From construction firm CEOs—to consultants—to restauranteurs, many of Canada’s top small business owners are mothers. So, how are mother entrepreneurs (commonly known as mompreneurs) balancing scaling their business with ballet lessons and bedtime?
The truth is work-life balance is a tremendous challenge for all entrepreneurs, but mothers who are small business owners face unique challenges. New research conducted Pollfish for QuickBooks Canada reveals 32 per cent of moms are not able to make enough time for themselves.
The opportunity cost of being an entrepreneur is particularly high for mothers who are sacrificing family time and time for self-care.
Small business owners told QuickBooks Canada that long work hours, lack of work/life balance and financial management problems are major pain points.
Tips for Mother Entrepreneurs
Most women entrepreneurs won’t be surprised by the data illustrated above. However, this survey highlights how widespread these issues are and can provide insights on how women entrepreneurs can be better supported. Here is some advice on managing your family and business.
- Consider using tools that could help you save time. Administrative work is often tedious and labour intensive. The good news is many of those tasks can now be automated using secure, cloud-based software, like QuickBooks. The accounting software can automatically track and sort your expenses, manage your bills, and run cash flow analysis. “Very early on in the business, I realized the one thing that would be critical to my success as an entrepreneur is efficiencies,” explains Marissa McTasney of Moxie Trades, an acclaimed safety apparel brand for women “QuickBooks quickly became part of that for my business.”
- Set boundaries and designate time to unplug. While being an entrepreneur isn’t a 9-5 job—it’s essential to set boundaries to prevent burnout and manage client expectations. Most of us don’t have significant time away from our phones or laptops; however, there are proven health benefits to unplugging. Empirical research from a German University found people who disconnect from work during designated “off-work hours” reap psychological benefits and “are more satisfied with their lives.” While it can be challenging to unplug, setting aside time during your day to be device-free will allow you to be more present with your little ones. When signing a new client consider carving out a service letter agreement (SLA) that outlines your core hours, so that they have clear and reasonable expectations about when you will be online. List your hours of availability in the SLA so you can unplug guilt-free.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes it can get lonely and overwhelming at the top. Don’t hesitate to tap into your network and ask for help. Whether that means reaching out to a mentor for guidance or hiring a temp to assist with administrative work—ask for help.
- Strategize with your support team at home. Ask for help at home as well. Talk with your family about ways they can tangibly support you and delegate tasks so that the brunt of the housework doesn’t fall on your shoulders. Try delegating tasks that could help save you time, and foster family bonding, such as giving each family member a night when they make dinner or setting an hour each week when everyone does chores together.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. You will get endless requests and invitations both personally and professionally. The truth is you can’t do it all, so it’s crucial to say “No.” so you can focus on the people and things that matter most.
- Be kind to yourself.
If you’re a mom take some time to incorporate these practices outlined above, not just this Mother’s Day, but throughout the year. Whether you’re a daughter, husband, son, or friend, reach out to the working mom in your life and show her your support. For more tips for momtrepreneurs, read Momtrepreneurs: How to Balance it All.