Tips for Work-at-Home Parents | Part 4

Business, For Parents

Being a work-from-home parent is no easy feat. This series is specifically for those out there who are balancing the two titles: parent and boss.

If you missed Part One, click here.

If you missed Part Two, click here.

If you missed Part Three, click here.

The next advice I have for fellow work-from-home parents is…

4. If you don’t respect your time, no one else will.

If you only have one takeaway from this tip, I hope it’s this: determine your boundaries and stick to them.

Figure out how you want potential customers/clients to communicate with you.

I recommend choosing only one avenue and drive all inquires there. For example, I will have potential clients send messages via Facebook, Instagram, email, and I even will have friends text me about my session rates and packages. It is extremely difficult to stay organized when messages are coming in from so many different sources.

My preferred method of communication for all business matters is email. Anyone who reaches out to me via any other avenue will receive a reply something like this:

“Thank you so much for reaching out to me! I would love to send you more info about ___________. Can you do me a huge favor and complete the contact form on my website? It’ll go straight to my inbox and I’ll be sure to email you all the details the next time I’m at my desk. I can’t wait to chat with you some more!”

This ensures that they visit my website, can see my offerings, my starting rate, my portfolio, and then complete the contact form if they’re still interested in receiving more information.

Wanna know something crazy???

I do not give my cell number to my clients. Read that again.

I use a free Google Voice phone number that I give to my clients the week of their portrait session just in case they need to reach me the day of their session. Their calls will go directly to my cell phone. This phone number is not published anywhere online, so I don’t need to worry about adding another avenue for potential clients to get in touch with me.

Set up consistent business hours.

This is an extended period of time for you to sit at your desk, uninterrupted, while someone else watches your children.

You can figure out how many days per week you need office hours. It may be once a week for five hours, or it may be more depending on your workload.

I personally use my office hours for culling images, sending catalogs to my editor, communicating with my VA, updating my website and client documents, marketing, creating content, and more.

I no longer answer emails at 11pm, or stay up passed midnight to edit my clients’ galleries. Woohoo! I’ve made this my goal and it’s possible because I utilize my office hours wisely and to their fullest.

I also set aside 15ish minutes each work day (Monday through Friday) to check and reply to emails on my computer. If you have more self-control than I do and you don’t check your work email 90 times a day on your phone, then more power to you!

I recently deleted my email app from my phone and it’s been the best thing ever! I’m no longer tempted to check emails before I get out of bed, while I’m teaching my kids, or on my days off.

(See the post with Tip 2 for babysitting options.)

Another thing about email, is if you can’t tackle your inbox on your own in fewer than 30 minutes a day, it may be time to find a virtual assistant to help you with emails.

Give yourself a full day off each week.

My day off is Sunday. I don’t schedule photo sessions, check my email, edit photos, post on social media…nothing.

The only exception to my Sundays off is during the Fall when I will schedule mini sessions on one or two Sundays. When that happens then the following Monday will be my day off. If you can take two days off every week that’s even better!

Turn off all notifications on your phone.

Every. single. one. (Especially on your day off!) I promise that you don’t need your phone to beep or buzz every time someone sends an email, likes an Instagram photo, or sends you a direct message. You can keep your text and call alerts on if you want, just make sure to use the handy-dandy ‘do not disturb’ button during your office hours.

Every time your phone chimes it takes you away from the task at hand. Cooking dinner will take twice as long because you just have to answer that IG DM right away. No. You. Don’t. It can wait. I promise!

Alright, we’re almost done with the series! How are you feeling so far? What are your best takeaways thus far?

Next week I’ll give you my best ideas for staying sane when it seems like life is nothing but chaos.

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