A very Merry New Year to you all. I hope you enjoyed the festivities.
Right, now down to business, be warned, this is going to be a rant! If you don’t enjoy a good rant then read no further!…
I have had a bee in bonnet, a bee that I have tried to ignore but that has been buzzing around for the whole festive period. Here goes…
I own my own business. I spent time setting up my own business and I now make money from my business. Not like millions of monies, but enough to call it viable. Well done me right? My husband goes to work. He worked hard to get his job and he also makes monies. Well done to him right? BUT, and here comes that bee, when my husband finished for work for the Christmas break every single person we spoke to uttered the words “So, have you finished for Christmas now”, followed by “ooo, it must be nice to have a break, when are you off until?”. EVERY SINGLE PERSON.
Ask me how many people asked me the same questions, go on… NONE! Not a single person asked me when I was breaking up for Christmas. Not a single person wished me a lovely break.
Seriously! Do I not work? Do I not get up at the same time as my husband, work all day and then go to bed at the same time? Does working from home not count as work? Because I do the school run twice a day, does that mean the rest of the day I am not working? Do people know how hard I work? Do they know that whilst my husband (and I’m sorry, I have no gripe against him, he’s just the good example), that whilst he was “enjoying his much needed week off”, I was working until 4am trying to get work done during the Christmas holidays.
Just because I work from home, just because I have my own business, this does not mean that I don’t work as hard as you, or as hard as Mr Bloggs down the road!
I work too. I work hard. Give me the respect of acknowledging that and wishing me a nice break over Christmas. That’s all I ask.
And there you have it. Rant over. Phew! It’s not often I have a rant, but this hit hard. Sometimes I feel a little invisible, and this just added to that.
Do you work from home? Has anything like this ever happened to you? Share your story in the comments, I’d love to hear from you xx
It’s been an exciting week here at Mrs K Designs. I had my first official interview! Eeek! You may remember earlier this year I designed a logo for the new blog The Mama Journal. Well, the lovely Rupa decided I was a good candidate to feature on her blog. So exciting and very nerve racking. I tend to hide behind my logo and get really embarrassed about putting myself out there, so this was a big deal for me; especially as the interview was so personal.
Helen Killip, 36, lives with husband Andy, daughter Libby, 4, and Laurie the cat, in Burbage, Leicestershire. She set up Mrs K Designs, a design company, while on maternity leave in 2014.
I wake up…
At 7am to Libby, our personal alarm clock, shouting, “it’s 7 o’clock, time to get up!”. After sleepy morning hugs, (one of my favourite things), it’s straight to the kettle for a cup of tea. This usually goes cold as I’m ushered to play with trucks or put on my best doctor’s impersonation. I’ll have a bowl of fruit for breakfast in an effort to be a little healthier.
I usually wear…
Jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes to be honest. If I do splash out, I’m a sucker for Joe Browns because their clothes are so quirky and beautiful. I do love shoes though – owning every pair of Ruby Shoos is the dream!
My working week…
is Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and I spend the rest of the week with Libby. Realistically, like many self-employed people, I work every day. Three days just isn’t enough time, so I’ve spent many evenings working until the wee hours of the morning trying to fit everything in. When Libby starts school in September (gasp!) I’ll be working five days a week, and I’m hoping this makes things a little easier and a little bit more consistent.
I am very lucky to be able to work from my office at home. My working day begins at 8.45am after the frantic pre-school run! I need tea to function, so this is my first priority, followed by checking and responding to emails (although I’ve probably checked these on my phone in bed before I even got up). Then I organise my projects and start work. Every day is different as each project is unique. One day I can be designing a logo and the next I’m creating wedding stationery. I love the variation.
I’d always thought about having my own business, but it was Andy that really made it happen. He was so supportive of me and my work, if it wasn’t for his encouragement I wouldn’t be where I am today – I have a lot to thank him for. In 2014 I went on maternity leave and that was the push (no pun intended) I needed. I had a few weeks before Libby was due so decided to set up my website and contact a few local businesses looking for work. People said I was crazy, I should be resting in preparation for motherhood, but in my mind it was now or never.
The best part of my job is…
The ability to fit work around life is a big bonus. And obviously designing, I love it – there is nothing more satisfying than a client coming to you with a vague idea and then being able to produce something completely beyond their expectations. It was, and still is, hard work, but it has given me the freedom and the time that I wanted to raise my daughter.
I honestly couldn’t get through every day without the support and love of my friends and family (a bit cliché I know). But they are amazing and somehow manage to keep me sane.
My biggest inspiration is definitely my mum. She is an amazing, strong, beautiful woman. I often hear people moaning that they are turning into their Mum – I hope I DO. If I’m half the woman she is then I’ve done myself proud. I hope that one day Libby feels the same about me!
The worst part of my job is…
Working really long days. After a jam-packed day of playing with a four year old, all you want to do is sit down and put your feet up, but deadlines are looming. I can’t let a project ‘sit’ and I pride myself on getting everything completed as soon as possible, which means I push myself to the very limit. This has definitely had a huge impact on my life and wellbeing. I recently went through a rough patch where I was working constantly and also trying to fit in family and social life. I was exhausted. It’s no good having a successful business if you can’t enjoy life. I’m now learning to manage my time a little better, put myself and my family first, and make sure I don’t burn myself out.
When I remember, some toast and some fruit. I get so involved in my work that I sometimes forget. Most projects span over a couple of days, so I’ll pick up where I left off in the morning. At the end of the day, I like to cover my computer screen with post-its of jobs to do tomorrow.
In the evenings…
We all have tea together between 5 and 6pm, and then it’s bed time for Libby at 7pm. Libby loves a roast dinner so we quite often have a mid-week roast – we take it in turns to cook! If I’m not working, I’ll sit in front of a box-set or read a book. I usually go to bed at about 11pm, but I have been known to get in at 7.30pm with a Horlicks and a good book!
Starting your own business is…an adventure! It’s scary, it’s challenging, it consumes every aspect of your life, but it’s rewarding as hell!
Here’s a brief history of how I got there. I studied Fine Art at University and as is usually the case my first job had nothing to do with art. But I was lucky enough to be working for a small family run business, so I moulded my job and day by day showed them my artistic side until a new job was created and I was in charge of design and advertising. In my second job I did the same. I worked long hours creating design for businesses constantly thinking “why am I doing this for such little pay and no appreciation, I could be doing this for myself”. So I did.
In 2014 I got my break. I got pregnant. It was the only way I was going to get the courage to leave my job. I knew I would have a few months off for maternity leave, so what better time to test the waters and see if I could make it. Absolute madness! Who decides to start a business when they have a brand new time consuming baby about to arrive?
I sat on the sofa, unable to move due to the increased vastness of my ever growing tummy. But it was perfect. People say to relax, but I worked hard instead. I set up a website, contacted some local business and off I went. Three years later and here we are.
It’s not been easy. Yes it gives me the opportunity to stay at home with my little one instead of going out to work, which, for me, is fantastic. But it’s bloody exhausting. She naps, I work. She sleeps, I work. You don’t get the luxury of coming home from work and winding down. Home is your work and the two never leave each other’s side.
I am very lucky that I had the opportunity to do this, but it took a lot of determination and hard work. Starting your own business is not an easy thing to do, but if you really want it you can do it. I am only a fraction of the way three years down the line. But one day…one day I’ll have the success that I strive for, and all the effort will have paid off.