Seriously, how did this happen?! This blog turned five this Easter. I always like to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going on anniversaries, and while it’s easy to let it pass while enjoying a lovely long weekend, this year feels pretty significant. It’s not just that the blog is half a decade old, but this last year has been one of the hardest professionally, and personally, because the last year started when I was eight months pregnant and now here I am with an almost 11-month-old baby. Sebastian’s even walking! I know, what a show-off. What’s the rush, little man?! I’m sure all the mums out there can appreciate just how busy it’s been with no childcare (we just had our first date night while a friend babysat this weekend!) and how much my priorities have shifted. We also bought our first home in Sydney this year (obviously we weren’t busy enough already!) so we have some reno fun ahead.
So in some respects, this year feels like one of “only” treading water with one eye on the business (my first baby) and one on my second baby. Recently, I’ve felt like I’m really coming out of the haze of adjusting to motherhood (it’s just life now!) and I’m ready to get back into work full steam and grow Interiors Addict. There’s nothing more motivating than wanting to give your child the best future you can and while happiness is by no means all wrapped up in money, it does make life a lot easier! And I don’t just want to grow my business to make more money (although I’ll never say no), I am really aware that this is a job I love and I have the luxury of working flexibly around motherhood. Keeping hold of that luxury long term is more important than ever. God forbid I ever have to work for someone else again…
Yes, it’s hard juggling a business and a baby but it is worth it. There were times I felt envious of my friends on maternity leave for a year and a little bitter I couldn’t make it to mother’s group outings because I had an overflowing inbox to attend to, but I always remind myself to get some perspective because I’m fortunate I have been able to be the primary carer of my baby for his first year while still making money and doing work I really enjoy. Sometimes I may feel like I’m losing the plot, but so does everyone! Somehow, despite everything going on, Interiors Addict has more readers and is making more money than ever, and I’m really proud of that.
There were many changes and challenges this year. My amazing righthand woman Olivia Shead left after two years for a new role at Sky News having always wanted to work in TV (I’m so proud!). The agency who handled all my advertising sales closed their doors, and rather than replace them I decided the best person to sell my brand was me! Luckily I have taken on two new excellent part-time team members in Emma (advertising) and Amy (editorial), who are both young, part-time working mums too.
There have been some constants throughout the five years and the most significant is my “tech guy” and all round WordPress wizard David at ClickWP. Since moving my blog from its humble beginnings on Tumblr over to WordPress when people started asking to advertise in 2012, to supporting me month in, month out, making sure everything is running smoothly, building sister site Reno Addict and so much more, I wouldn’t be here without him. Thank you, David! Also thanks to Chantelle who looks after my graphic design. And a huge thank you to my husband Damian, who has always respected and encouraged my work and is a very hands-on dad when I need child-free work time.
I’m aware more than ever that outsourcing and having the right experts around you is so important and I’ve recently taken on book keepers and a virtual assistant. I’m trying to get on top of the money side (I’m pretty good at making it but not so good at knowing what do with it) and I’ve just registered as a company having been a sole trader until this point. It really feels like the business is growing up; it’s established and it’s a great time to get more organised and get systems and processes (my least favourite things) in place to keep that momentum going! There’ll be some stepping outside of my comfort zone this year but I’m ready for it!
My working weeks are a lot different lately. I spend a lot more time negotiating the commercial side of the blog and less on the content, and while other people are doing more of the writing, I’m still directing what they’re writing about and making sure it’s high quality, regular and relevant. I don’t attend all the fun events I used to because I’m a mum and while I miss it sometimes, giving readers and advertisers the best quality site has to be paramount and attending events, however fun, isn’t a priority and with a baby at home is often downright impossible anyway! But once we have childcare I will try and get out a bit more because relationships are important too and there’s nothing like face-to-face contact.
In the next few months we’ll be biting the bullet and getting a part-time nanny because wonderful as this juggling act can be, ultimately you cannot work and parent as well as you could when you’re trying to do both at the same time. I’m really looking forward to having a few hours a day of focussed work time to smash through my to-do list once we find the right person to entertain our little fella! Any tips for learning how to let go and let someone else care for your precious little person gratefully accepted!
Motherhood really is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Every single day I am grateful for and amazed by Seb and how he has changed our lives and our perspective on pretty much everything. I will never apologise for being a working mum and I hope to be a strong female role model for my son.
I can’t end this post without thanking you all, readers and advertisers, for supporting my business by reading, sponsoring, advertising and sharing and hope you’ll come along on the ride for the next five years and beyond!