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Scaling a business is tough, especially when you’re a busy mom. After all, giving more to your business means there’s less to put elsewhere.
But, 2019 is my year to grow. It’s the right time for my family, as we really need to increase our flexibility to mesh with our deputation travels.
I’m thankful, the Lord has been blessing my attempts to scale my business. The first quarter of the year isn’t quiet over yet, and I’ve already more than doubled my monthly average from last year.
It’s not been easy to work more, but it is manageable. Here are 15 of the strategies I’m using to help grow my business.
1. Have a Solid Why
Scaling your business takes grit. There will be rough patches as you and the family adjust.
And if you don’t have a solid why to fall back on, it’ll be tempting to decide it’s not worth it and quit.
Your why keeps you going. It puts purpose behind the efforts, and makes the struggle worthwhile.
What is your why? Why do you want to scale? What’s the point? How will it benefit you and your family?
Take time to think through these questions, and it’ll help tremendously.
My why is to help us transition into full-time deputation as missionary appointees to Missionary Acres.
2. Honestly Evaluate Your Time
You can’t just take on a bunch of new assignments and hope that everything works out. You’ll wind up burnt out, missing deadlines, and ready to quit.
Before you start scaling, honestly take a look at your commitments. You need to know where you are starting from before you can make changes.
3. Decide What to Cut
Ready for some hard truth? You can’t add more to your day without taking something else away. There’s only so much time to work with.
What are you willing to cut so you can pour more into your business?
Are there any outside commitments you can step away from? Do you need to reevaluate your meal plan and get some quicker options on the menu? Are there unnecessary tasks taking up some of your time?
I cut most of my evening television time. I also shortened my kids’ non-independent school load for the rest of the school year. Instead, I’m giving them more time to dive into their interests and build on their talents. They’re thriving with less seat work, and I’m realizing the amazing value in student-directed learning.
Think through your day, and decide what you’re going to fail at.
4. Carve Out More Work Hours
Now that you’ve crossed out what you can from your to-do list, it’s time to figure out when you are going to work.
I had a ton of non-negotiable tasks in my day. So, I’m choosing to get up earlier and go to bed later.
It’s working for now, to help us get through this transition. Once my husband is no longer working full-time, he’ll take some of my responsibilities and free up more of my time during the day.
I also take advantage of quiet time and family writing time. Both of these routines give me pockets of time to work on while it’s still light outside.
5. Keep Your Family in the Loop
Your decision to scale doesn’t only affect you. It also impacts the rest of the family. Make sure to keep them in the loop.
Share your why, your dreams, your goals. Explain tangible benefits for younger kids. They can understand things like more money for traveling, or seeing Daddy more.
Older kids can handle more information. Share your plans for your business, and how you’re going to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
Find ways to celebrate together too. Have your kids help you track your income with a giant thermometer on the wall that your kids can color in. Have a visual representation somehow.
Saving your money to purchase a travel trailer before you hit the road? Cut out a paper one and divide it up into sections, with each one representing a thousands dollars saved for it. Then everyone can see the progress.
When kids know WHY you are spending more time on the computer, they’re less likely to complain about you doing so.
They’ll want to help you make your goals happen, especially if those goals are things they want to. Your family is your team and can be your biggest cheerleaders as you scale your business!
6. Have Plans to Keep Your Kids Engaged
You need a plan for your kids while you work. What are they going to do? Be specific, and think through when you need them to do different sorts of tasks.
Are you going to be working earlier in the day? What should the kids do if they wake up when you’re still working?
Think about creating a morning basket to keep your kids engaged when this happens.
I have several quiet options ready to pull out if one of two of the kids join me in the early morning. I take time for a quick cuddle first, and hear about any dreams they had. Then, I get them situated with an activity while I keep working.
Here are some of my kids’ favorites:
- Lincoln Logs
- Pattern blocks with idea cards
- Art & craft supplies
- Board games to play with the pieces of
By simply thinking through what I want my kids to do when they wake up early, I’m saving my brain from having to stop and make a decision when I’m in the middle of work.
You can use different activities to keep kids engaged based on where you are and what’s going on.
7. Ask For Help
Does your husband need to tackle bedtime routines?
Do you need your kids to step up in the cooking and cleaning departments?
What can your family do to help you as you scale?
Think about it. And then ask.
Your family can’t read your mind (I’m guilty of expecting them to!)
It’s going to take some adjustment for your family too. Don’t make it harder on them by being vague or getting mad because they don’t automatically know what you want them to do.
This post shares some of the ways my husband and I work together to scale my business.
8. Stay Motivated
There have been times when I thought about throwing in the towel and just going back to the way things used to be. But, I’m learning that if I keep myself motivated, I’m much more productive.
What’s motivating to you? What can you reward yourself with?
It doesn’t have to be expensive! Right now, my reward for myself is thirty minutes to spend on my blog rebrand if I get my client work done for the day.
Though this is also working, it’s something I WANT to do, and the realization that I can spend half an hour on it is a huge motivator for me right now.
Other motivators I’ve used:
- Playing a board game with the kids
- Time to read a book
- A favorite treat
But, what motivates me is going to be different from what motivates you. So think about what you can do when you reach your goals and then do it.
And don’t make the mistake of rewarding yourself only when a big goal is met. Instead, celebrate mini-wins along the way.
Surround yourself with beauty to keep yourself motivated to stay in your workspace. Experiment and see what works for you!
9. Make a Daily To-Do List
Your priorities change frequently as a busy mom. You never quite know what every day will hold.
That’s why you need a daily to-do list. Each morning, write down your top three-five priories. Look at everything on your plate, and decide what you’re going to focus on.
Putting them in writing helps you stay super focused. My Clever Fox Planner has really helped me with this. When I use it consistently, I get much more done.
10. Start Each Day with a Plan of the Day
Your kids won’t know what’s going on if you don’t tell them. So after you’ve jotted down your to-do list, each morning with a plan of the day.
Share your expectations for the day. Outline the order of events (I use the flexible routine blocks system.)
Highlight anything that’s different or out of the ordinary, so everyone is on the same page.
Build in time for playing. Your family needs you, even when you’re busy scaling your business.
Regular time to play together will give them something to look forward to. And your brain will benefit from the downtime!
The more often you hold plan of the day meetings, the more natural it’ll become. Now if I forget for some reason, the kids are quick to remind me. They all appreciate knowing what’s going on.
11. Pay for Time Saving Tools
When it comes to getting stuff done, there are plenty of services designed to help you do more with less time investment.
When you’re trying to scale, it may be worth it for you to trade some money to reclaim some time.
Here are two of the services I pay for – these both help me save time in the blogging portion of my business!
- Tailwind (saves time with Pinterest marketing)
- Pixistock (no more searching for the perfect image that I can legally use)
Only pay for services if you’re really going to use them. Otherwise, your blogging expenses will just add up and you ‘ll be annoyed that you aren’t earning more of your hard-earned money.
You’ll find more time saving tools for busy moms in this post.
This one is so similar to the one above I don’t want to count it as a separate tip. We’ll call it a bonus!
You can’t do it all! Sometimes, the best decision you can make is to hire someone else to take something off your plate.
That’s what I did with my redesign. I knew I wanted something pretty and feminine and classy. But, I didn’t know how to make it happen. And I knew I’d spend HOURS trying to make something, and it wouldn’t end up just right.
So, I paid a team to do it for me. And I’ll share more details about that later, once I get everything implemented.
But, I’m so excited about how it’s turning out! There’s something to be said about a hiring a designer to do design things.
Put your talent where it’s best used. And consider hiring other people to lighten your load.
Five other tasks I’ve outsourced as I scale my business:
- Pin creation
- Re-categorizing posts on my blog
- Content creation (articles for this blog)
- Cooking (paying my teen)
- Cleaning (I pay my kids to do some chores of my choosing that go above and beyond their normal duties.)
12. Find the Right Clients & Keep Them
Not every client is a good fit for a busy mom freelancer. If you get too many needy clients, you won’t be able to scale properly.
So learn more about potential clients and what you need to do. Make sure its’ a good fit, and won’t end up consuming your life.
Some red flags?
- Doesn’t respect hours of operation
- Wants your immediate response
- Wants to be your only client
- Doesn’t want to pay your rates or gets behind in payments
Once you have found a good client, hang onto them! Be respectful in your communication. Do your best to over deliver and WOW them with everything you do.
After all, you’ll scale better if you don’t have to constantly search for new clients.
13. Examine Your Prices
Are your prices in line with the value you deliver? When you’re trying to scale, one quick trip is to see if your prices need adjusted. If you can find clients who will pay more, you’ll increase you profitability easily.
Research and see what your competitors are charging. How do you compare? Remember to calculate the differences in what you offer vs. what they offer. You are not anyone else and don’t need to copy them exactly.
14. Change Your Business a Bit
What other services can you offer? Can you add on any upsells to current clients?
If you’re a service based business, can you find a way to increase your affiliate income? Or put together workbooks or tutorials you could sell as training materials for people who want to DIY?
I’m working on creating more products, which I’ll offer for sale. Increasing my passive income will allow me to scale without feeling the pressures of time.
Can you add coaching? Or training? Or create a course or an eBook?
What can you do to supplement your income in a way that won’t take ALL of your time?
Find a way to soar above your competition. And do that, while still being authentic to you. After all, you are who your people want to hear from.
15. Create Processes and Schedules
Finally, make sure everything in your life is as streamlined as possible. You can’t be wasting time on trying to make decisions when you’re in scaling mode.
Those little choices tax your brain, and make it harder to meet your goals. So when you see an area that consistently causes a problem, create a solution.
My family is currently driving two cars to church, since our bus doesn’t do great in the snow. And every single week, my kids argued about who was riding with me and who was riding with my husband.
Finally, in the middle of February, I created a seating chart. Now I don’t have to stop and think. I don’t have to try and track things so I’m “fair.” I just look at the chart and tell everyone where they’re sitting.
The whining stopped. It wasn’t Mom making a random decision. It was the chart telling people where to go. And it become much less personal.
Not having to think about these things has freed up so much space in my brain. I can use that space to help me focus on my business, and grow it.
What can you create processes an systems around? The time savings really is significant! And you can create these for your business as well.
- Make a list of tasks you can do in 10 minutes.
- Create a list of clients to contact to see if they have additional work.
- Make a checklist you use before you publish each post.
Don’t stress your brain out trying to remember things that you can easily write down.
Are You Scaling a Business Too?
Can you add any tips to help moms scale their business even when life is crazy? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below.
Know a busy mom trying to scale? Share this post with her please!
And hang in there if you’re in the midst of scaling. It’s difficult, but not impossible. You can do this!
For more tips on growing a business as a busy mom, you need to take my course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines. It’ll help you build a solid foundation that can support your new business.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.