Secrets of Automation | Growing a Business…AND a Baby at the Same Time
Iva: Hi and welcome to a new episode of The Mompreneur’s Guide to Work-Life Harmony. I’m Iva
Desiree: And I'm Desiree.
Iva: And today we have a very, very special episode that I feel so, I don't know... I can't even describe the emotion right now... I feel so overjoyed and a bit emotional also, to be talking about this because I love I love good news, I love amazing news, and this is just one of the best! So, we have a guest today joining us in our podcast, but it's a bit of a silent guest, and we won't be see much at the moment, but I am just so excited. And Des, I am passing on the mic to you because I want you to just blurt it out I can't, I can't keep any more!
Desiree: If you could see my smile right now but, yes, I have brought along a little guest, in fact, I have been bringing along a guest for quite a while now. I have a little someone growing inside of me.
Iva: It’s a bundle of Joy! It’s a bundle of Harmony!
Desiree: We are growing our family and we have a little baby on the way. And can I tell you when I found out?
Iva: Yes, tell us everything. I want to know everything.
Desiree: I actually found out that I was pregnant, on the actual launch day of our podcast, believe it or not.
Iva: You little sneaky thing there, you had it us fooled, you had us all fooled into thinking that you were toasting with spirits of the drinkable variety but you were not!
Desiree: I did. I actually had to then, in that morning when I found out, I had to take away that sparkling wine and I packed a sparkling water instead to mix with my cocktail so that was my little secret of the night, but it was so much fun.
Iva: You looked glowing and on that day, and I…well, today, I am just so excited that you are sharing the news, because it is, oh my God, it's just so amazing to be able to be expanding the family, and I just, I just think that the time that they go from a tiny baby to a toddler or already a aged-school kid is so quick, that you really want to go back in time and rewind and do a do-over.
Desiree: I know
Iva: And I know that you are going to have such an amazing time with your little baby when it comes finally to the world and I can't wait!
Desiree: Yeah, I'm really excited. Thank you so much for your sweet words.
Iva: So I wanted to ask you now that we're getting on the baby subject, you know, because this is one of the questions that comes into the mind of probably a lot of mompreneurs if they are working on growing a business, and they find themselves, also with a little one on the way, which is exactly where you’re at, right now. So, how would you advise and what is your take on dealing now with this changing dynamic in your life, with this new transition that is happening and obviously with the exciting news of a baby arrival?
Desiree: It's, it's funny, it's actually one of the first question I'm indeed asked now that I have just recently started telling people. The first thing they're ask: “And? What about your business?” and I’m like, “Yeah, what about it?” You know, and it was, it was interesting to me because I, for no second in my mind have ever thought about needing to quit or stop it or scale down even I'm not intending to do any of those. On the contrary, I think it's completely fueling me to keep going and to keep growing. And, but I think that but there are definitely a few new considerations that I have to start making along the way now.
I think one of the first ones was I had to find new pockets of time, unfortunately. Just like with the first pregnancy I've been hit with extreme nausea, it's slightly easing up now but it was pretty bad. So first of all, finding time to work on the business when my three-year old is in kindergarten, or napping, and I don't feel nauseous. So, finding that specific pocket was really important for me to get things done. And I think another one is just to have an amazing business partner, like yourself right? Someone that's incredibly understanding of the circumstance and that's also why I love working with other moms with other mompreneurs because I remember when I told you, you were like the most understanding person. And there were nights we couldn't do a podcast recording, I just was not able to. And you were so understanding and I think that makes the biggest difference of having that flexibility with someone you're working with, and I have an incredible team that did not know but we're so in groove with one another, that we pick up each other's work when the other has to slow down for whatever reason. So that's also really important and we've just come out from a big event that we held. Just a few weeks ago, and that timing for me was terrible, but I didn't know by that time we had planned this event. And just with the work of the team does that incredible teamwork were we able to pull it off. Anyways, yeah.
Iva: And hearing you takes me back. Takes me back in time, especially also because it reminds me of how bad I had it as well, but with both of my pregnancies on those first months. I did have hyperemesis gravidarum which is when we go all the way to, you can't stop throwing up, and you have to be put on IV to stay hydrated. So for me being both instances, both of my pregnancies, those early months were brutal, they were really, really, really harsh. And I think that what you said, when we are working alongside other moms when we are, you know, within a community of other women that have also gone through what we're going through or that are going through that as well, we can immediately identify and when you're able to do that, you don't really need to say much or explain much because you were there, and I know what it was like and I still remember very clearly.
So, having that great support system as you say, and the empathy of, you know, of women that have gone through the same things as you probably to varying degrees, obviously because, you know pregnancy is so unique to each and every person. But if you've gone through a really bad one, you can definitely identify when somebody says you know I'm not feeling well and you know exactly what that means because you really have it in the back of your mind. So, one of the things that I love about your setup is that you are really supported on all fronts, and that is one of the most important things that we need in a period of time when we just we’re very sensitive in our bodies. And a lot of things are happening that are outside of our control. And having that support system in place is amazing. So do you worry that you're going to be having less time now with the arrival of the baby to really put in into the business, is that Is that something that worries you?
Desiree: Really, I'm not really worried about it. Will I have a little bit less time especially at the beginning? Probably yes, but I'm not worried about it because I also feel like I have my heart entirely set on this and building my business and also designing my business around my family life and not the other way around. I am not designing my family life around my business, that's not how this is working. So, that also gives me the motivation and the affirmation that what I'm doing is the right thing. Because I'm completely in control of the pace and the speed that I'm working at, right, it's like the perks of being your own boss, because the faster and the more intense I work the more I'm going to get out of it right if I slow down, I can slow down and maybe a little less is going to get out of it but also like we discussed before, the power also of residual income, really pays out in this instance because I know that I will be able to sit back a little bit and relax a bit more and enjoy a little bit more time off in a way, but the income checks will not suffer from that greatly.
And what I also have to make sure now I need to just plan quite well and I have to make use of the time. I really thought about this, I really have to make use of the time I have now while I'm pregnant (and) the baby is not there yet, and really maximize the time when little one is in kindergarten. And when I have the time to work to really power it out now to the best that I can, and then also when the baby is there when babies still sleep a lot at the beginning, right, and I have tested that I can also do something while I'm breastfeeding for example, you know, it will be possible to some extent, but you also need to make necessary preparations.
For example, I'm working very hard on a course that I want to launch before so that can run on its own. When I am then busy with my little one, right? Again, my residual income from my network marketing company. And then I have now hired a VA that I'm currently training and she's wonderful so that she can jump in more in the time where I am busy so it's, you know, calling out for help as well as you're scaling up. So I don't, I mean, I want to be able to sit back, but I don't want to scale back. No way! I want to keep on moving forward, but I also really want to leverage on this whole automation that I have set up and that I am working to set up now for this purpose.
And another thing that I'm really, really conscious on when I think about my business moving forward is that I always have my values really clear in my mind and if you listen to our last episode, the one of the biggest factors of even going into a business is to have a really clear why. Why are you building this business in the first place, why are you doing what you're doing? And when this why is clearly defined from you, nothing, nothing can shake you from that.
And it's also time management and setting priorities. It’s extremely important. What is your priority? What choices are you going to make along the way: work-related, family-related, but that aligns with these values that you've set? For example, for me, my main goal is to create financial freedom and time freedom for myself and my family. Not only that, but I want to set up this business and a certain income stream and the beauty is, I can set up an income stream I can then inherit on to my kids, to set them up for life in a way. That's what I'm working for. But if I then, you know, work around the clock like crazy and, you know, I don't have time for my family and my kids, then that does not align, then that is not something that makes sense. Not aligning to my value that I set for the purpose of setting up my company in the first place. So that's also something that I've reflected on, really, really intensely, to make sure I keep a straight vision on what I want to achieve.
Iva: And this is all such amazing insights. And this are powerful words of inspiration, not only for anyone that might be in a similar situation like you are right now, you know, expecting a baby, and growing and scaling your business while taking care of your family. But also, to anyone out there who, at the end of the day is just looking to really have the life that they want on their own terms. And what are the necessary steps that you need to make to allow that to be a reality. And you've touched on so many important points with building a foundation and the foundation of knowing exactly your why, why you do what you do, which is going to give you the fuel to move forward no matter what. But also choosing how does that look on a day-to-day basis. With regards to as you said, what your values are_ your priority values are and aligning yourself with them. Because then choosing or making decisions will come so much easier. You already have set the stage and now you are executing, as you say.
And also that final part about what are the systems and the processes that you are putting in place so that your presence and your energy and attention can go into taking care of your baby when the baby comes, of really settling into this new family dynamic and just as you said, not removing yourself from the business or stopping it altogether, or even scaling back, which is not the right term, but it's just understanding that you are putting systems in place so that your presence as such, is not required for it to continue working. It's not required to keep getting that momentum. And that is something that is so important for everyone who is looking to have not only financial freedom but that time freedom, too.
Because, financially, you can be doing very well, but you're still a slave. You still have to put in long, long, long hours and what I feel that mompreneurs have in common is this notion that what we want is, ultimately, this time freedom which is the ultimate luxury. To be able to say, I am spending my time, however I want in a way that allows me to continue to have a business that runs on its own, that is profitable. That is really making an impact, that is being of service to other people. And at the same time, I get to spend time with my kids, I get to watch them grow, I get to be there in those precious early stages of childhood. And I don't need to be making a lot of compromises in the way. It does take work, and it does take that legwork of setting up the foundations but once that happens, then it should it should go more on automatic as you just said.
Desiree: Yeah, so it now instead of feeling stressed or anxious, not at all. I'm feeling instead more grateful and really blessed that I am an entrepreneur, and that I can control my time. I really could not imagine working back in the hotel now for example, I wouldn't be able to with the way I feel even now, entering this second trimester, I don't think I couldn't be at work. I look up to the moms who work up until the last like second in a corporate job, up until the last minute. But I couldn't, with the way I feel I'm also so much more grateful for doing what I'm doing and being a mompreneur.
Iva: It's amazing the sacrifices that we are required to make even before the baby arrives. As you said, depending on the pregnancy that we have, but also those work commitments and sometimes not being able to get out of them as you said, if you have a paying job, and you need to show up, then you're in a situation which, unfortunately, you know doesn't give you that freedom to take it a little bit easier because you have to be there, you have to be at work. The bills need to get paid. And so, you know, it's a big kudos to moms, regardless of where they are in their life, in terms of whether they are their own bosses or they're working for someone else. There's a lot of sacrifices involved and it's honestly, amazing to see how resilient we all can be and how we are just unbelievably strong when we think about it, but we don't give ourselves enough credits. So, this is the big pat on the back to all the moms, doing all the things, each and every day. We really salute you. You are amazing and you're rock stars.
Desiree: So, Iva, what advice can you give me now as I'm looking forward, and what it means to run a business with two little ones around you?
Iva: Oh my God, get a whistle. Well, you know, when we you know, have more than one child, the main thing that's going to happen but obviously once the baby grows a little bit more, but they are going to be vying for your time and attention quite a bit. And that is just a very natural thing that just happens with their developmental age, and it can be sometimes a bit like you're playing referee. You're really trying to be equal parts to that, knowing full well that both children have completely different needs. And they don't require the same type or quality of attention.
So it's more of a play it by ear type of thing. You have to be more attuned to that. Your children's temperament also comes into play. And you have to really have a keen eye for understanding what does that look like. I remember not long ago, when I first moved to Hong Kong, that I was on my own with them, I was taking them to a park, they both ran in opposite directions. One ran left and one ran right. And those are some of the moments that really illustrate how different they can be and that you find yourself saying like, well, do I cut myself in the middle now? So how is this supposed to work? So you have to really start using your negotiation skills from your business, into your family life, because you want to start, I don't know, somehow reasoning with them and trying to find solutions that work for everyone. And it does make for some interesting conversations I have to say.
Desiree: I can’t wait!
Iva: But it's part of the fun and it's part of those moments were, you know, amidst the chaos, you're going to have a good laugh afterwards, remembering what goes through their little heads.
Desiree: I can imagine. And what do you think is like the major difference of going from one kid to two kids?
Iva: You would think that, you know, if you're thinking on economical terms that economies of scale, right? Like I was already doing all the things anyway for one so what does another one do in terms of making a big difference? And it's funny, I do feel that sometimes it feels like your work has doubled. And, you know, for me, there were times where I felt like saying, what did I get myself into? Why didn't anyone stop me at just one?
Desiree: God don’t tell me this now. It’s too late!
Iva: Sorry full disclaimer full disclaimer. But other times you when you watch them play alongside each other, and you get to watch those moments of partnership between them, you say, Wow, that is great!
And I think one of the things that goes through my mind in those moments, is knowing that, as a parent, you're not going to be with your children forever, unfortunately. But they, you know, in the case that you are able to have more than one and watching them become partners in crime and partners in mischief and laugh with each other and share their own inside jokes. It's so pleasant and you really wish for that to continue on into their adulthood and that they have that connection and that they're friends for life.
So, I would say major differences, it's really one of those things that I wish I could pinpoint in black and white and say, this is definitely going to be like this now. And this is going to be definitely like that. But it's an ebb and flow. And depending on their age gap, depending on their temperament, depending on their personalities, it will all come into play, and yes there will be squabbling, there will be competition. But that's just a natural part.
And when I talk to other parents that have older children, and I say well does it get better- the squabbling and the arguments, does it get better? And they say, ‘no, not really.’ And you're like, okay, all right, well what do I do now? But I guess it's just, these things transform themselves from stage to stage, you just start to see the slight subtleties in it.
So, I guess all I can say is, just enjoy it. Because those precious moments from when they're infants and really tiny, tiny babies to when they are so vocal and they just say no to everything, and then they boss you around, it’s in the wink of an eye. And you really want to treasure that and I know I don't have to say this, and that you're very well aware of that because you have seen it with your firstborn and how quickly time has gone by. But with the second one I would say, to me, it felt like it went by even faster. There were a lot of things that I told myself, Oh, with the second one, I'm going to make sure that I fully enjoy this particular stage and this other one and I'm making all this mental notes. But I'm in the middle of life. It goes by so quickly. And I don't know. I don't know if it's because my second child is a girl and girls tend to be more mature than boys at an earlier age, I don't know. But she just went through the stages so much more quickly, that she just wanted to be like her brother, who's you know is already her role model. So, she didn't really want to be a baby for that long. She wanted to catch up. She already wanted to catch up and, and I said oh my God, but you didn't even allow me the time to spoon feed you. Like she went from like okay I cannot hold this to I already can do it on my own. And I'm like, well, what about that in between where I would feed you and do all these things? So she really rushed through those stages. But again, I don't know if it was her personality. I don't know if it's because as a girl she was seeing her brother and she just wanted to emulate him. I really don't know what to say, but that was a little bit of my experience.
Desiree: That's so true, it's, oh I can't wait I'm really, really excited to see that whole dynamic shifting and, yeah, more than anything, I'm excited for what's to come and I don't feel scared. I don't feel anxious or nervous and, but that's also thanks to the knowing that I just have an amazing support network around me and it really often comes back to that often, if not always, the people you surround yourself with the tribe that you gather around you. Is what will give you the strength and they'll carry you through these difficult moments of trying to do it all, have it all, and have fun along the way.
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