Building a Business Around Your Children
Much has been said about mixing business with family but every working mother knows that running a business part time and keeping a household full time can be the most difficult career of all. The responsibilities of managing a business often overlap those of motherhood, so the challenge among mothers-turned-entrepreneurs is knowing how to run a successful business and take care of a growing family. Is it truly possible to have the best of both worlds? Many female entrepreneurs think so and have shown it is achievable.
The following are just a few approaches and strategies that successful ‘mompreneurs’ have used.
It is impossible for a mother to create an effective home and working environment without setting up rules and boundaries. Without rules to delineate what can and cannot be done, it will be extremely difficult to be effective and efficient in either responsibility. From the very beginning, set your boundaries and limits. As Mama Goddess Retreats co-owner Kristin O’Connell suggests, a mother at work should focus on being an entrepreneur but when she is at home, she should focus on being a mother. That way, expectations are met and relationships are maintained.
Family Matters Outweigh Business Matters
One common mistake that a working mom entrepreneur can make is to allow business issues to overpower their family duties. This is understandable, considering that an entrepreneur is likely to spend a minimum of eight hours at work everyday, or even more, if the business is at its initial stages. Naturally, family-related matters can and will crop up and make it appear that juggling tasks and responsibilities is next to impossible.
Instead of just throwing up your hands in despair, take a cue from entrepreneur Victoria Knight-McDowell. Knight McDowell was a schoolteacher in California in 1997, the same year she began developing an herbal formula to help prevent colds. She and her husband decided to sell the concoction, so Knight-McDowell had to manage a home, teach, and run her business.
In 2000, she resigned from teaching so she could focus on her own company and take care of her baby. Instead of slowing her down, motherhood inspired her. According to Knight-McDowell, motherhood helped her see things in perspective and keep her grounded and calm even during the most taxing times at work. She said that there was very little that the business world could throw at her that fazed her because to her, it was never more important than family issues.
Overwhelmed? Get Help
Sometimes, no mom entrepreneur can make it without any help. If housework is eating up too much of your time or if your children are too young to be left on their own, hire someone to help you. Outsourcing common household duties is quite common and is often recommended by women business owners who have been there and done that. KLC Associates president Karen Cornelius handles a management consultant firm with multi-city offices and two children. She encourages mothers to get someone to assist them with the housework as much as possible to offload themselves of certain tasks and responsibilities. That way, they can enjoy their work and family life more.
Make Time for Yourself
It may seem to you that taking in more responsibilities at work and giving more to your children and family is a good way to ensure that nothing is taken for granted, but you could end up spreading yourself too thin. As a mom and entrepreneur, you need time for yourself. You too can get tired, anxious, worried, harried, sleepy, hungry, and yes, you do need to get your hair and nails done, exercise and nurture yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The solution, according to Porch Light Psychology Services owner Lynda Ariella, is to choose one day out of every week as your day off. Find the time to relax, sit back, and rejuvenate yourself. When you are relaxed, you are more excited about work and family and more likely to be able to manage both in the best way possible.
About the Author: Sarah Daren is a writer who creates practical articles in relation to health and business. In this article, she describes the challenging task of mothers managing a business while building a family and aims to encourage continued study through a sonography program.