I have been running Eliza Rose for nearly 3 years and over this time many people have asked me about how I fit expanding and running a business around my family, especially having two young children. To be honest its a really good question and whilst I would never say that we have it perfectly, I would say that we have worked out a way which works best for us.
In the beginning I was working (part-time) and the business was a hobby which I did in the evenings. There was no website (so no online orders) and I only sold from Mollys Den, which meant painting a few pieces of furniture a month. Both children were in childcare and Rhys was only just starting school, so there was no real pressure, if I didn't want to paint I just didn't have to.
At this point I feel I need to say that I am one of those people who can never sit still, even for a minute. Christian would say this is because I'm a worrier, but because worrying about the big stuff stresses me out, I instead fill my life with small stuff which I worry about instead. Probably not the best tactic in life but it works for me!
Over time, the business started to grow, which has meant that its taken up more of my time to the point in September last year where I found myself stretched so thinly that I made the tough decision to give up work. This wasn't just fuelled by the need to spend more time on the business but also that Christian was travelling more and more for work and it was getting ridiculous the number of time I would have to say I was going to be late or needed to leave early.
This is when it got really interesting with the children! Before it was simple, I worked 8-10pm painting, but now there were products to source, label, blog posts to write, website photos to take, product descriptions, orders to pack and post, social media photos, emails to send and of course painting furniture!
So here is a break down of my working working days....
Each morning from 6.30-7am I spend time on social media, posting and engaging with my customers. Its Christian who gets the kids up and eating whilst I do this, then I pack up any orders that came in over night before the school run. We both love our work and family time, Christian really enjoys the craziness of the children as such a opposite to his meetings and I love growing something which I created which fits so perfectly around the time I need for my family, we need both aspects in lives.
I have Eliza all day on Mondays and Tuesdays where I try not to work on the business at all, this is our time for zoo trips, parks and playing. Of course that doesn't mean I'm not prone to answering the odd email or social media questions when she's happily playing 😉 Then after we have picked up Rhys, we walk to the post office to send that days orders. Rhys often has after school clubs which we have to go to and I am always catching a few seconds here or there to reply to something or save it for reading later.
On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Eliza has pre-school so I have 5 hours to work. Mostly I am painting in this time or sourcing new bits, when bits are drying I use the time to do my social media photos. Because I don't have the time to take photos every day I bulk take them and then use an app called Preview to plan my posts out over the next few weeks. I know it takes the spontaneity out of Instagram but with a 3 and 6 year old there is not time to create beautiful flatly each day 🙈 sorry!!!
Recently during these day times I have also been having meetings with accountants, visiting the new shop, having product range meetings with my mum (she is my sounding board for all new products!) and sorting out deliveries.
Then in the evenings I try to do computer work whilst sat in front of the telly. Again I am super lucky that Christian does the majority of bedtimes (when he isn't travelling) so I can get on. I sometimes post in the evenings so 6.45-7.30 is social media time, engaging, posting and then its working on any pieces of furniture that I hadn't finished earlier. You need to leave at least 4 hours between coats of chalk paint so this can be quite a limiting factor in the speed at which I work, so to get round this I try to have several pieces on the go at once.
Finally from 9pm till late its trying to keep on top of product descriptions, blog writing, Pinterest pinning and researching. I think its so important to try and read as much as you can about the niche your business sits in, I love 91 magazine, listening to the podcast by @me_and_orla, Hashtag Authentic, keeping up to date with my Makelight lessons and reading blogs, especially by @tamsynmorgans and @thevintagehousethatcould.
The hardest days are when Christian is travelling and I have to solo parent, on these days I just try to keep the house running! Emails are only answered if they are urgent, orders are packed as soon as they come in and the furniture just has to wait. Luckily because I currently don't take on commissions this is the easiest thing to let slip.
So, in summary, I'm just really really busy! But its not as stressful as it might read, there are lots of breaks in my days and I still manage to have a life and see my children 😂 I wouldn't change it for the world, even if I am questioning my sanity at 11pm when I have been sucked into a Pinterest spiral...