Wednesday, October 19, 2011

help is a healing balm


I always start my week with the best of intentions. I sit down and try to be as intentional as I can. I make lists. I dream big. I note all of the things I seem to constantly forget. But by Wednesday? I'm often off the grid when it comes to my planning. And we won't even talk about Thursday. This year Thursday just does me in. There are weeks when I feel like a failure as a mom and there are weeks when I feel like a failure in my business. Most weeks it's a little of both. There is a huge healing balm that I'm learning to invite into my life.


It's ok to ask for help. Y'all know that, right? I know I know it but sometimes I don't act like I know it. So, as we're approaching that time of year where striking a balance can be overwhelming I'd like to talk about bringing on help with your business. Even if you don't have a business or a crafty endeavor on the side, the idea of asking for help can be universal.

I think it's pivotal to understand that there's more than one way to find someone to help you with your work. It doesn't have to be cost prohibitive. You can start small and simple. You'll be amazed at the amount of work you can get done with just one set of extra hands. It's exponential.

The first step is deciding what you actually need help with. Think about all of the day to day jobs that you could delegate to someone else from time to time.

Today I'd like to share two simple ways to seek out help.

1. Friends. Invite them over for the morning to help you push through to a bigger goal. I've found that many times I just have to ask. I've put it on facebook, twitter, emailed a few friends. And then I think of some fun way to reward them for their time. Starbucks, brownies, a favorite snack, or even a product they've been wanting.

Groups of friends are even more helpful. Invite a few over for an assembly line approach to help. Play a John Hughes movie. Offer yummy desserts.

I know you're thinking you don't want to be a burden. Don't. People don't do what they don't want to do. And I've found that my friends are more bothered when I don't ask for help and really need it. Your friends love you and they probably love what you do.

2. Interns. Interns are an awesome way to increase productivity and bring some fresh energy to your work. And they don't have to be cost prohibitive. You could certainly offer an unpaid internship with the focus on offering a specific skillset and an intimate glimpse of what it's like to try to run a creative business. I currently have an intern who was looking to fill some independent study hours for her degree. She gets the hours and I get the help.

Don't rule out paid internships, though! I know it's hard to think of paying someone but the amount of extra product they can help you produce (either by direct help or freeing up your time) might be worth more than what you are paying them. I have another intern who I do have a small stipend set aside for. In one morning at a busy indie type fair, I can make up what I'm paying her and then some.

Finding an intern doesn't have to be hard. Make up a cute little post for your blog. Tweet about it. Post it on facebook.

I just happen to live in a college town so I started by asking several people I knew who worked with college students. A few days later, I posted a description of what I was looking for on facebook. Both of my interns found me through that post.

It really is ok to ask for help. It's ok to wave the white flag. We are not called to be masters of everything. We're just called to do the best we can with our little lives.

Maybe you worry about being a burden. Or asking too much. Maybe you're so used to trying to balance everything yourself that it's not even a thought that enters your mind. I'll tell you what, though, some of the sweetest fellowship times have come from asking and then letting people be part of my creative process.

Well, what do y'all think? Have you considered seeking out help? Would you? What's worked for you?


  1. When I worked full time I sought help from my mom in doing the laundry and ironing. I just didn't have the time for it. I was embarrassed by the whole thing, but it was the only way to get clean, unwrinkled clothes at the time. I look back and laugh at how agonized I was about the whole thing. Now that I'm a SAHM I do the laundry and ironing but I wouldn't think twice about asking for help, especially from family.

  2. I like the idea of asking for help but sometimes it seems like no one would help with what I need. I run a ministry for first responder wives which takes up a lot of my time. Most of that work is stuff I have to do on my own. Where I am lacking is in my wifely duties (laundry, organizing the office, etc). My husband is wonderful and does help but sometimes I feel like I can't get on top of all of it

  3. Learning to trust my husband with more things around the house has been a major one for me, as I've been incredibly busy with opening an etsy shop and working on my blog. It was somewhat a matter of necessity, he has been a life-saver, and I wondered why I didn't let him do more sooner! ;) Asking for help can be difficult, especially when you take pride in the work you do... I have to remind myself that I am not defined by what I DO but who I am in Him.

  4. I also have a hard time asking for help. My husband is so very busy he really can't help with this. I'm in the process of trying to hire a babysitter to pick up my kids (the preschooler at 12 and the other two at 2:30) on Fridays so I can have a better chunk of time to work. It's amazing how the picking up can eat up the entire afternoon. Even organizing that is proving to be a bit of a challenge. :) But I'm working on it.

  5. oh, man. family could have been a post unto its own, right?

    i love what y'all have to say. it's hard to ask and to find willing helpers sometimes. i have to remind myself when i feel overwhelmed that it's usually only for a season :).

    praying for each of you as you seek wisdom in how to use your time well!

  6. Ellen I am so glad you wrote this post. I have been praying about this exact thing. My sales have really picked up which is a huge blessing but now I am really juggling. I've even given my kiddos little "jobs" to do. I need to ask for help....