Tips for mompreneurs - My take on how to thrive and survive running your own business
I'm back! Back to blogging and social media after a long and healthy break. This is the beauty of a seasonal business. While work is never really done when you own your own business (believe me, there have been lots of exciting things happening in the background over the past few months...), there are ebbs and flows alongside the season. But still - a 5 month break from social media??? This seems somewhat unconventional or at least not recommended in today's digital world. But here's the thing. It's worked for me. And when you own your own business... you're the boss!
So many mom bosses start their businesses for the flexibility it provides. And the joy and fulfilment it provides too. And when you start to loose that flexibility and joy under long to do lists and overwhelming pressures, then the WHY that underlies the whole endeavour gets lost, at least for me. I've always been a fan of doing things my own way and writing my own rule set, which is why entrepreneurship works for me. So I thought it would make for a wonderful welcome back blog post to share some of the tips I've learned over the past 2 years of being my own boss and how to thrive as a mompreneur.
Take a break
I recently connected with a mom boss I've been admiring for ages who's built a hugely successful and reputable brand over the past decade. I was thrilled to have a coffee date scheduled and the chance to learn from her in person when I got a note from her that we'd have to reschedule. She was deciding to take a few weeks off for a mental health break, to reset and reflect. She was already so high in my books of mom entrepreneurs to look up to and although I was sad to be missing the much anticipated meeting, her message made me respect and admire her even more.
To have the clarity to give yourself the permission to take a break is huge. To do lists are never ending at work and at home. But as I said before, when we find ourselves in this line of work for the flexibility it provides, and maybe the ability to be more present with our families, but loose these advantages, maybe it's time to take a break.
Don't do it all. Do as much as you can, happily and healthily. For me, that meant a social media break for a few months, which works with my seasonal business and also worked for how I needed to be present as a mom. It's not a failure to take a break, it's an opportunity to refocus on what demands and deserves your attention most.
Find your tribe
The key to a good job is good people. I've worked in law firms, corporate offices, not for profit... so many different workplaces make it or break it thanks to the people you surround yourself with. And then comes the life of an entrepreneur. When you thrive in the company of other good people and all of a sudden are doing it on your own, what do you do?
Here's the great news for mom entrepreneurs. I think it's the single most amazing network of working "colleagues" I've met. Never before have I met a group of people who are more committed to supporting one another, collaboration over competition, and seeing each other succeed. And as one of the largest growing demographics of business, women-led start ups and the boss bases who run them are easy to find. So FIND them and don't let go.
For me, taking care of two young kids full time leaves little to no time for coffee meetings, night time events, and networking conferences. No bother. There are so many opportunities to meet and connect with women. What started for me as an online network of women entrepreneurs who share and support one another through an online community and forum (Toronto-based Mamas & Co - they are amazing - check them out!) has blossomed into true friendships and support with a choice group of ladies. We send each other drafts, run ideas by each other, are the first to comment on insta posts and read each other's blogs. And maybe more importantly, we are there to support each other when non-work life needs a sympathetic ear. Finding a tribe of ladies and friends who GET it - the work and the family and the struggle and desire to fit both it - has been key to business success and sanity, and a lot of fun.
We've all heard it - "laughter is the best medicine". To keep it all in check, work wise and home wise, I find it so helpful to keep my experience in context and remember that so many others are going through the same highs and lows as I am. Context is everything. Everything is a phase.
Some of my favorites to help shed light and laughter on mom life are the honest and funny Australian Netflix series The Let Down, and of course Canadian funny moms Cat & Nat and their recent book Mom Truths that makes all of these phases so relatable. What are your favourite takes on modern momhood?
Do something for you
The funny thing about mom entrepreneurs is that so many moms whom I've met are actually using their businesses as self care to bring them joy on top of their families. Why else would so many moms (myself included) decide to start a new business at the same time as having a new baby? It's a real thing, that so many mom businesses are born alongside real babies (albeit usually the second or third), at a stage when time is at a premium, sleep is non existent and demands are at their highest. But also, the need to feed your soul and do something for YOU is also omnipresent. So for me, and lots of my mom friends, the business is the self care. What a privilege to see "work" in this light.
So start that business, do that yoga, binge that series, or write that blog post while you eat an ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce in the late hours of the night (speaking from experience here!), as long as you do something for you.
Let go of the guilt
This is my last tip. Not just for mom entrepreneurs, but moms everywhere. Whether you work in the home or out of the home, for your boss or for your family, let go of the guilt. I actually hate the phrase mom guilt. Yes, there is too much to do. When you're working, you could be with kids. When you're with kids, you could be working. There is always an opportunity cost to any decision. But if there's one thing I've learned about moms since being one and since knowing them, and knowing my own mom for that matter, is that moms will ALWAYS try their best to do what's best for their families. It's the ultimate priority. So whatever choice you're making, whether it's to work late instead of head to another baseball game, whether it's to stay home another year with kids and miss a potential promotion, you're doing it for a darn good reason and my guess is the reason is because it's what's best for you and your family, ultimately. There should be NO guilt.
One of my best parenting strategies is to always keep things in perspective. Sometimes the hardest parenting moments can be overcome with a perspective shift. So show yourself that same kindness and shift your own perspective. Next time you feel any of this so called "mom guilt" remind yourself why you do what you do and how much you do for your kids and your family. Because no one is more worthy of your kindness and compassion than you are.
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