How do you know where to go with your business when everyone says they're an expert?
We were new to the shoe business which is notoriously hard to crack and we found it hard to find people we could trust, particularly the more we got our fingers burnt.
We have a brand people love and customers buying Sloafers from all over the world. But we are more than gorgeous shoes and great instagram posts - the most helpful thing we can do is share our experience and give you really helpful tips from the people who know best, and who we do actually trust.
This week I'm delighted to talk to Laura Barrett in ...
5 Top Tips on how to manage your time, your business and your family
On a good day, I feel proud of myself for running a business when people tell me my children are easily at the most challenging ages of their lives - 3 and 1. On a bad day, I feel like I do everything badly, I resent being stuck in the playroom trying to be 'present' and work at the same time, and then feel horrifically guilty when my son says for the fifth time "MUMMY don't just say ok". Even though you know there must be so many people out there in the same boat, you still wonder where they are, who they are, and how they cope. The good thing about social media is that there's an increasing number of mums sharing how they do things - it gives you good tips and it makes you feel like you aren't alone.
Long before I had children and realised how hard it was, I was always aware of just how much my super mum friend Laura was juggling. So naturally, when I started thinking about setting up my business, I turned to the best!
Running around after three boys, spending copious amounts of time on sporting sidelines and renovating a house, is how Laura spends most of her time. But in between all of this, she is a successful freelance copywriter and editor for fashion, beauty and wellbeing brands. So just how does she do it all?
The Sloafer-loving former stylist reveals her top five tips to organisation and effective time management when it comes to work/business and family.
- Unless you need your phone to work, then put it in another room. It will be your biggest and most time-wasting distraction. Someone once said to me that an incoming phone call is not a demand for your time, but simply a request upon your time. You don’t have to answer the phone should you be in the middle of something more important. Just call or text them later once you’ve completed your work.
Another occasion I recommend putting your phone far away from you is if you need to get up before the children to get some work done or exercise. By putting your phone where you can’t reach it you will be forced to get out of bed rather than hit snooze. Any day you get up before the children will be more productive, rather than being caught in their morning whirlwind on the back foot. It’s just about creating that habit.
- On the issue of phones, if some of your work involves updating your business social media page, don’t lose hours lost in your newsfeed. Your post is more important than reading others, so enter the online social world with caution, ensuring you go on there to complete your posts and comments relating to the task in hand, then come straight out again. Social media is like trips to Ikea; you go in and it’s light and come out when it’s dark. Time lost on social media is never regained. Put your screen time alert on so you can monitor your ‘lost’ time – it’s quite horrifying.
- Never check your work emails when you’re with the children. I used to try to run my business this way for years, even checking my emails while walking to school pick up. Please trust me when I say, you’re just setting yourself up to fail on each level. Be present with your children when you are with them, then have a set period of time that’s for business emails when you’re ready to receive them – when you can fully focus and you’ve got your professional hat on. Switching from mum to entrepreneur is hard when you’re trying to wear both hats at the same time.
- Your work environment hugely impacts your efficiency. A designated (and tidy!) work area is paramount. Have a set work space, ideally with a desk in a quiet room or area of the house, but if this is hard to come by, make coffee shops your new best friend or even look into hot desking when life hopefully returns to some normality post pandemic. A massive benefit to working outside of your home is the need to get dressed beyond your PJ bottoms or athleisure wear. Relish the reason to look smart and slip on your Sloafers for a chic yet comfortable style.
- Have set working times. I know this can be so hard when you have children, especially in today’s COVID-19 world when things change so quickly, but every Sunday evening take time to block out your working hours so they are fixed and non-negotiable. Of course fit them around the children, childcare and any help from partners and family, but once they are in your diary set them in stone. Treat your business like you would a job – pretend you have a boss and you must now adhere to your hours, no excuses. When you have your own business it’s easy to be flexible or push things back until tomorrow, but you wouldn’t do that if you were working for someone else, so don’t do this when you’re working for yourself.
So there you have it - all amazing tips, and I'm going to start listening to this advice!
Thank you so much to Laura for her expertise and for sharing her tips - and to all the mums working out there, it's HARD - you're doing great.