The unknown … the known … the routine of regular classes … the rapidly changing day / week. Looking at your booking sheet and thinking ohh that mama will be finishing soon to have her baby … will so and so be continuing class … so being proactive to market the spaces you have and clients letting you know what their plans are. All very up in the air … a little like juggling a new baby, the laundry, sleep, being sociable, having a relationship, keeping on top of the housework and ohh yes EATING! In my world I certainly don’t sleep when the baby sleeps … my business is 24/7 … literally if I am on call.
I have had lots of people say to me just go do the 9-5 thing … I did for many years work in education … and loved so many aspects of it. I liked the structure to the day, the fact that I could prepare for x, y & z. Interestingly in my work I do NOT discuss routines … I talk about establishing a pattern with your baby … I don’t use the word routine as life with a baby changes so rapidly and there is no point in trying to make a baby conform. They will do it their own way until they are ready to change for themselves. Those babies that choose to sleep through the night or those that decide they can’t sleep without you … go with what they need and listen to your instincts … they are usually spot on. You after all are the expert with your baby you live with them 24/7. Of course there are going to be fabulous and not so fabulous days … not bad days, although the number of mamas who tell me they have had a bad day … I turn it around and say ….
Me: “ohh it can’t have all been bad, there must have been some good bits? Did you make your baby smile/giggle, did they do x, y or z?” …
Mama: “Well yes they did a or b …”
Me: “See there’s some great positives. The day was mixed …”
So life running your own business …. I live my life in a state of flux … never knowing quite who and when, where the next pennies will come from and believing in Divine intervention and clients paying me. Staying in the now and not worrying about what might happen …
What I do know is that in the last 18 months I have had to be honest with myself and decide where my business was going and how I wanted it to develop.
Having your own business is a little like having a baby …. that never grows up? It stays in that constant flux situation a little like being in a time warp. Of course there is maturity within the business … you become more business savvy, you constantly review your classes, content, add new bits and tweak others, you change your booking conditions, you decide to add this element to your portfolio or to stop offering this or that long term project finally comes to fruition and it’s like your baby starts to walk taking tentative steps and testing the ground.
You support other new businesses or those that have been doing their thing for a long time without any formal booking process etc. I’m always amazed that colleagues trust me enough to come and ask my opinion … wow … when did I graduate into that role?
I love having my own business and yes it has been quite a journey … thinking back I started off doing the things I did as hobbies … flowers led to weddings, our own initially and then lots of other lovely weddings followed for a few years. Then I helped my husband out with his client group doing follow up “motivational” calls to support them in their nutritional journeys and ending up taking that business on, training others and being an active member of the community. I eventually had to put my hand on my heart and say that this is the direction I wanted to move in … pregnancy, babies, women and families.
Choosing to own my business alongside a full time job was hard … and sometimes the business took a back seat and that was very challenging. Having commercial premises when the economy was hitting rock bottom was a real eye opener. However, I chose to do fewer days for the permanent job and focus on nurturing my baby. This helped and I was able to establish a professional reputation for the classes and support I offered expectant families. I started to parent my business with mindfulness and integrity. It’s was never about money (and yes I was constantly reminded by accountant, family, husband … YOU ARE NOT A CHARITY … VALUE YOURSELF!) my business was about supporting mamas in a time that is exceptionally pressurised and stressful. Not easy to put a price on that type of support. However every mother, father (yes I have had a few call me to chat) and bubba matters. Providing a safe space for each of them to be heard and listened too!
Don’t get me wrong I am not a charity and there have been times when I haven’t been paid, I have just covered costs but like every business there comes a point where it has to grow up and realise that it has to be paid for, that it’s not a hobby that the permanent job pays to keep going.
My biggest obstacle is when clients miss a class and want to be credited. I have clear booking conditions and if you were a member of a gym and missed going to class or training you aren’t going to ask the gym for a refund of that months membership.
When the permanent job no longer exists heck you realise that the business must pay you for your time. That your clients need to respect the fact that you spend time preparing classes, that you tweak them when they come with x, y or z into class and that you are drawing on a huge resource of experience and knowledge that has taken time to acquire, doing courses and submitting case studies, continuous professional development in order to be able to give them what they need. It’s not something that can be learnt on a weekend course … it’s taken nurturing, patience and dedication … exactly like the time we spend with our children … it’s my other child! Like my children I have patiently nurtured it, listened when it has spoken … and it does on a regular basis …
I have received some amazing support from mamas with areas of expertise that have pointed me in the right direction and I am very grateful for their expertise. It has facilitated the growth of my business.
I read so many articles on positive parenting and one that I read recently made me sit and think about the Emotionally Intelligent Child, it talked about “provide (ing) your child (with) ample opportunity to:
- authentically feel a range of feelings
- have a chance to reflect on their feelings and decisions
- problem solve as they grow and learn
- observe others experiencing a range of emotions and feelings
- interact in different social situations
- experience negative feelings without being offered a quick fix (no bribes to make crying stop for example)
It made me sit and think about these points and I loved the suggested ways parents could help their children to understand and manage their feelings & emotions. It made me think about how I parent Ripple Effect Yoga (my other baby) and who I discuss things with … my husband is usually the first port of call – the father figure … he listens to me go on and on about this option for the business, what do I do in this scenario … a couple of favourite Aunties (just to say one is dainty and the other is like leather) all of them listen and then break it apart and I realised that they facilitate and let me share …. to talk and to listen, to respect myself, others and my business.
The above article discusses these aspects and has some great points:
“Talk & listen: Discuss feelings and emotions as they arise, not to lecture but to give your child important information about connecting how they feel to how they are reacting and also what they are observing in others. Using Time In instead of Time Out can help this process as well.
Research on emotional intelligence shows that there is a really healthy link between having emotions, feeling emotions, and cognitively identifying emotions. For example, If a child can say they are mad (name their feelings), they are less likely to spiral into a tantrum. Dr. Dan Siegel summarizes this ability as “name it to tame it”.
Respect & Don’t minimize: Everyone’s feelings and reactions are different and valid. Avoid telling your child how they should feel.
For example, if your child complains they are scared, reflect that back to them “You feel scared” or “You are scared right now?” While well meaning, it is not helpful to tell a child “this isn’t scary, don’t be afraid.”
If we tell children how to feel and that differs from what they are actually feeling they will begin to feel confused about their own feelings.”
I don’t think I am ever going to regret stepping into the world of having my own business. Yes, I like lots of others, dislike accounts and tax returns but they are a necessary evil … the pleasure of seeing a mama bond with her baby, for her to experience a first in class and for us to all share in the joy of little A rolling over or little C smiling for the first time or laughing.
For a mama who needs to step inwards and be at one with herself … to take that step to trust me to cuddle her precious bundle of joy until they fall asleep in my arms. This is a true blessing and one of the reasons why I love what I do, why I am passionate about parenting, mamas, babies and being a family. So even though every day brings a little something different … I am loving it. Thank you for coming along to classes, courses and days where you are able to focus on you personally. You are all truly gorgeous and nurturing your beautiful bundles of joy. Cx