“Mompreneurs” are kicking their work into high gear now that those with school-aged children are on their own during the day. According to some of these entrepreneurial mothers, balancing priorities of raising children with building a successful business isn’t as easy as one would hope.
Lara Galloway, who lives in Lakeshore near Windsor and runs mombizcoach.com, describes a mompreneur as a woman whose No. 1 priority is her family, but she also runs a business from home.
“To be successful, a woman needs to realize she’s signing up for two full-time jobs,” Galloway says.
“The business will take more time than you plan, and with kids, everything will take you three to five times longer than if you were working in an office without the ankle-biters clambering for attention.”
The difficulty in balancing the demands of growing children and a growing business depends to some extent on what your company delivers, your client base and how much money you want to make.
Melissa Lierman, who lives in London, Ont., and runs Lierman New Media Marketing, knew once she had her first child she had no intention of going back to a regular job.
Her first company, Time Out Mom, resold mom-made goods on the Internet. Now she’s consulting for corporate clients on how to use new media.
She’s noticed a huge difference in the balancing act.
“When my clients were other mompreneurs, they completely understood when 32-month-old Jonathan was on my lap and wanted attention: they’d laugh.
“When I’m talking with a PR firm in California or a corporate client in New York, the same would not be as cute. It just wouldn’t cut it.”
Galloway and Lierman are adamant that, as mompreneurs, playing the “mom card” when you fail to deliver is unacceptable.
“It does a disservice to you, your clients and other mompreneurs. If you think your days will be predictable, then you won’t make it in business. Consider chaos to be normal. Expect it,” Galloway cautioned.
“There is no room for procrastination or last-minute work delivery. If a client project is due first thing in the morning, you can’t leave it till the night before to finish. What if your child is sick and you can’t get to it? You won’t be in business long if that’s the approach you take.”
Lierman has had her challenges working with other mompreneurs who use their kids as an excuse to cancel meetings or not finish projects on time.
“If I’m working with a virtual assistant and she misses her deadline, then that means I’ll miss my deadline. I’m stuck scrambling till all hours in the morning to get the work done.”
Some other worthwhile advice from these successful mompreneurs:
• Focus on the strengths and skills that make you money and delegate the rest.
• Manage, accept and prepare for the rhythm of business and how that relates to the changing needs of your children, for example during the holiday season.
• Have a backup plan for emergencies. It really helps to have a supportive husband who understands your attempt to “do it all” and a reliable virtual assistant who can help you to do just that.
• Decide if you’re in business to make money or to stay busy and expand your hobby. Once you know, you can take appropriate action and you’ll know better the time commitment required.
• Separate mommy time from work time, otherwise you end up doing neither well.
• Use your experience as a way to teach your children about money and work ethic.
Lierman sums it up by saying, “To be a successful mompreneur you need lots of love, lots of patience, stellar organizational skills and great communication — with both your clients and your family.”