Tips for starting a business when you’re a FIFO wife.
I’m sharing my experience with starting a business as a fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) wife, mum and part time registered nurse
You may or may not know that Borne Too actually began as a maternity clothing line, inspired by the fact I couldn’t find any clothing I wanted to wear when I was breastfeeding my first baby.
(You can read more about when I changed directions here.)
My husband encouraged me to look into creating my own clothing line and little did I know this was the beginning of my love of all things business development.
Since then, I’ve pivoted Borne Too into a creative biz – making custom illustrations, designs and marketing content for other women in business. Business has been the catalyst for so many wonderful things in my life, especially my journey of personal development. I feel like I’ve really ‘found myself’ in this biz and motherhood rollercoaster, as cliche as that sounds.
If you have any inkling to start down the entrepreneurial track yourself, I would 100% encourage you to give it a go.
But I get it, being a FIFO partner is challenging as it is.
How do I find the time to juggle all the things I need to attend to at home, with the kids, part time work and then throw in a business on top?
Well, it’s certainly not easy but rest assured, it’s totally DOABLE and I wanted to share my tips for how I’ve managed to build a profitable business with 3 little kids, work part time as a registered nurse all whilst my husband worked away (often on a 4 week on/off swing) and still enjoy life!
1. Always remember WHY you’re in business (hint: money is not enough of a reason).
The saying ‘money can’t buy you happiness’ rings true here for me.
Unfortunately, making money probably isn’t ever going to be a good enough reason alone, to find the motivation to build, grow and sustain your business dreams.
Always coming back to why will help you in those times that it all feels too much.
I need to feel like I have passion, purpose and some sort of balance in my life in order to feel like my business is fulfilling and sustainable.
My why is that I want other women to experience the joy, connection, community and independence of running their own businesses and growing alongside their families. Helping others and seeing them shine, genuinely lights me up. I also want a lifestyle that I can be relatively flexible around my family – I want to be able to attend school assemblies, work when the baby naps and take the day off if I need to.
I don’t want to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars if I’m not genuinely helping others, or it means work/life balance sucks and I don’t feel fulfilled.
In saying that, money is a well-received byproduct of running a business and when you feel lit up by what you’re doing, money is like the icing on the cake and is extremely motivational to keep going and growing, too. It shows you that people appreciate your offering so much that they are willing to pay for it – it lets you know you’re on the right track.
2. Get a champion support crew.
I am such a huge advocate for joining with like minded women to bounce off and share the ride with in this business journey. I’m so glad I stumbled across the Facebook Ad for @fusionbizco when I was first starting out in my clothing business. I met some of my best biz-buddies through Fusion, all of whom I’m still in touch with today and form a part of my support network.
Support crew doesn’t just extend to like minded biz peeps though. It also means having people who can mind your kids when you need to smash out some work. It may mean a cleaner to take one more thing off your plate during the week, or a meal subscription box that means you’re not having to think too much when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping.
It also means outsourcing the business tasks that are beyond you. I speak as someone who built my website entirely from scratch, myself. Even though I’m glad I have the learned skills from the DIY within my business, I could have saved myself a tonne of time and heartache if I’d just outsourced it to begin with – even just parts of it.
Some ideas for outsourcing in your business include:
- Someone to build your website or upload all your products
- A copywriter to help with your sales wording
- Graphic Design to help with your logo and branding
- Purchasing templates for your social media posts
- Hiring someone to setup your email marketing
- Getting a bookkeeper
Outsourcing can be expensive and scary and I understand the apprehension, especially if you aren’t making a lot (if any) money in your business but if you invest wisely, it could return the money to you tenfold.
There’s a lot to digest when it comes to outsourcing when you’re a FIFO fam and I’ll be writing another blog on this topic entirely.
3. Get familiar with time-blocking
Time-blocking when you’ve got kids, often looks imperfect.
A tip for using your time effectively, because, let’s face it, there isn’t often a lot of spare time – is to know how long your tasks will take and being realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have.
For example, you have 15 minutes while your kids eat breakfast, there’s no point trying to update your entire website copy in this time. It just won’t happen and you’ll just feel frustrated at yourself and your kids.
Perhaps instead, in the 15 minutes you have, you could:
- Respond to 2 emails
- Engage on your social media
- Make a voice memo of your to-do list
- Make one social media graphic on Canva.
Be wise about the time you have and what you can achieve in that time and you’ll feel infinitely less frustrated all round.
4. Learn your most productive working environment and get to know your natural energy levels.
Being confident in the way I work and use energy has been pivotal in how I work within my business.
Something that helped in this regard was discovering my human design (HD).
HD could be considered a bit woo-woo. It uses your date and time of birth to ascertain your ‘design’, the way you’re programmed to BE in the world.
When I found out that my HD profile meant I’m a Projector, it just clicked with me. I’m not someone who has unlimited energy and I really need downtime between tasks however; when I do work, I work efficiently and get a lot of stuff done.
I’m not saying you need a HD reading (but you should, check out: Cat Skreiner) but I would just get familiar with when you are most productive.
When do you feel like you get the most done?
What environment do you need?
When are you least productive?
Ask yourself some questions like this so you can ensure you’re working smarter, not harder which creates a more sustainable business model.
5. Start simple (or smaller scale) with your offerings.
Often, we can have hundreds of ideas floating around in our brains (well, I know I do!) – we have so many different products or offerings we want to put out into the world.
Trying to launch everything at once can lead to massive overwhelm.
If you’re just starting out in business, I would advise you to stick to one or two things and do them really well.
Then you can start to introduce new offerings or scale the ones you have – maybe you go from 1:1 to 1: many setup. Working 1:1 allows you to iron out any issues with your service offerings and allows you to gain valuable feedback on the process from your clients to make tweaks for the future.
Same goes for product based businesses – I would recommend starting with a smaller collection, smaller quantities – strengthen your branding to align with a handful of products that you absolutely nail before committing to a huge inventory of stock. The advantage of this is to see what sells well, what needs price revisions/changes to product or what you may want to drop altogether.