In light of August being Women’s Month, I thought it would be the perfect time to promote some hard working mums. You could find the service provider you were looking for or be inspired to take that leap you’ve been dreaming of.
Q&A WITH SAM
1. Tell me a little about yourself without including details of your family and work (it’s tough I know)
This is tough! My whole identity is wrapped up in my family and my work… So I’ll be honest:
I’m a recovering workaholic who has suffered through several identity crises since the beginning of this year (2018), when I quit my full-time job to pursue my own business dreams and to find flexibility and freedom in freelancing.
Motherhood has changed me indelibly. Who was I before? A writer, a book lover, a cat lover, a gym bunny and a fanatical runner, a red wine fundi and a coffee connoisseur. Who am I now? All those things and so much more.
I’m Pretoria-born but Joburg is in my blood.
2. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have one toddler son, the very handsome Elijah, who is 19 months going on 19 years. Hands-down he’s the most affectionate cuddle bunny you will ever come across and he surprises me daily with his smart-as-a-whip quips and general awesomeness.
3. What is your side hustle? And when did you start?
I am a freelance writer, editor and content creator. I’ve always been these things, but was constrained to the rules of a single publication for almost a decade. So I went out into the wild and started freelancing in February this year.
HOWEVER, there’s a side hustle to my side hustle that I’m super stoked about. Also borne from my new role as ‘Mom’, I am launching a parenting podcast called The Great Equalizer about the realities of being a mom in modern Jozi. I am super excited about this venture and what it will offer parents in South Africa. There are so many parenting podcasts out there, but none focused on the local market. I hope to be live with my first episode by October, so watch this space!
4. What did you do before starting your own business AND what made you leave?
I was an online editor and journalist at a Gauteng-based magazine but was breaching the ceiling at this job and had to decide if I wanted to do something similar at another company or go completely rogue and start my own business. My son was the deciding factor… For him, I would move mountains and starting my own business as a freelance writer and editor became that mountain. I’ve been out in the wild for about eight months now and, while I can’t say it’s any easier than a full-time job, it’s definitely better for my family.
5. How do you allocate your time between work and family?
Elijah goes to crèche during the day so I made it my mission from early on to find WiFi-friendly coffee shops that have become my go-to office space (when I’m not parked at my kitchen table). If you’re asking about how I balance time between work and family… I’ll let you know when I know (lol). While I’ve got time in the day to work, I’m also a mom and a wife and a home executive (and let’s not forget about the necessary evil of self care). All the moms out there – SAHMS, WAHMS and full-time working mommies alike – will know how hard it is to keep all these balls in the air.
6. What have been the hardships of running your own business?
Figuring out who I am, because my identity has always been so inextricably linked to my work. When I quit my job I was lost. I realized that ‘Samantha Herbst’ had become not much more than Mom and Worker Bee. My old self – the runner, the reader, the wino, the wife – she’d been compromised. That was hard. It’s been a tough transition but I’ve had to start the slow and painful process of extricating myself from my work. They have the same name but they are two different entities.
7. What have been the highlights?
Figuring out who I am 😉 What an amazing journey it’s been. There have been so many days that I wanted to throw in the towel. On those days I want to pick Elijah up from school early and just hide under my Mom hat. But by not doing so I’ve forced myself to figure out who I am in those hours when I’m not Mom and Home Executive, as well as what kind of Boss I would like to be for my business.
8 . What advice do you have for other women who are on the cusp of taking the leap into entrepreneurship?
I would love to buy them a coffee and just sit and chat for a few hours because there is just so much to say. It’s scary, it’s hard, it’s thrilling, it’s empowering. It will surprise you.
Find a community of entrepreneurs to support you through your journey. My friends at Nomads & Co have been so integral to my growth this past year, so have a look for them online if you really want a good sounding board. You won’t be disappointed.
Also: Start Before You’re Ready.
9. How can we get in touch with you?
Samanthaherbst.co.za will hopefully be signed off and ready to go live by the time this post is published. If not, please be patient as it is under construction.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or Samantha.email@example.com.
And please PLEASE keep an eye out for my new venture The Great Equalizer on Facebook, Instagram and www.thegreatequalizer.co.za(also under construction). My co-host and I believe that all parents are rocking the same kind of crazy. So we get together as often as we can and have a laugh about the ups and downs of our current upside-down. Our motto? NO JUDGIES!