Dos and Don’ts for Starting Your Own Business as an Already-Busy Mom
Long before I ever started my business, I knew I wanted to own a business. In fact, that dream was a close runner-up to becoming a mom. Women seem to be given a choice in life: be a mom or have a successful career, as if we can’t handle doing both.
I’m proof that this crazy societal belief is bogus. I love being a mom and I love owning a business. Yes, it’s busy. AND it’s doable. These two parts of my life have shaped me into the woman I am today. And I love the adventurous (and often unpredictable) ride. After all, steady, predictable days that run one into the next, seamlessly, are overrated. So, if you’ve ever thought you can’t do the mom thing and still have time to create your dream business, listen up: You totally can.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate this long and wind-y way:
Don’t Go Into it Blindly
I can’t even begin to tell you how much more prepared you’ll feel for owning a business if you do a little recon first. Take plenty of time to research your business ideas. Explore the financial and legal aspects of owning a business, and find and absorb every little other thing you can get your dishpan hands on about being a business owner.
This is where networking comes in handy, too. Hang out on LinkedIn, join Facebook groups with other like-minded business women and read the blogs of successful business owners and moms who have gone before you.
Just don’t step into the world of business blindly. You may have an idea you think is incredible (and it probably is!), but perhaps there isn’t as much of a need for your product or service as you thought. Knowing that before you set out can prevent a lot of heartbreak down the road and save you wasted time away from your family.
Do Let Passion Win
Research, research, research … but let your passion dictate the ultimate direction for your business. If you don’t love your business, you’re not going to be invested in it, which makes it doomed to fail before you even begin.
I suggest combining things that you love with a solid business model. Plan your business around your passion to connect with people who are passionate about that same thing. In Kerry Loves, I share about the things I love and when I connect with people that love them, too, it’s a natural fit. In fact, there tends to be a lot of nice synchronicities. Many of the women who love my gift guides, love my redecorating tips, too. And when you find those people who share your passions, you’ll have met your ideal audience for your business.
Don’t Mix Personal Life with Business Life 24/7
One of the biggest things I’ve had to train myself on is separating my personal life from my business, which is so much easier than it sounds. I’d wake up and check my phone for messages from clients, and then do a quick recap of all my emails before bed. When these were my habits, I never gave myself time to disconnect from work mode and be 100% invested in family mode.
The first several months of running your business are usually the toughest because they’re so busy as you scale from nothing to a legit, established company. Still, you can’t let crunch time get in the way of your personal life. You still need time for you, your spouse, your kids, and your furbabies.
Just like you’d clock out when your shift is over at a “regular” job, you need to clock out from your business. If a physical log where you write down your “Out” time for the day would help, do it!
Do Get a Support System in Place
You might be Supermom (we all like to think we are!), but that doesn’t mean that you should shoulder the full responsibility of kids and business-related stuff. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, and even other business owners.
Family and friends can babysit the kids if you need some uninterrupted time to make business phone calls or work on your marketing strategy. And when you need some emotional support or just need to vent, they can be a lifesaver (been there, done that).
Other business owners in your network can help you navigate the business side of things. This might mean anything from helping you figure out basic tax questions to suggesting virtual assistants and everything in between.
It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes an active network to grow a business!
Don’t Expect Too Much (or Push Yourself Too Hard!)
Businesses fail all the time. Of course, it’s not something you want for your own business, but it happens. No one – not even the savviest of business owners with years of experience – should expect a new company to take off quickly and easily. There are often glitches and peaks and valleys. The sooner you get used to that, the easier it is to weather them.
Your kids will always be there. Even if your business doesn’t turn out as you wanted it to, you still have your family, your real babies. Your business is another part of your life, but it’s not the only part. If it doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped, take a break, pick up the pieces, regroup, and start over.
It can be stressful to own a business. I won’t lie! But don’t let stress consume you. Take care of you!
Do Get the Kids Involved with Your Business and Brand
Mommy-ing is tough. Mommy-ing with a business in the mix adds a whole new level of challenging. How much your kids can help, instead of hinder, your business efforts may surprise you.
Many school-age kids can understand the basic ideas of a business and how they help make money. Use your business as a teaching tool. Show them some real-life situations by either having them observe you or “assist” as you explain simple business tasks.
As your kids get older, add age-appropriate business activities. Maybe they can organize and file papers or help you redesign your website. Make it a team effort and your kids may become as passionate about your business as you are.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to starting or running your business as a busy mom? Leave a comment below and let me know!