You Need a Wife!
I never realized what a difference having practical support at home can make until I hired Naomi a year ago. Naomi does my laundry, irons, picks up prescriptions at the drugstore, does grocery store runs as well as other errands and walks my dog when Sophie lets her. Naomi is my part-time wife.
No, Naomi is not my “domestic partner”, although I have told her I’m going to adopt her in about 20 years when I’ll need a “daughter” to make sure I’m not making stupid money mistakes as I age.
Naomi very capably takes things off my plate and allows me to focus on money-making activities instead of thinking about changing out the laundry or figuring out if I can run to the grocery store at 10 pm when I’m finally finished with work.
It’s not that I can’t do all the things that Naomi does for me. I can and have for years. But I was coached and then realized that doing domestic chores was dividing my attention, taking my time, and sapping the energy I need to devote to building my business.
For a while I felt guilty that I wasn’t taking care of all my professional and personal needs (in addition to traveling 80 miles each way to visit my mom every other weekend to help her with her household chores and errands. Sometimes I really do think we are crazy to expect so much of ourselves! The good news is I’ve gotten some help for her too so my load is less on that front as well.)
Then Naomi spent 3 hours taking my car to be serviced, inspected, and washed.
3 HOURS that I used to make calls, work on my newsletter, and work with clients. That’s the day I knew I had turned the corner as a business owner. I was taking care of business and letting someone else take care of the practical daily necessities of life.
This is certainly progress for me because earlier in my career I coordinated administrative tasks and whole video productions professionally. So doing things behind the scenes felt very comfortable to me.
But errands, grocery shopping, and dog care were ways for me to hide from the scarier activities of making sales calls, marketing, and being heard in my business. Now I’m learning to let go of what someone else can do and focus on what will grow my business.
I recently conducted a Discovery Session with a successful network marketer. I’ll call her Laura. She has grown a 6-figure business in the last few years and is getting ready to break into the multiple 6-figures this year.
And she still cleans her house herself - because she’s afraid to spend the money on a housecleaner. And because she’s not letting herself get support at home so she can grow her business.
I told Laura that at some point she would restrict her income by not letting herself get help. That was my golden nugget for her. I call it “building your infrastructure”.
I’ve seen it happen time and time again that a woman business owner is running at full capacity juggling work and family.Then an additional stressor kicks in (like school being cancelled for the day or a child home sick), and she instantly runs out of the ability to respond to her clients’ needs.
If you build in the capacity and help as you go along, when you get busier and your family responsibilities mount, you’ll have the help you need to take care of your family obligations and respond to your clients at the same time.
Laura agrees with me that at some point she’ll have to get more help. She’s not ready now, but it’s part of her professional growth to assemble her support team so that she can continue to grow her business while supporting her family.
So, what can you do today to get more help?
The cool thing about working with Naomi is that not only is she helping me, I’m helping her. When she came to work for me, she had separated from her husband and wanted to get back into the workforce after having had two children.
Our arrangement is perfect. She works for me part-time while her kids are in school. I can be flexible if she needs to be home with them if they are sick or have snow days.
My questions to you as a business owner are
- Where can you let yourself have more help and support?
- What’s it costing you to be Superwoman and the Lone Ranger all rolled up into one – in terms of your physical energy and health, your mental and emotional health, and your earning capacity, and - dare I mention it? – your spiritual growth (what’s that you ask!)?
- If you had a Naomi, how long would it take you to make enough money to pay her for a month? (Probably just one additional client this month.)
- Are you hiding out being so distracted by household details and being everybody else’s support system that you don’t give yourself and your business enough attention to thrive?
- How is that Martyr Role working for you, your business, and the difference you are supposed to make?
Here’s the very best part of this whole story – Naomi is now researching starting her own business – doing errands for busy professionals! How perfect is that? My getting help has created an opportunity for other women. It doesn’t get any better than that!
PS When I asked Naomi for her permission to use her name in this article she said, “Sure, and tell them to let you know if they want to talk to me about doing their errands!” So if you live in the Chapel Hill, NC area and want to find out how Naomi can help you, let me know. If you don’t live here, ask at your networking group about someone who is looking for part-time flexible work and you may find your own Naomi!