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How to Transition from SAHM to WAHM
You’re officially in business – Congrats!
Winning your first client or contract is the milestone that officially marks the beginning of your transition from SAHM to WAHM. But it’ll take a little more adjustment than that to make your new reality a success. Here are a few of the lifestyle changes you should make to support your new endeavor.
Dress for the Occasion
The idea of working in your PJs sounds cool, but it’s not a good idea. Hopefully, whether your children are attending school at home or at one of your local schools, you’re already in the habit of making yourself presentable in the mornings: combed hair, brushed teeth, washed face, and clothes suitable for running errands.
I know there are some moms who feel like those things are unnecessary, but don’t be that mom. Set a better example for your kids.
Now that you’re a WAHM take it a step further and dress the way you would if you were working in someone else’s office. A nice dress, power suit, or whatever it is that you associate with climbing the corporate ladder is good. Is that too much of a style stretch for you? Then try a uniform.
Plenty of influential business people are known for wearing a signature outfit. Steve Jobs had his black turtleneck and Jeans. Mark Zuckerberg is known for wearing his hoodie. You can wear that A-line dress that really makes you feel good or that blazer that accentuates your figure. Whatever your signature outfit is, it’s a good idea to have more than one (one to wear, one to wash, and one as a back up) and to keep it clean. No need to let your hygiene go for the sake of sticking to your look!
“Working at home can mean flexible work hours, but that doesn’t mean you should work whenever you get around to it.”
Keep a Schedule
Working at home can mean flexible work hours, but that doesn’t mean you should work whenever you get around to it. This is a setup for disaster as it concerns meeting deadlines for clients or sponsors. More importantly, it’s not fair to your family. They need to know when they are dealing with mommy and when they are dealing with the career woman. They can’t respect your new venture if you don’t take it seriously enough to set regular work hours.
Hit the Books
It’s so easy to feel out of the loop when you’re returning to the workforce. The truth is, if you’ve been out on maternity leave or if you’ve been a SAHM for years, you ARE out of the loop. Just because you’re making the decision to be a WAHM rather than working outside of the home doesn’t mean you can afford to skip out on catching up with the trends in your industry.
You may have been at the top of your game with your skillset years ago, but chances are, there have been some changes in technology and in the methodologies used to get the work done. To ensure your success, you need to study. Make a habit of spending one hour each day reading a book that is relevant to your career goals and some that are indirectly related to what you’d like to do. For example, if you’ve launched a logo design business, read books on design principles and current best practices, then read up on more general subjects such as how to pitch your services, email writing etiquette, and productivity. Over time, you will develop yourself into a formidable businesswoman.
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Set Up a Workspace
Carve out some room in your home to serve as your office. If you don’t have the luxury of setting aside a separate room all to yourself, pick a corner of a room. Set up a desk with your computer, notebooks, pens, books, and the other instruments you need to work. Invest in a pair of headphones to drown out noise. Working at your desk is a good habit because it’ll help you to create a boundary between your work life and the rest of your life. Your workspace is also a good place to store your equipment away from curious little hands.
Track Your Time
Using a time tracker is an excellent way to improve your efficiency. In the beginning, time yourself to see how long it takes to complete individual tasks. Then, set a goal to gradually improve by shaving off a few seconds off your time each day/week until you’ve hit your peak. The other benefit of tracking your time is you’ll know exactly how much to charge for client services or sponsored posts. If someone wants to pay you $500 for a task that takes 20 hours, but your hourly rate is $35, then you know you’ve got to negotiate on that price.
Put Down the Phone
It’s so easy to pick up your smartphone to check your texts, read your emails, catch up on the news, see when that thing you ordered will arrive, find out why your best friend tagged you in a Facebook post…and the next thing you know, 45 minutes of your work day have been wasted. You’ll have to make up for it by cutting into family or sleep time. Soon, you’ll resent how your work is taking over your whole day. In reality, you’re the one who is wasting time with familiar distractions.
In order to keep from falling down that rabbit hole, you’ve got to set boundaries on your phone usage. Make a deal with yourself that you will check your phone only 3 times each day, or only after you’ve completed a certain block of work time.
One solution I use is setting my smartwatch notifications so that I see texts and missed calls directly on my wrist. Yes, I still experience these small interruptions while I work, but I can’t respond unless I get up and go find my phone. Unless I see that I am getting a text that needs an immediate response, I make a mental note of it, then go back to work. I respond to my texts and calls during my set times so that I’m not sacrificing my productivity or unnecessarily extending my work day.
Rethink Social Media
You can skyrocket your business with social media provided you use it in a professional manner. Our world is more connected than ever, thanks to the power of the internet, so it’s important to make sure your social presence is working for you rather than against you.
Do an audit of your existing social media accounts. Is what you’re sharing TMI? Delete those posts. Lock down the intimate photos of your life. Better yet, create new, separate profiles to be used exclusively for business (but don’t neglect the clean up of your personal profiles). Consider how you want to brand yourself and keep that in mind as your craft your copy, design images, and curate content.
Your Habits Support Your Success
Working from home is a blessing that has the power to drastically transform your household. Make sure it’s a good change by following the steps outlined in this post. Creating these new habits will make your life as a WAHM so much easier (and far more enjoyable!)