Fact: The life of a mompreneur is not an easy one.
This is what years of being a mompreneur has taught me. I know, I know. It really should be common sense. But I didn’t really think about it until after I had already left my full-time tax position at Pricewaterhousecoopers and had started working on developing my own business. And of course, by then, I was already all in.
I wasn’t surprised by the hectic days of running around to dance recitals and piano lessons while desperately trying to communicate with customers and contacts over my Bluetooth headset. I wasn’t shocked when feeding my children three (relatively) complete meals became the achievement of a lifetime. The challenges of balancing my responsibilities as a mom and my responsibilities as a business owner were to be expected.
What I didn’t expect was the onslaught of what any and every mompreneur (and mom in general) has had to face at some point in their lives. Yes, I am referring to the dreaded, debilitating reality of mom guilt.
For those who may be reading this and are fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with it, mom guilt is essentially the feeling that you are somehow failing your children and are ultimately not enough as a mother.
Now, as someone who struggled with mom guilt for years, I can personally attest to the destructive impact of this toxic phenomenon. During the times when I struggled with this debilitating feeling of inadequacy as a mother, the reality was that, no matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked, I could not keep up with my own expectations and with the expectations of society. And the truth is that, while mom guilt is an issue of identity and not of employment, running an entrepreneurial business can exacerbate these feelings.
So regardless of what your struggle is—whether it is with mom guilt or time management or something in between—I want to give you my top 6 secrets to becoming a mompreneur. And not simply becoming a mompreneur, but becoming a successful mompreneur who knows her value and achieves some semblance of balance!
So here you have it: my top 6 secrets to becoming a successful mompreneur.
1. Set a Schedule:
Confession: this is still a work in progress for me. Those who know me well will be the first ones to tell you that I run my business using what I call the S.O.M.P. approach: otherwise known as, the Seat Of My Pants approach. I could go into details, but let’s just say that things like punctuality is still more of a goal than an achievement.
But as a recovering S.O.M.P.-reneneur, perhaps my words are even more weighty. Save yourself the stress that I’ve lived through by implementing a schedule. A handy tool for this is a day (otherwise known as a day planner). I don’t know who came up with the idea of a day planner, but someone needs to give them a high-five as a thank you. My day planner has revolutionized the way that I run my business by helping me prioritize what is important so that those things get done first. It gives me a visual of how I’m doing with my income producing activities, and it prevents me from double-booking (a tragic aspect of my S.O.M.P. history).
So ladies: buy a day planner! Get a Calendar app on the phone to remind you of important deadlines and upcoming appointments! Get a white board and install it in your home office! Whatever you need to do to set up a schedule, do it!
2. Treat business as business
This is another practical piece of advice: if you want to become a successful mompreneur, you need to act professional. Hear me on this: I’ve had days when I’ve been like my kids when I homeschooled them, showing up to “work” in my pajamas and only starting my day at 11:46am. However, I have found that it is much more effective to take the necessary steps to ensure that I am in a work/business mindset.
So get dressed in professional clothing for meetings (and just get dressed on other days). Consider setting up an office. Make appointments. Be on time for meetings. Keep on top of your business’ accounting. And set regular work hours to ensure consistency.
In short: treat your business as a real business. (Because it is!)
3. Focus on Income Producing Activities (IPAs)
Have you ever had those days when you’ve been extremely busy but insanely unproductive? I know I have. There are some days when I wake up, get my breakfast, and immediately start working: I check my e-mails and respond to about 47 of them, spend an hour or two managing social media (answering messages, replying to comments, etc.), make graphics on Canva for upcoming social media posts, approve designs for a poster advertising my upcoming webinars, brainstorm with my marketing manager how to increase website traffic, review content for my website, strategize with my leaders about potential promotions to offer hesitant customers, post some more photos on Instagram and Pinterest, and develop a new Powerpoint presentation for a business training event. But realistically, while I have spent my entire day being busy, I have not contributed to the growth of my business because I have not focused on income producing activities.
Don’t get me wrong: all of the activities I just listed are incredibly important if you want to become a mompreneur, especially if you want to become a successful mompreneur and an influential team leader. But do any of these activities produce income? Not really. In fact, it is extremely difficult to quantify the true impact of these activities. These are activities that help sustain our business, not necessarily help grow it.
So set aside some time to reflect on your daily activities. If you are already focusing on Income Producing Activities, that’s great! If not, don’t worry—it’s never too late to adjust your focus!
4. Run your business; don’t let your business run you
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but there are two quick points that I want to focus in on.
Firstly, be proactive when it comes to your business. Don’t let yourself get caught up in a reactionary cycle, where other people’s actions and external circumstances begin to have more influence over your business than you do. If you are intentional about your business and you operate proactively, you will move beyond simply surviving and will begin to thrive as you become a successful mompreneur.
Secondly, rest! Our world seems to be obsessed with productivity, and yet we don’t acknowledge the role that rest and relaxation play in maintaining our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, which subsequently maintains our productivity levels.
I used to be a workaholic. I would work 12, 13, 14 hour days and then come home, only to work more. Even when I became a mompreneur, I would spend the entire day working on my business while doing stereotypical mom things—cooking, cleaning, keeping kids alive, etc.—and then I would sleep, only to wake up do the same thing over and over again. Day after day, night after night. And guess what? After a few months (or more like a few years) or doing that, I was bloody exhausted.
I knew that this obsessive cycle of work had to stop if I was going to survive and thrive and become a successful mompreneur. So I did something radical: I bought a membership at the local spa.
That’s right, ladies. You heard me. The solution to your problems is the spa! Okay, well maybe it’s not the solution to all of your problems. But I’m telling you: if you want to ensure that you run your business without letting it take over your life, then you need to set time aside for yourself. So, whether it’s a day at the spa or a date night with your husband, set-aside time that is absolutely non-negotiable and will be spent on something equally important as productivity—rest.
5. Spend time developing your main business asset: yourself
This is a continuation off of the last point: if you want to become a mompreneur—specifically, if you want to become a successful mompreneur—then you need to set time aside for yourself. Now, this doesn’t just look like spa dates or dinner dates—this also looks like major self-development and character-building. After all, there’s nothing that exposes your rough edges faster than being a mompreneur who at any given moment is dealing with grumpy kids, stressed out business leaders, or—my personal favourite—both at the exact same time.
And ladies, hear me out: this isn’t just about you taking time off or doing personal development activities. This is about you maintaining your sanity. So please, for your own sake, as well as for the sake of your friends and family: spend time caring for yourself.
6. Remember that you are a mom before you are a mompreneur
Last but certainly not least, it is important for us as business women to remember that the most important investment we can make is into our families, not our businesses.
Let me be clear: I am extremely passionate about my business. I know that the work that I do every day is empowering people and saving lives by connecting people with natural healthcare solutions. But I will never sacrifice the wellbeing of my family for the sake of achieving some superficial semblance of success. If I have failed my family, then I have failed my business. Case closed. Family is my first priority—that is a principle that I will never compromise on. And I know that I cannot be the businesswoman that God has called me to be if I am compromising my values and not first and foremost being the wife and the mother that I am called to be.
So moms, this is my heart for you: I want you to become a successful mompreneur who can thrive, not merely survive. But if achieving this goal comes at the cost of your marriage and your family, it is not worth it. Nothing is more important than the wellbeing of you, your marriage, and your family. Nothing.
So yes, pursue your passions! Build your business! But keep first things first.
Comment below and let me know what you think. And if you have a few secrets of your own about becoming a mompreneur, please share the love! Okay, that’s all for now, folks! This mompreneur is off to the spa to do some necessary investing in her key business asset.
Stay safe and sane, everyone!