Mallika Chopra has talked with Inc. in the past about harnessing the power of intent and has built a social network, Intent.com, around support and accomplishment. Mallika was co-hosting the State of Now conference in New York City this week, and sat down to share her plans for her next book, and some of the secrets that let her be both a mom and a business owner.
1. Have a clear intent before you start.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom with Intent.com on the side. My biggest intent is to figure out balance. I have two kids and I want to be really involved in their lives. I ask every day, 'How can I serve first being with my kids and then with the community?' Fortunately, the community is building by itself. I'm about to embark on something new--I just signed a book deal about the search for balance and this journey."
2. Set business goals that match your intent--and find investors to back you.
"My husband is a Venture Capitalist. I've taken the mom/balance path. There's a different path for women like myself who are trying to find the balance. I approach time and milestones for my business in a different way than people who have monthly milestones and goal paces. Since my husband is a VC, my path is the slower path. My angel investors believe in my vision and think in a sustainable way. Because of that, our Intent.com community was built in an authentic way as opposed to meeting growth milestones. I recommend people be open and honest with your investors and your community. Startups are hard in general--so be open and look for support and ask for help."
3. Understand how much you can accomplish in one day.
"It's an interesting time for a lot of women my age who have an MBA or a Ph.D. but I decided to be home for a while. Many are trying to reenter the workforce or start companies. It's a time of innovation and people are trying to figure it out. Part of figuring it out is reinventing and taking it slower. The reality is that you can only manage so much being at school, soccer practice, and running a business."
4. Set up your support network.
"My intent has always been to be a mom, be present with children, and find balance, so for my husband and I it was a natural evolution. It has worked out--I'm a big believer in having family around. I have a huge support network, my husband is flexible, my mom is there, so I can travel and work because of my network. We're both doing what we love."
5. Start by knowing what you want.
"Obviously, I'm a big believer in setting intent. Goals are more like 'how you do something,' but intent is more like the why. It's surprising, but many people don't know what they really, truly want. Finding balance is from the soul, so start with incubation. Contemplate, meditate, and think about what you want in your life, and what will let you balance. Then express your intent: just say it, post it, or write it down. Once you set the intent, create a network for support. Then focus on your goals.
'What do you want?' is the first question on the path."