Being a working mother requires an almost supernatural ability to keep dozens of balls in the air simultaneously.
And if you’re a Mother who’s chosen to grow your own business while simultaneously raising children, you’ve taken on the ultimate challenge. Many of us choose to become an entrepreneur because we’re passionate about our business vision and we want to have the flexibility and freedom to fit in around our children and their needs. But the harsh reality is that juggling business building with motherhood is hard – and there are a few truths you need to be aware of if you want to be successful in both.
Here are 5 truths to live by as a Mother and Entrepreneur.
1. If You’re Not Obsessed with Growing Your Business, Step Away Now.
As mothers, we carry the entire mental load of the household – costumes for school assembly, dentist appointments, food shopping, school lunches, after-school activities, and the list goes on. And growing a business can be all-consuming too. Squeezing the demands of a business into our already-overcrowded mother-minds is no small feat. And just like a child, if your business doesn’t get the time and attention it needs to grow and flourish, it will simply wither away and die. It requires not just passion, but obsession, in order to succeed. Obsession will get you through the tough times and inspire you to keep going. Without it, you’ll simply run out of steam and give up. Make sure your business vision is one you’re willing to obsess over.
2. Figure Out What You Will and Will Not Sacrifice
To succeed in business while being a mother, you’re going to have to make your business an equal top priority. Which means you have to sacrifice certain things. Despite what some idealists declare, the reality is that we can’t have it all. We can’t be there for every school event, or always tuck our children in at bedtime, or have a perfectly tidy home while simultaneously growing a business.
Get yourself really clear on what you absolutely will not sacrifice. Are you willing to give up your marathon training? Your spot on the Parents & Teachers Board? Or being there at school pick-up every afternoon? And let go of the guilt of not being “the perfect Mum”. There’s no reason to feel guilty anyway. In fact, some heartening research from Harvard Business School across 24 different countries shows that children of working mothers experience a whole range of positive benefits later in life. So you’re giving your children a gift when you choose to prioritise your business equally as high as your children.
3. Stop Making Excuses and Ask Instead “What Do I Have to Do to Make This Happen?”
During my time as a Business Coach for women, I’ve heard all the excuses – “I didn’t get time because I had to take my son to the doctor”, or “I couldn’t attend the workshop because I had the kids”. I can absolutely relate because I’m a mother too and I know how hard it is with the usual plus unexpected demands on our time. But if you’re serious about succeeding in business, you’ll need to figure out what’s required to grow your business, and then make it non-negotiable. What are the core activities that will win you new clients and allow you to serve more effectively? And what do you need to do to make it happen? Do you need to get a regular babysitter you can call on? Do you need a live-in nanny for a while? Does your partner need to take care of Wednesday or Friday pick-ups? What do you need to do to achieve your business goals? Stop making excuses and make them happen.
4. Invest in Yourself and Your Business In Order To Grow
Be willing to invest in yourself to develop the skills and competencies you need to be a successful business owner. And be willing to invest in your business to set up the right systems and structures, grow your brand awareness, win clients, and serve them effectively. For every ‘expense’ that comes along, ask yourself “What’s the Return on Investment?” If it’s going to win you new clients or help you to deliver an improved service, it’s not an expense but an investment. It’s the chicken and egg thing. But the reality of business building is that you need the chicken before it will grow an egg. Business growth requires investment. And if you’re not prepared to invest up-front in order to grow yourself and your business, perhaps entrepreneurship isn’t the right path for you.
5. Find Your Tribe
Combining business with motherhood is hard and not everyone ‘gets’ it. Find a tribe of like-minded women who encourage and support you to keep going when the going gets tough, and who understand you and what you’re going through. It takes time to build a company from scratch. And it ‘takes a village’ too. So find your tribe and get the support you need. It’s our mission in the Secret Women’s Business Academy to provide a powerful tribe to support mothers and women in business. None of us can do it alone. If you haven’t found your tribe of inspired, ambitious, and heart-centered women yet, please come and join us here!
Keep your chin up, keep going, and know that you’re doing an amazing job.
If you need help growing your business, jump on over to The Secret Women’s Business Academy to find out more.
In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International