Guest Blogs INTSA BUSINESS #MUMLIFE
Ever been given that piece of advice that really sticks? Like - "how did I cope without it in my life" sort of advice? I'll fill you in on my words of wisdom in a jiffy - but first - let me take a selfie. You know. For Instagram. That's all it's used for, right? WRONG! It's soooooooo much more than a shameless space for self absorbed wasters. It's freaking fabulous and I'd be lost without it. I'm Jo. I'm 31. I'm an Insta addict, all because I'm also new mummy. Mummy to 9 months of squishy, deliciousness that is my beautiful baby girl. She is Aoife (It's said "ee-fa". And it's Irish, just like her craaaaazy Dadda - my husband). Aoife is the inspiration behind everything that I do.
Right. That awesome advice. Let me fill you in on the deets. In my former pre-mummy life, which feels like forever ago, I went through one of those little dilemmas where I just couldn't feel the balance. Balance. You know the one people talk about, how they are happy in every aspect of their lives, that balance that only the exceptional humans seem to be able to achieve? I'd just received a massive boost professionally, taking on a huge new role which meant more work, effort and time. I was juggling that with trying to be an awesome wife, housekeeper, friend, colleague, daughter and sister. And desperately trying all the while to have a baby. Like...no pressure. Just a baby. People do it all the time. Surely that's the easiest thing ever to do right? (Don't get me started, That's a W.H.O.L.E other ball game!) I was being pulled in a million different directions and felt like I wasn't doing anything any justice. Ironically, even while on maternity leave, that's how I still feel some days. Then I remember the advice. The advice that sticks with me. From the wisest woman in the universe. My Mum, obviously. She told me that there is this ridiculous expectation invented by some twitty moron, that we can have a professional life/personal life balance. A balance! (Think old school scales type of balance) How will we ever be able to spend the same amount of hours on ourselves and our relationships as we do at work? Physically, it's impossible. You can't spend 10 hours working, 10 hours being your awesome 'got it together' other self, all while completing the usual daily grind AND getting a full nights sleep. Duh. Balance is impossible. And oh so obvious, but you never see that while you're in the crux of what you deem is a major dilemma. Oh, she's a clever old chook, my mum. She told me to give up on chasing the unattainable balance, and focus on finding a professional life/personal life satisfaction. Be satisfied. Work satisfied. Wife satisfied. Life satisfied. And quit with the perfectionism.
So even now, minus the 'career me' I remember that advice. Find a way to be satisfied in what you do. Satisfied to your soul. Right down in that place where you can say to yourself..."yep, Jo, that's enough. You've done enough to make that good." While I don't have the 'career' me right now, I've found that I've taken on this whole new role. The 'mumtrepreneur' business me, building a whole new delightful and fragile baby that is 'Baby Darling Boutique' (insert sneaky business drop here). We stock the most delicious little girls clothing and accessories. Go and check us out. When asked 'how do you juggle a busy mummy life and working from home?' I think of that sense of satisfaction. Some days I get it right. I'm satisfied with the things I've ticked off my business to do list. I'm satisfied with the time I have spent with my girl. And I'm satisfied with the time I spent with my husband and friends. And I secretly high five myself and daydream of my reaction when I find out that I have been nominated for the 'Kept-a-nine-month-old-alive-all-while-starting-a-business Mummy of the Year' award. Other days I look at that list, silently freak, pop my petal in her activity centre, go hell for leather on my sewing machine and/or iPad and feel guilty the whole time. (Aoife has woken from her afternoon nap as we speak, and is delighting in waving a book around and poking her tongue out in the most concentrated if ways. Sitting on her play mat while I'm writing qualifies as Mummy Daughter time, right?).
90% of my business time is spent on Instagram on my iPad. Or preparing photos and images to be posted on Insta. It's been astronomical in promoting my business brand and connecting with other amazing small businesses and fabulous mummies, that I never would have met without it. I use Facebook and other forms of advertising, but in all honesty, Instagram is T.H.E. D.U.C.K.S N.U.T.S. and Facebook is used just to repost some of what I have put on Instagram. The reason for concentrating my marketing time on Insta is mostly because my target audience is there. And somewhat because I am one of those freaky weirdos who gets embarrassed when friends and family notice that my business is growing and doing well, so I kinda keep that from them. I know. Ridiculous, right?!
The best things I have found about Instagram are the connections. So many awesome businesses, customers and supporters who are picking up what I'm putting down. They encourage, offer advice and provide guidance. And they really don't have to. They WANT to. Which is why I have felt that my business and relationships on Instagram have been so authentic. So real. And I guess that's where the downside comes in too. While there are the most awesome people out there, there are also the weirdos, who I imagine are sitting in dark rooms, bright screens casting shadows on their creepy faces, nicking photos and abusing the beautifully innocent intent of the Mummas who share their photos and their little babes with me. (Don't even get me started on this whole 'fake adoption' ridiculousness that one of my brand reps brought to my attention the other day! Did I mention before that they're are some serious fruit cakes out there?) And I guess that is something that we all need to be aware of when using social media as a platform for anything, advertising any brand. That people may try to abuse it.
Recently there have been whispers (well not really whispers, more like screams that would put a 2 year old tantrum to shame) that there will be big changes to Instagram. Similar to that of Facebook. That Instagram will decide in which order they are going to organise the posts you see, rather than them falling in order along your feed. This concerns me a little - and in all honestly I really haven't done the research on it like you would expect - but my concern for my little business, is the criteria by which they select what you see. Will it be the posts with the most likes? Most comments? Location? Based on recent activity and searches? I've never been a huge fan of changing what works, so my vote (and signed petitions) obviously went in favour of Instagram staying just as it is.....everyone is happy (and everyone as in me).
So. My parting words. I'm trying to think of something fabulous and witty, but the book waving has become book throwing and I guess the next step will be book window breaking. So I'll just leave you with this. Seek satisfaction. Bugger perfection. And do what makes you happy. If chilling on the couch with a glass of wine, online shopping, makes you happy, you'll know where to find me. Instagram baby! Meet you at the squares.
X x x