I want to start by saying I wouldn’t trade my daughter for the world. But there are days where it’s extremely challenging to be a mother and run a business. There will be times where you miss important calls, deadlines slip by, and you can’t wait to collapse on your bed and sleep. There are simply challenges that are unique to parents who run their own businesses.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Even though there are hard days, you can still run a business. You just have to prioritize and adapt to these obstacles and more than anything, it requires you accepting that some things are out of your control when kids are involved.
This blog is personal for me because I’ve experienced these scenarios as a mother myself. I want other mothers to know that you can do it. You can start a profitable business, be an amazing mom, and pursue your dreams.
For those of you who know the struggle, let’s support each other; child care swap, anyone?
So, let’s talk about a few things I wish I knew about the realities of starting and running a business as a mompreneur:
1. You Will Miss Out On Some Things
Unless you’re a superhuman, you will miss out on some things. Whether it’s an important business call or your child’s recital, you can’t be everywhere at once.
Balance is everything in life. You have to develop a system to prioritize what’s most important to you. You never want to miss out on important events for your children, but you also need to pay the bills.
Accept that you will have to make compromises.
Try and set certain days aside for specific tasks. For example:
- Clean up your books at the end of the month
- Schedule important business calls when your child is napping
- Avoid video conferences when your child is most active
By creating a schedule, you will allow yourself to find a balance between your work and personal life. This schedule will also be helpful for your kids who can come to expect the times when mommy needs to focus on work while they color for instance or playtime with mommy. A schedule prevents your life from being even more chaotic.
2. Working from Home Is Challenging
You may think the idea of working from home is a dream come true. And I’m not saying it isn’t. There are a lot of perks to working from home. But be aware that the craziness your children bring when not at school or camp can make it hard to focus.
Are you working on a proposal for a major project? Expect to get interrupted constantly as your child looks to show you a new picture they made, to tell you they want crackers, or the worst one, complete silence 🙂
This is the norm when you work from home. Learn to take advantage of the times your child is immersed in an activity because you may not get it again during a given day.
3. It Gets Easier – Sort Of
Younger children are needier than older ones (sometimes). You will find that you accomplish more when your children start school. But you need to make sure you really maximize that time when they are out of the house.
That time will fly by, and when they get home, the chaos will resume. Another thing to keep in mind is all the extra activities you will need to do as your children age such as ballet class on Tuesdays, swim lessons on Thursdays and a play date with Suzie on Friday afternoon after school. You will become an amateur chauffeur which will do a number on your productivity.
But there’s a silver lining to this struggle.
When you are forced to maximize your time, to make the best use of every second, you really learn how to get the most out of your day. It’s a rare skill that entrepreneurs with kids develop not because they want to, but because they have to.
4. Have a Babysitter on Standby
Coming to terms with my limitations was one of the biggest challenges I faced. After all, we all like to think we’re invincible.
Well, there’s nothing more sobering than children and their ability to remind you that you are indeed a human.
It is a life saver for parents to have a babysitter on standby.
A part-time babysitter is perfect for helping you out in a pinch. Whether you’re off to a big meeting or looking to run a few errands for your business, a babysitter gives you the flexibility you need to make those things happen.
And trust me, you need some “you time” every now and then. It’s the only way to stop yourself from going insane. Just make sure to grab a nice coffee, take a deep breath in, and remember that you’re building a great business to support your little ones.
5. Expect Your Kids to Behave Like Kids
Kids are going to be kids no matter how hard you try to make them behave. They will rip apart a bag of cookies, take out the pots and pans, or find your makeup collection and smear that expensive lipstick you just bought.
It’s inevitable, so learn to deal with it.
Expect that they will get into trouble whenever you take your eyes off them. Just remember, they aren’t doing what they do on purpose. As someone who likes to keep a clean and orderly house, this was one thing I had to become more flexible with as soon as I brought my daughter home from the hospital. I’ve learned to pick my battles so that I can focus on what’s most important with both my business and as a parent.
6. Strategic Supervision Is a Must
Look, you can’t watch your kids constantly and still work efficiently. It’s just not possible.
But there’s one trick that works really well.
Depending on where your office is, you can place your desk in an area that allows you to keep tabs on what they’re doing. This may result in lower productivity, but it will save you time cleaning up messes and dealing with accidents.
7. Remember Who You’re Doing This For
There’s going to be days where you want to call it quits. The type of days where everything seems to be working against you. We’ve all experienced these kinds of situations.
So, remember what your motivation is.
Yes, we all want to build a successful business, but we also want to give our kids the best life possible.
I find that when I feel like the world’s against me, just reminding myself of that can do wonders. My daughter is my inspiration, and she is what motivates me to build Social Styles into the best social media marketing agency in the health and wellness industry.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource
You can’t do everything by yourself. The biggest favor you can do yourself is to realize what your strengths and weaknesses are. The most successful entrepreneurs know when to outsource jobs.
I work with many small businesses to provide them wellness marketing services because many business owners recognize that social media isn’t their expertise.
As a busy parent, you can’t do it all. You will have to rely on other people, so start building your networks out. You may not have the budget to do this initially but work towards reinvesting in your business and outsourcing those tasks that aren’t your strong suit.
9. Building a Business Takes Time
This may be the most important piece of advice I could give to anyone contemplating starting a business. Building a successful business takes time. Please do not buy into people telling you that you can build a successful business within months. You want to build this business to support your family and for some reason, you just can’t seem to become a millionaire in 6 months. There are too many people out there preaching this and for mompreneurs in particular, it can make you feel like a failure.
I think one of the first entrepreneurs who validated this concept for me was Gary Vee who talked more about the process than showing a Ferrari in his garage. For me, while so simple, it was extremely compelling (and refreshing) to have someone say that they achieved all of their success because of hard work over a long period of time (Mind blown!). Wait, I thought you just took a course on marketing, received a few template worksheets and you could have a successful agency in 3 months? No? OK good, I can keep doing what I’ve been doing then.
I think it is actually much more powerful to know that you CAN do it through hard work. It requires putting one stone on top of the other day in and day out to eventually build a wall. While you will see progress along the way, it takes a consistent work ethic and time for it to pay off. I am 4 years in with Social Styles and I am far from where I want to be but I’m also very far from where I started. Look at your progress year over year to motivate and inspire you to continue.
Be Strong – You Aren’t Alone
No matter how hard everything seems, just remember that you’re not alone. There are many other parents out there building their businesses (myself included).
Just stay focused, remember why you are doing this, and brew a strong cup of coffee when the energy levels get low.
There are always other talented freelancers and businesses that can help you achieve your goals. Whether its a wellness marketing agency like mine or a specialized designer for promotional materials, don’t give up and keep pushing!