-a-kind situation.
You’ve got this! And know that in the thick of it, knee-deep in baby poop and self-doubt, that you’re truly not alone 😉 #momprenuersunite