This week I was blessed to have a Board of Directors meeting. My board is comprised of my sister, one of my best friends April, and my husband. (They didn't even know they were on the Board. I appointed them. They took the news well.)
We met in Tuscaloosa at April's house for two days and brought our children along. With them all rather close in age (7, 5, 3, 3, and 3), they play together well. Most of the time! And since kiddos required our attention during the day, the Board meetings occurred outside the normal business hours...between 10:30 pm and 2:00 am. We had more important things to discuss from 9:00ish to 10:30ish like what type of dessert--cookies, ice cream, or doughnuts--should we have during our meetings. :)
And, let the record show, Brandon was absent from the meetings. It seemed his real job kept him at home. (I told him that he should get his priorities straight. Wink, wink.)
Facebook, Here I Come!
As I write that phrase, I picture myself as a knight charging forward on my war-ready stead, sword drawn and pointed. That's me, ready to battle...I mean, join the Facebook community.
I know you are thinking...that is a "battle" many have fought, won, and even left the battlefield. You just showing up, girl?!
Yes, I am just showing up. I am a day late, dollar short kind of girl. Really, I am a social media scaredy cat. Instagram is about all I can handle.
But, I know I must take the plunge into Facebook. I think I am ready.
At least, I will be ready soon. With a few more pep talks from my Board members and maybe a tutorial (don't laugh!), I will create an account.
As far as marketing my business, which is essentially marketing myself, I know it is a step I must take. So, watch out, Facebook. Here I come! I am sure it will be more like Monty Python's take on knighthood than Kevin Costner's version. :)
The + and - of a Side Business
The plus. Because I am the owner of Inspire to Engage, I get to decide when and how I work. Another thing that is not necessarily a positive but still is in a way...I have no official clients right now. So, I have more freedom to do my research, writing, and marketing wherever and whenever. See, my schedule is not tied to clients' schedules.
Side note, I believe in JUST STARTING for this very reason. Of course I would love 100 paying clients. But right now my life is not set up to handle even 10 clients who want help with scheduling their time, being productive, or getting over the initial hump of starting a biz.
So, while I am waiting for that first client to come along, I simultaneously am developing and improving other processes critical to my business. Once I get my first client, writing a post or 2 a week will no longer be as overwhelming. I have been doing that for a while now and have gotten it down to a science (most weeks!). Also, creating and posting 4 to 5 times on Instagram each week is a normal part of my routine now. It doesn't take large chunks of my mental energy any more. (Remember, social media scaredy cat here!)
It is due of this gradual build of skills (and finances) that business giants like Dave Ramsey encourage others to "grow slowly." Growth over a productive, thoughtful, and prayerful time period is sustainable. And, we, the business owners, get seasons to focus on 1 or 2 aspects of the biz, instead of having to be an expert at every part on day 1.
The minus. Because my business truly is a side business right now (and will be for several years), it is done on the edges of everything else. If I have a week where my schedule is different, like a couple days away from home or several doctors' appointments jammed into 2 days, then my side business work is consequentially affected.
I find myself, usually without success, trying to squeeze 15 hours of work into 12 available hours to work. Does that make sense? Happened to you?
I know that on the surface this dilemma seems no different than with any other job. As a teacher, I both loved and hated 4-day weeks. Loved the extra day off. Hated the need to fit 5 days of curriculum into 4 days of school time.
But, this mompreneur-side-business gig is different, though, from my teaching job. See, as a paid teacher, those 4 days, from 7:30 to 2:45, were designated for me to officially go to work. As a mom/sidepreneur, I have to carve out 15 hours a week to work around whatever else is going on in my life. If an appointment falls during my children's naptime, then that is 2 hours I don't get to work on Inspire to Engage that day. I must find those work hours elsewhere.
Please know that I am not complaining. I love where I am at in this season of life. But, I want other mom/sidepreneurs to realize they are not alone or crazy if they have weeks when they don't accomplish what they usually do for their businesses. It is probably because other aspects of their lives were full...overflowing...extra exciting...or, perhaps, very draining.
That is life, a natural ebb and flow. We just have to recognize it.
Meeting of the Board
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed my Board meetings this past week. They definitely weren't the norm.
First off, serious desserts were consumed.
Second, a lot of laughter echoed off the walls of April's kitchen where we sat, ate, and talked.
Of course, the later the meetings went, the more delirious we got. So much so, that at one point Sydney, April's crazy cat, was almost voted President of the board. But in a moment of clarity, we realized that when you have to scream, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you," as you sling food at her, Sydney may not have the servant's heart that we want for Inspire to Engage board members. :)
Seriously, no alcohol involved! We are now grown mommas so any moment after 11:00 pm greatly stretches our abilities to focus and to make sensible suggestions. :) Annie F. Downs, a Christian author and speaker, shared a t-shirt on Instagram recently. It said, "I'm ride or die (until about 9 PM or so)." Hilarious! Anyone over 30 or who is a parent recognizes that truth!
We did, though, have serious business talks...brainstorming ways for me to be more efficient at writing, how to expand my marketing by joining Facebook, and how to address participants at the mompreneur meeting I am facilitating soon.
I enjoyed the business discussions and take their suggestions very seriously. (You know...the surround-yourself-with-wise-counsel thing.) But even more, I appreciated the silliness, the laughter.
At times in your life, silliness, laughter, and moments with friends are the inspiration and motivation you need to continue on.
Hoping silliness for you,
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Weekly Summary Timesheet *Detailed Timesheet Below
Total Time = 14 hours & 15 minutes
Research (3 hours suggested) = 2 hours
Content/Product (5 hours suggested) = 8 hours & 30 minutes
With Clients (4 hours suggested) = 0
Marketing (3 hours suggested) = 3 hours & 45 minutes
Takeaway = I blew it this week. I spent a large amount of time writing and zero time on clients (with actual ones or simply pretending). This week was not an average one with our (super fun!) trip to Tuscaloosa. I have not given up on myself yet. I think I can still lessen my writing time and increase my client time.
Monday - created and shared an Instagram post (Marketing) for 15 minutes; worked on 5 Dumb Things I Worried (Content/Product) for 2 hours total = 2 hours & 15 minutes
Tuesday - continued to revise, edit, and publish 5 Dumb Things post (Content/Product) for 1 hour & 30 minutes; made Pin for new post (Marketing) for 30 minutes; pinned on Pinterest (Marketing) for 30 minutes; created and emailed weekly newsletter (Marketing) for 30 minutes total = 3 hours
Wednesday - wrote and shared an Instagram post highlighting my recent writing, 5 Dumb Things (Marketing) for 30 minutes; Board meeting with Ape and sis (Research) for 1 hour *in Tuscaloosa, AL with boys total = 1 hour & 30 minutes
Thursday - revised my Pin and thumbnail for my latest post (Marketing) for 30 minutes; Board meeting with Ape and sis (Research) for 1 hour *in Tuscaloosa, AL with boys total = 1 hour & 30 minutes
Friday - created and shared an Instagram post (Marketing) for 15 minutes *in Tuscaloosa, AL with boys total = 15 minutes
Saturday - began writing post for next week, 44-0 post (Content/Product) for 1 hour & 45 minutes; began writing journal entry for the week (Content/Product) for 1 hour total = 2 hours & 45 minutes
Sunday - finished, revised, edited, and calculated time for this week's journal entry (Content/Product) 2 hours & 15 minutes; created Pin in Canva and pinned on Pinterest (Marketing) 45 minutes total = 3 hours
Total = 14 hours & 15 minutes