Any mom with kids at home will tell you that balancing work and family life is a juggling act. There is no simple solution that works for all families, and you simply have to decide what works best for your situation, and then be willing to be flexible when needs change. If you are reading this, you are most likely one of the millions of women who have also chosen to side hustle – and by that I mean, do some kind of work part-time or during irregular hours or via freelance, so that you can be around for your family. It is truly so much easier to do these days than it was even 9 short years ago, with web-based services and other types of work you can do online.
When my kids got to school age, I was ready to kiss corporate work goodbye and start into an entrepreneurial venture. Of course, if it were today, I would do it a bit differently, as I lost a lot of money in that first venture. Nine years later, there are so many additional ways to earn a income with a side hustle – who knew that managing social media accounts could be a thing? But there are still some key considerations which every mom should ask themselves when struggling with earning income with a side hustle.
Core Values – I believe your core values have a lot to do with how you choose to earn income and raise a family. Some mothers choose to work full-time out of the home, and balance that with child-rearing, which may mean nannying, or having the other parent stay home. I chose to do this for a long while, as I was the senior income-earner and I traveled a lot with my job. But then things changed, and it was no longer working for my family, so I had to figure out a new way to earn income, as my job didn’t allow me to continue in a part-time capacity. I personally chose to do direct sales, which worked for me and my family for over 6 years. Until it didn’t. And so I had to shift gears and find a new way to hustle (blogging, freelance writing, and social media management) to earn income. Ultimately though, my core values have dictated why I have chosen this path – I want to be there for my daughters every day after school and support them as they grow up. And now that they are teens, it is more important to me than ever.
Giving up ‘Things’ – Sometimes side hustling means a cut in pay. And so you have to weigh the pros and cons of what that cut in pay may mean for your family and how you can make that up in other ways. Organically I just started giving up ‘things’, which in the long run, saved me money. I gave up a lot of new clothes, because I no longer needed as many things as I did before. As a family, we gave up a lot of extra spending on activities, and we try to do things that are less expensive. For example, instead of dinner and a movie for 4 – which would run us about $150 – we might just do dinner, and a movie at home. Or for a long time, we did junk food fridays – which was a fun family thing to look forward to and it didn’t cost too much.
As part of spending less, I gave up a housecleaning service. At first it was painful (I hate cleaning bathrooms!) but it was costly so it had to go. Both of my daughters also got jobs at their dance studio to help cover costs related to dance. So there have been numerous things that we have done in order to support me working part-time, and also make up for income that I am no longer earning.
Be Honest – If you have never done sales, and you are an introvert, then side hustling a direct sales gig is not going to be for you. I’m speaking from experience here, as I have been very successful in a direct sales venture, and then a total flop at another. You have to be completely honest with yourself about why you are choosing to side hustle, and then find work that speaks to your core competencies. I’ve seen plenty of women join a direct sales organization because they love the product, but they haven’t really been honest with themselves about the fact that they don’t like selling. The same with starting a small business on Etsy – you will be making and selling your wares online, but there is also a tonne of networking, marketing and customer service involved.Be honest with yourself, know what you are good at, think of all of the things you don’t like doing, and then choose accordingly.
Once you have decided to side hustle, then the real balance begins. There are never enough hours in the day to complete your tasks when you are balancing it with family life. It’s an exercise in scheduling, grabbing pockets of time when you can, and working in batches.
But trust me, I’ve been doing it for a long time. And it is worth every second.