It’s been said that owning a small business is a lot like parenting a toddler. You must keep an eye on them every second – OR ELSE. So how do you do that? How can you, a mompreneur, nurture both your business baby and your real-life babies?
Below are a few tips to keep in mind … and keep you sane.
#1. Prioritize like your life depends on it — because it does.
Do you know that woman with the perfect life? You don’t? That’s probably because she doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as the perfect mom or entrepreneur – unless you define “perfect” on your own terms. As women today, our opportunities seem virtually limitless. Unfortunately, the downside to all those choices is that we often feel confused, overwhelmed and under enormous pressure. Just because we can do anything doesn’t mean we need to.
That’s why prioritizing is an absolute must. How do you define success? How involved in your child’s day-to-day activities do you want to be? What types of sacrifices are you prepared to make? Understanding your priorities allows you to create parameters to protect those priorities. Staying focused on your goals will allow you to do what you care about most and do it well.
#2. Set boundaries – physically and psychologically.
Decide what hours of the day you plan to run your business and devote a separate space in your home for your office, preferably a room with a door. When your kids are old enough, they should understand that your work time is protected, meaning you can’t be bothered except for emergencies. Conversely, leave your workspace and turn off your iPhone when it’s family time. Be present!
#3. Create a schedule (in pencil).
Plan your time as far in advance as possible, making daily lists that focus on completing critical tasks, not simply time you plan to spend on work in general. Consider using an online calendar that other key people, like your spouse or babysitter, can access. School time is a great time to allocate to business, but what if your children are home with you? Other than bedtime, nap times and play dates, you’ll need to be creative. Be realistic about the time you can commit to mothering your business and your children, and be prepared to be flexible.
#4. Find back-up.
Every mompreneur needs a go-to team to help with childcare and/or business tasks. Kids get sick. Cars break down. Clients reschedule. Life happens! Make a list of reliable friends, relatives or paid babysitters to help in emergency situations, and constantly be on the lookout for good child care referrals. Many mompreneurs think they have to do it all on their own, but you can’t be an expert at everything, Remember that most business models include a fair amount of outsourcing, even during the early stages. Cash-strapped mompreneurs can find tons of free resources online – for example, here's a list of free business resources.
#5. Let it go.
Leave the dishes in the sink. Keep that laundry in the basket. Forgive yourself for losing your temper. No one is perfect, and you will drive yourself crazy if you hold yourself to a standard of perfection. Know when to ask for help, and do so. And if you must take your child with you to a meeting, bring snacks and quiet toys, and don’t worry. You’re an entrepreneur – you make your own rules.
Finally, remember that you’re not alone.
Over 2 million American women currently own and operate their own home-based businesses, so you’ve got plenty of company, possibly even in your own neighborhood. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these women for support, advice, encouragement, and networking. Nurture these relationships – as they say, it takes a village!
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Amber Schmechel is the Public Relations Director at www.LogoGarden.com, a free DIY logo design and website company.