Struggles of a Business Mum

A dream for a lot of people is to find a way to work for themselves. The thought of making their own hours around the family is one of the key points of why we strive to do it. What no one sees though is the hours and hours busy business mums out there, put into their work.

No self employment is easy. Whether it is Avon, photography, or making things yourself to sell. Its hard work.

You eat, sleep and breathe your work, and while you do that you are helping to maintain the family flow. I know I am very lucky to have an amazing husband who runs around after the children, especially in the holidays, so I can still come to work and get my jobs done. But not all Business Mums have that support. Maybe their husbands work too, maybe they are single parents.

There seems at times, that as mums and business owners, we have to live up to this ideal of being a super hero. Mainly its what we do to our selves, and instead of saying “I AM KNACKERED, I NEED A BREAK” we tend to bury our heads further into work. People see us working and working and think that we are doing so well, but in reality we may be struggling to balance figures, or struggling to get the sales, or just simply struggling with our own brains and bodys. Add the hormonal swings of PMS, and then for a week (or 2) every month the best of planning goes out of the window when the jelly brain sets in.
You go home and you want to cry. Your partner, your kids all wonder what the heck is going on and that makes you worse……

This has been me for the last 6 months. Especially with how fickle eBay has been over the last 18 months. The Cassini best match search, and keywords, promotions and java scripts… Every time they change something it kills my listings. I can list millions, but if it doesnt get seen I cant sell it.

But every time they change I have to spend weeks getting things right so I am not listing. If I am not listing I am not selling.

Its a huge chaotic cycle. The only bonus is, its not just me, thousands of other sellers are affected each time too.

I feel awful for my clients. They are relying on me to list for them, and I feel the pressure of that sometimes. Not that any of them are ever mean about it… LOL They are all lovely really, but that makes it harder when I feel like I am letting them down. In reality, I am thinking of listings and sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, birthdays and Christmas, mothers day lie ins. I am usually listing at some point, or trying to get listings seen, Facebook, Twitter, Advertising where I can for free because I cant afford to pay for it, because the sales are not coming in.

BUT…. Then I have clear days, when I can think straight and I can see the light at the end of the long dark tunnel. I wouldn’t swap all these stresses for a 9-5 job.
I do love what I do, especially when I can finally get things working smoothly.
Its just sometimes, its a struggle, and I don’t ever like admitting it.

A little note to my clients. I know things have been slow these last few months. Please know I am not being lazy. My mind is ALWAYS in work, and I am ALWAYS trying my best.

A Final note to Mr Rilly. You are amazing. You are always my rock. You help me so much in so many ways. I cant wait for the kids to go back school so you can come back work to help me out here again :p

Visit My Store Now < – Subtle Hint *Wink Wink*

 

I’m a Little Teapot

How gorgeously cute is this lil fella.

I cant help but sing the nursery rhyme when I see it.

This was sent in from Client 78, and it comes with no makers mark or anything.

It doesnt stop it from being totally fab though.

RAZ_2754

To buy this little cutie visit RillyRoos

Baby Boys Clothes are So Cute

I love seeing some of the baby boys clothes that come through the shop. Some of these little things are just so munchy scrunchy.

Like this jacket

Super Dog coat from Next age 3-6 Months

Super Dog coat from Next age 3-6 Months

With an amazing fun cape on the back

With an amazing fun cape on the back

Of course this is available at the moment (12/11/15) in the shop, but like most things, there is only one of each item.

So Once it is gone…. ITS GONE 

So how about this little cutie too

Baby boys outfit for 0-3 months

Baby boys outfit for 0-3 months

Keep an eye on offers. You will be able to buy multiple items and earn discounts.

FREE Postage on most items, and no quibble returns for all items if its not suitable for your needs.

A Little Thanks to ALL my Clients

Thank you to you all.

Your patience and understanding over the last 12 months has been amazing. When I first started RillyRoos, it was my intention to just buy stock and sell for myself. As most of you know, I have been running the business myself whilst we waited for all the mini Rillys to be in full time school, and now Mr Rilly has been able to join me. I do appreciate that you have been patient with me, I havent been able to get things listed as quick as I would have liked but, hopefully now with 2 and a half of us listing (the half being a part time, dragged into help for free teenage son) we should be able to work a little quicker and hopefully make you (and us) a little more pennies.

Thank you to each of you for taking the gamble and having a go. Without you we would be an empty warehouse, with nothing to do

Thank you to those of you that have recommended us to friends and family. It is appreciated so much. Some of you should be claiming commission for how many people you have recommended LOL

Thank you to you all for your continued support. I hope we have many many many years together, forever topping up your eBay piles.

Love

RillyRoo xxx

Professional Photography – Starting Small

Many amateurs wonder if they will ever make it in to the big wide professional world of photography, and to be perfectly honest…. if you have a good eye and take nice shots, I don’t think there is any thing that should stop you. 

For example let me tell you my story. I am still very early days yet, but it is a venture I am enjoying. 

At the age of 33 I had my first ever decent camera, I instantly fell in love with it. To be honest the poor thing was wasted on taking pictures of my kids, and items I needed to list on eBay, I used the auto setting ALL the time. I didn’t have a single clue about F stops, and Iso settings, and to be truthful I am still learning now. I got a little fed up of not knowing how to work it better, and little did I know the next step of my playing would be the step that has taught me so much. 

18 Months ago, I started a 365 project. I looked into it and researched what would be the best way to do it and the best way to challenge myself. How could I use it to learn more about my camera, how could I learn more so I stopped using the Auto function as much (Lets be honest, when you have kids running in all directions, Auto is sometimes the only option) I found that the most useful way was to set themes. Something different for each week. Not only would this keep things interesting, but it would allow me to try different styles of photography I may have not thought of before. 

Let the word inspire you

Let the world inspire you

Other people found it interesting and decided to join in too. Some like myself found that they not only had the love for photography, but actually, they are pretty good at it too. 

So we tried themes like landscapes, flowers, still life, portraits, street & even stock photography. Exploring rules of thirds, lead in lines, depth of field and loads of other different jargons we had no idea of at the start of the venture. 

Castle in the Distance... Can you see it?

Castle in the Distance… Can you see it?

Fast forward now to today. I have done a couple of wedding shoots for friends, and have a few booked up ready too. The part I found hardest was “Am I any good?” its all good taking pictures yourself and your dad saying how fabulous they are, but what about if you are really any good? Would your friends be happy with your photos or will you have let them down for their special day. The pressure you can put on yourself is huge. The other question is “Do I charge?, If I charge, how much shall I charge?” personally, I have done the couple of weddings so far for free. This is to help me know if its an area I would like to pursue one day, or whether I have what it takes to organise, and mingle with strangers for a whole day. Also, if things go terribly wrong and you only end up with 5 decent pictures, at least you hahaven’tipped your friends off for a couple of 100 quid and lost a friendship over it. Always express you are not a pro, but you will try for them. There are lots of couples that simply cant afford a photographer, and if one of these couples are friends then it might be worth asking if you can take the pics for them. 

Sometimes you get GREAT shots

Sometimes you get GREAT shots

My 2nd bit of how to start is…. take pictures of other peoples children, with permission of course… LOL please always make sure the parents are present. Its all good taking pictures of your own kids, you can threaten them with an early bed, or lose out on the xbox if they don’t sit still, or just so I can take one more shot. Other peoples kids are unpredictable, and you cant threaten them either…. Damn !!! Again, start for free to see if it is something you want to do. 

Most important, listen. Listen to the feedback. Listen to the friends of friends when they see your pictures. Those are the ones that don’t care if they hurt your feelings. If its a crap picture, you can bet your ass they will be the ones to say so. And trust me, you will take some crap ones…. but don’t show those ones to the client 😉 

Obviously you wont stay free forever, but don’t jump straight in and expect to be earning £1000 every weekend. Photography is a hard enough skill to learn, and even harder still earning a reputation that matches the pictures too. Start small and build your reputation, if you are worth paying for, people will. 

Experiment with portraits

Experiment with portraits

Loving an Eeyore

I spotted the meme above the other day and it totally changed my whole outlook on living with depression. I don’t mean my own depression either, but the depression of a loved one. 

Depression is an illness that doesn’t just affect the one diagnosed with it. You try all you can to get them to ‘shake it off’ or ‘let it go’ and many a time you feel like pulling your hair out in frustration. This in turn gets you down , after years of encouraging and coaxing you feel like giving up yourself, and deep down if you look closely you probably have given up lots of times. 

Simple things like, when the loved one suffers with anxiety and agoraphobia, and they find it difficult to go out. After years and years of asking them to go out and being told no, you stop asking and just go on your merry way and leave them at home. Is that a ‘giving up’ moment? I know I have done it a million times with Mr Rilly. Not because I dont care, but because for the rest of us life carries on, and instead of picking a fight and making us both miserable, I just accept its not going to happen and carry on. After a while you stop asking…. 

But when I saw the meme, it was beautiful and it reminded me to ask again. But not in a negative way, not to put pressure on, but to just make him feel included in the world again. To make him feel like he is a part of my life, just the way he is. Why should depressed people have to act any differently to who they are? Some of us are happy people, how would people feel if you had to constantly tell them to stop talking to people, they are being too sociable, or they are being too kind to other people all the time? They would look at you like you were bonkers, and how dare you tell them how they should act..So therefore is it not the same for someone who is depressed? 

Some people are just that way. No amount of medication, therapy or loved ones making them feel guilty is ever going to change who they are. I have learned to accept my Eeyore. I love him for all his ways, even the gloomy, pessimistic ones. 

How about you learn to accept your Eeyore, Invite them out, even if they say no, invite them out even if they just sit in a corner. They might be depressed, or gloomy, but they do like being around their loved ones too. 

So give your Eeyore a call, and ask them how they are. Call them and just chat, you never know, you might just make them smile, and feel happy, because you are accepting them just the way they are 

 

How Do You Find The Time??

Is a question I get asked a million times? 

The plain and simple of it, I don’t !! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. After having been out of work for some time, I soon realised I don’t like to sit around doing nothing. I have to be doing something. So when I was unable to work, due to PTSD, which is a whole different blog post, I started to eBay. It started off by just selling bits and bobs around the house, just like everyone else. I soon realised that I was finding it quite therapeutic too. I was interacting with people even if it was just on a virtual level, I liked that. I liked that I was good at it too. An opportunity came along where I was able to use some of the money I had made to buy more items to sell. From there RillyRoos started to grow. When it was getting too big for my bedroom, I knew I had to do something. 

We went off to get a storage locker, which then became two, then three, and an office. Before long, it was time to move into bigger pastures. We are now proud occupiers of a warehouse. 

But, this doesn’t answer the 1st question of ‘How do you find the time?’ 

As I have already said…. I don’t! 

I am up any time from 5.30 in the morning, some days I have a crafty snooze on the settee, and some days I just straight onto the PC to check the previous nights sales and answer any queries. Check emails and messages for potential clients etc, and then its time to get 4 out of the 6 fed & dressed ready for the day ahead and I often fall into bed at Midnight after finishing off bits & bobs from the day before. 

I have to say, if it wasn’t for Mr Rilly, I don’t think we would be as successful as we are now. He has given up his time and his career to be a stay at home dad, (Don’t tell him I said so, but he is pretty damn good at it) 

So there I am at the warehouse, 5 days a week, 8-9 hours a day, and I come home and often finish off little bits, or communicate with buyers and clients. And then BOOOOOM a new thing starts!! School event photography & Friends getting married and they know I have a love of photography, and its something I have wanted to try, so as a gift to them I have done their wedding photos, and I have to admit, I am pretty OK at it. Very proud of the shots (and thankfully so are the Brides & Grooms). Not only now do we have one business with 49 clients to sell for, in my spare time I do photography. 

I am not a wonder-woman, a supermom, or a career driven maniac, I am just a woman who likes to keep busy. 

Back to the question again…. How do I find the time?? I don’t, I MAKE the time. I enjoy what I do, I like being busy, I have a family that is supportive of the businesses, so its worth making that time for. 

And that’s the key, If you enjoy something, don’t just sit their moaning about not having the time to do it… MAKE the time to do it, what ever it may be. 

Photos By the Seaside

What does a photographer do when they go to the seaside with the family?

Of course we take advantage of being in a different location to try new things, and new scenes. I am the first to admit, my landscape pictures are my handicap when it comes to the basic photography groups. But part of that may simply be down to the fact I dont really go anywhere with an interesting enough view.

So here are a couple of my shots from a couple of trips to the seaside with the family.

Pebbled Beaches - I love the tones and colours in this one

Pebbled Beaches – I love the tones and colours in this one

 

Castle in the Distance... Can you see it?

Castle in the Distance… Can you see it?

I then tried some wave shots. I love the movement of the sea. I could watch the sea for hours.

I wanted to catch the still shot of the sea, no long exposures (which is something I am still working on) so nice quick shutter speeds.

Crashing - Well, a British style of crashing waves. I would love to see some waves from around the world

Crashing – Well, a British style of crashing waves. I would love to see some waves from around the world

 

Curl - OK not big enough to surf on, but still cool

Curl – OK not big enough to surf on, but still cool

 

And of course, I didnt completely ignore the family. I do take photos of them too

Picking Shells - 2 & 6 on the beach

Picking Shells – 2 & 6 on the beach

 

A Girls Hero is her Daddy

A Girls Hero is her Daddy

 

 

*All photos are my own and should not be copied, cropped or reproduced without my permission.
If you wish to purchase a specific picture please contact me though sales@rillyroos.co.uk

Thank you

Do Baby Clothes Makers Even Have Kids??

Apart from the obvious “why do baby jeans have pockets?” my particular gripe is about something much more fiddley. I am sure there are alternative solutions to this particular problem.

In my opinion its fairly obvious that they have never tried to dress an octopus in a net bag, or fasten clothes onto Rapunzel

Do you want to see my gripe??

THIS is my gripe

THIS is my gripe

 

Just look at the size of the button to the size of the loop !! Seriously !!

I have spent the last 15 years pinning kids down whilst faffing around at the back of their necks trying my hardest to shove a massive button into a tiny hole.

Then to make it more fun clothes designers decide to do this

Silly shaped buttons

Silly shaped buttons

 

And that is a relatively tame shape. Some are just so awkward they have to have a whole new shaped button hole for it.

 

But that isnt it…. Designers also like to do this on little girls clothes…

 

Fabric covered buttons !!

Fabric covered buttons !!

 

So not only do you have teeny loops, and silly shapes, you now have fabric covered buttons that attract stray hairs from wriggling girls and you end up fastening a chunk of hair into the loop as well.

 

So please, designers of clothes. Think a little more about us poor mothers who can spend 5 mins messing about trying to fasten each button, while being screamed at, and kicked. We do have other things we need to get on with. Oh and if they are completely necessary, at least make the hole big enough… Thank you

 

 

Signed Stoke City Shirt

Day 5 is something about work.

I think the best thing I can talk about tonight is a recent item I have listed, which is a signed Stoke City Shirt.

 

 

Giff, I love you Man, P Hoekstra

Giff, I love you Man, P Hoekstra

Click here to see the item on eBay 

There is loads of signed memorabilia out there, but sometimes one crosses your path that has a little story behind it.

This Stoke City Shirt is signed by the retired Dutch footballer, Peter Hoekstra
He played for Stoke City around 2001-2004
He was voted as one of the best Stoke players to have played at the Britannia Stadium. (Back in 2008 anyway)

While Hoekstra was at Stoke City, ‘Giff the kitman’ was there too
This is who the shirt was originally signed for

It simply reads

“Giff, I love you Man

P. Hoekstra”

The shirt is now being sold to raise funds for a small pre-school to help kit out their new classroom. Smylers Preschool. Its the same pre-school that all my children have been to.