After I figured out what project management really means in the context of Microsoft (it means cat herding), I decided that I would rather be a steward of my own career and control how I spend my time. I was good at organization, helping, creating efficiencies where there were none and communicating with people, so I started a little personal assisting business called Busywork. During this time I also began doing a bit of social media management, designing websites in earnest, and writing a lot of content for small businesses and individuals — I figured out that people would actually pay me to do what I love, and I became enamored with working for myself.
I morphed into Busybee Consulting and started doing many things that I enjoy, working only with clients I admire. While this metamorphosis was happening, I was falling in love and getting married to a man who came with two little boys — and I had no idea how challenging it would be to build a successful business while learning to be a parent…
Who lives in my house? My husband (a very talented contractor and RC enthusiast), my two stepsons (ages 7 and 8 — very energetic), and our plott hound, Lucy.
I’ve learned that I really shouldn’t listen when my inner voice gets bitchy, to work through my self-doubt (or at least give myself a break — a good night’s sleep solves a lot of problems), and to spend more time caring for myself. I work from home, so I struggle with separating life with work — I want to be offline when the kids are around to set a good example, but that’s not always feasible, and I fear that they think I’m constantly working — I have a lot of guilt around that. I’ve learned that I need to say no to a potential project when my gut tells me to (been burned a lot, haha), and that serendipity exists everywhere.
Motherhood definitely places limits on my business — particularly my ability to network and make plans on the fly. Even though both kids are in school, their day still ends at 3:45, which means my productivity goes way down after that. However, I am really passionate about doing work that I love, to set a good example for them and provide a framework for them to envision a future that’s not necessarily in an office. I do take creative inspiration from them, and the hilarity of life — sometimes being forced to stop work is a blessing in disguise!
Find your tribe — whether an online community or a mentorship circle or a mastermind group. It is so hard to go it alone.
Listen to the One Bad Mother podcast and join the corresponding facebook community — hands down the best resource I’ve found for staying sane and feeling that I’m in a safe space to ask for feedback, support, advice or just to have virtual shoulders to cry on.
Sara LeHoullier has always been a busy-bee. She jumped from teaching English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar to managing donor-funded projects with a large NGO, then dove into consulting with Microsoft for a little while before striking out on her own. She currently designs Squarespace websites and writes many words — she’s also the co-founder of Project Simpatico, a web app designed to help consumers make value-based shopping decisions. She’s deeply interested in social change, sustainable business, and creating space for conversations that improve the way we work and live on this planet. Find her on Facebook.
Access our free Members-Only Portal + get exclusive stories delivered weekly