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What failing miserably at balancing business and baby taught me about life

What failing miserably at balancing business and baby taught me about lifeToday is a special day, for me and for you. It’s special for me because I’m about to share a raw, honest look inside my life and business and for you because you get a front row seat to the gory, un-Instagrammable details.

To be honest, I hesitated on whether I should share this with you today. Online marketing convention says to wait on the “mistakes/before” story until you have the “but then I turned it all around and made 100K/after” happy ending to share.

But fuck that. I want to come clean right now. Because I know I’m not the only one struggling and it will help you learn from my mistakes without having to go through the heartache and shame I went through.

Here goes, **deep breaths**

  • I haven’t written a new blog post for about 10 months.
  • I’ve barely updated my professional social media channels in 9 months.
  • I haven’t sent out a newsletter in nearly 3 months.
  • My revenue for the first half of this year was 4% of what it was in the first half of 2015 (and no, that’s not a typo).

The birth of my son Cameron – 2 months early! – last October abruptly kicked me onto maternity leave before I had the chance to finish a lot of the prep work I’d planned and suddenly I was a new mom (in the NICU with a preemie to boot) with all the sleep deprivation and complete life transformation that entails. So naturally, my business (beyond making sure I delivered everything my current clients had paid me for) got squeezed out.

And despite getting a few hours of childcare weekly starting in March so I could prep and deliver an in-person blogging workshop to the MBA students at Bordeaux’s INSEEC business school and working with a very limited number of clients who approached me directly, I haven’t got back on the horse.

I’ve been dragging my heels a bit if I’m honest. I felt a little like my creativity and motivation evaporated when Cam came along. I spent quite a bit of time beating myself up about it and trying to force myself back to work.

Good news is, thanks to the advice of some wise fellow biz mamas, an amazingly supportive husband and the lessons I learned on the edge of burnout last year, I finally embraced the slow down, let myself off the hook and allowed myself to just enjoy this time with my son.

Being able to decide how I fill my days is a big part of why I work for myself and being able to run my business around my family was part of my definition of success even before I knew I was pregnant!

So even in biz hibernation, without a ton of revenue, I’m still successful. (How’s that for a massive perspective & self-worth shift??)

Plus this break hasn’t been all bad for business. I continue to get a good amount of traffic to my website (thanks to all the search and social traffic to past blog posts and resources) and new subscribers still join this community every day. I’ve also had the chance to really take a step back and look at my business big picture since I’m not entrenched in the day-to-day operations — I’m excited to make some really positive changes when Cameron starts daycare 3 days a week in September and I can really dig back in.

What you — and I! — can learn from my (near) business-killing hibernation!

Really the biggest lessons here are that it's okay for things not to go as planned and it’s ok to slow down and take a break. Whether you’re a mom or dad balancing your biz with a new babe or not.

Success does not always have to look like sticking to your editorial calendar, selling out launches or making more money than last year.

I'd love to hear from you

Now you’ve seen an inside peek at the current state of business around here, I’d love to hear about yours. What does success look like for you right now? 

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3 Responses to What failing miserably at balancing business and baby taught me about life

  1. Eleisha July 2, 2016 at 02:27 #

    Great honesty here. It’s almost impossible to balance anything when you have a baby – work, marriage, friends, and time for yourself seem to fly out the window as soon as you come home with a wee one. They’re small for such a short time and it’s so important not to let it pass by, but it’s hard to remember that when you’re feeling guilty about letting everything else fall by the wayside. The reality is you can’t have it all all of the time. As soon as I accepted that, life became much easier.

    • Jackie Johnstone July 12, 2016 at 12:49 #

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Eleisha :) It’s so true just accepting we can’t have it all makes a huge difference — bye-bye guilt!

  2. Jackie March 4, 2017 at 23:31 #

    Jackie thanks so much for posting and sharing your experience. Cameron is so cute, congrats! I’m on my first pregnancy and I’m trying to build my business. I was sick during my first trimester so had to take a pause and just do the mandatory stuff but struggled because I thought I needed to be working harder. It was a lesson in trusting that everything was going to work out exactly as planned. Loved that you mentioned your definition of success! It’s very similar to mine and it makes the process feel a lot more aligned and on track when the focus isn’t 100% on business growth. Love reading your old posts while you were away.

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