What do you do when your business is 100% based on your expertise, but you know you won’t be able to work for weeks/months?
When Aleks Certa received life-changing news about her daughter’s medical condition, that was the situation she faced. In this article she shares the six things she’s put in place so she can step away from work, focus her time and energy on her family, and still have a thriving business to return to.
It’s 5pm on a Wednesday.
I’ve wrapped up a launch for one of my clients that made £100,000, put new ads into ‘review’ for another client, and created the ‘to do list’ for the rest of the week for my team members.
My business will need to run itself for the next 48 hours.
Because I’m taking tomorrow and Friday off so I can hold my daughter’s hand while she’s put down to sleep to have an MRI and a few other tests done.
I’ve created a business that can run itself on short notice, and for longer planned absences. I’ve had to.
And I know many other women out there run their businesses alongside carer responsibilities above and beyond normal family life.
So I’m sharing my family’s story, and the 5 elements I’ve put in place to ensure being self-employed gives me the freedom we need – because one day (or maybe even now) you may need to create this flexibility too.
3 days a week I’m her sole carer as my husband works away.
I started my business to be my own decision maker, to earn money on my own terms, to be a fulfilled businessperson as well as present Mum. And I’d already adapted my work life to adjust to my daughter’s needs.
But now I’ve needed to take it to another level of hands-off.
On the 27thof December we were given news from her surgeon that her spinal deformity has advanced and she needs to be operated on.
She is only 4 years of age and is facing at least 21 spinal operations over the next 10 years. The first is scheduled for this summer.
It’s a lot to take in for a small girl who doesn’t fully understand her spine twists around like a snake. Who isn’t and won’t be like her peers.
I knew that day I needed to make the changes to how my business is run.
I’ve taken six steps to ensure my business survives (and even thrives) during this planned hiatus.
Do you want to hear my system?
Tell Everyone What’s Going On
Make everyone (especially clients) aware of the situation. This one was a biggie for me because I like to
Build your team
In just 6 weeks I got myself a team: An ads specialist to work with me, a VA, a copywriter and a website builder. All on part time basis – some services I only need for a few hours a month. But they can each takeover an element of the work I do and I now have people I can rely on with client’s work. This 100% required letting go from me.
Take care of yourself first
Getting support goes deeper for me – beyond hiring help with my business. Getting my own support is about taking care of me first. Before I give to my daughter, my husband, my clients, my friends. And self care takes different forms, digital detox, a walk, a cup of tea in front of a good movie, a play of lego.
Get ahead where you can
The nature of work I do is often last minute. If I’m still waiting on the landing page, I work on copy or build the audiences. There are always things that can be done ahead in any line of work.
Ditch the guilt
There are times I should be with my daughter BUT instead I’m on the phone finishing this last bit of campaign or talking with a client or a prospect. I do have boundaries in place and clients know them but sometimes work is urgent and it does creep in. But ultimately my career now means I can spend way more time with my daughter and take time off at very short notice. So a few moments of being on the phone aren’t that much of a sacrifice.
Invest in tools and tech
I couldn’t do what I do without good hardware (i.e phone + laptop + headphones) but also good software – and yes Slack, Trello, Google Shared Drive and using Facebook groups – all enable me to stay connected and be part of teams.
The best bit about this system?
Not only do I see the light at the end of the tunnel because sure, we as a family will face some difficult moments this year, BUT I can see how to scale my business to be not only bigger but also BETTER.
I now firmly believe that news we got on the 27thof December will serve a bigger purpose – and I don’t know what that is yet. However, I am choosing to get out of my way and build the business that can support me even more and serve more clients.
About the author
Aleks has over 14 years of experience in media and spent 10 years at a leading media agency working across household names in the UK before deciding to go solo. She now works solely in the Facebook and Instagram Ads space with coaches and course creators that wish to speak to many.
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