I often get asked how I am able to manage my 3 young kids and still run a successful crochet/knit business. Today I will share with you 5 tips that I have found to help me be more efficient running my business.
And these tips can apply to those that are not mothers, too. They are applicable for people who may have a full-time job or busy people in general.
First, I think it is important to note – you can NOT do it all (I sure don’t), so don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself! Being a mom is hard enough, so don’t get down on yourself and don’t play the comparison game. Like all things in life, there is a proper balance of give and take. Though social media may paint a perfect picture, it is, by far, not. Never forget that social media can be deceptive.
Okay, so let’s delve into the tips, yeah?
My first tip is my game changer tip for myself. Once I did this, I truly felt a huge amount of stress melt away. It is a simple tip, but makes a world of difference!
1.BUY ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING
Photographers typically recommend natural lighting when taking great pictures. I do agree with this to an extent, but I found it way too stressful to limit myself to that one time of the day when lighting is perfect. Something always came up making it hard for me to carve out that time to take the picture! Trying to juggle the baby’s nap, the red juice waiting to be spilled on the project, or the toddler that is potty-training (not to mention uncooperative weather!) just made it way too hard for me to try to take pictures during the day.
Plus, I often found that I would do the bulk of my crochet work after the kids went to bed. I wasn’t going to stop working just so I could take a picture the next day in the natural light, so I needed something that I could quickly turn on, snap a pretty instagram-worthy pic, and continue working. It helps me be way more efficient especially when I have to take a picture for a progress picture or explanation shot.
It is worth it to spend the money to be able to quickly take pictures anytime of the day, rain or shine. I like to keep my lights up, pointed at the table I typically use for pictures, with my photo props nearby, so I can easily take a picture in 2 minutes or less. So much more efficient!
One last thing to note – if you have to make the decision between artificial lights or a DSLR camera, buy the artificial lights! The camera on your phone is probably good enough for pictures. I did not start needing a nice camera until I started working with magazines/companies that required high-resolution pictures.
2. SET DEADLINES FOR YOURSELF DURING NAPTIME/QUIET TIME
Do you have older kids that don’t nap anymore? If so, you’re doing quiet time with them, right? Right?!?
Quiet time is a time where children can be alone in their room and read by themselves, play Legos, do puzzles, listen to a podcast/audiobook, color, etc. It is good for children to take breaks and spend time by themselves. It instills creativity and time with their own thoughts. It also allows me to “take a break”, so I am able to come back for the second half of the day rejuvenated.
My two older children do not nap anymore, but they do quiet time during my toddler’s nap. They spend 45 minutes in their room or the playroom, which allows me to get a good chunk of work done. I will usually save projects that need uninterrupted focus during this time as I can be more efficient without the littles running around. Typically I will do computer work, editing, photography, videography, etc. Basically, I usually don’t crochet/knit during this time.
I also set deadlines/goals for myself of what I hope to accomplish during the chunk of time so I am not mindlessly jumping from one task to the next without accomplishing anything. It helps me stay focused and work as efficiently as I can to maximize the time. I am sometimes amazed at how much I can get done in those 45 minutes!
3. MAXIMIZE AVAILABLE HELP
I recognize not everyone has help readily available in the home . . . but you may have more than you realize!
Here are some ideas:
Do you have a husband/wife/partner that can take over one night a week, so you can make that a focused work night?
Business owners don’t always have the luxury to “clock-out” at 5:00, so my husband takes over evening tasks once a week where I can have one night of guilt-free, no kid interruptions. Again, I am so amazed at how clearly I can think when I am not juggling 10 other things!
He will make dinner, clean up, play with kids, and sometimes even do the bedtime routine completely by himself (I know, right?). Though, I do always come out for dinner. I value family meals a lot.
Do you have a friend that you could swap babysitting with once a week or bi-weekly?
I find that my life is easier when other children are at my house to entertain my kids. My kids love to play with other kids, and I love that they enjoy it so much. It is a win-win for both of us! Or if you include my friend who also benefits, it is a win-win-win as Michael Scott likes to say. The Office, anyone?
Plus, then you can have your turn of dropping your kids off at your friend’s house. I will drive to my friend’s house, drop the kids off, and park somewhere, and continue working in my car so I am not wasting time driving back and forth to my house. I can accomplish a lot in that 30-minute round-trip, and I’d rather be working that wasting my time driving.
Do you have a reliable babysitter or option for another type of child watch service?
Have you considered occasionally hiring a babysitter so you can get your work done? May be something to consider!
I have a gym membership that includes child babysitting (hallelujah!), so I will regularly go to the gym, work out, and then use the remaining 2-hour allotted time to crochet. I find a quiet spot and go to town! The owner of the gym regularly talks to me and told me that he thinks that it is great that I am “embodying mental wellness” by taking some time to crochet as well. I couldn’t agree more! Crochet is so relaxing.
And again, my kids love the child babysitting at the gym. They love playing all the games with the other kids, joining in on the worksheets the childcare workers print off, and playing with all the “new” toys. I love the childcare workers at the gym, and they take such good care of the children.
4. TAKE YOUR BUSINESS SERIOUSLY
Are you treating your crochet/knit business like an actual job? Would you mindlessly scroll social media while clocked in? Treat your business like a job! If you take it seriously, others will too.
One way to do this is to buy sound canceling headphones. Obviously I am not saying put your sound canceling headphones on with your children around and no one is there to help. I am talking about when you have a babysitter, are out at a coffee shop, or your kids are already fast asleep and someone else is there to hear if they wake up.
Having headphones on not only keeps me focused, but it also keeps others from constantly approaching me to chat at the library, the gym, etc. I love talking and chatting with others, but when I am counting stitches, or I’m in the middle of grading a design, it is hard to be interrupted.
Another way to put distractions aside and take your business seriously is to put your phone on airplane mode when it is time to work. Putting your phone on airplane mode means you will not get distracting texts, phone calls, notifications, etc. that make you lose focus and be less efficient.
When I have my phone on airplane mode, I warn my husband ahead of time in case there is an emergency. He knows how to contact me if needed. It is so nice to not have my phone as a distraction and I am able to focus so much more. I will usually do this during quiet/nap time as well as when I have a babysitter (my husband, a friend-swap, or at the gym).
5. INCLUDE YOUR CHILDREN
The last tip is to let your children help! Usually they are so eager and want to be with you, so why not include them in what you love?
Both my husband and I grew up with at-home businesses. We were both employed by our parents at a young age, and it taught us great skills. I learned how to work hard, gained confidence in my work abilities that helped me get summer jobs when I was older, and taught me money management from the small amount my parents would pay me.
We both value these experiences we learned and have tried to find ways to teach our children them as well. Of course I could do the tasks faster (and probably better) if I did them myself rather than my children, but these valuable skills are worth the extra time. Plus, I am able to spend time with my children.
So how do my kids help? Are they too young? No! Kids are never too young to “help” you! Over the 7 years that I have had Cozy Nooks Designs, how my kids have help me has changed, but it really doesn’t matter what they are actually doing.
These days my kids help package orders, organize my yarn, put labels on, assemble the letters on my letter board for pictures, and click the button on the remote when taking a picture. All small things, but valuable skills can still be learned by small and simple things.
So there are my 5 tips! I hope you find them helpful!
I love how portable crochet/knit is and how easy it is to take to the park, museum, pool, school pick-up line, etc. with the kids. I love how I can easily squeeze in a few rows here and there while still “mommying hard”.