This is the second post in a series called The Monetized Manifesto. You can read the first one here.
Working from home is hard. Working from home with children is super-hard. What? You might have read those articles about how cool it is working from coffee shops (it is) and how liberating it can be to get work done in your pajamas (it can be.) What a lot of those articles don’t tell you is that it takes a lot of hard work to get to the point where the benefits outweigh the pains.
What pains? Glad you asked. Here are some that I’ve faced:
- Fighting with myself because I am sometimes undisciplined. Getting things done is much harder than it needs to be.
- Anxiety over cash flow. When you are the boss, whether or not your bills get paid completely rely on your personal level of hustle and commitment.
- Anxiety over my level of commitment. What if I’ve poured all of these years into the wrong thing? What if I should have just done the 9-5 thing and been “normal.”
- Difficulty balancing being a business owner and mother during the same hours.
- Coming to terms with the idea that if I’m on deadline, sometimes the dishes don’t get washed.
- Dealing with unsupportive family members who think you are being irresponsible by working from home (my Nana, RIP, kept telling me I should become a teacher because no one makes money on the Internet anymore.)
If it sounds like complaining, let me assure you I am not. I am only highlighting some of areas in which I struggle. Getting everything done that needs to be done when you are running a household and a business is hard. It is much easier to go somewhere all day and then tie up the loose ends when you come home. It is the same amount of work, really, but you have less responsibility for making every last dollar come round at the end of the month. This is just my opinion from having been on both sides.
Is it worth it? Absolutely, 100% Y.E.S. But, that is because I have a crystal clear WHY. Why do I want to do work that is location independent? Why do I spend time and money building parts of my business that don’t have immediate return? Why would I turn away certain money now for uncertain money later? I know the answer to these questions. If you are going to work from home, especially with kids, you need to know the answer to these questions, too.
My WHY – I have an entire page dedicated to my WHY. Mine has to do with the quality of life I want for my son. I don’t want to make decisions for our lives based on poverty thinking. I want options.
Yesterday was the last day of school for my son. He has graduated from Pre-K. He will be in Summer Camp in June and July and I am considering homeschooling for Kindergarten. I want to travel with my boy. He is the holder of my heart. I want the whole world to be our school. I want to discover it together with him.
I want to create meaningful work that helps others connect with their WHYs that allow them to fulfill their dreams the way I am beginning to fulfill mine. Step by step, my WHY is getting closer and more in focus. But, it is only happening because I chose to be absurd. That’s right, absurd. It is absurd to say that you want to travel the world, while working from your laptop and homeschooling your child, as a single mom. But, I’m not afraid to be absurd. Minute by minute, I’m making it happen.
What would happen if your dream became absurd? What are the desires of your heart? How much more time do you want to spend with your children? Where do you want to take them? Do you want time to write that book that you have in you…and then promote the heck out of it? Do you have a cause that you would love to pour yourself into? Find your WHY and make it crystal clear.
Then, take some action. You don’t need a fully functional five year plan. You just need the next best step. For me, it was getting my budget under control. I started with couponing and meal-planning. What does that have to do with web design and blogging? Nothing. But, getting my money a little more straightened out helped me make room in my budget for reducing my hours at work. That little bit of wiggle room gave me time to learn my craft and network with my peers. I didn’t need much, just about three hours a week to start. But, it was a start.
Look at what is holding you up and trace it back to its roots. For me, money was holding me back. I traced it back to my budget. I needed more room in it and I found a way to make that happen. It didn’t lead to instant success. But, it did give me enough room to maneuver. That is all you need. A little bit of room to maneuver and you move this much closer to your WHY. But, you gotta have a WHY or that maneuvering gets oh, so tiresome. Your WHY will keep you at your keyboard. Your WHY will keep you going to meetings, because you need your sobriety to make your dreams happen. Your WHY will keep you safe from rejection when it comes (and it will.) Get absurd and find your WHY.
Well, you know my WHY. What is yours?