And then there are the obvious challenges of working from home as a mom coach.
1. Take on this work at home mama bliss making undertaking on a year to year basis.
Once I had kids, I felt that the years really start picking up the pace and gain momentum.
I have a friend that claims the earth is picking up spinning speed on its axis but my mom says she’s insane and not to listen to anything she says. My theory is that with younger kids the months contain so many drastic changes in rhythm, home safety requirements, eating and digesting supervision job descriptions and conversation translations that it feels like your home management manual needs to be rewritten every three weeks.
But just like how the younger the kid is the younger your new venture might be, the more you might have to pay closer and more frequent attention to what’s working to make the most of your time and balancing work time and mama time.
So stay in the moment but try to relax into the year framework and enjoy what it has to teach you about yourself, your family and your gifts to share.
Because with time things settle.
I remember I was homeschooling Edie while I was just beginning to coach moms. I thought I had our work/schooling/living routing dialed down so hard. We’d do school stuff while Kale took his morning nap and I’d spin while the kids were sleeping.
But ta-da! Little munchkin was an early nap dropper.
Seriously, the kid stopped napping when he was two and half! That threw a wrench into our curriculum flow but was actually a blessing in disguise. The little guy started going to bed much earlier offering me a bigger window to work at night when the cubs where in bed for the night.
1. Surrender to the fact that rhythms are going to get shifted and reshuffled.
Then the shifters and shufflers are going to reincarnate in different forms such as outside commitments and classes. Then the real decisions start cropping up. Instead of overwhelming yourself by looking at the big blissful picture of where you want your coaching biz to be, look at the upcoming year.
For us they were ~ are we going to be homeschooling? Are we cool enough for unschooling? Are we alternative enough to send them to the “alternative school” in our alternative town? Are we commuter enough for the big drive to the Waldorf School?
We took these decisions year by year and that felt right. I’ve applied the same approach to my business.
2. Set new goals and break them down to doable action steps.
I begin my business dreamings and schemings around mid-December, with a mini-dreaming and scheming in August – right before my other favourite beginning of the year – Back to School Season.
I like to take a huge braindump and write out 25 business goals I feel are lofty and a little bit audacious even. I circled my top five. I then take these top five and make these up to be my vision for my biz this year. This is what I’m reading out loud each morning, dancing naked to the moonlight for and tattooing on my brain’s forehead.
(And I follow the tips from my conversation with Leonie Dawson and her scientifically proven tip on how to reach your goals. Hint: you have to see it, everyday, to believe it.)
Everything outside of these top five goals else is either a distraction, a bonus or a celebration for achieving them.
writing a book
building my academy to 100 members
sign on 3 new Intensive Clients a quarter
build my podcast to reach 10,000 downloads a month
get on 20 podcasts as a guest this year
Then get the action steps needed to take to reach these goals down on paper. Which brings us to the next point…
3. Pick a daytimer you like and use it.
As an entreprenuer, no one’s the boss of you except your day timer. And maybe that puppy that’s peacefully sleeping in the corner of there finally. Each quarter take yourself out on a mama only work retreat and write out the action steps you need to take to reach your goals.
That way I can compare using the same prompts for the goals and numbers and see how I have been moving forward. I can make decisions from there about what habits have been supporting my quest, never actually showed up or I should try to instill this year.
And you probably know by now I swear by this one.
This makes it easier to reassess if my vision should be somehow revamped or tweaked. I can compare apples to apples, ya know?
4. And choose a word of the year.
I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now. It’s kind of like choosing a theme song to be played in the documentary movie recap of your year. You know when you hear a song blast on the radio that reminds you of, perhaps, your junior high days, you’re just instantly taken back to that slow-dancing moment that was kind of embarrassing, because you’re way taller than the guy but he smells like Polo so you don’t care?
It’s a similar thrill.
Now when I hear my word of the year from previous years, a flood of memories and lessons learned wash over me on an energetic level.
2. Share the Bliss of Working from Home as a Coach with Your Love
My husband Craig has a stake at my business success. The time and energy I pour into this great love of mine could be time spent making nachos from scratch, ironing his Calvin’s or vacuuming the entire house everyday. Or (gasp) getting a J.O.B.
Thankfully, he’s been supportive of my ventures ever since I retired my panty hose to teach yoga full time back in ’02. I think he even said yippee when I announced my plans to do so (isn’t that adorable?)!
Maybe because he’s just tuckered out from being such an awesome dad, but the guy doesn’t say yippee as much as he use to. But his desire to support me and my work at home mama bliss, still shines through in slightly less audible ways.
I try to reflect back my appreciation for that. It’s a beautiful cycle that keeps the home bliss flowing at a steady gush.
Communicate, support, reciprocate.
Here are ways we’ve been squeezing in those three golden rules on marriage in between skype calls.
1. I share my income goals.
This conversation happens quarterly (or what us semi-hippies like to call ‘seasonally’), usually after a dinner of tacos, the kids have left the table and we’re lingering over an extra splash of chocolate porter beer. It’s a relaxing time for us and the cocoa beans in my beer make me bold and find me declaring with mucho gusto this seasonal goal with him.
After he stops laughing, I make a deep resolve to make him one day eat those giggles. Fuel to my money making bliss fire, baby.
2. I share my victories.
But only the victories that he cares about. Shout outs from online hot shots and milestone subscriber numbers? Meh… not so much. If anything, these updates seem to annoy him. But meeting my income goals? Scores me at least the sweet spot on the couch. Even when it’s not even my turn.
I save the victories that he just doesn’t get with my ladies. My ladies that get this weird online world ~ like my mastermind group, my Bschool posse and other online colleagues.
3. I inform him when I have a big launch coming up.
This practice gives him a big head’s up (not that his head’s especially humongous) that I’ll be needing extra time in my office, him to be on stand by to watch the kids when he normally doesn’t, or that we might have to order in dinner tomorrow night.
4. I practice my listening skills.
I need to keep this skills honed my coaching clients anyway. Some partner-friendly techniques include whole body listening, observing impeccable speech and offering him loads of air time. Lord knows the man needs more air time.
5. I pay attention to what keeps him jolly.
We have our evening ritual together which usually involves a giant cookie or some other sugary substance for him to delight in. Outside of sugar-induced chemical reactions I honor his jolly side by giving him the time and space to dream up, organize and make his outdoorsy adventures.
6. I pay attention to what makes him grumpy.
I need to be careful I’m not investing too much back into the company. While this makes me feel like a smarty it just so happens to make Mr Man kinda grumpy. We are both familiar with each others money story and let’s just say we are of two totally different genres. He’s more Game of Thrones while I’m more Eat, Pray, Charge.
But we have taken measures to come to an agreement on ways to circumvent this mismatch. One thing that helps ~ a smaller limit on the visa I use for work related stuff. That and the expectation to pay it off each month. More sweet couch spot time for me when that happens.
7. We guard a strong rhythm.
Consistent bedtimes, mealtimes, weekend rituals ~ these have helped to not only keep our lines of communication open but also offer a comfort that a predictable window is opening up to just be together as a family. And as a couple.
This flow intensifies the cohesiveness of our team effort to make both of our heart-felt dreams come true. As we breathe in and out throughout the day we come together and apart as we manifest our vision. For me, it’s helping moms find their calling and true bliss. For him, it’s designing processing facilities then conquering a mountain somewhere in the world with his bare hands.
Makes me kind of goose bumping thinking what the kids are absorbing through this working remotely tango. Like how I’m discovering creating a work from home situation akin to creating a baby ~ pulling of the daily grind that is working from home requires the give and take of a healthy partnership. And a healthy partnership requires a healthy dose of communication and jolly making. (Get your mind out of the gutter, you know what I mean.)
Continue to pay attention for ideal pow wow opportunities and ways to wow each other in small and surprising ways. Speaking of which, maybe I’ll make nachos for supper tonight. Hmmm…
3. Borrow from Your Parenting Style
Applying what works in one area of your life to another is a core principle from Mama Bliss Coaching . Since parenting draws out from us tools sourced our from our deepest wells of love we have at our biodegradable disposal a treasure trove of tricks and techniques that can add a flow, and a special brand of mama love, to our work from home days.
In my world, leaning on rhythm has been the secret to my parenting sauce.
Our family rhythm rests heavily on meals and bedtimes. So much so I might appear a bit uptight at times. But it keeps my Mama Bliss Boat afloat!
And to ride the sometimes choppy entrepreneurial waves I designed elements of rhythm to my allotted work time so that I can enjoy similarly smooth sails. This includes little rituals like starting up my essential oil diffuser (to help evoke my word of the year ~ FOCUS), cranking up my French folk songs on my spanking new turntable and enjoying a second latte when I beginning writing at the beginning of the day (the first one happens upon awakening. Don’t tell my naturopath.)
Similarly to how I have that day that comes around once a month when I bathe the kids (don’t tell Child Services) there are some tasks I like to batch up to the tune of every lunar cycle ~ editing podcast days, writing ebook days, blog brainstorming days.
And then there’s the micro rhythm method to my macro rhythm madness. I keep work chunk times to no more than 2 hours. I then go outside and take the dog for a walk. Or if the kids are around I’ll go for a sled ride down the driveway of doom.
1. Boundary making.
Your first opportunity to discipline as a parent is the start of the weaning process. Or if you were a child-led weaner like me, that moment your kid starts trying to change the channel using your spare nipple as a dial. Boundary making time!
Honing this essential life skill with your little ones is great practice and will enhance your work from home bliss.
My kids know my work space is a no kid zone. When they were smaller, and partially due to a more open concept floor plan, the boundaries were different and more age appropriate. But the kids, now five and nine, are old enough to understand that this is my work space ~ when Mama’s in here she needs to focus.
When we moved here this summer I announced this firmly and matter of factly (but with loads of love in my voice and a hug in my eye). And they know that when my work time is up I’ll be with them again. Present and filled to the brim with bliss.
I notice that with less stuff cluttering up our space, time and sound scape, everyone sinks into their most lovable version of themselves. When clutter creeps up (in all its forms) personal quirks do so as well and the vibe in the house gets twitchy and the most simple transitions can feel like pulling teeth out .
I’ve applied this observation to my work space. Each morning I give it a quick tidy so it’s conducive for the task at hand. A huge mojo maker for me this year is implementing the essential oil diffuser and record player mentioned above. I’m a focused machine these days (but you’ll still find me on Facebook in between side flippings).
This principle encompasses all of the other parenting tricks up my sleeve ~ minimal stuff, low amount of extra-curricular activities, sparse screentime, clean eating ~ less is more essentially. But it helps when I’m down or overwhelmed to ask myself the question:
“How can I make this more simple?”
Ways this can be answered is to consider what I can delegate (thus my big love for the virtual assistant industry), what can get tossed (you might have noticed a few offerings slipping off of this site lately) or just simply made simpler (this one is like Craig’s hair ~ there are no words to explain. You just know).
4. Less talking.
This is one of the principals that Craig’s my mentor in. He’s a non-talker in case you haven’t experienced him yet. When he does finally say something everyone around is all ears. I want ears surround me too.
In my parenting I try not to over-explain. I try to embrace the silence. I try not to point everything out like Captain Obvious on ecstasy. I ask myself the questions; is what I’m about to say kind? True? Necessary?
So I apply this to my correspondence with clients and students. These days I’m aiming to make emails more short and concise. I’m trying not to bombard my readers with zero fluff but instead offer loads o’ value and inspiration. Or at the very least an embarrassing moment or two to have made your precious time reading my words worthwhile.
Being a mom and a life coach online we straddle two worlds almost 24/7. Both our loves, our family and our business, stare at us all day googly-eyed, tempting us and at times luring us feelings of guilt or excuses to slack off.
Applying what works in our biggest love job of all, this gig called mamahood, we make this seemingly mission impossible not only doable but fantastically efficient and helpful to the world beyond our walls of bliss.
4. Invest in Your Education
Working from home as a coach, especially a home that’s crawling with adorable distractions that are busting out of their very first pair of big boy panties (can’t believe I cried over this!), time is of the essence. Fresh brains are a highly coveted state of mind. So I’m constantly paying attention to where I need to hone my skills, how I can delegate, what I should be reading but almost most importantly how I can pay attention to and remind myself of all the little lessons learned along the way.
Since the dawn of my work from home as a mama career I feel like every venture I took on has offered me not only some monetary gain (usually not much in the early years) but most importantly the foundation that’s made up of deeper insight into what makes me tick, what makes me tock, what my gifts are and what’s the most effective, sustainable way I can get them out to my right mamas.
While it might be frustrating at times not to have the time and energy needed to really pull off a work from home empire (and to see what all them jet setting, impractical but totally hot shoe wearing, non-kid having bloggers out there are pulling off in the meantime) not all is lost in the world of working in spit up-like spurts, nursing while taking client calls and cramming in creative time in between snowsuit putting on time. yet. again.
These are where the real deep lesson gems lie.
My journey of becoming and then working as a coach has been made up of many different types of experiments. Both in my parenting and my income streams. Some were great successes and some not so much. But rather than dwell on the return on investment on each of these episodes I use these outcomes, regardless of their success as opportunities to sharpen up my already pretty darn pointy intuition.
It takes time, patience and persistence to find your groove and piece together the nuggets of wisdom from each lesson delivered straight into your mama heart’s inbox.
And the lessons come in all shapes and sizes but can be divided into two camps. Or campus.
1. There’s Book Smart Lessons
Take ecourses on an area you feel you need to hone your skills. But go easy cowgirl. If you over do it in this area the book smarts just start leaking out one ear. One at a time and implement what you learn!
Document your journey. Either through a blog to see where your interests lead you over the years or a more private way like a traditional journal or book in the works. You’re going to have to hone your writing skills no matter what your work at home mama situation is going to end up looking like.
2. And there’s Street Smart Lessons (as in Love Street. Or Sesame Street)
These gems can pop out from your most challenging parenting moments.
Like that one time I noticed how the less fuss I made about a hoped for outcome, the smoother the shift happened. Hello easy potty trainers! And hopefully the same will go with puppy here. Fingers severely crossed.
Yoga prepared me for melting into the childbirth experience and childbirth prepared me to surrender to the sometimes intensity of parenting. And finally I feel parenting has offered a similar mind set to flow with the evolution of my perfectly imperfect work from home set up. Always surrendering, practicing and remembering to lower my expectations some.
3. And There’s Everything in Between
These are the lessons that meld your head and heart into one mushy hot bed of tissue. Not the Kleenex kind. The kind of tissue that’s makes for a cushy landing pad for fertilized eggs to get attached too. Or other divine ideas.
I often stumbled upon these opportunities when I’ve followed a passion though with curiosity and child-like wonder. Sometimes this came in the form of a venture, other times as a deeper connection to someone or something. But always to a moment or experience I got to learn something about myself or how I can serve the world around me on a deeper, or lighter, level.
Take my innocent foray into spinning and sewing for instance.
It started off with knitting, because, well, I was a mom and knitting’s fun! But as everyone knows this can be the gateway drug to spinning. What started off of as a fun pursuit lead to a pretty cool, squishy, profitable venture rich in lessons. Both smart and street.
I learned about online sales, marketing and discovering and connecting with my tribe of mamas from all over. And those of you who have been here from those days ~ have I mentioned I love you lately?
And looky here where I am today. So many lessons later and with so many added brain cells. I have to knit large sized toques now my brains are so big.
5. Remember that perfection is paralyzing.
I never cared for perfect until the babies came.
In fact when I first met Craig I embraced my imperfection. Dare I say I even flaunted it. I told him I recently discovered and embracing the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi: the beauty in imperfection. I admit a part of this was due to the laziness appeal but I felt it also justified my life long rebellion against my mom’s perfectionism.
I knew that Craig was a keeper when a couple of months into our courtship I woke up to find a poem waiting for me on the kitchen table called “Wabi Kathy“. It was cute. Complete with scribbled out words and all.
But then the babies came.
I wanted everything in our environment to be pure and pristine. It was like I turned into Henry VIII in the Tudors with all these crazy demands. When he was still hot of course.
I wanted my babies to drink only from my flame retardant-free breasts for many, many years, be swaddled in organic cotton blankets, gently laid upon the sheep next door’s woolly offerings while they gnawed on wooden toys: objets d’art personally handcrafted by Craig’s freakishly nimble toes, then rubbed with the oily secretions from our chickens’ tear ducts for a hypo-allergenic, angelic sheen. Not to mention extra protein.
What I wanted for my children was pristine perfection. And Craig’s thick, curly hair.
But the Universe took one look at all my Pinterest boards that began with ‘dream’ and promptly threw its head back and laughed. Then Uni thought it would be a shame to not throw a few lessons my way.
Our house tested high for radon, I was introduced to lovely world of conspiracy theories and freaked out, we fought the siting for a cell tower in our backyard, and finally our perfect, Blue Lagoon-like river was tainted by a chemical spill.
I went through Mama Bliss bootcamp, like all mamas seem to to in one way or another, where I had to face some of my greatest fears and take the lessons to heart from them. And then decide to choose love.
But I was also prepared to accept that nothing is perfect in this life. No matter how much you love your kids. No matter how much you dial down the most pristine part of the world. But that lack of perfection is actually a gift. A mark of beauty in its own right. Kind of like Cindy Crawford’s little mole friend.
How this applies to my work at home bliss, and any creative activity really, is the realization that if I let go of my expectation for perfection I can approach the next first steps, project, ecourse, interview ~ anything my heart or that wise guy, The Universe, leads me to with a more playful spirit. Dare I call it my authentic self.
And I know that, knowing myself quite well, chances are likely the outcome is going to be far from good but good from far (something my girlfriends use to say after we painted our nails after a blender drink). So I followed my bliss over the years, with the intent to work from home so I can stay close to my munchkins, had loads of fun, clarity and eventually profits as I did so.
By trying a bunch of things I was able to whittled down focus to coaching moms. That then turned into teach moms how to coach other moms. Which formed my vision to helps mamas all over the world by teaching them how to support each other in a coaching relationship.
A clue I pay attention to to see if I’m staying on the right track on my work from home with bliss path is to see what I find most energizing and what works. What works for me and my current life situation, our values and feels like ease.
By letting go of striving for perfection I have given myself a coupon like what my mom use to clip out for Fruit Loops but this one keeps renewing itself. It says:
Try it. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
The truth is the worst usually isn’t so shabby. And because you have been gifted a highly-tuned Mama’s intuition that just needs to be taken out for the occasional walk, you’ll be protected from most unnecessary grief as long as you keep your heart open and do the occasional gut check. The trick is paying attention to this inner voice.
And what does letting go of perfection lead to?
A calling that finds you super excited to dive into first thing in the morning. Even today, even though both my kids are going to school, I’m still up at six, keen to have an hour in a quiet house to do some work before anyone gets up or at least get some planning done for the day.
Amazing ideas that magically crystallize into reality (with a little work). You’ll do what you can to see that’s it birthed into it’s perfectly imperfect incarnation. The fun part is to see what your baby looks like. And no matter if it has his ears or your poker straight hair you’re going to think it’s most beautiful creature on Earth.
Timely reminders that everything can always be tweaked, taken down, or re-purposed. The Universe speaks such an exotic language if you pay attention. And it’s forgiving too. Everything is fixable. Just takes some creativity sometimes.
But most importantly you’ll be reminded that the most important part of letting go is to take the first step toward your dream. No matter how wobbly, shaky or less than Pinterest-worthy these first steps might be.
So go on and let go. Can’t wait to see your wabi-sabi beauty.
6. Working from home as a mom coach is like having a baby.
And I don’t want to leave adoptive parents out. I have a friend with a girl Kale’s age. It was like we were pregnant at the same time. I imagine the following phases are still relatable!
Either way, hearing the call to become a coach, begins as a dream. A sacred intention. A reflection on how you want to leave the world, what sort of difference you wan to make. Dare I say legacy? (said with one impressively raised eyebrow)
Like an egg encountering a bunch of ‘s’ words (them squiggly things) the conception of the idea for becoming a coach begins with an inspiration. Then after some time, a declaration of a sort: you confide in a friend, you squiggle your vision in to your journal, the wheels are a-rolling and the next small steps are taken to divide your big dream to small, actionable steps. Kind of like the mama egg cell dividing.
2. Gestation begins.
You start setting the scene by signing up for that training program, learning the skills to set up a starter site to get you going, doodling the name of your business in your little book of big ideas.
Intuitively, you begin taking better care of yourself. Or at least you should because you’re going to need all the organic energy you can muster Mama because your stamina is going to be tested.
But almost just as importantly, you will want to keep those communication lines wide open between your big vision and the little voice within that will guide you toward the small steps to take that are congruent with the stage of mamahood you’re at.
Hunker down because this stage of business bliss birthing trimester is the time to surrender to the process, enjoy the sweetness that surrounds you in the form of many lego creations, endless questions about everything under the sun and toast requests (can you tell someone has been home sick from Kindergarten this week?) and notice what works for you to carve out the time and space to get some work done.
But mostly you focus on taking good care of yourself and begin researching and experimenting in small ways when the naps, or small nubs of silence, allow you to.
3. Finally, you give birth.
Your open for coaching shingle is put up. You send a borderline scary email to send to your friends and family proclaiming that you are ready to take on clients or make the announcement to your newsletter. It’s scary, somewhat exposing but mostly exhilarating ~ all at the same time.
You’re a bit sleep deprived but you don’t mind. You might even be mildly hyper in a weird way. You find yourself staring into your baby eyes all day and find your bliss cup refilled for free. Like the coffee deal at swanky restaurants. You’re baby business mooning!
4. And Then There’s The Fourth Trimester.
And the fun continues. You are nursing your beautiful baby. You’re swooning over it, coming up with ridiculous pet names that stick around for years. You spend hours feeding it but you don’t mind. On good days it feels therapeutic even. On bad days you lose it a little. But you’re adapting strategies so you ‘lose it’ in gradually healthier ways.
You’re constantly checking in with how it is growing. Perhaps you worry about its growth too much. Especially when you compare it to other babies the same age. But you remember to go back to your anchor that all babies are different and will blossom at their own time.
But still you feel at times vulnerable. Getting your coaching business off the ground can make you feel delicate and sensitive to critiques and projected outcomes not happening. But you have to stay strong and simultaneously listen in on your heart to how you can continue nurturing your business until it’s not only strong enough to walk but can walk all the way to the bathroom, drop its pants and wipe its butt all by itself. Might take some time so you might want to get comfy.
And comfy with being uncomfy at times.
Just like weaning, the forth trimester might take as long as the gestation period- at least a year. But again, all babies are different. Eventually you are able to painless peal that baby off your breasts (yay! I didn’t type ‘boobs’ for once!) and then begin brainstorming on ways to get your business more scaleable, get systems for smarter flow in place like hire support staff such as a virtual assistant or two (which, by the way, for a mama to experience work at home bliss it is invaluable and almost a necessity).
5. The Early Years.
Baby is weaned, if you squint your eyes might even look like a short junior high kid, but you’re not quite ready to take off to Aruba with just your honey yet. Junior still needs you as you creep yourself slowly out of the birthing labyrinth.
Here you find yourself deep in your work, doing what you love and paying attention to the spiritual journey that has just taken place and how this may have changed you forever.
This is a constant review. The entrepreneurial journey can really bring up all your baggage and reintroduce you to lessons you thought you’ve learned but turns out you could use a brush up on.
This is kind of akin to your least impressive parenting moments. This can offer some really heavy clues on what needs to be looked at on a practical level or perhaps on a deeper, money issue flavoured level with abundance of perspective. Here you can be proactive and look into these areas with a coach or business mentor.
When you come out you find you’re changed for the better. You know yourself on a deeper level, You found your tribe and are motivated to continue serving them in ways that only you can. This journey will change you. The world is waiting and counting on your baby to change it for the better. I can’t wait to meet it!