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How to Be A Successful Work-at-Home Mom

How to Be A Successful Work-at-Home Mom

Today I’m talking about some lessons I’ve learned for success as a work-at-home mom. When I had my first child, balancing motherhood and my business was chaotic. I had first-time-mom overwhelm and inconsistent childcare. So when Layla came I vowed to have a set plan.

So here are my tips for my fellow creative entrepreneurs who are also raising littles!

How to be a successful work at home mom
1. Be clear with clients about your work hours

My new client packet says 10-4 Monday through Thursday. Of course I often work beyond that (love my Netflix + assembly nights!), but it manages everyone’s expectations right from the start. As a work-at-home mom, I really try not to do any real work on Fridays beyond email so I can focus fully on my kids that day. (Boomerang for Gmail has been so helpful with this. It allows you to schedule when to send emails so clients don’t know you’re on email at 9pm on a Sunday night!)

2. Put your phone in another room

A stationer friend gave me this tip and it’s been amazing. When the phone is nearby it’s so easy to do a quick Instagram sesh or check the inbox. But removing the temptation is the easiest way to stay present.

3. Get really good at working in spurts

Plan, plan plan! Unless I go to a coffee shop, there is still at least one kid usually in my house. Even with a babysitter here, I may need to stop working to nurse or do some other home or mom task. Consecutive hours of uninterrupted work are rare, so that’s why I start every day with a plan. In Evernote I plan my week every Sunday evening, noting 3 things I need to get done each day. (Read more about my 3-things daily planning here). Things shift as the week goes on, so I usually reassess each night before bed. This has been invaluable in feeling accomplished + organized at the end of the day! You’d be amazed at how productive you can be with just 30 minutes when you don’t waste time figuring out what needs to be done next.

how to survive being a work at home mom
4. Get help

No matter how good you are at multi-tasking, it’s really valuable to know when you’ll have a block of time to work uninterrupted. (And we all know multi-tasking doesn’t always yield the best results for quality work!) If your kids sleep well, nighttime is great, but some days you’re just so gassed from watching them that you just want to sleep or unwind with some TV + wine. I am fortunate to have Finley in school and a nanny that comes a few mornings a week to watch the baby. This way I am able to schedule meetings or anything that requires 100% of my focus. If that’s not an option for you, have an afternoon where a friend watches her kids and yours, and another afternoon where you do the same.

5. Give yourself a break

Each day is different, which is part of the fun of being an entrepreneur, but it also has its challenges. Some days I give my 3-year-old a half-hour extra of TV so I can get a time-sensitive task done, and often I’m checking email while I’m nursing. I used to beat myself up for not being present all the time, but now I know that’s an impossible standard. I get to be with my kids a ton which I love, and they get to see first-hand their mom working hard. Though mom guilt never goes away, don’t let it cripple your creativity!

(All photos by Stories of Sentiment)

I’d love to hear about your challenges + successes as a work-at-home mom with a comment below!

Looking for more working mom inspiration? Check out this post! And be sure to follow on Instagram for daily happenings around The Shannon house!

xo, Sandy
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Roseville Designs Website Relaunch!

Roseville Designs Website Relaunch

I am so excited to reveal the Roseville Designs website relaunch! I’ve been working hard on the website redesign for the last 6+ months with the amazing  team at Love Inspired, but the truth is this project has been on my to-do list for much longer. When I returned from The Wedding Stationery Collective I knew it was time to make this big investment + put this at the top of the to-do list!

There are so many benefits that come with a new website, but my main goal for the redesign was to have a special focus on my couples. I created a “Real Weddings” section so this was more than a site with images of pretty wedding stationery. Don’t get me wrong, these are here and are VERY important, but I wanted people who visit to see how I create those paper stories for the people + personalities that hire me. For me, my greatest inspirations are the love stories of my couples.

Be sure to take a look around at all the great resources + details! And keep coming back to visit the blog, as you’ll be seeing more frequent posts there chock full of real wedding inspiration!

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Be sure to follow us on Instagram for a VERY special wedding giveaway starting tomorrow!

xo, Sandy
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2016: A Year in Review + My Wedding Couples

Oh my, what a year it’s been! I’ve had the honor of another wedding season filled with some amazing couples. The weddings have been everywhere: from Connecticut to Bermuda, New Orleans to Cape Cod. The styles ranged from whimsical to classic, black tie to backyard chic. One thing remained true, though: my brides and grooms themselves were kind, easygoing, and passionate about the style of their wedding (and the stationery was an important detail to celebrate that style!). Here is just a sample of some of the 2016 Roseville couples, though each bride + groom has been a wonderful gift to me. Thank you to all of you who trusted me with such important details for your big day. It’s an honor to create something that you’ll look back on for years to come.

CT wedding photographer

But the best gift of all this year has been our baby girl, Layla June. Born on 12/10/16 (a day after her due date), she has been an absolute joy. She was so considerate in coming full term so I could get all my 2016 weddings done (the last order shipped out 3 days before her arrival!). And now she is being rewarded with my full heart + full focus as we say goodbye to 2016. Though I am taking some time to enjoy time with my girls, I cannot wait to see what the 2017 season brings!

CT newborn photography

Wishing you all a new year full of hope + excitement!

 

XO,

Sandy

 

(Photo Credit {L->R by row}:

Brocato Photography / Brooke Allison Photo / Jenny Moloney Photography

Brigham & Co. Photography / Kelsey Combe Photography

Ashley Therese Photography / Justin & Mary Photographers / Carla Ten Eyck Photography

Carla Ten Eyck Photography / Meg Miller Photography

Layla Image: Brooke Allison Photo

xo, Sandy
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Being One Of The Most Fortunate…

View More: http://brighamandco.pass.us/marriedcourtneyandmatt

(Photo Credit: Jessica Brigham Photography)

A while back I read this article in The New York Times called The Incalculable Value of Finding a Job You Love, and it really resonated me. I saved it on my phone and go back + read it when I’m having a tough day, or feeling like I cannot balance it all: motherhood, marriage, and a job that requires your head + heart constantly.

This blurb is the one I read over + over again….

flow

I am always on time,  in fact, I am usually early. The only time I find myself rushing to get somewhere is when I’ve been designing. It’s the only part of my life where I feel like the clock moves faster. It’s quite a change from looking at my computer clock at my old day job, wondering how the heck it wasn’t even 3:00 yet. So today I’ll celebrate the gratitude in my heart for a job that I can get lost in, one where I fall down a rabbit hole of creativity and have to force myself to come out when it’s time to tend to other parts of life. I hope my fellow creative business owners do the same for themselves today!

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xo, Sandy
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Recap: Wedding Stationery Collective Retreat

I returned from The Wedding Stationery Collective Retreat a couple weeks ago, and the experience has left me feeling so motivated, inspired + excited for the 2017 season and where my business can go! I’ve already implemented some important changes in my business and I can just feel the energy of positive change all around me.

(Be sure to read at the bottom of this post my advice on investing in creative conferences!)

My friend Heather of Heather O’Brien Design and I decided to take the leap and arrived at the coolest hotel in Richmond, Virginia. (BTW, check out her amazing new branding + website!) The Quirk Hotel was branded from head to toe and kicked off the creative inspiration from the get-go!

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Amanda Day Rose + Chloe Minyon were the founders and spearheaded an amazing 2 days of stationery + business inspiration. You could tell they poured their heart + soul into every detail, and reminded all of us that when we value #communityovercompetition, we all win.

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The swag did not disappoint! We had amazing sponsors, including Ruffled Lane, Emily Ley, Creative at Heart, and many more. (See all of them on the conference site!)

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A huge benefit to these conferences is the people. Being a solopreneur can be a lonely place, and connecting with others that not only understand your business, but understand the life struggles that come along with it will build you up in a way that you can’t get from just friends + family.wscretreat2016-111-of-133wscretreat2016-113-of-133wscretreat2016-70-of-133

It was a fabulous mix of speakers, talking about everything from business contracts to working with photographers. Creative entrepreneurs constantly search for a balance between the artistic and the nitty-gritty business stuff. (On any given morning do I want to play with new calligraphy pens or input expense reports? Hmmmm….). Well, this conference got it all of it packed into the schedule! wscretreat2016-158-of-25

(Oh, and don’t forget about new headshots! Heather Chipps was amazing; I only wish I wasn’t 7 1/2 months pregnant + bloated for them!)wscretreat2016-141-of-25

My favorite speaker was Kat Schmoyer from Dear Sweetheart Events, who discussed the lies we tell ourselves. It’s easy during (and right after) these conferences to feel overwhelmed, seeing all these areas for improvement in your business and not knowing how + where to start. Kat brought it back to why we do what we do. And I find when I’m emotionally inspired, I become super organized + concrete in my planning. After her chat, I was ready to put pen to paper!wscretreat2016-159-of-5

Creative conferences can be a scary investment for small business owners. It’s a big expense and the rewards aren’t as concrete as say, buying new equipment or hiring an employee. But I’m here to tell you, a conference has an incredible return on investment, as long as you find the right one for you. (And, obviously, one called The Wedding Stationery Collective Retreat was a perfect fit!)

My first piece of advice is to assess how much money you make off of one client and how much the conference is. If the cost is equivalent or less than two client incomes, then it is totally worth it. If you truly make changes to your business as a result of what you’ve learned from the conference, then you should be able to book at least 1-2 clients because of that. However, the most important piece of advice I can give you: you get out of conferences what you put into them! It’s easy to come home and put your notes in a bag and never look at them again. But you need to capitalize on that fresh dose of ideas, energy, and motivation right out of the gate. Set goals for yourself: small goals you can achieve within a month, then a couple within 6 months. Continue the investment long after you’ve left the conference table.

As creative business owners, we must constantly reevaluate and grow. In a world where social media moves at the speed of light, and trends + client behavior are always changing, the way to survive in the long one is investing yes, money. However, it’s also about using our focused energy on planning the next phase of our business life.

(All photos courtesy of Heather Chipps Photography)

For more small business adventures, check out the blog! And be sure to keep up with our latest wedding posts!

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xo, Sandy
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