A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine contacted me about putting me in touch with another homeschooling mama/photographer who was looking for advice. How do you balance homeschooling and a business? I just started crying! I told her, “I don’t have it figured out. I don’t know what to tell her. And I don’t want to be connected with anyone now!” It’s not that I didn’t want to connect with another mama, but at that moment… I was asking myself similar questions. After crying my little eyes out and getting a good nights rest, I finally put together a few things that have helped me in my journey.
Over the past two years, I have been learning how to fit my business into our homeschooling lifestyle. We can’t focus on the past and resent the present. And we can’t focus too much on the future and miss out on the present. So focusing on the now is where this mama is coming from. Here you go:
- Do not be afraid. I have asked myself this question a lot, “What are you afraid of?” Granted, it’s easier said then done but seriously… there are times I need to take a chill pill. I sometimes forget that there’s a sovereign God over the universe that knows His perfect timing for all things. I think it’s very easy to assume that you’ll miss out on an opportunity if you do not act quickly. There are times that I feel I need to jump in head first to help grow my business. Usually when I do that, I find that I am neglecting time with my children and my husband. There is no other place I need to be right now other than teaching my children. Do not be afraid to be a teacher first by putting your homeschooling a priority over your business.
- You are a teacher. Your children are learning from you. They are watching you. They see the hard work you put in to getting their home school activities ready for their day. And I guarantee that they are proud that you are their teacher. It is the same with your business. When they see you working on building your business, they are learning so much from you. So help them see that you are passionate about something. Teach them that success takes time and patience.
- Find a schedule that works for you. When I teach my daughter math, I do not move forward until she gets it. We have a curriculum that we follow but we soak in one topic until we get it. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. We are able to create our own schedule and follow curriculum that works best for our children. I would never say that my daughter is behind. She’s right were she needs to be. In the same way, find a schedule for your business that works for you and your family. And just like your children are not behind, you aren’t either. You are right where you need to be. This is going to look different for every family. I could tell you my schedule but my schedule may not work best for your family.
- Do not compare yourself to another business. Since you are creating a schedule that works for you, you should already know that your lifestyle and workflow is going to look different from other businesses. If you home school more than one child, you already know they learn differently. What you do with one child may not work for the other. So do not compare your business with the one down the road. All it will do is frustrate you and make you think you are doing something wrong. And you do not know their journey. They may not be homeschooling their kids. LOL. The only business to compare yourself to is your very own. Keep track of your growth. Be encouraged because I’m sure you can see growth from when you started.
- Lift each other up. Connect with other homeschooling parents. Our home school co-op provides a once a month gathering to parents that need to be encouraged. I really love that about our co-op. I have met other women in our co-op that are business owners and they are figuring things out as well. Lift each other up. I also try to connect with other photographers in my area. I love hearing their stories of how they came to be where they are now. Some of my best friends are local photographers in the Tampa Bay area. It’s refreshing to be able to talk about your business journey with people who get it. They may not be homeschooling but they understand that their children are a priority and they are creating schedules that work best for their families. If anything, it’s great to connect and be reminded not to be so hard on yourself.
- Continue learning. Take classes so that you are constantly inspired. Continue learning about business or take a class that will help you be a better photographer for your clients. Also, go out and do something that you love and support other local small businesses. Fuel your creativity. One of the places that I go for inspiration and growth is The Paper Seahorse. There are so many classes available at your fingertips with the internet. Clickin Moms is another GREAT resource! You can never stop learning.
So to my sweet friend that contacted me a few weeks back to connect me with another homeschooling mama, I love you. Thank you for being there to encourage me. I’m thankful to have women like you to lift me up. And to the mama that needed advice, I hope that you find this list helpful. I do not have it figured out. I’m learning to mold my business into what works best for my family. Enjoy teaching your children! And enjoy growing your business at a pace that works best for your family.