Starting a business is an extremely exciting but stressful time, which turns into an even bigger juggling show when you're a parent! Being a "Mompreneur" can be hard, but it is extremely fulfilling and can eventually be your golden ticket to the work/life balance you've always wanted...plus some serious street credit as a "Super Woman". Let's be honest, one of the best parts of self-employment and entrepreneurship is the flexibility to make your own schedule and run your business how YOU want. I work with MANY Mompreneurs in our financial planning practice and there are some unique challenges that we discuss all the time! Whether you are just getting rolling, or are looking for ways to make your venture more successful, try these four tips.
1. Go Into Business for the Right Reasons
Securing your future and making good money are huge draws to the self-employed life, but if that's the only reason you're going into business, you might end up disappointed once you realize the work involved! It not only takes high self discipline and knowledge of your industry, but it also takes passion, desire, and heart. Common sense and research will get you moving, but you've got to have that drive and fire inside for when the going gets rough. Without this passion, you are pretty likely to experience severe burnout. Don't be discouraged...it happens to everyone at some point! So remember, while it is important to come up with an idea that makes starting a business worthwhile, make sure your idea is something that you are extremely passionate about.
2. Keep it Structured
A structure is so important to starting out right in business, especially when you are juggling the demands of starting a company and balancing it with your responsibilities at home. Create a well-defined structure and schedules. Include regular duties and activities that allow you to run both your household and your business more efficiently. It can also be beneficial to pre-plan as many things as possible, such as meals. You'll be amazed how much more in control you feel when you block off time and stick to your schedule. This can help alleviate stress and allow you some wiggle room when things come up. There will be plenty of days when you have to just "wing it", so don't get discouraged! Just keep going!
3. Designate an Office and Minimize Distractions
Most self-employed and solo entrepreneurs start out their businesses at home, myself included. I started out at home and didn't get an outside office til I was almost in my third year! If you work from your home or are considering it, you need to have an area that is dedicated as an office only where momma can limit household distractions when possible. While minor "mommy, mommy" distractions are hard to avoid, continuous or major distractions can set you back, cause you to lose focus, and sometimes make costly errors. Start by setting up a work area and, if possible, specific hours during the day that is specifically designated for business to be able to work undisturbed. You're at work, so treat your space that way and set expectations with the family!
4. Develop a Strong Support System
I say this from experience; YOU WILL EXPERIENCE BURNOUT as an entrepreneur. It's just part of the life, but don't get yourself down! If you surround yourself positive partners, you'll be back and excited to keep going. Successful entrepreneurs find others they can trust to support and help balance out duties both during work hours and home hours. Start with setting up the responsibilities between you and your partner, and if you can afford to, don't be afraid to start outsourcing heavy time-consuming items that take up too much time. This could include cleaning, meal prep, or even shopping. If your business becomes demanding, or requires more attention to detail than you have work hours, get an assistant that can help you stay on top of tasks both in business and at home. My office admin is following up on client paperwork items as I type this! Lastly, connect with other entrepreneurs in your local area and go to business networking meetings. You'll naturally develop a circle of professionals that you can rely upon for vital things like tax help, banking, insurance, health and wellness, and many other specialties that can help enhance your work/life balance even more...and often save you and your business money in the process. A big part of my practice is developing productive two-way referral relationships with other small business owners who need or have clients who need financial services that my firm provides. In turn, I send referrals all of the time to these referral partners when my clients need their specialties as well. It's a GREAT way to build business and good relationships in your community and give your business even more reach! Plus, everyone respects the Super Mom who's running her own business. People want to help you, so go connect with them! A Chamber of Commerce, Meetup Group, or a BNI Chapter is a great place to start.
Having realistic expectations is key when you decide to become a Mompreneur. Odds are you will not become an overnight success. Always try to remember the positives and remember the end goal and what that will mean for you and your family if you find yourself struggling. If you find your motivation level falling, find a mentor! Look for other Mompreneurs that have had success and ask them the questions, even if it's something as simple as how they track their calendar. Take the first step to Mompreneur success by coming up with a plan, communicating with your family about how everything will work, and following the tips above. By planning ahead and knowing that struggles are inevitable, you will have more realistic expectations for your company and be able to start your business with a solid foundation!
Referrals are the foundation of our business. Here is a simple way to let me know you have someone I should be talking to!
About the author: Kyle A. Davis is a Chartered Financial Consultant® , Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® , and president of Integrity Financial Group in Orlando, FL. He is a Florida native and an advocate for financial literacy and practical money education. When not assisting clients in planning for retirement, he creates educational videos on financial wellness on his YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/financialplannerinfl