female-entrepreneur

Female entrepreneurs everywhere are bombarded with PR-friendly messages like “Create the life you want – on your terms!” and “Thrive in work AND in life”. The promises of creating your own work hours, growing a business with joy and creativity, and achieving a healthy and happy work-life balance encourages women everywhere to quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs. One thing all of these messages forget to remind us is that all this is possible – with a shitload of hard work.

There seems to be this common misconception that “working for yourself” means that you  set aside a few hours each day to work on “your business” and the remaining hours are filled with blissful pleasures like spending time with your family, enjoying an impromptu  yoga class, and taking long hikes in the woods. I’ve recently been met with raised eyebrows from friends and acquaintances who are surprised when I don’t have time for them or other commitments.

I’ve been saying “No” more often but only because every “Yes” has been given to my new business venture. My priorities are business first, pleasure second – and that’s that. There’s no way around it right now, and sometimes it’s because I’m on a roll and have a million ideas and thoughts that need to be put to work right away – and other times it’s because I’m so overwhelmed by everything and am struggling to catch up with the all-encompassing to-do list that comes along with birthing a new business.

I’ve been given a lot of advice lately. A LOT. Most of it comes from a good place. Most of it comes from women. And most of it tries to guilt me into stepping back from my business endeavours to focus on my family, my home, and my husband (who I also don’t see because he’s helping me as much as he can after his own work hours). I get where these women are coming from, and I know that they mean well – I promise, I do! View Post

How to Build a Business while Raising a Family

Right now, as you read this, I’m smack dab in the middle of building a business. It’s a surreal and exhilarating feeling, to put so much hard work into creating something from vision to reality. I’ve dedicated so much of my focus to this undertaking and it feels so good to be doing this, for myself and for my family.

There’s a constant outpouring of ideas coming out of my mind. I’m constantly thinking up new marketing programs and promotional ideas, dreaming up launch parties, discussing employee conduct and branding ideas – there’s so much to do! It can get exhausting sometimes, and there were some days that I felt a bit burnt out, but most nights I either lay awake with anticipation or dream about my ideal shop!

As you can imagine, this venture has taken up quite a bit of my time. And I thought I already had my hands full with work, blogging, husband, kids, and a house to manage! It’s been a bit of a juggling act, with some days being more successful than others, but we’ve developed a flow in our household that’s working for us, and I wanted to share some tips on how to create a business while raising a family.

How to Raise a Family & Build a Business

Be Tenacious

This is the time in  your life to be more determined than you’ve ever been before, and to work as hard as you possible can – at everything! You are going to have to work your butt off to get your business running, you’re going to have to work harder at family, at home, at health, at relationships – things will become more challenging. But curb the complaints – remember, YOU wanted this! Anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed and down a bit, remember why you wanted to do this in the first place.

Always put your best face forward. Don’t only slap a smile on for a client, be your cheerful, happy self to your children, your family members, and your friends. Be an inspiring individual, remind yourself that you’re working towards a goal. Yes, it’s hard. But you’ve got this.

Be Efficient

Time is of the essence, especially in a full household. Depending on your daily schedules and routines, you will need to carve out essential and focused time for your business, without impeding on your family time, your home life, and your own personal time. This means focusing on tasks at hand, ignoring the call of social media and unnecessary Facebook updates, and using time management techniques or creative multi-tasking.

On a typical day I wake up just before 6 am and get my “necessary” tasks out of the way; think emails, to-do lists, organizing, and planning my day, week, and month. By 7 am the kids are up, and it’s morning routine time, then out the door by 8 am. I’m usually back home before 9 am, and my “work hours” are from 9 am to 4 pm. However!!! Some days are taken up by client meetings or doing business errands, or even personal appointments. I have to plan my time properly, and use the time I have efficiently to really get shit done. View Post

never-stop-learning

When you say the word “conference” out loud, it sounds like some boring workplace event – like when Ross had to go to a Palaeontology Conference in the one in Barbados on Friends. (Yes, the tv show. From a million years ago.) But do you want to know a little secret? A conference is just like a party with all of your closest friends that you’ve never even met yet.

Whether you’re a travel blogger, a creative entrepreneur, a creator of handmade goodies, a marketing whiz, or a graphic designer – going to a conference for your niche means hanging out with like-minded people. You meet aspirational folks, your mind sparks at all the ideas flying around, and you feel refreshed, happy, and more focused on your job, on your creativity, and in your life.

I’m super stoked for the upcoming Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in Squamish, BC – located right in my backyard! It’s happening March 28th & 29th, 2015 at Quest University and features amazing speakers like Rebecca Bollwitt from Miss 604, Shawn Johnston from Forge and Smith, and Kemp Edmonds from Hootsuite – just to name a few!

Conferences are also a great time to network and get your name out there. You know what? Scratch out “network” and sub in “make friends”, because that’s what you’ll be doing. You’ll be making connections, you’ll be meeting new clients, you’ll be meeting mentors, you’ll be making lifelong partners and friends. Seriously.  View Post

multitasking

If you looked at my very first resume, from the age of sixteen years old, I proudly listed multitasking underneath the heading, “Skills”. A few years later, it seemed to be a faux pas to even mention the word. Multitasking went from a strength to a major weakness overnight – it was reported to lower productivity, drop focus, and created outcomes that were seriously lacking.

multitasking (noun) 
the handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person

Becoming more focused on the task at hand became the thing, however as a mother, wife, and business owner, I find my time so limited that I am often forced to do more than one thing at once. I’ve quickly discovered tasks that can be easily done at once, and others that can’t.

For instance, I can’t talk on the phone and write articles. It just doesn’t work for me – I either focus on the conversation or ignore it completely. Same with photo editing – I stay focused on the one task for at least 25 minutes (and I use a timer!) before moving on to the next thing. But there are quite a few tasks that can easily be done together, which saves me time!

multitasking-2

Multitasking that Actually Works

Your body and mind are only capable of doing so many things at once. Your mind can accomplish one task, and your body can accomplish another. That’s easy, right? To multitask properly, put your mind AND your body to work, so they don’t conflict and can each focus on their own tasks. I can easily talk on the phone while cleaning, or eat my lunch while editing a blog post.

  • Do menial tasks while learning. Listen to a podcast, video, webinar, or a book on “tape” while tidying your desk, folding your laundry, sorting your files, and opening your mail.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix business with a bit of pleasure. Meet a client at a new cafe or restaurant, go for a hike while brainstorming a new project, and while doing things that need your focus, like editing or writing code, listen to the latest album from your fave band.
  • Think while you exercise. Get on the elliptical machine, a treadmill, or a stationary bike and create your to-do lists, respond to emails, and plan your day.

More Time Management Tips

True story: I thought I invented the Pomodoro Technique. Hilarious, right? I was having trouble finishing all my scattered tasks in a day, so I set up a timer on my phone for 25 minutes, determined to focus on that ONE task for that time (no email, no Facebook, no interruptions). Then I would give myself 5 minutes to use the washroom or hit up twitter, before going on to the next task. It boosted my productivity ten-fold! I thought I was brilliant for thinking of this amazing time management process! Then I discovered that it was called the Pomodoro Technique…

What are your favourite time management tips? Do you like multitasking?

if-its-both-terrifying-and-amazing

When I was 12 years old, our family moved from one school district to another. While my younger sister quickly made friends in our new neighbourhood, there weren’t any kids my age that lived close by. I spent that first summer hanging out with eight year olds, more often than not. That was the summer of performing Spice Girl dance routines, my burgeoning obsession with Victoria Beckham, and the overuse of the expression “Girl Power!” anytime and everywhere!

Perhaps it was our amazing dance moves or the on-cue lip-synching, or perhaps it’s something that’s always been within me, but I’ve had an “I can do anything” attitude as far as I can remember. I’ve always had huge dreams and I never thought that any of them were impossible. Over the years I’ve realized that you have to dream big and work hard, and success can be achieved.

I’ve always hated working for others. I don’t like taking orders, especially if I think my way is best (which it usually is). No matter where my career would lead me, I knew without a doubt that I would have to be the boss. It was always what I wanted, even as a bartender or a hair stylist, my goal was to own a restaurant or a salon – not simply take home a paycheque every week. I wanted to make my own schedule. I wanted to run thingsView Post