Every single week, my husband and his friends get together to play video games. I used to joke that I’d have to be dying for him to stay home. The truth is that they commit to it and make it happen. It’s not unusual for one of them to miss it (they all have very young children), but game night goes on. I once tried to organize a monthly get-together that consisted mostly of the wives of this same group of guys. We got together one time because they started dropping out each month. Their husbands were working late (something that never happens on game night), the kids were sick, or something else had come up. I was one of the only ones in the group who was able and willing to consistently put that time aside for myself, ask my husband to back me up (which he happily did), and make the ongoing commitment.
Fast forward to now as I grow my blogging and freelancing career. It probably seems to newbies that mom bloggers are successful because they’ve holed themselves up in their home offices typing away (and tirelessly caring for their home and kids). While there are a few cases where this is true, generally it is not. These bloggers are out making connections, building relationships, and growing their businesses. Although I’m hardly the most successful blogger, I am still one of those women. I know that regardless of the size of my blog, I won’t get the opportunities if people don’t know who I am. And just as importantly, I have to know who others are, as well. Once again, I put that time aside for my business, ask my husband to back me up, and make an ongoing commitment by attending events, traveling, and meeting new people. If I can make it to an event that I’m even vaguely interested in, I go. You never know what interesting people you’ll meet.
The past few weeks, I’ve had a number of public and private conversations with other moms about growing their own blogging businesses and connecting more with brands. And the consistent challenge that I’m seeing is that they are not able and/or willing to put forth the investment of time, money (yes, building a business will cost you something), and self that is required to properly launch a business. Much like the moms in the social group I tried to start, they have too many hurdles – childcare fell through, a sick kid is home, a hubby has to travel/work late/do whatever, there is a family commitment.
So here is the big secret of successful bloggers who are moms: they jump over those hurdles whenever they can. We all have to deal with those things. Dads have to deal with those things, too. And this is where you have to make a decision. You either find a way to bypass as many hurdles as possible, or you accept that you are not likely to launch into blogger superstardom right now. Because the worst thing you can do is hover in the middle, making commitments and breaking them, and burning all of your bridges in the process. Your professionalism is part of your blogging currency.
Please understand that this isn’t a judgment. We all have different circumstances and priorities and that’s OK. But if you look at the bloggers who are getting the big opportunities, you’re going to find that they generally have some things in common.
- They’ve got childcare help, either from a truly supportive partner, or family, or a reliable sitter or nanny. Most likely, there’s even backup help.
- They are flexible and creative with hurdle jumping. When something comes up, they work to find a solution and they use all of the resources at their disposal. It helps them remain a reliable person to work with.
- They have some kind of budget for their business. And don’t forget that it may be funds they’ve been saving for years.
- They’ve managed to either let go of or channel their mom guilt. You simply can’t build a business without sacrificing some time with your kids, especially if they are home with you 24/7. And you probably won’t be there for every soccer game, talent show, or science fair. I let go of mine by reminding myself that my kids are watching their mom follow her passion – exactly what I want for them – and that they get some pretty cool perks out of it.
- They are present. When opportunities arise, they are there, because they know that’s where the magic happens.
- They work damn hard. Regardless of what you think of their writing or content or layout, chances are that they have put in their time (writing and/or networking).
So now is the time to ask yourself if you’re ready. Do you have most or all of those elements? Can you put them in place? If no, that’s fine. Now isn’t the right time for you to go all out. You can work on slowly building your business until you are ready. Otherwise, jump on in, Sister. There’s plenty of room for us all!