How I Run a Business with a Growing Family by Sara Keli.
When I started my business, I had the long game in mind. I didn’t yet have any kids but I wanted this to be the business that would allow me to stay at home when I did have my babies.
In those early days, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. My background was in Human Resources and here I was running a digital magazine about fashion and beauty for mums and kids. I was working full-time as well as running the business so when it came to deadlines I would stay up until midnight and then get up to go to work the next day. I was tired but I looked forward to the weekends to catch up on sleep.
How I Run a Business with a Growing Family
Baby number 1
Very soon I was pregnant with my first daughter, Olivia. I had an easy pregnancy with her and worked right up until the day she was born. I was so fortunate that Olivia was just about as “easy” a baby as you can get. She started sleeping through the night at five-weeks-old and was super chill during the day. She often slept until 9 or 10am so I would usually set my alarm for 6 or 7am and work until she woke up. That was enough to sustain the business in those days.
After 12 months she started childcare one day per week. It was amazing how much work I could churn out in one full day. I think it was in that year that my business really started to take off. During this time I also took a redundancy from my previous employer, which allowed me to focus fully on my business.
The following year Olivia started a second day of childcare each week. A whole extra day to work! But then I quickly fell pregnant with my second baby. I seriously underestimated how hard pregnancy would be when I also had a toddler to look after. I was exhausted every day and through my whole pregnancy, I felt like I was drained of any creativity. Not ideal for a creative business owner!
I did as much as I could during my pregnancy to prepare for having two babies but with hindsight, I know that I didn’t do nearly enough. I had batched a few photo shoots in advance so I wouldn’t have the pressure and chaos of a photo shoot for a while and had organised some Instagram takeovers to help with social media content. Nothing could have prepared me for how little time I would really have when baby two arrived.
Baby number 2
Two kids hit me for six.
All of a sudden you need to add in extra hours of caring for another person in amongst an already busy life. Just as I would get Josephine to sleep, Olivia would come charging into the room and wake her up. I wasn’t so blessed the second time around and while Josie did give me false hope when she started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, soon after that stopped and she was regularly awake 2-3 times a night until she was 13-months-old. She was also far more attached to me during the day than Olivia ever had been. I have never felt so drained in my life as I did those first 12 months with two kids.
I always felt like I was letting someone down. Me, my kids, my husband, or clients. Looking back I was frazzled and unhappy. I had this bustling business that I loved but nowhere near as much time as I needed to dedicate to nurturing and growing it. I do think that while my business continued to grow over that time that it also took a bit of a hit. I wasn’t about to keep my foot on the pedal so the growth slowed.
When she was 14-months-old Josie joined Olivia at childcare for 2 days each week. I can’t tell you how amazing I felt. In the year prior I did have a nanny who would help out occasionally so I could work but to have the consistency of two full days each week was life-changing.
I’m now three months down the track of regular work days (minus obligatory days off with whatever virus is doing the rounds) and starting to feel more like myself. I realised very early on when Olivia was a baby that working is such a huge part of who I am. I love to work. I find it so personally fulfilling and know that I am a better mum when I have had my hit of work each day.
While I was able to get up at 6 or 7am when Olivia was a baby, now I need to get up between 4:30 and 5:30am just to do what I need and even then I have no guarantee that one of the girls won’t wake up and bring my morning work plans to a crashing halt. My parents help out with the girls a lot. I remember one day when I called them at 7am and burst into tears because the whole morning had exploded and I had a deadline I couldn’t avoid! Dad arrived at my door within about 20 minutes to help with the girls so I could work.
When I started my business I had the time but not the knowledge. Late nights were no problem but coming up with content ideas that resonated were a big challenge. Those early days were more about learning the technical aspects than anything else. Over time my knowledge of my readers and what they want has grown almost inversely to the amount of time I have to create the content. I have had to become smarter at how I manage my time and learn to say NO, a lot.
Would I change any of it?
Probably not. Looking back I am so proud of everything I have achieved. First and foremost I have two beautiful children who are the light of my life. And then there is my business baby. Coming into Kid Magazine I had zero experience in anything to do with the business. I was an HR Manager who had never worked for a magazine or seen the back end of any website. Everything I have achieved is because of my passion and determination and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Sara Keli is the Editor of Kid Magazine and mum of two young girls. She left her corporate career in HR to build Kid Magazine as a supportive and empowering place for mums. When she is isn’t busy writing, creating or designing, she loves nothing more than soaking up the sunshine in the backyard with her little family.
Do you have any stories or tips on how you run a business with a growing family?
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