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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

7 Things Mom Entrepreneurs Need to Know to Avoid Burnout

Thought of the Day: "Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not a preparation for life but is life itself." John Dewey

7 Things Mom Entrepreneurs Need to Know to Avoid Burnout by Marla Tabaka

Being a mom entrepreneur has its rewards, and its difficulties. Here's how to meet the challenge and enjoy success. There are more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. alone, and mom entrepreneurs are rapidly growing in numbers. Why not? Self-employment can offer great solutions and opportunities for these families. Still, don't be fooled by the seeming flexibility of the job description; many of my clients are mom entrepreneurs and they come to the table with a unique set of challenges.

Moms don't have eight or more consecutive hours a day to devote to a business. Instead they're filtering through conflicting priorities, enduring constant interruptions, and working to maintain a professional front--all while trying their darnedest to be great moms.

1. Figure out who you are

Let the business planning come later. We are bombarded with overwhelming messages from the world dictating how things "are supposed" to be. But when you take the time to get really clear on what works best for you and do things in your own unique style, chances are you will feel successful and happy.

Figure out your priorities, your passions, your values, and your motivations. Take sometime to understnad both your possibilities and your limitations based on your current life circumstances.

2. Envision your success

What's your definition of success? Is it to broad? To narrow? Is it yours or have you let someone else or society define it for you? Be intentional about understanding your idea of success--imagine, write about, and talk about your vision. After all, how can you get there if you don't know where "there" is?

Explore what success means to you. Is it being in the best shape of your life? Is it making enough money for your husband to retire? Is it the opportunity to work while also volunteering at your kids' school? Getting clear on your vision of success, and making sure it's your alone, will increase the odds that you'll actually achieve it.

3. Track your time

If you find yourself repeating old refrains like, "I don't have enough time," or "It's impossible to do it all," you are probably not using the time you do have effectively. You actually do have enough time to accomplish what's most important to you. What time-wasting habits can you let go of to find more time for what matters? Schedule your priorities on your calendar so they get done. Saying "I don't have enough time" is another way of saying "I'm not spending my time on what matters the most."

4. Take good care of yourself

You have two full-time jobs: running our business and your family. This makes you a good candidate for burnout and the best preventative measure is self-care. Women often tend to believe that they have to earn the time to take care of themselves by completing their to-do list first, which we know will never happen.

Since you can't afford to burn out, you have to decide what will keep you from that. It's different for everyone, so figure out what you need in place to feel well taken care of. Put self-care on your calendar too. Keep this important appointment for yourself just as you would for a hot prospect.

5. Build your toolkit

As a mom you have tremendous internal and external resources. To make certain that you leave no stone unturned when you need them, you must gather your wealth of resources and detailed keep a list handy. Whether they are work skills or innate talents, consider how you can leverage the strengths you bring to the table. Also, use your human resources. These can be neighbors who will watch your kids in a pinch, friends who promote your business, or past colleagues who are willing to introduce you to valuable contacts. Break out that toolkit to help you get a leg up. Continue reading...

10 Tips for Moms Who Run Businesses by Tiffany Black

Being a Mom and running a business is like having two full-time jobs. We asked women who do it for their advice on how to juggle running a family while building a business.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis juggles a demanding career with raising three daughters-- ages 3, 6 and 17 --- and being a wife. She is the founder of Washington DC-based for women entrepreneurs and the guide to working moms. Lewis founded specifically for entrepreneurial mothers to share their wisdom and find community, support, energy, inspiration and new ideas. Senior Producer Tiffany Black asked Lewis and other busy MEOs (Mom Executive Officers) to share their advice for balancing family and business.

1. Set aside some time for yourself

More than one Mom offered this piece of advice. When you are running a business and taking care of a family it's easy to forget about taking care of you. "As a psychologist, I know that everyone needs regular rejuvenation," said Lynda Ariella owner of Porch Light Psychology Services in La Mesa, California. "I take one day off every week; on that day, I don't answer the phone, I don't do work and I try not to worry about things that usually bother me. I suggest that my patients do the same."

2. It's okay to say 'No'

You say no to your kids all the time but you find it harder to say no when it comes to your business. "It's mandatory to say no," said Lewis. "If you said yes to every request or opportunity or avenue of work you would be busy 24-7 with no time for your family." No doesn't always mean no. No could mean not today or not this week but some other time that works for eveyone.

3. Outsource household work

"If you can afford it, outsource as much of the household work as possible so you can spend your home and family time focusing on your children and spouse or significant other, or dating life and activities that relax you and enrich your non-worklife," advises Karen Cornelius, mother of two and president of KLC Associates, an organization and management consultant company with offices in Chicago, New York, London and Koln, Germany.

 4. Be present

"Setting up boundaries for work and motherhood to be separate fosters efficiency in both arenas," said Kristin D. O'Connell, co-owner of Mama Goddess Retreats in Nosara, Costa Rica. "When you are working you give your entire focus to your business, and when you are with your children your entire focus is them." Lewis agreed that your kids know when you aren't tuned in to them. "Kids know when you are secretly checking your Black Berry in the parking lot of their school," said Lewis. "It means something to them when you are 100 percent focused on them."

5. Don't be afraid to delegate

You delegate at work but find it hard to delegate at home. If you have a spouse or significant other talk to them about how to divide the load of household needs and child-caring. "When our children were small and ill a lot, we tried to take turns staying home with them, but also would check with each other to see who had the most critical work-related meetings or events on our calendar," said Cornelius.

6. Create a support network of other working moms

A search on LinkedIn for "working moms" pulls up over 60 groups for Moms. You can also meet and bond with other Moms through your child's day care or play group. Also, groups devoted to Women's leadership might have resources devoted to supporting moms. Continue reading...

Which one of these tips would you use? Have you tried any of these tips and how successful have you been in applying them in business and family life? Looking forward to insights and comment below.

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