Thinking about starting a business but worried it might negatively impact your children? Have no fear. Plenty of women navigate entrepreneurship and motherhood successfully. In fact, 67.6 percent of women entrepreneurs are married and 67 percent have children, according to a survey by The National Association of Women Business Owners and RSM McGladrey.
Here are a few tactics for doing both well:
1. Plan ahead. Starting a business doesn’t have to drain your bank accounts (or your energy) if you plan well. If you make a written budget and a detailed to-do list for the business, you’ll know how to pace yourself. If you do the same with your schedule for being a mother and compare the two, it’s easier to merge and prioritize your expenses and commitments. Try to figure out a schedule of family time vs. business time. For instance, you may work early in the morning before your children wake up, while they’re at school and/or late into the evening after they’re asleep. You may not have much “me time” in the beginning, but know it will get better once you get processes in place and have enough business to hire additional help.
2. Get help. If you can afford to hire help, do it. Outsourcing tasks you don’t like to do or don’t have time to do (i.e., grocery shopping, cleaning, running errands) will free up some of your time to manage your business and your family. If you are not good at numbers, hire a tax professional. If you have a lot of mundane information to enter into a database, hire a local college student, a virtual assistant or even your own children to help. Trying to do everything yourself will exhaust and discourage you and your family.
Consider hiring an accountant who will manage both your business and personal finances so she can compare and consider both as she helps you plan. If you need to make sacrifices that impact your parental obligations, discuss them with your family, especially if your children are old enough to understand and reason. Ask for their support as you move forward with your plan, and explain how growing a business will put your family (not just you) in a better place.
3. Surround yourself with positive people. There will be naysayers who tell you that your business will fail, your children will suffer, your family will go bankrupt. But don’t let them make you give up prematurely on your dreams. Most successful entrepreneurs heard those very pessimistic things at some point in their careers – often from other people who are scared to chase their own dreams. To keep yourself positive, try and surround yourself with a network of supportive people who believe in you and your goals. Consider joining local organizations of women entrepreneurs (like your Women’s Chamber of Commerce) so that you have women to talk to who are facing the same struggles as you are – and can offer advice from personal experiences. And take time to reflect on your successes – even the small ones – so that you have perspective if you do fail at some things.
4. Work ahead of your plan as much as possible. As astronomer Heidi Hammel tells PINK in the March.April 2008 issue: “If something is due on Friday, I have it done by Wednesday, because fevers and head lice can happen on Thursday.” If you find that you’re completing tasks quickly, develop a new plan and work ahead of schedule. This way, you’ll be ready in case an unexpected emergency comes up or a family activity takes precedence over your business activities.
5. Schedule personal time. Try to mark some time on your schedule for you. It can be very easy to become haggard and stressed out when you spend all of your time working and catering to the needs of your family and clients. Try to at least make time for a relaxing bath – or take 10 minutes a day to think about all the good things in your life, to regroup and de-stress. Because as the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
Using the above tips can help you be a great Mompreneur! What other tips to do suggest for mompreneurs?