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I'm a former corporate employee who decided to ditch the 9-5 and start my own business.
Now, with a lukewarm cup of coffee in one hand and a toddler on my hip, I'm sharing all my best business, branding and website tips.
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Tell us about your business!
I am the founder and creative director of Haute Stock (formerly Haute Chocolate), a styled stock photography membership site for women entrepreneurs, bloggers, and creative business owners. I created Haute Stock because I was frustrated with spending hours trying to find stylish, high-quality, stock photos. My goal is to create the most beautiful and high-quality images for women business owners, so that they can create stunning visuals to help their brands stand out online.
Did you always plan to be a WAHM? If not, what made you decide to work from home?
No, I didn’t really plan on working from home until I was pregnant with my first child. I quickly realized in my son’s first year that I wanted to be around as much as possible and that working from home would allow me the most flexibility to be with my family and also have a career.
How long have you been a WAHM?
Since 2011, when I started my first business.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have two boys, they are 7 and 2 1/2.
What is your workstation setup like? (ie. In the kitchen, room to room, in an office/study, etc.)
I worked from home from 2011-2017. When I first started out, I had my laptop and no desk, so I would work on the kitchen counter or on the couch. I spent many late nights working on a rocking chair in my living room! Eventually I got a proper desk, but my house doesn’t have an office, so I set it up in my living room and then later in my bedroom because it has the best light in my house. I did a lot of my styled stock photography shoots in a little corner in my bedroom for the first couple years of Haute Stock. As the business grew, I really wanted to have more of a separation of work space and family space, so I took the leap and rented an office/studio space in August 2017 — now I work from there during the day, most days.
What days/hours do you typically work?
That depends — at home, I could work literally all day, from early morning to late at night, but the hours I was spending on my business during that time varied — I’d be with my kids in the morning, work during nap time, and then work again after dinner or when the kids went to bed. I needed that flexibility in the beginning, especially with my first son, because I didn’t have family to help out and didn’t have childcare. With my second, my parents had moved closer to us and could babysit, and my oldest was now in school, so I could set more of a work schedule, even though I was working from home.
My office hours now are 9-3pm. I feel more balanced now because I can focus on work during the day and then evenings and weekends are dedicated to family time.
How does being a WAHM affect your husband/partner?
My husband has always been supportive of me following my dreams to build a business, but it wasn’t always easy. I had to put in a lot of late nights, especially at first, to get the business up and running. I think it’s important to have honest conversations about how much you intend to work and when — and to set clear expectations and boundaries around work time and family time — even if you’re working from home. You’re not going to stick to your “perfect” schedule all of the time, but it does help to feel more in control of your day. It also helps your partner to know that even though you’re at home, you are working.
What are some of your frustrations with being a WAHM?
For me, one of my biggest frustrations was my work props taking over the house! That was a big reason for wanting an office/studio space — the amount of props we had from photoshoots started creeping into various areas of the house and I often felt like I never could “leave” work, because when I looked around it was staring me in the face. I also had specific frustrations around not having enough space to produce the types of photoshoots I wanted, so we needed a dedicated space outside of the home.
What is the single most gratifying part of being a WAHM?
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to run a business serving other hard-working women, and to support my family doing something that I love.
Describe a typical day in the life for you as a WAHM.
6-6:30 AM: everyone wakes up to start getting ready for the day
830 AM: drive my little one to grandma’s and the older one to school
9-3 PM: work time
4 PM: pick up the boys and head home to make dinner
5-830 PM: family time
9-11 PM: work out and then catch up on our favourite tv shows before one of us falls asleep on the couch (usually before 11pm)
How do you think being a WAHM has helped you and your family?
The time I get to spend with my kids is invaluable — I love that I was around all the time when they were babies, and that even now I have the flexibility to stay at home if they need me. It has also allowed us to have the freedom and flexibility to travel more, which we all love to do.
What sacrifices have you had to make in order to be a WAHM?
Sanity?! Working from home can be a challenge because you don’t really get to leave the office and just close the door on work for the day. Even though I was around my kids a lot, it took some time to figure out how to be present with them and not be distracted by work all the time. Some ways I found to help that feeling were to turn off notifications on my phone, try and have dedicated work and family time during the day, and not reading or answering emails in the evening or early morning.
My biggest WAHM fail moment was…
I forgot it was picture day and sent my son to school in a non-picture-worthy outfit and messy hair! Oops!
As a WAHM I can’t live without…
My go to dinner on my busiest day is…
Leftovers or a quick salad.
My WAHM uniform consists of…
Comfy top + yoga pants or jeans. I always get dressed, even if I’m working from home. I can’t be productive in my pj’s.
If I could have one free day to myself I would…
Sleep in, drink a full (still warm) cup of coffee, and stay in bed reading!
See my other interviews with work at home moms.
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