As you saw from my last post I had a baby. As you can see from the gap of several weeks between then and now, that’s been keeping me pretty busy. It’s not just the nights waking at all hours for feeds, the day-to-day diaper (nappy) changing, feeding, washing, clothes changing following spit-up and poo explosions (and all this applies to me too, except that I am potty-trained these days and don’t need diapers), the miles worn on the carpets from walking up and down with a grumpy little baby who won’t settle… there’s something else, too. That little cuddly miracle becomes your whole focus, and from the moment of their birth your world lurches onto a new axis and your gravity finds a new center.
I need to find a balance between work and caring for His Babyship. I do feel this incredible deep-rooted biological need to be with him and put his care before my own (I have even left cups of tea un-made and un-drunk: I had always previously regarded tea as a Basic Human Right). At the same time, I don’t want to lose Myself, that person who writes and runs her own business. I still think of business ideas while breastfeeding and concoct whole blog posts in my head during diaper changes, so this person, this Me, isn’t something that can just be switched off or completely overridden by poo-stained onsies.
I am writing this with His Babyship asleep in his travel bassinet by my feet. I do get a couple of hours (but often broken) in the day when he is asleep when I can write. I have a pile of half-finished articles from when he has woken up, which used to be frustrating, but I am getting used to picking up threads and carrying on. I actually get quite a lot of thinking time even if my hands are full, and I chat to His Babyship about everything, so he will be able to start his own website by the time he is 18 months. His first word will probably be ‘WordPress’.
But all this makes you focus on that 20 percent of your business you can carry on with. If you had to say what was the core of your business, what would you do? What aspects of your business do you want to continue with into the future?
Having to assess my business has been enlightening. I have had to stop almost all of my client work as I just can’t commit to deadlines right now. I am still writing modules for Enhanced Freelance, and the one I have just finished about creating your own products has really made me think about just how important it is for freelancers to have separate income streams from products or collaborations that can carry them through…
…excuse me, His Babyship is waking up…
…[a while later] Right, where were we? Oh yes, having your own products or side projects that bring in income separately from your reliance on clients so that when you have a baby/fall ill/move countries/your industry suffers from economic downturn you have something else that can bring in some cash.
So right now I am focusing on a couple of writing projects I’ve had in the back of my mind that aren’t so deadline dependent so I can work them around naps, feeds, diapers and those days that I don’t quite manage to get a shower. When His Babyship is older I’m going to look into daycare so I can go back to some more regular work, but right now this seems like a good compromise between caring for this amazing little bundle and not losing Myself entirely. And it may even work out better for my business in the long term: client work can pay well in the short term but you only ever get one payment for it.
If you had to focus on the core 20 percent of your business, what would you do, and where would it take you?
Image by Flickr user Linda Cronin