HOW TO SURVIVE NEW YEAR’S EVE
Have you agreed to face paint on New Year’s Eve? Here’s a guide to getting the most from your last and first booking of the year.
1. Set the highest rate possible or charge per face. PPF is highly profitable on New Year’s Eve when people are determined to have a good time, but don’t restrict yourself to face paint, glitter is always popular and, because it’s fast to apply, you can earn a decent amount in a shorter time.
2. Expect to be placed in a dark corner so pack a headtorch, okay it’s not the sexiest look but at least you’ll be able to see what you’re doing.
3. Keep your kit minimal – drunk people ALWAYS fall into your table or start picking up your pots of glitter, the less you have out the better.
4. Never let them put their drink in your kit. It’s amazing how many people try to do that!
5. Drunk people get very silly, most the time it’s good-humoured but it can get cranky. By all means paint the penis on the forehead if you really want to but you have the right to close your kit at any time.
6. Drunk people can be over-generous with their money, you will have to decide whether it’s ethical to accept their forty quid tip for ‘doing suchhhh a gooooood jobbbbbb darlinnnn’ or taking a fistful of tenners and coins with the words ‘here, do what you want and keep the change.’
7. If a design is rude, offensive or just too darn hard you can say no.
8. Parties can be great fun with a chance to meet new people, listen to live music and make connections. Take lots of photos, accept the drink offers and pack up before midnight so you get to enjoy yourself too.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Galaxy Step By Step
Hello again! How is everyone doing? Are we all bored of Christmas yet? Today I wanted to show you a step by step of how to achieve this really simple galaxy face paint! I absolutely love this design, I always get at least one or two people choosing this design per gig (when their not having unicorns, butterflies or Spider man) but it’s the one my boyfriend always picks out when I say which design should I sacrifice! It does tend to be your slightly older children and teenagers that pick this design, and it works really well as an eye design as well as a mask. I’ll often get kids point it out to me on the board saying ‘I want this sparkly one!’, and its one that I have on the board all year round. It’s so so simple and I think it looks great!
Global Pearl Baby Blue
DFX UV Yellow
DFX UV Pink
2 half size sponges
TFPS Aurora glitter refill in powder spray bottle with locking nozzle
I start off behaving my dark blue on one end of the sponge and the light blue on the other end, and using the natural contours of the face to place the darker blue, before going in to ‘highlight’ and blend with the light blue. I really like the effect of going around the nose too, but you don’t have to! If you’ve got a slightly older child, you can also try and get a bit of the darker blue in the eyelid crease too, but if you don’t have time or you’ve got someone who doesn’t like their eyes being done it’s not a big issue. I also used to dap in some Cameleon plum Fairy and thistle as well as a bit of global dark blue, but it doesn;doesn’t really add much and it takes so much longer!
Take your second sponge and load with pink and yellow uv. I used to incorporate all of the uv colours, but it just took too long, so these were the colours I decided worked best. I like to place them on top of the cheek bones and just above the eyebrows, just to add a pop of highlight.
I love using a toothbrush. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again now and I’ll probably say it again in the future! I load up the toothbrush with UV Yellow first, and mainly place it in areas of the face I want to highlight, so cheekbones and brow bones. This means that when the UV Pink goes on top, you’ve got that highlight coming through. I just like the UV Yellow as a highlight colour, it’s personal preference!
Finish off by loading your toothbrush with white and put those stars on! Then take your glitter poofer and cover them in glitter. Job done in minutes!
This is a really quick design that I love doing. I really hope you have a go at this, play around with what colours work best for you, these are the colours I have nailed it down to for me, but we are all different! I would love to see your interpretations of this design! I’ve also taken it as a more full body design and a pre-natal design too, it’s so versatile!
I hope you have a fantastic Christmas and new year, if you have any questions, please let me know!
The Pixie Tribe
Merry Christmas to you face artists!
Here’s an A4 word menu for you. Simply print out and embellish with a few one stroke designs. Then you can laminate or pop in a menu stand.
The Fear of the Bad Review
Come on, this can’t just be me? Forgive me if this post is a little self-indulgent, but I’ve been reflecting on a couple of situations I have found myself in, and how my fear of that negative review has made me respond to those situations, and what I can take away from the whole process (one of which is ongoing) and hopefully I can help anyone else avoid getting into these situations in the first place!
My First 1* Review
Ugh, I felt sick when I saw this notification appear on Facebook. This is a relatively long story so please bear with me! I had been approached at a Wedding Fayre by a bride and her sister who was about to turn 21. We had been talking, and the girl whose birthday it was about to be (let’s call her Amy…not her real name) left having been promised by her sister (let’s call her Brenda…also not her real name) that she would pay for me to go and do glitter at her 21st birthday for her and 3 friends. I was happy because I hadn’t moved up to Sheffield yet, and it was a booking in the bag! A couple of days later I had an email through from Brenda and I sent her my booking form and invoice for the deposit.
Time went on, I FINALLY moved to a new house, and then it got to about a week before the event was due to happen and I hadn’t had a reply from Brenda, so I emailed her to check that the event would still be going ahead and would she still like me there. A few days later an email lands in my inbox saying that the event had been postponed due to an issue with the venue and that she would let me know when it had been rescheduled. So, I went about my day and thought nothing else of it. Until I logged onto Facebook and saw that 1-star review from Amy. She couldn’t believe that I had pulled out after looking forward to me being at her birthday for several months, because there wouldn’t be enough people for me to glitter. She also thought I was overpriced.
Now, I didn’t have a clue where this had come from (and it took me a minute to realize it was Brenda’s sister as they had different surnames) and that is just not what happened, but it gave me the fear! I had moved up to Sheffield about 2 weeks before, and after about a year and a half, this was my first review on Facebook and it was 1* and it wasn’t even true! I messaged Amy and explained that I had been told that there had been an issue with the venue and that the event wasn’t going ahead as planned, at which point she wasn’t sure whether she believed me and asked to see proof, so I sent her screenshots of the conversation I had had with her sister. She then went off to speak to her sister and it turned out that Brenda had told us each different stories to get out of paying me, but didn’t stop to think about the damage she could have done to my business. I was then approached by Amy’s friend and was asked if I would still go out just to do Amy. Now, under any normal circumstances, no, I would not go out to apply glitter to one person for a rate I had quoted per person with a minimum uptake, but I had the fear! Being new to the area, I couldn’t; afford any negative feeling towards me and my business, so I went out, did her glitter, she removed her negative review and replaced it with a 5* review and all was well with the world.
This was a horrendous experience for me, and really made me see the importance of the review. I’m not very good at sending follow up emails and asking for a review on Facebook. When your booked through other websites I think they automatically send the client a prompt to leave you a review but going forward this is definitely something I need to start doing! It made me feel sick that for those few hours while I was dealing with that situation, anyone that came across my Facebook page would see that review and leave immediately, just as a result of one person not realizing the impact she could have on my business.
The Unpaid Gig
Time went on, I got myself set up and thankfully I didn’t have any more situations like this. In September I had been asked via a well-known booking site about doing a Halloween event, my quote was accepted, and I asked for the email address to send the booking form and deposit invoice off to. For me, sending off a booking form allows me to collect any information about the event and the client I might need to fulfil the event, for example where the event will be taking place and where to park. I didn’t hear back until about 1 week before Halloween, but I hadn’t had any conflicting bookings (it was for the Monday rather than the weekend) so I sent off my booking form and invoice for the deposit and heard nothing back. I still didn’t know where the event was taking place and who the client was. On the day of the event I had to look up the email address I had been sent to find out the company who was trying to book me to find a phone number to check if they were expecting me (as no deposit had been paid) and to find out where they were expecting me to be.
So, I turned up at the gig and was told to send an invoice for the full amount rather than the remaining balance and was assured that it would be paid the next day. The next day I received an email informing me I had been left a 5-star review via the booking site, and felt assured that my invoice would in fact get paid. It got to 3 weeks after the event and I decided to send a follow up via the site I had been booked through to thank them for their lovely review and as a gentle reminder that I hadn’t been paid, and could they just let me know when I might expect payment? Nothing. At the end of the 30 days I sent an email to their head office. Nothing. This is 7 weeks ago now, and aside from that review, I have had no contact from the client to confirm receipt of my invoice (which has now been sent 3 times) or to confirm when my invoice might be paid. It was a student hall of residence, and I am going to persist with them, but we are now in the Christmas season where nothing seems to happen, and student halls of residences aren’t always open over this period.
So, what can we take from this? Going forward I am going to have a notice on my invoices saying that any payments not made within 30 days will incur a late payment fee, unless an alternatively payment schedule has been agreed. Depending on the client I will also insist that I cannot unpack my kit until the full payment is made. This unfortunately isn’t always possible, especially when you’re dealing with corporate clients, but for birthday parties and weddings etc, I will now always make sure that first a deposit is taken, and then that full payment is made either by bank transfer before the event, or that cash is paid on arrival.
I’ve more or less resigned myself to the fact that this probably won’t get paid. I do have evidence that the job happened in case anyone from their head office tries to say it didn’t. Firstly, I have the review, and secondly, I have a photo of one of the staff members I painted with a branded lanyard around her neck. I knew really early on that this was going to be a pain in the ass job, and I really didn’t want to go because of the lack of information I had, had but was worried about the potential negative impact it might have on my business reputation, and now I’m suffering from the negative financial impact on my business. It was a complete lose, lose situation.
The Fear of the negative review is real, and sometimes it makes us do things that don’t make business sense. People are weird, and you do hear stories of people going around leaving negative reviews of their competitors pages to make their own business look better. I once saw a makeup artist receive a torrent of bad reviews because she was doing a giveaway that included non-cruelty free products, and as much as I try and use cruelty free products as much as I can, it’s not always possible, and it’s not something that should affect your business reputation!
I know I have a lot to improve on in the business aspect, and it’s situations like these that make you learn the hard way. Until recently I didn’t have any terms and conditions, or anything more official than details of the event on my booking form. I now have a set of terms and conditions on my booking form that need to be signed by the client before I confirm a booking, it means that everything is in black and white and there is no arguing at any point, and I have also adapted it for the hair and makeup side of my business.
I hope this has been useful to you. If you have found yourself in either of these situations, I would love to know how you handled it and what your outcomes were! If you do have any questions, please let me know!
The Pixie Tribe
Frankenstein, mermaid, snake, dinosaur, leaves…which is the right green for the job? When it comes to green face paint there are so many different shades and it’s essential to get it right, after all no one wants a shimmery mint Hulk.
Here’s a guide to the best greens for the most popular on-the-job faces;
Mermaid – this is all about the shine so go for pearly bases like Superstar. ‘Green Shimmer’ is lovely or for a darker sea shade choose ‘Peacock Shimmer’. Add wispy seaweed details with a strong, matt green (Chameleon Clover is great) and a pink tip liner brush. If you want to add extra sparkle, TFPS bio-glitter in Spring Green is really pretty.
Frankenstein and the Hulk demand a good mid green – a personal favourite is FPA Mid Green, this is also vegan and cruelty-free so ticks all the boxes for me and many of my clients.
You can experiment a bit more with whole face snake designs; it’s fun to use yellowy-green one strokes like TAG Leaf Yellow, add a shiny green such as FPA Metallix Light Green then layer scales with turquoise – Superstar do amazing creamy ones.
For seasonal Holly I love the one stroke I make from DFX white and Party Explosion Dark Green – two colours is all you need as they blend as you stroke your brush to give three lovely shades. Just slice up your cakes and use an old one stroke case or lid. A little goes a long way and you’ll make lots of one strokes from just two pots of colour.
Joni Nettleship x
Can you believe it is almost 2019? I am really excited for this New Year and what it will bring for me, my family and my business. It has been a tough year for me, for a number of reasons, but 2019 already has lots of things to look forward to, including an awards ceremony in March, and some training with the amazing Annie Reynolds, in July.
I have been thinking this week about New Year’s resolutions for the business, and one of the things I am determined to do this year is manage my accounts better. I am notoriously bad at completing my accounts on a monthly basis, and instead I find myself every year, spending hours upon hours sat at my desk surrounded by a years’ worth of invoices, bank statements, receipts and the like. It’s not fun, and it comes at what is already a ridiculously busy time of year for us. 2019 is going to be the year that I break this bad habit. I am going to complete my accounts at the end of each month. Not only will this mean that I don’t have the December stress fest, and will also help me to know on a monthly basis where I stand in terms of profitability.
Here are a few hints and tips about managing your business finances.
Disclaimer – I am NOT an accountant or financial advisor, so please do your own research and take advice before making any financial decision.
Do I need to be registered with HMRC?
YES! Working without paying the appropriate tax is illegal, and can get you into serious bother and hefty fines if you are caught. If you are working on a self-employed basis, then you need to register with HMRC and complete a tax return at the end of each tax year. Each tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April the following year. You then have until the following January to submit your tax return. Also, if you don’t also work on a PAYE basis elsewhere you will need to think about your National Insurance contributions, as failing to keep these up to date can / will have a detrimental impact on your future pension entitlement.
Do I need an accountant?
No. It is totally possible to complete your own tax return, but it can be daunting. There are often local classes / sessions available to get you started so it worth checking with local adult learning centres/ colleges. There is also a lot of information online and it is definitely worth familiarising yourself with the basics. Now that I’m a few years in, I sit somewhere in the middle by doing all of my own accounts, but having them checked and submitted by my accountant. This keeps the cost down, keeps my eye on the ball so to speak, while also ensuring that it is all completed properly and on time.
What information do I need?
You should be keeping a comprehensive note of all income and outgoings associated with your business. This includes income from any job you carry out, any private booking, and any products sold. You will also need to keep a record of any purchase made in relation to your face painting work. This will include the obvious things like products and kit that you buy, but can also include mileage accrued travelling to and from gigs, and, depending on your circumstances, can often include a proportion of some household bills such as phone, internet, electric and heat etc. These costs will vary according to how you operate so please take advice from your accountant on what you can include.
Should I have a business bank account?
If you are a limited company then you must have a business account in the name of your business, but if you are self-employed then it is not compulsory. It can make life at tax return time a lot easier though, as all of your work related transactions are in one place. I find that it is also helpful in terms of being able to more clearly understand your work related income and outgoings. It also looks more professional when clients are issuing direct payments, and means that if for any reason, HMRC decide to audit you, they don’t need to see that you ate Mc Donald’s 3 times in one week and spent your last £20 on gin.
In short, Tax doesn’t need to be scary. It is always better to be registered and above board, and you never know, you might find yourself being owed a nice little rebate meaning you can stock up on those new rainbow cakes you spotted on The Face Painting Shop’s website!
I Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break, and enjoy the rest!
Some useful links
Candle Design Step by Step
Hi Guys! I hope you are all well and enjoying the festive season! It’s been a bit crazy here at Kate’s Faces HQ with all the Christmas parties, school nativities, corporate events, charity do’s and then the usual Birthday parties to squeeze in between!
If like me you’ve painted a thousand reindeers, three million snowmen and five hundred Santa’s and you fancy a little something different to offer your clients you’ll hopefully enjoy this quick and easy candle design. You can use any colour one stroke for the candles (I used purple to symbolise an advent wreath) and obviously change up the colours completely should you wish. The lovely Tracy Keers from The Face Painting Shop made up this fancy graphic showing the main products and brushes I used to create the design, but there are a couple of extras, links to which can be found underneath this blog. I hope you find this breakdown of this design helpful – please do let me know if there are any other designs that you may like to see live tutorials of, or step-by-steps. And I’d love to see your interpretations of this so do pop them up on to The Face Painting Shop’s Facebook Page!
Paint three different height candles in the centre of the forehead (things look good in 3’s or 5’s!) – using any one stroke you wish but using one with a light edge and a dark edge will help create the depth and shadow you want for these candles.
Using Tag Leaf and your #Pinktip ¾ Angle Brush, add holly leaves and fir branches around the candles and the eyes.
Add swirls and holly berries as you like in the gorgeous new colour ‘Valentine’ from Superstar.
Add your flames, and then highlight the leaves and the candles (I like my TFPS liner brush for highlighting). Add some starbursts to make it look ‘twinkly’! Paint the lips red.
Glitter!! I used chunky glitter in champagne from TFPS which is the perfect light, shimmery gold for so many designs and finished this design off beautifully. I used Ben Nye Glitter Glue to adhere it to the skin.
And here is the finished look! When I actually painted my beautiful model Phoebe, I felt it needed something a little extra so I added some Proline Dupe Pigment in Copperline – I put this on dry using my small #pinktip blender brush and it makes THE MOST gorgeous eyeshadow. You can also use these wet for linework, or for face or body painting – when used wet they are like liquid metal.
10 Reasons You Need a Practice Board in Your Kit
Hello everyone! I hope you are all well and super busy over this festive period. Is it just me or are you 10x busier than you were for Halloween? It’s crazy! Not that I’m complaining, it’s all good.
I’m sure we are all making our festive wish lists too, and with that in mind I thought I’d write this blog. It’s been something I have been thinking of doing for a while so here it is.
If you are familiar with my work, you are probably aware that I love and use my Sally-Ann Lynch Training Tried and Tested Boards very regularly.
Personally I own a few:
A2 Black Professional Face Painter
A2 6X Child Face
A3 Bump Board
A3 Male Torso
A3 Clear Plain
And if that wasn’t enough, I am hoping to get a couple of A4 plain boards to make practice whilst travelling super convenient.
You are probably wondering why I have so many and why I think they are a great item to own. So I’ve put together 10 reasons why I think you would benefit from having one or more than one, in your kit.
MY TOP 10 REASONS TO ADD A SALLY-ANN LYNCH TTT BOARD TO YOUR KIT
They are easy to use – making practice time quick and easily accessible. No bribing your kids to let you use their face or squeezing designs onto your forearm!
Very easy to clean – no staining! If you are like me, I am more likely to practice if it isn’t going to take me 30 mins to clean something! These boards clean up in less than a minute with just soap and warm water.
There is SO much choice – So whether you want to practice face designs, body designs or just go free flow, there is something for everyone.
They look incredibly professional on the job to display your designs. I find them especially helpful for displaying special theme requests, when I may not have them in my back catalogue of pictures or word boards.
They are so versatile; I find the multi face boards especially versatile. I use them for displaying designs at parties, practicing one design over and over again, displaying Step By Step designs and trialling different placements of the same design. I’m sure there are even more ways to use just this one style of board, but I haven’t thought of it yet!
One size does not fit all! And that’s another great thing about these boards; they come in all different sizes, so there is sure to be one to fit your needs. Also, as well as different sizes, they come in a choice of Landscape or Portrait.
The Baby Bump Board! This board alone is a must if you are planning to start painting baby bumps. It provides a perfect template to plan and practice your design. It also provides what I think to be a very professional tool that you can use to show the ‘mum to be’ the design they will have, ensuring they know exactly what to expect and they can point out and make any personal changes. Every mum I have painted, have all commented on how fab my board is. Its things like this that all add to the service the client receives and helps cement in their mind how organised and professional you are.
They make creating new designs easy, especially for working out placement and what looks good. Not forgetting, helping you to work out in which order you are best to paint each element of your new design.
Make a mistake? Just wipe it off!
Last but not least, They are Purpose Built. Made by Face Painters for Face Painters!
And there we have it, if you were in any doubt about getting a Sally-Ann Lynch Board, then I hope you found this Top 10 helpful and has made your decision easier. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments below or follow me on my other social network platforms and ask me there:
YouTube: Search ‘Jane Harding’
MERRY EVERYTHING & HAPPY ALWAYS!
Snow Globe Belly Art Step by Step
How are we halfway through December already?! I had something completely different planned for this post, but then they new Practice Board arrived and I needed to try it out! I have already said how much I love the Training Tried and Tested boards, and over the summer I started doing my first belly paints, and have wanted to add the Mother to Be board to my collection ever since, and now I have! I did a couple of pumpkin bellies in the run up to halloween, and I have been dying to do a snow globe for the festive season!
I started off by blocking in the tutu and the tree. I used Tag ‘Snake’ one stroke for the tree and Nats Gold Edition ‘Red Fox’ for the tutu, it’s the perfect colour for a Sugar Plum Fairy! For the Tree Trunk I double dipped Superstar Shock complexion and Global Rose Brown on The Face Painting Shop 1 inch Short Angled brush, which I also used for the tree and the tutu
Next I placed my snow globe background colours, Cameleon ‘Victorious’ and Global ‘Pearl Baby Blue) with Tag ‘Pearl White’ in the middle, and also painted in the snow globe base, using Global Rose Brown, Superstar Shock complexion and DFX white. I then outlined everything with DFX black, using TFPS round 6 brush.
Once the background colours were dry, I painted in the legs, chest, head and arms of my Sugar Plum Fairy, using Superstar Shock Complexion. For the hair I mixed Superstar yellow, Superstar Glitter Gold and Superstar Shock complexion together, before using Superstar Rose Gold for the ballet shoes. I then used the TFPS Rounded Flora no 1 brush to outline her and the tree, adding a small line for her eye, and then using a tiny bit of Global Pearl Merlot for her lips.
As I like to work one section at a time, I wanted to finish the details on my sugar plum fairy before moving on to anything else, but you don’t necessarily have to do it at this point. I used DFX black and DFX white for outlining and detailing both on my tutu and on the Christmas tree trunk to add extra before using Superstar Glitter Gold to create the Star at the top of the tree.
Before moving on to the finishing touches, I added my baubles, using Cameleon Victoriuos, Supertasr Plum and Superstar Glitter Gold, and outlining them in DFX Black
To finish everything off, I first highlighted all the baubles and the star before just going crazy with snow. I normally use a toothbrush for this kind of thing, but I wanted bigger dots than you would get with a toothbrush, so I used my TFPS round no 6 brush and DFX white to create the snow, and then the highlights both on the globe and on the base. Because I had already used DFX white for snow, I wanted to add something on top of the snow globe highlights to make sure it was brighter than the snow, so I topped it off with Tag Pearl White for a slightly shimmery effect.
It’s not perfect, if I were to do it again, I would use my airbrush for the highlights (although I’m not going to bring my airbrush on a job just for one thing!), and I would have thought about my sugar plum fairy placement, and being able to make her legs a bit longer because they are a little bit out of proportion, but that’s the great thing about having these boards, you get to make the mistakes at home so you don’t do it in a client situation!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, I absolutely love doing belly paints, and would love to see any of your creations! Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have anything in particular you’d like me to cover
LONG WEEKENDS, AWARDS & MANAGING FAMILY LIFE
So this week has been pretty epic for me, for two reasons. Firstly, I had an amazing long weekend away with my favourite people, to my favourite place (Donegal, Ireland). I was ready for some serious destressing and it was so good to spend some quality time with my kids, my husband, my dad, and his partner. Secondly, it came as a complete shock to learn that I have been selected as a finalist in the UK wide Mums in Business Awards! This means the world to me, as I’m sure a lot of you know, balancing raising a family while growing a business isn’t easy. In a way, this nomination feels like recognition of both parenting and working! I have a 9 year old daughter, Ruby, and a 17 month old son, Jude, so life is busy! I am aware that lots of painters out there are also juggling a full time job, and you have my utmost admiration for that! Work life balance is hard. Jude is at the age where I take one step forward and three steps back in everything that I do, but I know it won’t be like this forever. He was a much longed for baby, and the process of getting him here wasn’t straightforward, and as he is my last baby, I am conscious of trying to spend every available moment of this precious stage just soaking up his awesomness. However, I still want to nurture and grow my business. At times I don’t get this right, and the balance swings too heavily to the family side, or the business side, and the other side misses out. But ......I am learning about boundaries and their importance in maintaining a healthy balance, and I have made some changes over the last year or so which have really made a difference.
Here are my top tips for creating and maintaining a healthy and happy family life / work balance.
1. CREATE FAMILY TIME
This seems obvious, but it actually took me quite a while to realise that I needed to do this. Sure, I’m around all day, I do both school runs and I don’t use any external childcare. I’m at home with my husband at least four evenings a week. This isn’t the same as ‘family time’ though. While I’m doing all of these things, I’m also responding to messages, booking in jobs, managing deposits and payments, creating and sending invoices, making balloons, and all of the other things that come with running a small business. My mind is often elsewhere and I’m usually doing 23 things at once. I am not fully present. The nature of our business means that our diaries fill up in an unstructured way, sometimes days in advance, sometimes months in advance, and it is so easy to find yourself in a position where you don’t have a weekend day off to spend with your family, for months on end. I now actively block out some days in the diary to spend quality, present time with my little unit.
2. INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
As I mentioned above, doing 23 things at once is often a slower and more complicated strategy than tackling things one at a time. I am working on becoming more efficient by examining what I need to achieve each week, and planning when I am going to do each thing. For example, I know that trying to use the laptop, paint, or cut vinyl personalisation for my balloon work, are virtually impossible to do while Jude is on the loose. These things are far too interesting for him, and he demands to be an active participant, and, as this makes it stressful for me, I now plan for those things to be done while he naps. This might seem obvious but for me, it has had a really positive impact, as I know exactly what I’m going to be doing for that little 90 min slot each day. I have everything that I need ready to go, and it’s amazing how productive I can be in such a short window of time. I have also dedicated Tuesdays as admin day. All outstanding quotes and invoices are sent on Tuesdays, so I no longer feel overwhelmed by trying to remember everything, and snatching five minutes here and there to try to do things. I leave a little early for the school run and use the time to respond to messages. Again, simply by creating a new habit or routine, you can earmark little bits of time to get things done in a more productive way.
3. LEARN HOW TO SAY NO
When you are self-employed, or running a new / small business is it desperately tempting to take every single job that comes your way. In a lot of ways, it makes sense. We work on word of mouth referrals a lot, so obviously the more work you do, the more referrals come your way. There has to be a limit to this though. Sometimes it’s that one extra gig that pushes you over the edge into being over tired, stressed, and generally fed up. Don’t be afraid to say no to some jobs if they are going to upset your work life balance. There is more to life that making as much money as you can. I’m learning that this doesn’t only apply to work, and learning to say no to any commitment that doesn’t add value to your life or bring you joy is a big step but one that you won’t regret.
4. ORGANISATION ROCKS!
This is relatively new to me. I read the Marie Kondo Book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ last year, and it really changed my outlook on life. Not only have I massively decluttered and organised the house, but it has also spilled over into other aspects of life. I meal plan, I run a family calendar to keep track of everyone’s activities. I organise uniforms and school bags the night before. I use a ‘to do list’ app to keep me on track, and I have generally streamlined most aspects of life. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days where the house is a tip and we have McDonalds for dinner, but because we have a system in place now, and so much less junk, the house is much easier to tidy after a busy day of ‘familyness’, and I feel much more in control of everyday life.
5. ME TIME!
It’s the old saying ‘you are no good to anyone if you aren’t good to yourself’. Being a working (self-employed) mum and wife is hard work. It takes its toll and makes its mark on you. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to become over-tired and run down. This is when you find yourself in a rut - of house work, motherhood and work with no respite. This one is tricky for me at the moment as having a one year old is full on full time, but I live for my Tuesday night bath. Everyone knows that interruptions are only permitted if the house is on fire or someone requires an ambulance! It’s my time to relax, look after myself, and have some head space. Some of my best thinking happens in the bath too, and I always feel 100% better afterwards.
I know that we are fast approaching the silly season and my own diary is absolutely jam packed, so I don’t always practice what I preach, but even little tweaks can make a real difference. Why not make a new year’s resolution to schedule regular family time to make memories and have fun with the ones you love? I promise you will never regret it!