Balance: Raising Babies & a Business

Hey everyone!! So this blog started out as a one stop hub for all things wellness – mind, body, soul, with fitness, recipes, and natural beauty, but I figure it will also evolve and grow into what it is meant to be as time goes on. Since I am a mother and business owner, blogging takes a back seat (as in, I haven’t blogged in over a month lol), so I thought it would actually be a good topic for a blog post!! Running a household and an empire, raising babies and businesses, balancing wife, mom, and boss life, tips on being a LEADER vs a dictator, developing my brand, turning passion into business, building the business, and continuing to learn and grow while being consumed by family and work life.  If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, already a boss, or working a 9-5, this post will have some tips for all of you! You’ll learn how I maintain balance, some assemblance of sanity  and how I grew a successful business from a 99 cent notebook with minimal direction and low funds, how I continue to step up my game, how I deal with copycats, haters, and people who just can’t keep their mouths shut and mind their own business, AND keeping family and wellness as #1 priority! 

So first of all, I have to say that entrepreneurship was not the original plan for my life, but 2nd to motherhood, has been the most amazing, challenging, and rewarding things I’ve done!! In 2000, I was dual enrolled in high school and college working on my prerequisites for nursing school. I had dreamed of becoming a nurse for quite some time, had worked in nursing homes, and taken LOADS of science and health classes to prepare myself for my career choice. In early 2002, I enrolled in an LVN program and was determined I would end up an RN, or nurse anesthetist someday. Well, life had other plans, and by the end of 2004 I was married and pregnant with my first baby. I was planning on continuing my nursing career, but my husband’s job involved moving, moving again, and then of course I had my son to take care of now. He was about 6 months old when I stumbled upon the baking and pastry world, and thought it might be fun to play around with. His first birthday I spent about 9 hours on creating a cake (that I now consider an absolute atrocity, but was so proud of it at the time haha) and that started an obsession/passion that I have not been able to get away from since. Over the next several years, I poured myself into learning baking and cake decorating techniques, pastry arts, and everything in between. I baked for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, each time learning and growing and eventually trained under some chefs and worked in various places to learn the details of the food industry. In 2010, I started a small little cake/cupcake business I called “Sabrina’s Sweets” (UGHHH lol) and started selling my creations for the first time.. I had done pretty well and enjoyed creating and baking for others. Only two short years later I closed the business due to health and other circumstances (actually one reason was a big ole fat hater, that fake “friend” I talked about in my last post, but whatever, I’m past that LOL).. Anyways, I thought my professional baking days were over, when in reality, they had not even actually begun!!! In early 2013 I started dreaming up a new idea for a bakery business in a 99 cent purple notebook (that I still have!) The business didn’t have a name, logo, products, or really much content other than I knew I wanted a completely gluten-free specialty bakery that catered to people like myself and my daughters with food allergies/intolerances, all while being gmo-free. At that point I had NO idea how to even turn this dream into a reality, how to even turn this passion into a business, or where to even begin. I decided to just start out one thing at a time. My business needed a name. Ok. Um… I had the “Natural Bakery” part, but that didn’t have that YES factor. I tried on about 20 different names, before one day, “Ambrosia” came to me… It was all part of my self-development as I found my inner goddess, and wanted to feed and nourish myself mind, body, and soul… “Ambrosia” means “food/healing nectar of the gods/goddesses” so it just clicked and made sense. Ok, so I had a name and an amazing idea. Now what? Well, I started some craiglist and facebook advertising with my own cheesy graphics describing a few goodies I could do for people with food allergies.. I caught the attention of a few people who were excited and supportive (and are still my friends/loyal clients to this day!) and that started the unstoppable drive and passion to stay on this path. I still just take it one step at a time, one thing at a time, crossing goals off my list as the business grows, all while doing it DEBT FREE (I’m a NO business loans/credit card zone!). Each time I complete a goal, I’m ready for the next one and always pushing myself to step outside the box, out of my comfort zones, and try something new.

 

Growing my passion and business has been a challenge to say the least. There’s the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes stuff no one sees — throwing stuff across the room, threatening to sell everything, saying “Fuck it, I’m DONE” more times than I can even count, the hours and hours and hours of late nights, early mornings, missing family functions, not being able to relate or talk to anyone about any current events, because I’m nose to the grind 24/7 with ZERO clue about the world around me hahaha  The first year of business was THE hardest (yes everyone will tell you this) I worked for “exposure” (basically busted my ass for free to “get my name out there”), made SO many mistakes (Um, bookkeeping? What’s THAT?), and frequently questioned myself and melted into a puddle of tears over the smallest stuff (a bad review, etc)..  BUT through all of that, there was this THING, that kept telling me to push forward… The second year of business I hustled like no one’s business. I was like, “OK everyone just move the hell out of my way, I’m doing this.” I had some graphic design done, got my website up and running, got the necessary licensing in place, linked up with fellow local entrepreneurs and worked on creative networking projects with them, did a couple local events that were actually GOOD for exposure, and straight WERKED IT. 😉 I was featured in our local news, got picked up by a couple publications, and people started to take me and my business more seriously.

 

So now I’m in year 3 of my business, which in the business world, is still pretty young, but baby I’ve come a long way in this 3 years!! Each step has its own set of challenges. Lately, I’ve been dealing with copycats, haters, people jealous of my success, the “peanut gallery” (those that can’t keep their mouths shut, mind their own business, give out unsolicited advice etc). For the copycats, I hired an attorney to start copyrighting and protecting my business from anyone who wants to try and steal my hard work and creativity. There’s NO FREAKIN WAY I’m gonna let someone come along and take YEARS of grueling work and passion!!! Anyone that says rude things about myself, my business, or anything else can go sit with the rest of the folks waiting for me to give a crap. Sorry, but I am BUSY, I don’t have time to concern myself with the opinions of others that have no importance in my life whatsoever. Last weekend, a lady would NOT shut her mouth and kept telling me what I “SHOULD” do… HAHAHAHAHAHA     First of all, I don’t take orders, I barely take suggestions! LOL But how to deal with this? I just say, “Hm.” And go about my business and do what I do.. We all know “THOSE” people, and it’s best to just keep your distance, establish your boundaries, and let them know who’s boss 😉

 

I also stepped into the role of being someone else’s boss this year. This has been another challenge. Working for myself is the easy part, having someone work for me? It’s a whole new world… My business grew so much I needed the help, but was honestly kind of nervous to bring someone on. After all, this is MY business, MY creation, and the whole idea scared the crap out of me lol.. I finally found an absolute GEM for my first helper, and have totally fallen in love with her! Each step of the way, I am making sure to be a leader and lead by example, to work along side of her, not be a hypocritical dictator like most bosses and just sit around while everyone else does stuff for me. I am always trying to look at things through the employee’s perspective, like — How would I want to be treated at a job? What kind of person would I like to work for and with? Certainly not someone who makes up ridiculous and unrealistic rules, not someone who puts the employees to work and then go sits on their ass scrolling social media for 3 hours. I want to inspire and lead with the passion, hard work, and dedication that I pour into my business, and get the same from my workers. What you give, you get, so if you have employees you feel you aren’t getting much from, ask yourself why? Are you a good leader or just a dictator?

 

Ok, so here’s my tips for Balancing LIFE~

  1. PRIORITIZE!!!! I cannot stress this enough. It seems so simple, yet can be so hard to actually achieve. For my life I created categories for priorities: 1. Self-Care/Wellness (eating right, exercise, rest, etc –it’s #1 because I can’t pour from an empty cup and give my family and business what they need if I am not taken care of) 2. Family/Home Life 3. Business 4. Everything Else
  2. EDIT– If things in your life don’t fall under your “priorities” categories, then “BYE FELICIA!!!” I CONSTANTLY edit out people, business opportunities, or other things that try to creep in and take time away from the things that are important to me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.” And it has to go… This includes friendships, relationships, anything that does not enrich your life in some way goes bye bye.
  3. UNPLUG– being available all the time is both a blessing and a curse. My phone is lit up like a damn Christmas tree 90% of the time lol :O Messages, texts, missed calls, voicemails, emails… I used to be super prompt about returning and answering everything, now I take a “when I get to it, I get to it” approach. During business hours, once I have taken care of myself and my family, THEN I answer business related inquires and orders. The rest of the time, I am unplugged and unavailable for my own sanity.
  4. BOUNDARIES– I’m just gonna say it. Sometimes you have to be a bitch to protect yourself, your business, and your family. One of my favorite words is “NO” and I have no problem telling people to fuck off if it is necessary. It sounds cutthroat, but if you do not establish boundaries, people will walk all over you, take advantage, and run you ragged. You HAVE TO HAVE TO set your boundaries — what you are okay with, and what you are not okay with. I have people message me at 11pm at night wanting services from my business the next day. This is a NO. I am first and foremost a HUMAN BEING who needs sleep, and secondly a MOTHER whose children take precedence (see priorities), so there are just some inquiries and expectations from others that are unrealistic and not going to happen. Establishing boundaries while like I said, can seem harsh, is a vital NECESSITY to the mama/business owner.  Editing and unplugging are great boundaries to set for yourself as well. (See how it all ties together?)

 

And last, but MOST important, balancing Mama Life and Boss Life — I have FOUR kids, yes, FOUR. Yes, I know how that happens, yes they’re all mine, and no, at this time, I do not plan to have any more, but thanks for asking!! 😛 Anyways, with 3 of them in school, the youngest still at home with me, it is the biggest challenge of them all.. Some days the haters and taxes seem easier to deal with than my kids!! My oldest is a moody pre-teen and has trouble in school sometimes, my 10 year old girl is very good in school, but can throw some serious attitude, my 5 year old is a straight PISTOL, and my littlest can be so demanding at times (we call her “the little boss”).. But they are MY babies, the #1 reason I started my business was to be able to provide for them, and I created something inspired by my daughters — literally EVERYTHING in my life revolves around my kids. So, balancing it? Honestly? Sometimes the business has to wait while I deal with my kids. And sometimes my kids have to wait while I deal with the business. It’s all about priorities and what immediately needs to get done, but I’ve become an absolute rockstar of multitasking. On the phone with a client, holding a kid, have dinner on the stove, and signing a field trip permission slip… I return business emails while I wait at the bus stop for the kids. My youngest goes with me to almost all business meetings, deliveries, consultations (another reason we call her lil boss haha), and my older kids go to events with me.  Some days I balance it really well, some days I do everything all at once, and some days I don’t do a darn thing. I figure it all works out in the end!!

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#momboss #closedealsinheels #mompreneur

 

So, do I have this balance of boss and mom life all figured out and fine-tuned yet? Yes and no. I am learning, I am growing, and constantly having to RE-balance, RE-fresh, and RE-adjust my priorities and figure out what’s working and what’s not. It is a daily struggle. So today it’s noon and I am in my damn bathrobe and haven’t showered. Yesterday I was up, full face of makeup, little one dressed/ hair done, and out the door by 9am… It’s all about BALANCE, right?! 

~SK

 

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