We know it’s challenging to be a woman entrepreneur – and being a mom also has its own set of challenges. Women who embrace both roles are called “mompreneurs.” Here’s a recipe from a successful mompreneur that can help women entrepreneurs manage business and family.
Master Chef: Cathy Iconis
I started my business right after maternity leave with my first daughter. I was passionate about supporting small business owners and wanted to create this amazing business. I quickly found out that being a mompreneur comes with some extra struggles, like balancing your business and raising your kids.
- Business Idea
- Cloud Software (including QuickBooks® Online)
- Smart Phone
- A mentor, support group, or therapist
- A strong inner voice
- Sense of humor
Step 1: Put together one part kids with one part business idea, and fold in a ton of passion.
The passion you have for your business idea must be almost equal to the passion you have for your kids. Being a mompreneur is one of the hardest things to do, so it better be worth the effort for you and your family. The payoff can be amazing, but it takes a lot of work to get there. After starting your business, you’ll start to think of it as another child. You’ll be raising and growing your business alongside your own kids.
Step 2: To get this business off the ground, you’ll need to set up your technology infrastructure.
I suggest running everything from the cloud (including QuickBooks Online as your accounting solution) so that you can have the flexibility to work from anywhere, at any time. You’ll never know when you’ll need to reply to an email or dig in and do some more heavy lifting. I recommend getting a smart phone with unlimited data and a laptop that is easy to take with you whenever you go – you never know when you will need to use it. Make sure to stock yourself with plenty of extra accessories, such as chargers, batteries and headphones; these always tend to be lost or left behind when you need them the most. And, if you are always on the go, get a good backpack to store everything in. This helps ensure little hands don’t walk away with something that isn’t theirs.
Step 3: Create a system that will organize work and home.
The best way to do this is to start with a calendar and put everything on it. You’ll need to see everything in one place. I use Google Calendar and actually have two calendars showing at once. The family calendar is also set up to be shared with my husband so that he can see what all is going on at home. With everything in one place, I can see that I can’t schedule a business call during softball practice.
Step 4: Time to set up some boundaries.
This can come in many different forms. Maybe, it is a schedule you communicate with your partner and kids when Mommy is working. Another option is to set up a dedicated space in your home to be your office so that your kids will see the physical boundary that is the separation between CEO and Mommy. Here is the hard part. Just because you’ve created your boundaries, this doesn’t mean anyone will listen. You’ll need to continuously and clearly communicate the rules around those boundaries.
Step 5: The last step to becoming a successful mompreneur is to get help.
As women, we tend to take on the world, but you have to realize that you are stronger when you get help than if you do it alone. Let other caregivers help with taking the kids sometimes. Get a mentor, join a support group or just get a therapist (like I did) to find someone to talk to about balancing motherhood and life as a CEO. Someone else’s perspective can really help you figure out what is worth stressing over. You’ll need a strong inner voice to reason with yourself when you are overwhelmed with Mommy guilt. And, above all, you’ll need a great sense of humor because sometimes being a mompreneur can be the funniest thing on Earth.
Personally, I’m reminded of the time that I tried to host a Twitter chat while letting my kids play behind me. I knew it was going to be crazy, so I recorded it. There was screaming, crying, laughing and more, but that is exactly what my life is and I love every second of it. And, who can forget my hot sauce challenge that I recorded with my girls. The best part of it was that my oldest daughter decided to do her own hot sauce challenges in several different videos later.
Note: I wrote this article while on vacation, locked in my bedroom with my laptop, while my husband and kids played in the other room.