First off, Mondays are my content planning days. And, if I am being totally honest, I could use like 2-3 of these each week! Content planning means thinking and planning for box projects and live sales, placing orders, writing blog posts or making YouTube videos. Perhaps I am taking photos, planning for Friday Features or putting out fires such as dealing with items that have not arrived for our boxes. If there is any time left (I almost laugh when I say that), stopping in to one of two business coaching groups on Facebook to work on trainings is my next step. The online space can be overwhelming so having some other ecommerce business owners to swap ideas with is so important. I like to learn as much as possible about... well, as much as possible!
The obvious next is Tuesdays... which are for paperwork. BOO. From bills to banking to sales tax to reconciling accounts to entering receipts and payroll, it is assigned to the Tuesday list. When that's done, I try to fill as many orders as I can! You'd be amazed at how much time the paperwork actually takes. With all of the purchases I make for kits and subscription boxes, there are a lot of receipts. Despite having someone who logs into my computer twice a month who enters those receipts and deposits into my accounting program, it is still time consuming! Admittedly, my Tuesdays are not nearly as dreadful as they used to be now that I have systems in place and a checklist to follow. I know what needs done and, by not letting it pile up for months at a time, it's much more manageable.
Wednesdays and Thursdays
So when do I actually get to make the stuff? Good question! Over the last year and a half, my team and I have been trying to really focus in on where we can serve our customers the best. Custom orders for signs, furniture refinishing or upholstery used to be on my business cards as something I could do. However, it sure doesn't take long of wearing yourself so thin and trying to do ALL the things to please ALL the people to realize... it's not all it's cracked up to be! Missing family time being stuck at all hours of the night in the basement took the joy out of something I once found so joyful.
It was of utmost importance to get that joy back. So, Wednesdays and Thursdays morphed into my "making days." Planning is key. If I only really have two solid days for this, I need to "make" the most of them! And, most Thursdays, I also attend a morning meeting which cuts into that making time. For those of you who have ordered kits from My Home Matters before, you know that I try to have a video tutorial for instructions. What I typically try to do is make those videos as I am making the sample items. But to do this, it means I can't really have any mess ups. And, considering that I am far from perfect, mess ups inevitably occur and I need to restart the videos!
>Insert Subscription Boxes<
If you don't already know, we send out two monthly DIY home decor subscription boxes. One is called My Home Matters BOXED UP. Happiness is Homemade is our other box. For our subscription box tutorials, this can be more complicated as I may try to have multiple samples so usually I need the better part of a week to account for getting these samples and videos done, plus all the photographing. And, each subscription box needs a project card or trifold brochure and QR code and each box needs a project card or trifold. Before these can be ordered, the photos have to be done and watermarked. The video tutorials are housed in Vimeo and need to be uploaded. It's only then that a QR code can be made for the project cards.
When all things are considered, I usually have to account for one "week" of my making days to be solely devoted to our subscription boxes for that particular month. This is more like a "week in the life..." And notice I haven't said anything about the actual filling of those boxes... YET. Keep reading...
"Friday Features" day means I need to spend the mornings making sure I have all the items needed to go live at noon! Sometimes, I'm totally calm and cool and collected because everything is ready. Other Fridays, I'm racing around the basement gathering things or finishing up samples - or just trying to shower so I don't look like death warmed over. After my Friday Features live is over, it's pretty much a catch up afternoon. What orders can I finish filling? Do I have to meet Mike, my one wood supplier for pieces he helped cut for me? Oh, and my workshop could sure use a cleaning up by Friday afternoons.
As much as I try, Fridays often run long as I really try to get some closure to the week. It all just depends on what is coming the following week and, in the case of a live sale, it does mean sometimes having to finish things up over the weekend.
Every day is a mom day. The entire reason I started this business was out of trying to be frugal so that I could stay home with my kids as long as possible while they were young. Now, my oldest will graduate high school in just over a month and my youngest will start middle school next year. My love of teaching is still inside me. But I get to be available at a moment's notice when I need to be. I can take the time off that I want knowing that I can make it up in the evening or on a weekend because I can just go down to my basement.
Honestly, I don't know how all of you who work outside of your home and have children do it! With my youngest being sick a lot (insert a croupy cough coming from upstairs), having that flexibility was so crucial for us. And it worked out well today since that same sick kiddo really needed an extra hour to sleep in. He was able to do this since today was Take Your Child To Work Day and he spent the morning with me and the afternoon with my husband! I posted this photo on Facebook with him in my workshop this morning. Talk about a day in the life of My Home Matters!
It's almost impossible to get away with doing no work over the weekend. Whether it's just being asked to put out an order in the pick up cabinet or answering a few emails or frantically finishing live sale items for a Sunday evening sale, it seems like there is always something. And with so much to squeeze into five weekdays, it's tempting to think it will help to ease the stress by working on the weekend. I'm doing much better at this now. And, by better, I mean letting things go and taking time to recharge.
I neglected to mention that, even though my husband has a super busy spring/early summer season, he tries really hard to help with lots of the home stuff. He does (and folds) laundry (even though his folding makes me crazy...I keep my mouth shut because it's help. PERIOD)! Mr. Home Matters is one of the most helpful husbands I know of! My kids are pretty helpful also. With our oldest now driving, this makes a world of difference!
A Typical Week is Actually Not So Typical.
As hard as I try to be productive and make the most of my time when the kids are at school, there are so many interruptions! Running to pick up one kiddo for an orthodontist appointment, means stopping what I'm doing. For our orthodontist, committing to appointments between 9am and 2:30pm shaves off a huge chunk of change on braces! I somehow managed to end up with like 10 appointments between myself and the kids within a matter of January and February and March of this year. How I didn't manage to spread them out more, I have no idea but stopping and starting seems to be more regular than my regular-planned days anymore.
And then there are the unexpected things like being hacked on Facebook. That consumed so much of my time between May and October of 2021 when I lost access to my personal and business pages!
The Truth About Summer
A day in the life of summer has always been kind of a work in progress. I can't just not do the things that are mentioned above. But it is a struggle to find ways to be able to be present to do those "summer" things. This year, with both of my older two working most days, I will want to spend time with my youngest while I can. Planning ahead is even more crucial. Maybe it means getting up and skipping workout to go straight to work so that I can quit earlier and workout later. Or maybe a workout can be bike riding or kayaking or swimming with my son.
I'm not going to lie... I often feel like certain people think I can just drop everything at any given time to go do any given thing. But the truth is that, to be able to keep sane and keep up, I have to be extremely productive with my time.
Do I have any help?
Actually, I have an enormous amount of help with certain aspects of my business. My assistant, Darcey, handles customer support, all of the subscription boxing, Pinterest pins, the weekly emails and newsletter, and MUCH MUCH more. My daughter helps a few hours a week doing things like printing and weeding stencils, filling kit bags and staining and painting some backgrounds needed for samples. Perhaps one day soon I will be able to work out having more help here in the house. But it's not as easy as it sounds and that's another story.
I'm proud of what I've done but work every day to try to work smarter...
I built my business from the ground up. No one handed me anything and I don't have a degree in business or social media or marketing. When I am passionate about something, I am also extremely motivated. I learned a ton from google, paid coaching groups and what my dad and husband taught me to get started with some power tools. Over the years, I have grown to learn so much about how my soul thrives on DIY. My entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and who'd have ever known back in my teaching days? But it's taken me lots of mistakes and I've learned from each of those mistakes.
There is no rest for the weary though. I work like heck to make sure I can pay my bills and operating expenses each month. I'm learning that working smarter and not harder is worth figuring out! Cutting out custom orders and furniture and finished items in the shop have all been a good start. But each day I am still trying to streamline processes to make things like filling orders more efficient and timely.
Thanks for reading and thank you to those who have been with me for so long!
I'm super grateful for the folks who have gravitated towards My Home Matters. I've been blessed with followers and customers who have become friends and truly people I care about. Another thing I have come to realize is that, just because I work from my basement, it does not mean I have to let people treat me as though I can just drop everything for anything.
It's a blessing and a curse to run your own business from home. Some might change that to simply working from home. I still forget to change the laundry, and today I actually remembered to put the chicken in the croc pot but forgot to plug it in... who can relate?
While this wasn't a fun DIY project post, I thought I'd try something different and just talk about a day in the life... next week I will try to get back to the fun stuff!
You’re amazing and inspiration to so many. I love watching all you do and strive to accomplish and do it with what seems like ease to us as your customers. I too can relate to the above Momhood stuff and yes I have forgotten to plug in the crock pot. And I honestly have to say you have motivated me to stay so on top of my scrapbooking just by how much u love what u do. And when I decorate my home I ask my self What would Laua do? Keep up the amazing work.
I am very proud of you and I am sure your father would say the same
I LOVED this blog post! I admire you and everything you do! I can only aspire to be as organized, energetic and consistent as you are! I can totally relate on so many levels… the struggle is real but when you’re passionate about what you do, it’s all worth it. ?