One of the things I enjoyed so much at the Haven Conference was getting to “peek behind the curtain,” if you will, to see the real lives of these home decor bloggers I have been following for years.
What you see online is so often the staged, edited, best-versions of ourselves, our homes, and our businesses. After all, our job is to share beautiful and inspiring images–who needs pictures of my messy kitchen and toy-strewn living room?
But it’s nice sometimes though to get that behind-the-scenes look. As a blogger, sharing that side of ourselves (the side that shows reality) is a way that we can remind our readers that we are just normal people with normal lives.
So to have a little fun today, I want to pull back the curtain and share what it really looks like to run Lost & Found. It’s not always quite as glamorous as it may seem 🙂
Here are 5 facts about running my home-based business that may surprise you . . .
1. I don’t have a good system for storing the furniture pieces I am working on. They are piled in my garage, and when that gets too full (or it gets to be the hot summer and parking the car in the garage is a must), they will spill over onto my back porch and even my dining room. And when its hot like this I will paint inside, either in my kitchen or in my living room.
My boys have learned and they know to not touch Mommy’s furniture while it’s being painted. Sometimes I will throw down a drop cloth, but quite often not. I can get pretty lazy about that, and would rather wipe paint off the floor later than take the time to dig out a drop cloth before I get started.
I’m hoping to one day have a storage shed, but for now, it is what it is. Random furniture just takes over our house.
2. I don’t make any money on my blog. Some bloggers do very well blogging and can earn a full-time income from it. For whatever reason though, that hasn’t been my story. In my three years of blogging, I think I have made less than $300 in ad revenue. $100 a year is not too amazing! But every little bit helps, and I’m hoping that after implementing some things I learned at Haven, I may be able to do a better job monetizing my blog in the future.
This blog has brought about a good bit of indirect income, as a way of promoting my business and now Fusion Mineral Paint. Plus, I just enjoy the process of connecting with readers and offering information that helps others. But if you assume that every blogger out there is raking it in from their blog . . . well, that’s not reality.
3. Speaking on money, I pay taxes. Just because my business is run out of my home doesn’t mean I get to skip out on Uncle Sam or the state of Texas. My two rented retail locations collect and pay in my TX state sales tax for me, but anytime I sell a piece from my home or from a weekend market, I am responsible for paying in the sales tax myself. Also, each year I file my federal taxes and typically owe a decent little bit to the US government. So 100% of the cash I make doesn’t wind up in my pocket, the tax man still gets his little piece of the pie.
4. I don’t have a regular babysitter to help with my kids. People all the time ask me, “How do you have time to do what you do with those three little boys?” I’m betting the assumption may be that I have regular help–whether family that lives nearby or paid help–but I don’t. With the exception of this summer, when I hired a sitter for 2 hours one morning a week, I have never had a mother’s helper or a daycare for when I need to work. Nor do I have family that lives nearby . . . My husband and I are the only Texas residents on each side of our family.
Now I’m not saying that to sound prideful or to make you feel bad for me, just to be real.
My main job is to be a mom to my boys, and so I’ve had to find a way to wear both my “Mom” and “Business Owner” hat. During the school year, my older two are in school all day, and my youngest spends two days a week at preschool. I maximize that at-school time by trying to get most of my projects done then. I also work on things a lot in the evenings, after dinner when my husband is home.
I have a very helpful husband whose work schedule is quite flexible, which makes a lot of what I do possible. I have also learned though that my boys can do a pretty incredible job of entertaining themselves if I let them be, and in the long run I think having that ability will be to their benefit.
I am by no means a “helicopter parent.” So during the summer days, my kids are off playing a lot by themselves–running around outside, playing together upstairs, or just doing their own things. While they are busing being kids I get things done. And when they want me to sit down and play with them, I can usually set aside my projects to meet their relational needs, then they are ready to run back off on their own again.
It works for us.
5. Work on my own home gets done very, very, very slowly.
Remember this bathroom project?
I started making over this bathroom in February, and it’s still not done.
And remember my project of painting my kitchen cabinets?
I painted this one section at Christmastime, and guess how much more has been painted? Yep, none. I have a kitchen with 3 white cabinets. And I have no idea on when I will get around to finishing the rest.
Life is full with family time and business time, so finding time to work on my own home projects is way down on the priority list. I don’t like to live in a chaotic, unfinished state, but it’s just the way life works right now. I’m trying to embrace it.
So if you ever look at mine, or other blogger’s DIY projects and think, “I could never have the time to do that!” take a deep breath, and remember my 8 month long bathroom renovation.
Being a stay-at-home mom and running your own home-based business is a wonderful privilege. But it’s never as easy or as pulled-together as it looks. I hope that reality check will helps other moms out there give it a try themselves.
To be a business owner you don’t have to be perfect, just passionate about what you do and willing to work hard while you can.