Blogger Karen Kelly (35) is mom to two beautiful little people aged six and one. By day she is a wife, mom and part-time marketer at a corporate, and by night she is a creative, running the lifestyle blog Lovilee since 2010.
What was your biggest fear around being a mom and an entrepreneur?
The sheer fear of actually getting all the things done! Was I going to have enough time to spend on my blog? I did not want to miss out on anything with my kids, but also wanted to grow my business or at least maintain what I had built.
Did you have a strategy in place for how you were going to deal with your business and a newborn in the first couple of months?
I think that the newborn phase with your business is the easiest part. Both my babies slept a lot during the first few months in the day time so I managed to do more than before. But after that they become more aware, awake and super cute and required a tad more attention and time. That is when planning becomes very important. I have learnt that it does not work to try to do more than one thing at a time. If you spend time with baba, spend time with baba, and if you work, graft your heart out. If you try work with baba on your lap everything takes crazy longer.
How do you juggle everything?
I really try to set out at least an hour or two each day to dedicate to my work after everyone goes to bed or before they wake up. I am way more productive then than trying to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.
What's the biggest sacrifice you have had to make?
Letting go... I had to realise that I could not do everything and have it all be perfect. I could, however, do the things that I could manage, and do them to perfection. I realised that quality had to take preference over quantity. I am not able to do five blog posts a week, while running a home and caring for my family and working for a corporate. I had to reduce the number of posts but make sure that they were of a better standard. It was about working smarter on getting them done, and planning ahead.
Did you have support?
Yip. I am fortunate to have a supporting husband and a mom who helps out when things really get out of control. That does not mean that there have not been times that I just wanted to give up. I also have some great creative friends that kept me, and still keeps me, motivated to both carry on and to excel.
What's the thing about being a mom and an entrepreneur that nobody tells you about?
It is hard work! Hard work keeping your business alive and feeling energetic enough to do it, even after sometimes going for weeks without a decent nights' sleep. Set smaller, more achievable goals. Make to-do lists, because as a mommy you forget things! Focus on each and every achievement, no matter how small they are.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before you had a baby (specifically pertaining to business)?
I wish I had better admin in place or rather admin processes. If I had all the nitty gritties sorted out and a proper filing system going, life would be so much easier right now. Trying to now find the additional time to do that is virtually impossible.
What has been the most unexpected part of this journey?
Working with a more regulated schedule and even doing less has actually grown my business more. The readership is up and I could not be more grateful.
What has been the most rewarding part of this journey?
Being self-employed allows you to spend some great time with your kids and family, and it has given me the freedom and flexibility to work around my family’s schedule.
Do you still make time for yourself? How do you do it?
At the end of last year I started with personal training sessions once a week and an hour of tennis once a week. Both two hectic hours that benefits me physically, as well as emotionally, but that are DONE when I leave there.
I think it is very important to have assistance at home, at least once a week, someone that can look after your baby for an hour or two so that you can use that time to regroup as a mom. I have someone really lovely who helps me and she is great with baba and this gives me a little more freedom to do things that need to be done.
I also realised that online shopping is the answer for groceries and other things. One can easily end up spending hours in the shops, even finding parking is sometimes the hardest mission. This saves me a good few hours a week.
How do you relax?
I try to do things with my kids and introduce them to things that I enjoy doing, like perler beads, for example. I love doing creative things so really try involve them.
What advice do you have for other women business owners thinking of having a baby?
I don't think that you will ever really feel ready to have a baby. You and your partner have to discuss this big step before you take it and what your expectations of one another would be afterwards and how you anticipate things will be different from how they are now. If you wait until you feel 100% ready to take the leap you might wait a long time. It is such a privilege to have a little person (or two) in your life and they’re small for such a short time so be sure to enjoy that.
What's the most important thing you have learned about yourself in this process?
I CAN DO HARD THINGS!