Being a mom is a full-time job itself. It is no secret that children require a lot of attention. This can be tough if you are trying to start or run your business from home. Let’s face it, it is always during the worst moments, let’s say an important conference call, that your child decides to throw the biggest temper tantrum. But what can you do? Even if you are fortunate to have hired help or a partner to share the household responsibilities, moms still have a ton to do in a household. At the same time, running your own business is no easy walk in the park. You have a million and one things to do, from management, business growth and development, and much more. Being a mom and a business owner is the same as having two full-time jobs, both requiring a lot of overtime. And you can’t forget, you are a human being who has health needs. You know, health needs, like sleep. Remember sleep? Probably not if you’re a mom entrepreneur. However, you do need to take care of yourself to prevent yourself from imploding or exploding. To help you, we’re giving you our Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs.
Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs – Organization is the Key to Your Life!
The more organized you are, the more of a success you can be! If you’re reading this and your life is an absolute disaster, you may have read the word ‘organization’, laughed and thought, “Yeah, okay, fat chance in hell that will happen.” Fair enough. I get it. When your life is a complete mess, it’s okay to feel that way. The best thing you can do to get organized is to give yourself one to two days to completely sort out your home and office life. Give yourself the time to create a master planner. Color code your life. At the minimum, you’ll need three colors. One color for work-related items, such as meetings, deadlines, and billing and payroll dates. You’ll need an additional color for your household responsibilities. Don’t forget to include things like bill payments, doctor’s appointments, car maintenance etc. Finally, you need a color for ‘you’ time. Yes, ‘you’ time. Get used to that idea because a little ‘you’ time for rest and relaxation is the only way you’ll get through the next 20-40 years until you can retire. Using these three categories, go through everything and list all your agenda items.
Now that you have a master organizer, decide how you want to store it. Some people still like using hard copy day planners. While hard copy day planners are great, they wouldn’t be my recommendation. They’re difficult to edit. Plus, hard copy anything runs you the risk of having your life fall apart if you lose it. Let’s not forget, what could be more enticing to a child than a colorful day planner that is just looking to be destroyed. My best recommendation? Use your smartphone and make sure it’s backed up to the cloud incase anything bad happens to it. Go for something like 2Do. It’s a free app that syncs to your Gmail and iCalendar. Not only do you get a handy calendar to schedule everything you can also create coordinating lists, folders, and more. The best part? You can share your lists and calendars with your partner or business associates. Whatever you need, this app has it all.
Pro-Tip: Once you do your initial organization, try as best you can to stay organized. However, it’s life. Things happen. It’s likely that your organization will fluctuate. Plan each month to give yourself at least a half a day to organize and get ahead for the coming month.
Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs – Incorporate Your Family When You Can.
While it can be difficult to spend time with your family and get your work done, it will help you in the long-run to incorporate them when possible. This sounds counter-intuitive. Shouldn’t you keep your family and home life separate? For the most part, yes. However, this isn’t always the case. Your family may not always be welcomed in your workspace. For example, during an important phone call, you probably don’t want your family around to distract you. However, for a part of the day, it could be easy to include them. Why not make your office a quiet place to read or do homework? Set up a workstation. This could be great for child development. Think about it. You can teach your kids from an early age about time management and get them into a habit of following a work schedule. This will do wonders for your children in the future.
Don’t just stop at making your kids do their school work or read a book in your office, why not have them help you? Start with simple things. Maybe you need to stuff envelopes for your end of the month billing. Why not have your kids do this? When I was growing up, I used to do this very thing. Eventually, I worked up into more complex tasks that required more responsibility. While working with horses in subzero weather for hours a day may not have been the most fun way to spend my snow day, it taught me a lot about responsibility and work ethic. You can teach your kids a lot by having them involved in your business. They can learn about financial literacy, business development, management skills and so much more. Getting to spend extra time with them is also a bonus. What’s the best part? You can score some free or very discounted labor from your kids.
Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs – Make the Best of your Nontraditional Hours.
Owning your own business means you’ll have wild hours. Being a mom also means your hours will be crazy. Combing the two? There aren’t enough hours in the day to get done what you would like to tick off your to-do list. However, take advantage of not having the 9 AM – 5 PM work schedule. You’re most likely up early to get your kids going, why not catch up on a few emails in the process? If you have a bit of peace and quiet, get a head start on a project. Use your time wisely based on the situation at hand. What’s the best part about having an off schedule, you can build in a little nap time for yourself! A nap will do you a world of good and help you feel refreshed. You have to be up before everyone else and go to sleep after everyone else, there’s no harm in taking a power nap to make all those hours you’re awake worth something.
Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs – Ask for Help and Thank People for It.
There are times when we’re near the point of exhaustion and we just want to break down. Don’t be afraid to ask for help at these points. There is no shame in it. It does not show weakness. It shows strengthen; you aren’t willing to self-destruct from the delusional thinking that you can accomplish 60 hours’ worth of work in 15 hours. Instead, you’ll find the help to get it done right the first time, without sending yourself to the hospital from exhaustion. Maybe you need help in your business. You can easily outsource some work. There are freelancers available that fit all budgets. Perhaps you need help at home. Talk to your partner, see what you can do. If you’re a single mom, maybe you want to look into hiring some help with the kids or with the house itself. There are a number of resources to find help in your budget. Enroll your kids in after-school classes at a community center. Even something as simple as signing up for something like Hello Fresh can help cut down on your busy schedule. Less time shopping, preparing, and cooking, and more time enjoying your family. There’s a way to make it work.
Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs – Work Exercise into Your Routine.
This seems to be a trend in many blog posts, but it’s important – you NEED to exercise. Now, the thought of exercising when you’re already exhausted may have made you want either a strong drink, a nap, or both. Stay with me for a second. At first, exercising will suck. Yes, it will make you more tired. However, this is temporary. Soon it will make you feel more energized and more productive. If you’re not convinced, listen to this. Those who exercise, require LESS sleep than those who don’t. That’s right, you can sleep less, feel more awake, and be more productive, all by setting aside 40 minutes to exercise a few times a week.
Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs – Make Time for Yourself!
Make time for yourself? This very well may seem like a foreign concept. If you’re running your own business and juggling life as a mom who heads her household, you’re probably lucky if you get to sit down for an entire meal or take longer than a five-minute shower, let alone actually take time dedicated to yourself. This may seem impossible, but it’s not. You need to reward your busy self with some downtime. You’re not a machine. No one is. As much as we would all like to think we can do it all on a few hours of sleep, we just can’t. Remember how you’re supposed to color code your plan and one color is designated ‘you’ time? Yes, you need to actually do that. Even if it’s only once a week for two hours, it will do you a world of good. You feel better. Your mood will improve. Life as a whole will be better.
Success Advice for Mom Entrepreneurs is part of a new blog series we have for the rest of the year. Every Friday, we’ll feature an article of interest for women in business.