7 Ways Being a SAHM Prepared Me to Run My Own Business
on March 14, 201808:00 AM Updated March 14, 201808:00 AM - last edited March 18, 202012:41 PMMarch 18, 202012:41 PM by jyothikm
Sad but true: Stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) are half as likely to score a job interview compared to moms who’ve been recently laid off, according to a new study.
“People viewed both unemployed applicants and stay-at-home applicants as less capable than continuously employed applicants, perhaps thinking their skills had become rustier while they were not working,” the study’s author wrote in the Harvard Business Review. “Respondents viewed stay-at-home parents as less reliable, less deserving of a job, and — the biggest penalty — less committed to work, compared with unemployed applicants.”
In fact, there’s a very strong argument to be made that the experience of Chief Mommy Officer better prepares women to tackle new business challenges. But I am not going to make that argument. Instead, these mama sole proprietors will.
Starting my own business and being completely on my own was intimidating, but I had been in the field for eight years working in varied settings with varied populations, so I was ready for it. The responsibilities on my end tripled, of course, and I had to learned to do administrative work like billing, insurance issues, emails, report writing - all on my "days off" or in the evenings. The other obstacle was that if my clients got sick, my kids got sick, or weather got in the way of a session, there was no more paid time off. If I didn't treat my patient, I didn't get paid.
But there is no better multitasker than a mother of young children! Learning how to manage my young child and her little life, while still running a home and maintaining my sanity, was eye-opening in terms of how much I could actually take on at one time and still be relatively successful.
I'm not saying I didn't drop a lot of balls or make mistakes but, for the most part, starting my own business went very well. I had to learn to roll with punches and take the good with the bad. After almost ten years on my own, the good so significantly outweighs the hardships.
To be honest, I never liked working in “corporate America.” I worked at various marketing companies simply to earn money, not because I enjoyed it. When I was pregnant with my son, I remember sitting behind my computer agonizing about returning from maternity leave - and I hadn’t even started my leave. It was that bad.
I had taken a few Pilates classes in the past and really enjoyed them. For one reason or another I began to research teacher training certifications in the area. From there it was a series of events (and studios) that lead me to open, own, and operate what is now a full functioning fitness studio and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE WHAT I DO!
Being a SAHM is what motivated me to succeed. Failure was not an option. I knew in order to be a good mom, a happy wife, a role model, I had to make it work. Through tears, exhaustion, self-doubt, I had to make it work. So although I wanted to quit and walk away a million-plus times in my first year (or two) of business, I didn’t. Just like I can’t quit motherhood. Instead, I chose to believe in my dream and, well, here I am able to tell my story. I am thankful for my children, for they gave me the driving force I needed to realize this dream of mine. Because of them I am one happy and successful Mompreneur.
I taught full-time elementary school Spanish until my kids were in 6th and 8th grades, and the commute got worse every year. The record-breaking snow in 2015 really did me in for that drive, and the following year I dropped to three days per week, which allowed me to focus more on freelance writing — a side gig that really took off for me. I now write full time from home.
The flexibility has helped my family, too. It’s allowed be to take one kid to auditions and movie shoots and to shuttle the other one to appointments during a health crisis. I’m definitely more relaxed, which has been better for my marriage, too. It’s a win for everyone.
SAHMs are crack managers. Women are so often tasked with all of the household management and scheduling — so much so that it’s totally unrecognized labor, yet it’s the exact skill set/executive functioning required in just about every job: keep all the balls in the air, keep your scheduling sh*t together, meet deadlines and work as a team.
I Know Where My Limits Are - And Where They Aren’t
Kate McKay, Business Consultant & Motivational Speaker Former CEO, Gold Siena Precious Metals
I built a multimillion dollar business as a stay-at-home mom because my goals were clear: I was going to be home when my kids came off the bus. I was committed to making sure they had a hot meal right after school! It is important to know your non-negotiables.
Provided we continue to work on our personal growth and stay current in our field of interest - and are prepared to talk about where your strengths lie and how we can add value - it really is up to us to sell ourselves. Building a support team of like-minded people helps tremendously, too. We have to stay stimulated and keep learning to feel vital.
I Work Quickly and Efficiently, and I Own My Mistakes
I used to tell my clients that waitressing prepared me best for being a good physical therapist in a busy clinic. They would always look confused as to why I didn't say my six-year degree. As a waitress, I had to prioritize and multitask quickly and move at top speed most of the time. As a mom, you do the same. Torn between the 90 things that need to get done and being able to focus for short bursts of time definitely helped me to open and run my business.
The other thing that helped me run my business is that I learned to be more flexible and work towards progress, not perfection overnight. "Mom Failures" occur daily. Owning your own business has ups and downs just like motherhood.
I am more determined now that I have been a SAHM to show my daughters that you can create your dreams with hard work. You need to be flexible, insightful and willing to take risks and make mistakes whether you are a SAHM or an entrepreneur.
I decided to stay at home with my daughter while starting a new business with my mother when I was eight months pregnant. It was all about the freedom and flexibility for me so I could spend more time at home.
Being a SAHM is one of the hardest jobs anyone can do. I have to juggle so many things in a single day, like making dinner, laundry, driving my daughter to her school activities or friends’ houses, helping with homework, etc. Each day is unique. I see the same with working on my business. I have to work on web or graphic projects, call clients, meet new prospects/clients, and network. There are so many different challenges that are thrown at you each day.
SAHMs require dedication, patience, time-management and multitasking - it’s very much the same with running a business.
Motherhood has added so many incredible tools to my toolkit. I believe motherhood wires us to be incredible entrepreneurs.
As a mama, no matter how much I try to control my day, I’ve learned to let go of the way that things play out in my sweet family. Let’s be honest, no matter how exasperated I get, nothing really occurs on a perfect timeline (and besides, trying to control my kiddos makes me really grumpy!). I’ve found the same way of thinking helps me stay level-headed (and happy!) in my business. I know that as much as I’d love to “control” my daily business outcomes, or how other people will interpret what I’m sharing, it’s not always realistic. And there are things that, no matter how hard I’ve tried to s-q-u-e-e-z-e results out of them, have NOT had a positive effect on my business. Motherhood has taught me to embrace how good it feels to focus my time on the things that work really well for my business.
At times, motherhood can really push your limits as to what you can fit into a 24-hour period. But I know I’m not the only mama who feels like a Superhero some days, where you find yourself thinking, “Is there anything I can’t do?!”
Are you a former SAHM who has since created your own professional path? What have you learned from making that transition, and how has it impacted your approach to working for yourself?
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