Balancing you family and your biz??? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-20-2005, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope i am posting htis in the right area. LOL i am new to the boards but have found alot of info here. Anyway. I am a farily new WAHM and by new i mean my biz is about a year old. I was REALLY slow going in the begining as I expected, but recently has taken off. With the launvch of my website, and auctions and everything else i am doing to promote my biz, Things have gotten out of hand. I am always feelign way behind on orders. and I feel behind on spending time with my kids. I mean afterall they are olny young once, and they need me. But I feel terrible as well if I dont get an order out by the day I say itshould be out. I am running about a full 5 day turn around time on my custom orders. I dont think that is bad but to achieve that, I am feelign like i am neglecting my kids. They are still young, the oldest is 4,so they cannot come into my office. I have had them come in and had pins everywhere, fabric pulled off the bolts, computer turned off without shutting down ( with windows that can me detrimental LOL) IT isjust not pretty.
There are days i regret startin gmy business. I mean dont get me wrong but at what cost am I running this. I am not really worried itwill go under. and i am almost completely paid off what i woe the household for start up costs, in less that 8 months. But I do feel I am working at this point to support the biz. I did just raise my prices as in dooing research I found I was WAY underpriced It has slowed the orders down. But I was not even making min wage if i was actually paying myself...

I know this all sounds like i am a big whiner. Im really not I am jsut really overwhelmed. I am going thru fabric like mad since i am exhausted and I am sewing at 3 or 4 am to get orders done. I am not feeling like eating becaseu when everyone is eating I can work ( my office is off the kitchen so I can hear) I just dontknow what to do
I have a set work time from 7-10 but that is clearly not enough but with DH setting up his biz, he needs time too... anyway.
What do you all do to keepyour biz running and thriving and your family and yourlesf happy??
Sorry that was SOOOOO Long. please forgive me..

Melissa- homeschooling mom to Samantha ( 9) Gabby ( 8) Emma (6) and Diesel (12 months) and Rachel Rebecca Brock Erik Joe Noah 6-25-10 5 early miscarriages
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Old 05-20-2005, 11:34 AM
 
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I don't think you are whining. I think this is a legitimate concern for most of us. My first suggestion is hiring a young girl to be a Mother's Helper. She can entertain the kids while you're still there. But you will get some dedicated work time. Second is to come up with a plan with your dh. You both need time to set up your respective biz's and he should be understanding of that since he's in the same boat. Try to stick to a plan for a week and see how it goes. I'm sure others will have more suggestions!

Zia+Lane+Sonora=Mi Vida Loca! :
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Old 05-20-2005, 12:41 PM
 
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Melissa, I wrote almost your same post about a month ago. It's a learning process for sure. I did take down some products while I caught up and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. My advice is to slow down a bit more. You don't HAVE to keep up this pace, believe me. If you scale back a little bit people won't completely stop buying from you. Plus you're running at 5 days now but believe me when I tell you that it just takes one busy week and one little thing to go wrong in your life to find yourself completely overwhelmed! Maybe instead of doing customs do more in stock. Then you don't have to stress about filling custom orders as much. Whatever you do, you NEED to take a step back and take care of yourself. You're going to be completely burned out very soon at this pace.

As for balance, I sew after DS is asleep and while he naps. There's just NO other way for me to do it. Occasionally I can get a few things cut or snaps put on while he plays by himself but really he wants my attention and he deserves it. I've baby proofed my office a little so at least I don't have to close the door on him. DH is the only one who isn't getting enough attention now, and I feel bad about that. Hopefully it won't be like that forever. I know what you mean about eating too. I've lost 20 pounds since I started my business and everyone keeps asking me how! :LOL The truth is I barely have time to eat anymore and I definately don't have time to snack.
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Old 05-20-2005, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you both.. I guess i need to sit and talk to hubby and tell him I NEED more that 3 hours a night. He gets frustrated with me if i go into my office during the day. Actaully the Main reason they cant come in is I now share an office with hubby. He does web hosting so it would be TERRIBLE if they turned off one of the computers. and plus he has stuff laying around that they could get hurt on in mo opinion. It seems i have 10 - 15 orders at all times, i work hard, get 3 or 4 out, then i get 3-4 more oders. I LOVE doing this, and I know things will get better But I guess for now I am going ot have to close up shop as some of my other sales areas. Simce I am farily new and alot of ppl dont know me. I sell alot on ebay or mmp and now ffg. Its just crazy i just have this mind set that i need to get my name out htere and how else to do it.... I want to be known as well as the other WAHM. and my goal is for my name to be used in diaper forums as much as all the other hard working moms around here. I know this should take a few years, as I perfect my diapers andall.

I guess I want it all. LOL
actaully i want to be able to pay MYSELF!!!! LOL not just the ppl i owe for fabric.... I know that day will come....

thank you all for listening to me....

Melissa- homeschooling mom to Samantha ( 9) Gabby ( 8) Emma (6) and Diesel (12 months) and Rachel Rebecca Brock Erik Joe Noah 6-25-10 5 early miscarriages
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Old 05-20-2005, 01:36 PM
 
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hey mama, it is tough. being a sahm is already challenging. then we add in working from home on top of that!!

take it one day at a time. ask for help when you need it. get a babysitter or mother's helper to help wrangle kiddos.

sounds like you are selling which is an awesome accomplishment. word will spread...
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Old 05-20-2005, 01:38 PM
 
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So it sounds like his office hours are supposed to be during the day and yours during the evening? If you would like daytime hours, perhaps the mothers helper will help and you could share office time. Maybe seeing all you need to do will make it clear that you need more time.

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Old 05-20-2005, 05:04 PM
 
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It does sound tough. I agree that set business hours are imperative. Otherwise you feel like you're trying to be a parent & business owner all at once, and not doing a good job at either.

Here's another suggestions- have you considered converting to an instock store or limiting the number of custom slots you have open at one time? I know that people like to customize their purchases, but it's easy to spend lots of time on just one or two custom, when you could've spent the time making several non-custom products. I've also read that it's a good idea to at least make 2 (if not more) of every custom item that you create- that way you have one to send to the customer, and one to stock in your store.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
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Old 05-20-2005, 05:45 PM
 
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I have found having a certain amount of work hours works best. Those hours I dedicate totally to working and the other hours I dedicate totally to my family. I try to do most of my computer work when I'm nursing DS to sleep for his nap. The sound of the computer keys and mama's milk, put him to sleep.

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Old 05-21-2005, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz
It does sound tough. I agree that set business hours are imperative. Otherwise you feel like you're trying to be a parent & business owner all at once, and not doing a good job at either.

Here's another suggestions- have you considered converting to an instock store or limiting the number of custom slots you have open at one time? I know that people like to customize their purchases, but it's easy to spend lots of time on just one or two custom, when you could've spent the time making several non-custom products. I've also read that it's a good idea to at least make 2 (if not more) of every custom item that you create- that way you have one to send to the customer, and one to stock in your store.

I keep trying ot get in stock items but it seems all the instock I hve now are seconds. I was torn about selling them, but I know there are some mamas who need a great deal and I cant afford to lose money so I am selling them. But I had saome in stock items and I sold out fast. My current avg order is 6-8 hemps in one order. Well If i get 2 a day of those, then there is NO way I can keep up. I just think I am going ot have to close everything for now, and just sew. well once i get all these orders out.

I did make a big move.....
a mama i go to church with lives to sew, and is in need of extra cash, so she offered to help me. I will cut the diapers out, and give her instruction and she will sew for me. I figure she can sew my inventory, and I will work on customs. I am just going to have her start on my dd size, just in case.... LOL I know when i started i had some FUNKYlookin dipes. LOL and i talked to mny freind today about hiring her dd for hte summer to work for me a couple times a week when I am desperate to get things done. she is great with the kids and notyour typical teenage girl. I mean she is 14 and NEVER uses the phone LOL

Oha nd I am teaching her to sew so maybe.... LOL

Thank again mamas,.

Melissa- homeschooling mom to Samantha ( 9) Gabby ( 8) Emma (6) and Diesel (12 months) and Rachel Rebecca Brock Erik Joe Noah 6-25-10 5 early miscarriages
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Old 05-21-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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Sounds like some GREAT ideas! Good luck!

Zia+Lane+Sonora=Mi Vida Loca! :
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Old 05-21-2005, 02:59 PM
 
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I think you have to slow down some. It's hard to turn away/regulate business when you have sales coming in but sometimes you have to! I open a few custom slots (20 or so) about every two weeks. Then I try to do some in-stock stuff at the same time. I'm always behind (not late on orders, just feeling frazzled) Some nights I stay up late but most of the time I just can't. I keep plodding along knowing that will get easier and I will have more time as the kids get older. Sometimes I wish I had waited to start up but I'm glad I did.
Don't make yourself crazy or you will burn out quick! Now you see why so many WAHMs come and go so fast!

Laura
Mom to three
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:33 AM
 
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I haven't read the other responses but I will tell ya that I can certainly relate to how you are feeling. I have been there. I remember a time when I would feel guilty when I was doing something special with the kids because I knew I needed to be finishing up orders...and when I was working on orders I was being weighed down by guilt for not spending more time with the boys.

I also felt like I needed to get my orders shipped in record time and would stress myself out, along with everyone else, to achieve that. I decided a few months ago that I wouldn't do it anymore...even it meant that I would loose customers. I decided that it was no longer going to be a juggling act. My family and kids were going to come first. Now I tell most everyone, depending on the item and/or quantity ordered, that I need at least a week before I ship. I felt guilty about this at first. It obviously has not hurt my business in the least.

I know for me, personally, I don't mind waiting longer for a wonderful product that is created by a work-at-home mom that puts her family BEFORE my order. I want that. I don't want to think that any wahm is stressing herself out over my order. One week on a custom order is a reasonable time frame in my opinion... dependent, of course, on what exactly is being created.

Maybe you could try giving yourself a little more time... and just see what happens.

I hope it gets better for you!
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Old 05-22-2005, 06:40 PM
 
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Great ideas. I own a store and take my little boy along and even though I'm with him all day I struggle a lot with the things you mentioned.

Sometimes I feel like I dont' know why I'm doing this. I will tell you though that early on I realized that the business will take up as much time as you give it. I used to go in on Sundays and work and go in on Mon (closed) and work--I had to quit that. The work will be there when I get there and oh well if I'm behind.

I am a perfectionist too and so the not feeling like a perfect mommy and not having things done perfectly at home also adds to the unbalance.

I was selling a lot on Ebay too but I have recently scaled back because I was working to dang hard! with never time to relax over anything.

It's hard when you need the money though and know that if you spent more time you'd have more money--but at some point you have to take stock and decide what you want--more money or time with your babies kwim?
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Old 05-23-2005, 03:32 AM
 
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When I started I was doing only custom (since I didn't know what was gonna sell and didn't want to end up with unwanted inventory). I would take orders and write them on a big wall calendar, giving myself plenty of time to finish and when I got a few weeks filled up, I would put a closed sign on my site. As demand grew, I would go up to 6 weeks out but usually kept it under a month. The truth is, I can only sew so much at a time, so even if I only took orders a week at a time, anyone who wanted more than what I could make would have to wait. That's just the reality. And trying to shove too much into a month would just end up with me being insane and burned out, and running late anyway.

I've been doing this for 4 years now and have figured out what's most important to me and my biz. I am going through a rough patch with my family right now, with my babe at a very needy age and recently moved, so they are getting the most of me and the biz is getting a bit neglected. I know it's hard on my customers to have nothing available, and I know there a lots of people cursing me for not sewing enough or fast enough, etc. In the past year or so there has been more and more competition cropping up to fill in the gaps in the market since I can't meet demand and that scares me a bit, but I'm also a bit grateful because at least there's something else out there and not everyone is relying just on my product to meet their needs. I could sew every waking moment, put my kids in daycare, hire more piecework sewers, have my product a factory, etc. but I have searched my soul a lot over the past 4 years and have decided what was important to me wasn't making as much as possible for as cheap as possible, it was making a quality product while getting to raise my own children in my own home. I focus now on longevity and having the biz when my kids are grown and off doign their own thing. I don't want to miss these precious years with them stressed out over how much I'm not working.

Robin~ single, work-at-home momma to my WonderBoys
YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
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Old 05-23-2005, 03:39 AM
 
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i have been feeling the same way! I am starting a buisness and i have a three month old son and i feel like I have to get everything done in two weeks because that is when my wonderoos come in and it is just so silly. I am selling attachment promoting items and so i need to sit back and just attach! Thanks for posting, that is just what Ill do. :
Stacey
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Old 05-23-2005, 04:09 AM
 
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Oh I feel this post too! I have also been planning on scaling back some of the product line and just focusing on a few things. Also, stocking custom slots is an appealing idea since I have a terrible time saying no to personal emails! And especially when you are new its hard to say no, I feel so grateful just to have someone interested! Its hard being tired and overwhelmed and feeling like you are not fully enjoying your time with your kids or your sewing due to your worries about the other. I've been wondering daily lately if it wouldn't have been better to just keep it all a hobby. I fantasize about sewing as a hobby at this point. In the end, I think I would have done it just about the same though and know that someday it will be easier and there will be more time. Thanks for posting, I totally relate to this.
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