By: Patricia Gonzalez
Whether you’ve always dreamed of starting a business or if entrepreneurship was a happy accident that came along with motherhood… there is no doubt that to be an entrepreneur and a mom at the same time is highly rewarding, but also an incredibly challenging experience. Both roles require a lot of time, energy, work–and often, mompreneurs discover that that get much more than they had bargained for. “Mompreneurship,” as many like to call it, is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Here are a few things you need to know if you’re considering building a business and a family at the same time.
1. You will hustle at odd hours. Whatever your situation may be (working mom, stay at home mom, freelancing mom), if you add “small business owner” to the roles your are currently juggling, you will not always be capable of working during regular office hours. Mompreneurs find that their best and most focused work happens when the children are at school, when they are asleep during the day (giving mompreneurs at least 1-3 hours of uninterrupted work at a time, depending on your baby’s age) or at night (for as long as you are able to stay awake!).
2. You never really stop working. Mom or not, owning and running a business of your own means you don’t really ever get to “turn-off” during vacation leaves like regular employees do. Thus, the challenge for every mompreneur is to be present in whatever circumstance she is in despite the temptation to allow herself to get pulled in different directions. When you are with your family, put your phone away…especially if you know those messages can wait. When you are at work, give it your 100% and avoid unnecessary distractions. Motherhood will make you better at doing this. Yoko Shimada said it perfectly: “motherhood gives you laser sharp focus on what’s important and makes you so much more efficient.”
3. You will make sacrifices. Mompreneurship will often feel like a tug of war between your baby and your business. To hit your sales targets may mean you will need to miss some activities with your kids this weekend. To forgo a networking event to care for your sick child may mean opportunities lost in public relations for your company. And while there will never be a one-size fits all type of answer for every dilemma you will face, sacrifice will always be a part of it…and this is where it becomes key to know which ones are worth it in the long run.
4. You must know your WHY. Is it really responsible for a mom to start a business? Can a woman balance the demands of a growing business and family? We’re sure you’ve asked yourself this question, and the answer is certainly more complex than a simple yes or no. Because often, moms who start businesses are motivated by one or both of two reasons:
a. Financial needs = Profit. Many stay-at-home moms wish to help their husbands cover household expenses. Thus, they use their time at home to their advantage by finding creative ways–such as freelance work or starting a business to earn additional income.
b. Spiritual/emotional/psychological needs = Passion and Purpose. Each individual is born with unique talents, and many women today have the desire to use these to make a difference in the world. Often, starting and growing a business fulfills these needs. Entrepreneurship enriches our lives, and empowers us to take our motherhood beyond their our families.
Moms who embark on the journey of entrepreneurship hardly ever do it for selfish reasons. There is far too much at stake, and, as mentioned above…the sacrifices must be worth it. Especially during unforseen setbacks, stressful seasons, and moments of failure.
5. You are capable of much more than you believe. Is the thought of juggling business and babies overwhelming? Maybe, but the good news is that it is possible…as so many women continue to prove everyday. And if you don’t believe us, do a quick google search and you’ll find more hits than you can count for the hashtags #bossmom or #momboss. Why is this so? Because by nature, women are excellent multi-taskers (just ask the mom with 8 kids next door! ;)). Women’s brains are wired juggle numerous roles and goals all at once, BUT it is also a skill that must be nurtured, honed, and developed. Multi-tasking effectively (read: without going crazy) also requires a lot of virtue, organization, and constant re-centering on one’s priorities.
6. You will learn that motherhood is good for business. While some view motherhood as a hindrance to business and vice versa, we believe that motherhood and business can fuel each other’s success.
Read more about why we believe this is so here: Why I Believe Motherhood is Good for Business, and Vice Versa
So is it all worth it?
Will the late nights, the time spent away from the kids, and the added tiredness and stress all be worth whatever financial, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs mompreneurship promises fulfill?
That is all up to you, and the way you will choose to live the path you decide to take. Will you live it joyfully, or resentfully? Will you take each challenge as a an opportunity for growth, or a reason to throw in the towel?
Mompreneurship is definitely so much more than adding another hyphen to your title. But we believe when you’re doing it for the right reasons, those who will benefit from its success will extend way beyond your immediate family.
And that, we believe, is what makes it all worth it.
Patricia Gonzalez is MOMCENTER’s Editor. She has two adorable daughters–ages 1 and 2, and is married to a man who inspires her to be a better woman everyday.
She is a woman on a mission, and believes that motherhood is not limiting, but empowering. Join her on her journey by following her on instagram at @patriciaogonzalez.