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Tips for Moms as Business Owners

Nov 18 2015

by Emily McCarthy

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I don’t know about you, but I feel strongly that moms have a lot to learn from one another. What worked for one mom might be the one piece of advice that changes your life and makes the juggle just a little bit easier. When I was pregnant with my first son, Rhett, a very close friend of mine (also a business owner) offered a few pieces of advice. One that resonated with me was that she suggested I ‘lower my expectations’ for my everyday workload. I was used to flying through my daily task list and following my own schedule. She said that I would still accomplish my goals, but it might not be quite as fast as I was used to. Boy, was she right! For instance, instead of conquering a list of 10 tasks for the day, I decided to choose the top 3 tasks. Between juggling a new baby, lack of sleep and hormones, I was actually able to have a sense of accomplishment rather than feeling like I didn’t get anything done that day. By lowering my expectation, I actually gained a feeling of success over failure. Over time, naps got longer and I found some reliable help – but that little piece of advice got me through many months of new motherhood!

Secondly, I think you have to divide and conquer! Personally, I found I did not fair well when I tried to be mom AND business owner at the same time. My focus was off, my patience was short and I became easily frustrated. I learned very quickly that when I was on mom duty, that was ALL I was focused on. Emails didn’t receive responses and phone calls weren’t answered when I was in ‘mom mode’. I found that I could focus on my children more easily and take a mental break from my business. It was always refreshing to step away from work and focus on what mattered most – I truly believe this makes me a better business owner. Let’s face it, trying to answer a business call while you have kids around isn’t the most professional approach and it will leave both parties feeling frazzled. Do you and your client a favor, call them back when you’re able to focus on their questions and conversation. When you’re feeling the pressure of being available all hours of the day, I try to put it into perspective. “We aren’t saving lives here!” – it can always wait. Your kids deserve your full attention and so does your business. Keep them separate.

Next, take time for yourself. If you’re a creative like me, you NEED and strive on alone time to make pretty things! Sometimes all it takes is a drive in the car alone, a nice quiet shower, exercise, shopping or just plain ole girl time to get the creative juices flowing. Spending time on yourself is important for your mind, body and spirit. When you are well-balanced, you can be the best mom and business owner you can me. Pick something to do once a week, even for an hour. You will be amazed how rejuvenated you will feel after a little quiet time for yourself.

Lastly, learn boundaries and teach them to your clients. Unless you always want to answer a client’s phone call after hours, do not answer the call the first time. Simply return the call or email the next morning during normal business hours. In a time of fast responses with email and social media, I think the line has become very fuzzy for ‘work hours’. If I have a client send an email during the weekend and begin to get antsy Monday morning before 9am – I always explain that I’m out of the office on the weekends and am happy to discuss their project first thing Monday morning. It’s just as beneficial to the client as it is yourself to take a break…step away. Everyone needs downtown and just because the evening is a great time for your client to email, doesn’t mean you have to respond. If I do communicate with a colleague after hours, I try to preface it with “Feel free to ignore me and respond tomorrow!” I’m one of those people who needs to ask/write it down before I forget, but I would never expect a response outside of business hours. Respect your time and your clients will as well.

Juggling motherhood and owning a business can be tricky but totally doable! I look at everything like a temporary solution. What works for 3 months might not be what works for the long term. Your children’s needs change so you have to be open to adapting your schedule and going with the flow. Motherhood definitely teaches you flexibility and this can be a great asset to your business.

All in all, create boundaries for yourself and be flexible. There is time for everyone in your schedule, you’ll just have to figure out what works best for you and your family!

EmilyMcCarthy001

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My sweet family! (Lillian, 6 months, and Rhett, 4 years) with my husband, Patrick of 9 1/2 years.

1 COMMENTS

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One response on “Tips for Moms as Business Owners

  1. Cate

    Emily!

    This is amazing advice! I am always trying to support my business partner in doing this, as she has a 2 year old and one on the way. In the next couple of years, I’ll be in the same boat. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Cate

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