Starting your own business isn't easy. It takes all your time, energy, dedication and money-- and so does being a mom. While trying to be both an entrepreneur and mom seems like a recipe for stressed-out days and sleepless nights, moms all over the world are doing it successfully every day.
Nearly 47% of U.S. workers are women, with 75% of them working full time, and women own almost 10 million businesses today.
So how do they do it? How do mompreneurs flourish at balancing mom life and business life? Turns out there are 4 secrets to balancing work with family life.
1. Your Labor Must Start & End with Passion.
Working moms labor with passion in and out of the home. Sometimes moms don't choose to work. They're forced to start their own business because their husband gets laid off, they get divorced or a child gets sick and medical expenses quickly pile up. Others start businesses because they have a passion for a product or service and they see an industry need they can fill. In the first case, moms work with passion because of a deep love for their family and needing to support them, and in the latter, they're passionate about a product or service they've created and want it to prosper.
Melissa Elders, who foundedBoutique Me with her husband in 2008 and has three kids, has found that it's easy to get frustrated trying to juggle the mom and business owner hats, but she just has to remind herself why she does it.
"I remind myself daily that I do what I do so that I can be with my family--so that I can go to the PTA meetings, be room mom, eat lunch with my kids, take them to their activities and so on," she said. "With that said, having a successful business ensures these things are possible, so with all of the challenges of managing both, I remind myself of what is important and what I have to do to maintain that."
Either way, getting deep into this passion that moms inherently have will help fuel your willpower to succeed and strengthen your ability to successfully start and run a business. And if you have a passion for what you're doing, it'll reduce some of the stress of being a mom and entrepreneur.
2. Listen To & Emulate Other Successful Mompreneurs.
Most moms don't blindly start a business. They talk to mompreneurs they know to ask questions and get advice. They look online for success stories and tips from those who have succeeded and failed at starting their own business (just like you're doing right now by reading this article).
You may think, "Who needs other people? I've got my gut and it's always right." And yes, it is good to listen to your gut instincts when running a business, but by talking and listening to others who have been in your shoes, you're able to bounce ideas off them and have your eyes opened to insights and scenarios you would have never thought of by yourself. As Tony Robbins says, "success leaves clues." You don't need to figure it all out yourself. Find a mompreneur you respect and admire and model yourself after her.
3. Know & Live Your Priorities.
Before starting a business, create a list of professional and personal priorities. Instead of having a mile-long to-do list each day for life at home and work, set and rank your priorities (see related article, To Increase Your Productivity up to 200 Percent, Ask These 3 Questions). Constant disruptions won't allow you to be a productive or effective as a mom or a business owner. By knowing your priorities, you'll improve your focus, keep your sanity, give your all to each role and be able to reduce some mom guilt.
Rachel Nilsson started Rags to Raches three years ago while her husband was in law school and they were living in her parent's basement raising three young boys. It was hard at first trying to balance being a mom and a successful business owner.
"I finally realized I wasn't the best at balancing, but that I could be good at prioritizing things. So I made some goals. I made a list and prioritized what things are and were going to make me the happiest in my life, now and long term. My three obvious ones that came immediately were relationships, God and business," she said. "Once I started putting my priorities at the top, then the balance came. All of the sudden being a mom and a business owner started to flow."
4. Above All Else, Do What Works for YOU!
No one is the same. The exact plan to success that worked for one mompreneur may not work for you. You have to find what works for you and your family, which may come through some trial and error, but once you find that sweet spot, go for it full throttle.
With Rachel, when she first started her business she was with her boys all day long and then dedicated herself to her business once they went to sleep. Later she became stretched too thin and had to hire a part-time nanny, and as her business grew, she then hired full-time help. Today, with her successful business that she no longer runs out of her home, she can't be home when her kids get home from school so she makes up for it by taking them to school every morning. For Melissa, she doesn't try to multitask. She sets clear work hours and is with her family when she's supposed to be with her family, which means waking up before her kids do, scheduling daytime hours around her kids' activities and needs and then squeezing in a couple hours of work after the kids are in bed.
What works for you may change as your business and family grow. But what matters is that your way of doing things lets your kids know you love them, keeps your business running and makes you happy.
Being a working mom is like having two full-time jobs. But like all would agree, mompreneur is a very rewarding title to have and it's totally doable when you have a plan to be successful in mom and business life.