Guest Blog; A mumpreneur’s tips for working from home

As a mumpreneur (a mother who runs her own business, for those of you unfamiliar with the term) I count myself really lucky on three counts: 1. I get to be a stay at home mum, 2. I’m my own boss and run my own business, and 3. I can for the most part work from home.


Working from home isn’t for everyone and isn’t easy. It takes a great deal of discipline and flexibility to make it work. Oh, and tolerance, did I mention that?


Many friends and family will be under the impression you don’t actually work. I mean, you’re at home, right?


They’ll ask why the house is such a mess when you’ve obviously got time to drink unpronounceable coffee with acquaintances in hipster coffee shops. Client meeting? Yeah, right!


But why can’t you come out and play? They will look bemused when you tell them you have to work an evening or – heavens! – a weekend to fit around the kids.


I’m still perfecting my approach but I’ve found it useful to set myself some ground rules to ensure my time is well spent but, most importantly, productive.


Fail to set your parameters and you’ll end up tearing your hair out while simultaneously juggling dinner, prepping packed lunches, the laundry and, yep, you got it, PAYING clients. And, trust me, it will be in that order.


Not a good place to be and wholly unprofessional if you want your budding business to have a shot at success.


To be successful at working from home, routine is key. Create a flexible routine that fits your lifestyle and aids productivity. Why? Productivity pays the bills, of course.

1. Set your hours

First off, let me say there’s a need for rigid flexibility here – yep, you read right. Oxymoron aside, what I mean is this: you need to set realistic working hours and stick to them (rigid) but be prepared to react to the unexpected joys (pitfalls?) of parenthood (flexible).

Remember, I’m a mumpreneur: kids will have school holidays; they will get ill; small ones like mine will be around all the time.

So I worked out how many hours a week I needed to work to run my business. When I do those hours doesn’t matter so much as long as I do them.

I try to stick to set days in the week but invariably this changes. Take this blog, for example. I wrote most of it on my smartphone sitting with my eldest at bedtime as she’s having trouble getting to sleep at the moment.

2. Do nothing

Recently, I had a bit of an epiphany (read: husband told me a few home truths). I was very stressed with a massive workload and had reached the dreaded ‘overwhelmed stage’. You know it, when you just stare at the computer screen with a glazed look in your eyes and the inability to move.


He told me that in order to be productive it’s necessary to have an element of non-productive time built into your working day.


This is not a negative activity: it’s time spent reading and responding to emails, doing the accounts, travelling to and from appointments, conducting meetings. Things that don’t necessarily generate cold, hard cash but are crucial to the running and growth of your business.


So when you are working out how many hours you need to work per week à

la point 1, factor in some time to be non-productive. I’ve done this and it’s transformed the way I work.


So thanks, Mr Stori, you do sometimes say the right thing!


3. Get dressed

Don’t believe the hype from homeworkers who crow about the joys of working in their PJs. First off, it’s not hygienic and, secondly, how you look has a massive impact on your mindset.


How can you feel ready to pen that proposal or crunch those numbers if you’re dressed for a marathon Netflix binge on a Sunday afternoon? They don’t call it power dressing for nothing.


Now I’m not suggesting you don a sharp suit and killer heels to sit in your office-cum-ironing-spare-room all day but I do strongly suggest you get dressed and make yourself presentable – you are, after all, in work.


This simple task will not only help focus your mind for work (‘I have moved from morning mode to work mode’), it will make you feel like the powerhouse mumpreneur you really are!

4. Take breaks

Get up. Move about. Regularly. All day.


Last year, I suffered terribly with a strained back muscle from poor posture caused by sitting at my computer for hours at a time (yes, hours).


Luckily, physiotherapy, gentle exercise and a new mindset have reversed it but it’s still not a habitual thing for me to take breaks, I need to work at it.


As a copywriter I can become totally immersed in what I’m doing, especially if I’m editing or planning content. I compare pulling myself out of this concentrated state to swimming up out of deep water. In other words, not easy!


A simple trick has helped me. I set a 40 minute timer on my phone (to coincide with the brain’s inability to concentrate effectively for much longer) then get up and do something completely different for 5-10 minutes.


It might be loading the dishwasher, it might be a quick tidy round but it’s always something that deliberately takes me away from my workspace and gets me moving again.  

5. Have lunch

This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Even in office-based jobs the temptation to grab a bite at your desk or – worse – work through and finish early (which somehow never happens) is almost irresistible.


It’s a sad by-product of the fast-paced world we work in; there really aren’t enough hours in the day anymore. Many office workers feel a crushing sense of shame for leaving their desks to take a break they’re legally entitled to. This is not right, at home or in the office.

My advice? Make time.

Again, move away from your desk, eat lunch at the kitchen table, make a coffee and actually drink it hot, take the dog round the block… set some time aside to recharge.

Believe me when I say your afternoon work session has just become massively more productive than it would have been had you ‘worked through’.   


So, working from home. It’s liberating, infuriating but, ultimately, the best thing I ever did. People say you can’t have everything but if you’re prepared to be rigidly flexible (oh, and get dressed), you really can.


Writer bio:

A history-mad, snowboarding, book-loving mother of two, Tori Smith runs copywriting and social media company, Stori. Part editor, part big sister, part dogsbody, Tori is the driving force behind the creative arm of the business. With a background in retail and education, she loves nothing better than coaching her team to excellence and seeing them succeed. Best-selling novel will be started… one of these days!




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