It’s Monday and we’re behind on shipping.
I REALLY hate it when this happens! I hope my customers truly understand that we never ‘aim’ to have shipping delays!! We’ve been working hard since finally settling into our ‘final’ homestead, on getting shipping times down. However, sometimes life gets in the way and one day turns into two, then three, a busy weekend comes along, and here we are, late.
Our goal at the Homestead Emporium has always been to have two shipping days per week. This actually works out quite well and most weeks one of us gets all our packages to the post office twice. Sometimes, like this past week, things come up that cause every.single.thing we do to get backed up. We didn’t even have time for a stocking this week, which REALLY affects the home budget! A trip to the city on Tuesday for taxes, pretty much a full day adventure. Friday and Saturday an indoor garage sale to benefit our local museum. My goal each week is to TRY my best to have two days for just family, Saturday and Sunday. That didn’t work so well this week. I ended up working until 11:30pm Sunday, and I’m still not caught up.
This is the one real struggle for me about being a work at home mom. Work and home life must co-exist. There’s no heading off to work for 8 hours, working, getting it done, and going home. Since I’m at home and not away at work, it can often be taken for granted that I can run the kids to places, or I can stop everything to do whatever might come up. On top of working at home, I homeschool the kids, so I really do NOT like to disrupt our routine. I prefer to keep weekday mornings free for school and weekday afternoons (and often evenings) free for work. Things flow well when we stick to this schedule.
What’s all this got to do with shipping times?
I read a review the other day about a work at home mom (wahm) and it got me pondering our shipping issue. The reviewer was comparing the first wahm to another, saying that the first wahm had a smaller business then the second wahm, but the second had faster turn around times for email replies and shipping. So, to this reviewer, the first wahm had no excuse for not being just as fast, if not faster.
The review, in reality, was simply not a fair comparison. It got me wondering if this was the view of most wahm customers? Do they expect super fast shipping and emails from wahm’s because they are always at home and should be near their computer and sewing machines?
The first work at home mom does a lot of the work herself, as I do, in her business. Her turn around time was being compared to another work at home mom that has a lot of help. The first work at home mom does all her own sewing, all her own email replying, as do I. The second work at home mom has seamstresses that do the majority of her sewing now, and her husband also works the home business full time.
The comparison, and ultimately the review left for this wahm, did not take each woman’s reality into account.
I know our business is not lightening fast with shipping, and I really don’t know how to change that without drastically changing our family & homestead lifestyle.
I do have a shipping helper, but she’s young, and still learning. She does a great job gathering all the items and packaging them, but the final job of closing up packages and printing out shipping labels is still something I have to do. I decided a long time ago that this business would remain a FAMILY business as much as is possible while allowing our children (who are all now teens and adults) to come alongside and learn the business in ways that they WANT to participate. There’s no forced labour. Although, my son may argue with that as he really doesn’t “love” doing snaps, but thankfully he still does about 60% and our 16 year old is helping me do the other 40%. That means I’m doing snaps again where as before, Joshua did them ALL. The business is growing though, and I’m not wanting to ‘force’ him to do more than he wants to do, but there’s only one of me and only so much time in a day. Or in a week.
It’s a constant balancing act. Trying to figure out the very best way to allow the business to grow, while allowing my children to grow IN the business, in ways they WANT to.
This means deciding when it’s best to hire outside help, like Wendy and Ryan from www.eveningdesign.com, who have taken over a lot of my webwork! None of my children have the capacity, or desire, to do webwork at this time. At one time, Alesia did, so she took care of some, like all our etsy listings. Now she’s an assistant manager in her outside-the-home-job, and is in a serious relationship. Her other half lives 2 hours away so this means a lot of travel time for them. She simply doesn’t have the time to devote to Homestead Emporium any longer. So now Wendy is my right hand woman when it comes to all things online! And she does a fantastic job!
But Wendy can’t come over here and ship packages for me. She’s 2 hours away. :p
Besides, our children all enjoy the income they make from the business. This is the ultimate goal, that each family member who so desires, is able to make a good income through Homestead Emporium.
But that requires patience from me, to teach them and work alongside them. Teaching your own teens to work alongside you is different than being able to hand over a job to an outside adult. Since I do both, I know which one is easier. Hiring an adult…
But nothing worth while in life is easy, and watching our children grow and learn from a business I began is worth the extra work. And patience.
However, it does require a little more patience from our customers too. My hope has always been that each one of you will feel it’s worth the wait too.
Our family and business goal, has never been to deliver the FASTEST.
Our family and business goal has been to deliver the very BEST!