One year ago, three mums got together to discuss an idea. One of them loved essential oils, one loved jewellery, and the other loved women in business. Together they created DeFuze Australia.
It hasn’t been easy. There has literally been blood, sweat and tears, but here we are, one year in and loving it more and more.
Looking back on the year that was, I thought I would share a few insights into this world of Mums working from home, the good, the bad and the insane.
Here’s what we know so far:
Like any good relationship, communication is key. As three friends, we found it easy to communicate our thoughts, feelings and frustrations with at least one other in the team. But it wasn’t just communication with each other that was important. We needed to increase communication with our friends, family and most importantly, our husbands. With every sale, every new photo, every website glitch, there was time being “taken” away from our husbands and children, (Please note the “ “). We each went from full time stay at home Mums, to ‘holy shit we are really busy and have no idea what we are doing!’
Suddenly we were struggling with house work and dinners and found ourselves falling into bed later and later each night. We had taken on new roles, but were still trying desperately to do everything we had always done, without asking for help. Each one of us had breakdowns in communication with our husbands. Each of us were drowning in washing. Each of us looked up “quick divorce” in google on more than one occasion. But as soon as we spoke up, as soon as we reached out and told them “I need help”, we were relieved and found balance. Work/life balance is the same as life/work balance. It is all just balance. But doing something you love, with people you love, makes it easier to figure out.
And when it does, you need to allow yourself to stop. Even if you have grand plans, deadlines, markets or orders, there are some things that you simply need to stop for. DeFuze has had a few life changing moments within its first year, but therein lies the beauty of working with friends. They recognise when enough is enough, and they give you permission to break, be still and reassess.
If you work alone, make sure you have someone that can hold you accountable for your emotional wellbeing. Someone who will recognise when life needs you, and remind you to go.
Not everyone can do everything as well as each other.
With 3 people in the team, it took us a while to figure out each person’s strength’s and how they can best serve our business. And it was probably me that took the longest! We had to look at the key roles in our business, then look at what got each person excited. Now we have very clear roles. Each role is important and the business couldn’t flourish without them all, but it took us a while to figure out who sat where. Now it means jobs rarely get missed or overlap, and that we can organise our time according to our own jobs. But it also means we can cover someone if they need an out, because we all know what is going on.
Your kids will still love you.Yep, you will be super busy. You will be grumpy sometimes. You might not want to talk to anyone for a little while. But your kids will still love you. They will still cuddle you goodnight, and smile at you in the morning. They want you to be as happy as you want them to be. Give them credit. They will adjust with the changes, just like you will.
Time management is suddenly a real thing.
Meal plan, online shopping, diaries with scheduled play dates beside business ideas and meetings. Use your time wisely or you will burn out. Buy a paper diary if you need. Write EVERYTHING down. We found our whole daily routines changed. I get up earlier, I work out from home, and I cook less from scratch. But everything still gets done, and if it doesn’t, I can do it tomorrow. We have learnt not to beat ourselves up if our ‘to do’ list remains the same all week, we have learnt to let go of the ‘wonder woman’ guilt. We have learnt to prioritise and let shit go. Although this is always a work in progress.
This is a hard one, and one we are still working on. It is ok to say no. To tell customers ‘No we don’t do that’, or ‘sorry we are too busy for markets’. We are learning strength behind our ‘no’, but it is a daily lesson. Even social events, catch ups or nights out. It is ok to say no, as long as you say ‘yes!’ to the big stuff, (e.g. Take some risks!)
Trusting ourselves has probably been the hardest thing to learn. So often others can see the awesomeness inside us, but we are way behind. We had to put trust in ourselves that we could do it, and trust in others that they would catch us if we fell. Trust is never an easy one to master, but once you got it, all areas of life runs much smoother.
Here’s to year 2!