Why Having a Baby Was The Best Thing I Did For My Business

I always knew I wanted kids and I spent the majority of my 20s worrying about how it would impact my career. I worked really hard, in part so that I could secure a position where I felt I was able to take maternity leave and not fall too far behind, and have the life-work balance that so many of us dream of.

I had always focused a lot on how a baby could negatively impact my career, so I never imagined that having a baby would be such a good thing for my business and for me as a solo business owner.

I preface this by making it clear that at no point has it been easy (that’s a different conversation)!

Here’s why having a baby was the best thing I did for my business:

Improved my Time Management

Doing anything with a newborn is basically like using the Pomodorro method. Whether it’s having a shower, working, or reading a chapter of your favourite book. You have very short amounts of time to get things done so you have to be intentional about what you do with that time. There was no time for scrolling my feed or naval-gazing. I had to decide what I was going to do and how exactly I was going to do it in advance so when I did have the time I used it to my advantage.

Accelerated my Decision Making

We all have those moments in our business when we don’t know how to move forward. Should we outsource the work to someone? Should we try and learn ourselves? I didn’t have time to waste wondering which path to take so made faster decisions on how to keep the momentum in my business. I invested in areas I could not do myself and cut tasks and projects I knew were not essential.

Expanded my Network

Building your network is one of the easiest things you can do during your maternity leave. You meet people from different industries and walks of life than your own because you have something new in common: a baby. Networking happens at the park, at baby groups and wherever mums are getting together. I started a Mom-Mastermind group for members of the Women Entrepreneurs Munich group so that we could share our business ideas and challenges whilst our kids were in the pram sleeping. My network increased 3 fold this year just because I had a baby.

Invested Time in my Development

When I wasn’t talking to others about business I was developing myself, reading books and listening to podcasts. It can be a challenge as an Entrepreneur to carve out time for professional development, so this was a real treat facilitated by hours of walks I wouldn’t usually have gone on, and days of endless breastfeeding.

Let Go of Perfectionism

It is absolutely impossible to do everything at the standard you used to before you had kids, or you end up either burnt out or not doing anything at all. I had to let go of perfectionism because it led me to ruminating over ideas and wasting so much of the little time I had. I had no choice other than to let go of it if I was going to make any progress at all. When I did, so much opened up to me. I began asking for help and coming up with loads of ideas to problems I’d been stuck on for a long time.

Check out my blog post “10 Ways to Rebel Against Perfectionism” for inspiration.

Realised the Value of my Services

Time is money, yes we know, but we only really appreciate it when our time is actually limited. I had been underselling myself for too long. When it came to working during my maternity leave it had to be worth the effort to take time away from my family, so i finally started getting serious about what my time was worth.

How has having a child positively impacted your business?

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10 Ways to Rebel Against Perfectionism

You know perfectionism is getting in the way of you achieving your goals, but what can you actually do about it? Here are my top 10 easy-to-action tips for rebelling against perfectionism:

1. Set a Timer for Yourself

You either spend too long on tasks or procrastinate like crazy. Hold yourself accountable to get things done within a limited period by setting a timer to complete something. When the time’s up mark that task as complete. During the Purpose Project Co-Working Sessions we use Cuckoo Timer to keep time.

2. Share an Unfinished Idea

Have you ever reached a sticking point with something you’ve been working on and spent a long time wondering what to do, but been terrified to ask for help? Instead of wasting time trying to get yourself unstuck, share your unfinished idea and ask for input and ideas from other people. Your idea will be stronger for it and you’ll move things forward faster.

3. Don’t Make a Plan

Plans are a perfectionists best friend. They’re safe, they make you feel in control and they can also become the project if you’re not careful. Ask yourself the question, “What is the least I need to do to achieve this?” and stick to doing just that.

4. Tell Someone How You Actually Feel

Vulnerability is the antidote for perfectionism, so when someone asks you how you are, tell them instead of bottling it up and showing a stiff upper lip. Sharing how you REALLY are doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.

5. Don’t Ask for Feedback

If you usually ask people to check your work, and you seek reassurance about what you’re doing, STOP! Asking for feedback on everything reduces your self-confidence and feeds your inner perfectionist. People will always have opinions but it doesn’t mean they are more valid than your own. Believe in your skills and abilities and know that you are capable of knowing when something is “good enough”.

6. Let Someone Else Take Control

It feels so good to be in control, and yet it’s exhausting to constantly be responsible for everything. Share the decision making responsibility out by asking friends and family to make some of those joint life choices that take up your head space like what to eat for dinner, where to stay on vacation, and how and when to clean the house. At work it could be letting the Intern take on more responsibility for a task.

7. Finish Work on Time Everyday

When you’re trying to make something perfect and you’re focussed on getting that done it can be so easy to say the words “Just 5 more minutes” which inevitably turns into 10, then 15, then 2 hours. Make a commitment to finish work every day and keep it.

8. Say “No” to Something

You are a people pleaser and want to please everyone in your life, so you’ve got used to saying yes to everyone whether it’s your boss asking you to take on more work, or your family asking you to do a quick favour. This leaves you feeling stretched thin and a little resentful. Be bold and say no for once. Start with some small no’s to begin with if you need to work up to the big ones. What’s important is that you learn to stretch your “no” muscle.

9. Say “Yes” to Something

As much as you love to say “yes” to other people, you find yourself saying “no” to a lot of opportunities because you hate doing things you’re not good at or have never done before out of fear of looking silly. The easiest way to rebel is to say yes to something new. A new sport, restaurant, TV series, way of doing things. Say yes and commit whole heartedly.

10. Enjoy Quiet Time

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to enjoy your down time? Without thinking about all the things you could or “should” be doing? It is easy to move from one thing to the next because it makes us feel productive; perfectionisms best friend. Slowing down and giving yourself permission to let go of your responsibilities and just “be” may feel counterintuitive but it will nurture your mind and soul, in turn increasing your creativity and productivity.

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Purpose Project Co-working Sessions

Are you working on a project you’re super excited about, but struggling to carve out time to focus on it?

Do you get to the end of a busy day and lack the motivation to continue working even though the work is important to you?

I totally understand your struggle!

I was on ‘maternity leave’ all of 2020 and during that time I was running my coaching business in the few hours I had between looking after my newborn and managing the household. There were so many evenings where all I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa and watch Netflix. And no one would have known except for me! 

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely watched my fair share of Netflix, but I also made sure I carved out time at least once per week to focus purely on my business. This time was sacred, and it has helped me to achieve so many of my goals, in far fewer hours than I could have imagined. 

So many of the women I coach are working on inspiring projects and struggling to find the time to focus on them, so I figured we could mutually support each other in our endeavours and hold each other accountable by doing them together.

Say hello to….

Purpose Project Co-Working Sessions

Free virtual co-working sessions for creative women, entrepreneurs and change makers who are striving to launch and lead projects of purpose in their spare time.

Thursdays evenings from 7-9pm CET starting 11th March (and fortnightly after that)

What is a purpose project?
Something you’re doing that gives you purpose in life, be it writing a book, launching a business, creating a cultural movement, painting, designing, making, re-training…you name it!

What will we do?
In this session we’ll meet virtually on Zoom, and after a short intro we’ll work on our own tasks for 25 minutes (cameras and mics off). Then we’ll have a short 5 minute break where we chat or do an activity. We repeat this another 3 times.

How do I sign up?
You’re ready to invest time in your purpose project? YAY!!!!! To save your seat click the big red button 🙂

Past Co-Working Sessions

What Others Say

That was such a lovely group!

Rebecca Rönty, Translator DE>EN

Hostess with the mostest! Thank you for that super productive session. I have now finished the course plan with my milestone dates 💪🏼 A huge well done to you for hosting such a great co-working event 👏 Looking forward to the next one 💛

Jess McCulloch, Marketing Specialist

Thanks for tonight! I got the webpage done in the time we did the sessions!

Laura Keung, Brand Designer
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How to use the wheel of life for goal-setting

My absolute favourite place to start goal setting is the wheel of life. By starting with the wheel of life, you get a good overview of all the activities and commitments competing for your attention. It gives you an opportunity to see where you might be out of balance, and where things might need immediate attention. This makes it much easier to realise your priorities and set appropriate goals.

Click below to get your free copy of the wheel of life.

A note before you start: You’ll see the wheel is divided into 12 sections but you can add or remove sections as you wish. Before you start decide if there are any sections you want to add or remove.

Here’s how to use the wheel of life for goal-setting:

1. Prepare your environment

Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed and create an environment that will allow you to feel grounded. Dimming the lights, lighting a candle, burning some incense work for me. Before you start allow yourself to take a deep breath and quiet your mind.

2. Rate your satisfaction level

With the wheel of life in front of you, quickly, without thinking, rate your satisfaction for each area (1 being least content and 10 being most content). It’s important that you don’t spend too long on this. It should be a gut reaction. There will be time to analyse later!

3. Connect your wheel

Once you’ve allocated numbers to each segment, draw a line to connect the dots.

4. Raise your self-awareness

Take a few minutes to look at your new wheel. What do you notice about it? What are you surprised about? What area is calling for your attention?

5. Laser your focus

Individually focus on each segment. Consider the number you have allocated, and what number you would like it to be within the next 6 months. Then consider what would need to happen for you to achieve that. Consider what you want more of, or what you might need to give up to have that happen.

6. Set your priorities

Once you have looked at each area, look at the wheel as a whole again. You only have limited time and resources, so you may need to prioritize or choose where to place your focus.

7. Set your goals

Choose one or two areas you would like to focus on and set a maximum of 3 goals in total. These are your focus areas. This is not to say the other areas are less important, it just means they are a lower priority in this moment. Usually, when we make a change in one area of our life it directly impacts other areas, so you may see changes in your lower priority areas even if your focus is not on them.

8. Revisit your wheel

I recommend returning to the wheel of life every 6 months, or more if you are feeling stuck or lost. If you engage with it intentionally, you should be able to uncover the area that is making you feel stuck.

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Why you need a break now more than ever

It’s Monday evening and I’m sat at my desk in my slippers and a woolly jumper, listening to Bon Iver. It’s dark and cold outside. There’s no denying that winter is here.

In any ordinary year, I’d be making preparations for Christmas. I’d be getting excited to have some time off, spend time with family and let my hair down. But as you well know, this is not a normal year and this will not be a normal winter.

From the conversations I’m having, it seems that everyone is feeling a bit tired, burnt out, unwell and ready for a break. I can hear it in people’s voices, like energy is being drained with every word spoken.

And yet so many of those conversations end with people telling me they don’t want to take a break because there is no good reason to take a break during lockdown. There’s nothing to do, no one to see and nowhere to go. They might as well push on and get as much work done as possible.

If that is you then what I’m about to say is for you!

Now more than ever, you need to listen to your body. You have been asked to adjust multiple times this year to a constantly changing situation. You are continuously having to make decisions that could impact your health. You are likely grieving things that would have been. You are likely feeling isolated and alone. All this, against an emotional political backdrop. 

Let me be very clear – just because this is the second lock down, doesn’t make it easier. You may think you’re used to it, but you’re not designed to get used to it. You are human and you are a social animal. If anything, right now you’re probably feeling the impact of Covid-19 on your emotions more than before because there is the stark realisation that you are reaching the end of the year and the situation persists. 

So I am writing this post to tell you that if you are finding doing things (or anything) difficult right now, you are not alone. If you are shedding more tears than usual that’s OK. Your body is telling you, you need to slow down and take a break, and not feel bad about it!

Breaks can be long or short. Do what is right for you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Finish work on time
  • Read a novel
  • Light a candle
  • Write down your intentions for the week
  • Get stuck into a new hobby
  • Book a day off
  • Stay in bed
  • Binge watch TV
  • Do a puzzle
  • Go for a long walk
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Tell a good friend how you’re feeling
  • Cook
  • Paint
  • Meditate
  • Dance

These are just a few ideas, I’m sure you will have your own. What’s important is that you accept what you are feeling right now and listen to what you need. Pushing on relentlessly is only going to make you feel worse, dampen your creativity, and lower your emotional resilience. Now is not the time for that!

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