9 Ways Motherhood Prepared Me For Entrepreneurship
Without a doubt, motherhood is the most difficult, yet rewarding experience of- my life. Some days, I feel warm and bubbly inside, while other days, I’m just thankful I still know my legal name. Yet, I can honestly say that motherhood has taught me nine valuable lessons to help me as an entrepreneur.
Preparation is key
Every mother knows that you can’t “wing” everything in life. You have to plan for annual well-checks and dentist visits. You plan birthday parties in advance so your guests have enough time to put your event on their calendar. You even plan your grocery list based on the meals you hope to cook this week.
Planning and preparation are essential to helping you, your family, and your entrepreneurial endeavors. I can recall being a stay-at-home mom a few years ago while starting my online business. I’d faithfully write out the tasks I wanted to complete each weekday only to be met with stress and disappointment by the end of the night. I felt like a failure because I could never get my daily tasks completed.
I eventually started tracking what I accomplished each day in my planner and compared it to my massive to-do list. A light bulb clicked. I realized I had planned an enormous amount of tasks for each day without considering my additional responsibilities (caring for my toddler, household maintenance, cooking, etc.). I thought I needed to work more and more in my business to see any major progress. The truth is, I needed to focus on the priorities instead of trying to do “all the things.”
As you maneuver throughout your day, make sure you aren’t trying to cram a week’s worth of tasks into one day. You cannot realistically expect to complete 21 business-related tasks while being there for your family, too, as a solopreneur. And guess what? That’s okay! Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound). Then, break them down into smaller steps you will take. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Know when to go with the flow
While it is true that planning can make life run a bit smoother, there are certainly times when planning can get out of control. When I entered the workforce again, my children’s homework load increased significantly. This meant those lovely plans I had to work on business-related activities at night didn’t always happen. Instead, I was working on my honorary math and science degrees from good old Google, so I could be the teacher my kiddos needed.
Staying up late to help with homework had to be the priority at that time. It was a very difficult lesson, but I had to learn how to go with the flow and get creative. Maybe you do, too. If you’re like me and have kids who need a lot of help with homework, try using your lunch break to work on business-related tasks. Close yourself in your office or camp out in your car and use someone’s free wi-fi.
Or you can do like I do one or two days per week: get up earlier. Trust me. I get it. If you’re like me and you get up at 4:30 a.m., getting up earlier may be tough. However, when I’m in a crunch, I get up earlier than normal and work for an hour because that’s what works for me. You’ve got to find what works for you to counterbalance those times when you had to go with the flow. Remember, anything worth having is going to cause you to sacrifice something.
Running a business while being a mother is hard! But motherhood can teach you so much about entrepreneurship.
Learn when to delegate
Whenever we talk about delegating, we often think of hiring a VA or additional team members. While those people can help us accomplish more in our business, there are other ways to delegate, too. Let’s face it. Your family thinks you’re the keeper of all information. Who do they turn to when they can’t find those socks, missing homework, or stand-out a tie? YOU.
If your significant other and kiddos are capable, have them contribute their fair share. Let your oldest be responsible for doing laundry for all the kids. Some weeks, your significant other may need to help out with his laundry and yours. Have a night or two where your family is responsible for cooking dinner (hello pizza and salad!). There are lots of ways to delegate at home and trust me, sis, you need all the help you can get. We weren’t created to do everything alone. If you want more time to meet your business goals, you’ve got to get everyone involved more.
While you’re delegating household tasks, I’d also ask you to consider business tasks you can delegate, too. If you’re at the place in your business to hire out help, do it. If not, again, you’ve got to get creative and remember to focus on priority tasks. Who knows? Maybe your kiddo who’s been showing an interest in graphic design can start learning how to do your graphics?
Use your communication skills
Children have a way of teaching us how to deal with multiple personalities. It’s crazy how your kiddos may have the same parents but behave differently. That’s okay though because this helps us when communicating with our audience, and especially, our paying customers.
We’ve learned from motherhood how to read people, pick up on different cues, and deal with different personalities. Now, it’s time to apply those skills to your business. Everyone in your audience has a different personality and learning style. Acknowledging these differences helps you learn how to cater to your audience so their needs are met. You can take this information and learn which mode of communication is best for your audience--video, audio, in-person, or written forms. Communication is the cornerstone of building a great relationship.
We’ve been mothers long enough to know that those sweet, little darlings of ours are sometimes willing to fight to the end for what they want. In response to the abrupt tantrums from our toddlers and teens alike, we’ve learned how to stand our ground and delicately diffuse the situation at hand. In our business, we need to be prepared to do the same.
Part of conflict resolution requires good communication. We can eliminate some conflicts with our audience and paying customers if we take the necessary precautions up front. We can anticipate possible conflicts and respond by creating clearly-written policies and terms on our website and in contracts. If that doesn’t work, we still need to know how to acknowledge concerns and questions without getting heated and popping our lids. Like our kiddos, our audience simply wants to feel as if they’re being heard and understood. Providing this reassurance could diffuse any potentially unwanted conflicts.
Let’s be honest with each other. No matter how long we’ve been a mother, we still don’t have it all figured out (or am I the only one who doesn’t?). We know we care about our kiddos and we want the best for them. Sometimes, giving them the best requires us to take risks and pray for the best result. The same is true in our business.
We don’t always have everything in our business figured out to a T, and that’s okay. We know our mission is to help our audience, though. Our mission pushes us to take risks and try a new product or service to meet their needs. Sometimes, we may even need to change directions or focus on a different pain point to provide what our audience needs. Taking risks can be scary, but it’s necessary for our growth and our audience’s, too.
Taking risks can be scary, but it’s necessary for our growth and our audience.
Think outside the box
When we keep telling little Johnny to turn down that loud music so he won’t go deaf, and he still doesn’t listen, it’s time to think outside the box. We’ve got to find another way to get little Johnny’s attention. Our audience is sometimes like little Johnny. We may be writing blog post after blog post about the do’s and don’ts of self-publishing, and little Johnny still isn’t getting it. That’s okay. We just need to think outside the box and find another way to reach our audience. Maybe some people prefer podcasts while others prefer YouTube videos. We’ll never know until we ask and try.
Build genuine relationships
What I love about kids is that they can see through a facade a mile away--and will call you out on it. Kids crave genuine relationships. They don’t just want you around for money. They want to get to know you and have you know who they are. They want to trust you. Once they do, they will sing your praises to anyone they know. Sounds familiar?
If you want your audience to trust you and recommend you to their family and friends, you’ve got to build genuine relationships. This doesn’t mean you have to invite your audience over for Christmas dinner, but you need to be consistent. You need to consistently provide value, show up, and even be willing to admit you have shortcomings. Over time, your genuineness will attract like-minded individuals who will willingly invest in your business and even vouch for you and your services and products.
Indulge in self-care
In your business, you spend a lot of time teaching your audience and catering to their needs. You read books, attend conferences, and keep that notepad next to your bed so you don’t forget those awesome ideas that always come before you close your eyes. You do so much for your audience. For that reason, you need to know when to indulge in some much-needed self-care.
You’ve heard it before: You can’t help someone else when your cup is empty. Learn when to step away and take time for yourself. Your body, mind, and audience will thank you.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart; however, you’re built for this. You’re a mother. You know how to communicate well, take risks, delegate responsibilities, and be genuine. Now it’s time to pick up your bootstraps and press on. You’ve got this, girl.
written by jaquette gilbert
Jaquette Gilbert is an author and blogger who empowers women to discover their truths, create authentic content, and proudly share their stories. visit her website