Tips for Mom -The 5 P's of the “Mompreneur” Balancing Act
Recent studies have shown that over the past 30 years, more women have entered the “mainstream” workforce than ever before in American history. I used the term “mainstream” because I believe that women and especially mothers have been working and making great contributions to communities since the beginning of time. In the past 10 years there has been an evolution of women in leadHership positions a nd in most recent years the female entrepreneur/ business owner has been increasing in leaps and bounds.
Between 1997 and 2006, fully women-owned, or majority women-owned business grew at nearly twice the rate of all U.S. firms (42.3% vs 23.3%). During this same time period, employment among women-owned firms grew 0.4% and annual sales grew 4.4%. In 2010, reports on women-owned businesses (or majority-owned by women) in the United States returned the following impressive statistics:
There were an estimated 10.4 million privately-held firms;
This accounted for two in five (40.2%) of all businesses in the country; and
These firms generated $1.9 trillion in annual sales and employed 12.8 million people nationwide.
Many of us (women) have decided to merge our leadHership roles; Mom + Entrepreneur = Mompreneur. As if being a mom is not a full time job with diaper changes, breast feedings, meal planning, drop offs, pickups, homework management, sports, PTA, counseling, mediating, educating, roll modeling and with no retirement plan insight. It almost sounds insane to add another full time job to this already over loaded job description. But many like myself, have made the decision to share our gifts and talents with those outside of our homes. Now, if you are considering Mompreneurship or Mompreneurship has already hired you, here are some tips to balance the “Mompreneurship Balancing Act”:
Prayer / Meditation and Wellness – Because you are the CEO of potentially two (2) Fortune 500 Corporations (your children and your business), Mompreneur you must “schedule” quality time for yourself. Prayer, meditation and wellness can easily be overlooked. The lack of these activities in any form of your choosing will be detrimental to the success of the Mompreneur. I love the tradition of the “Siesta” practiced in some Latin American and European countries; which is based on the premise that a rest period is essential to a successful workforce. Make your “Siesta” a part of your daily routine and be sure to add an infusion of positive thoughts and practices as well as include a healthy snack and rest period. This is necessary to maintain optimal health in mind, body and spirit. A healthy Mompreneur is a wealthy Mompreneur.
Plan and Organize – as a business developer, nothing happens in my life without a written plan. I have even gotten my children into the habit of planning their day, month and year. By having an organized planning system both at home and at work, you will find that you are no longer running around like the proverbial “chicken without a head”. Your days will be more organized, efficient and less stressful. What are your life goals and what strategies and tactics will you use to reach them? My company IBCVI & Co. offers life-mapping techniques to our clients, a planning tool that is very useful (see us at www.ibcvi.com). Also, I suggest you use personal organizational tools[i] such as:
a) Evernote -Powerful note taking program that syncs between multiple devices (such as your computer, iPad and iPhone). I use Evernote daily. It keeps all my notes in folders. I add tags to help me remember where I put them.
b) FlipBoard -A pretty version of an RSS reader for the iPad & iPhone. FlipBoard takes the articles you sign up to read and makes them appear as a magazine layout. Imagine a custom made magazine based on all your favorite sites. This great visual organizational tool is creative and great for research too!
c) Calendar – How do you keep up with each task, especially in your multitasking environment? I use multiple calendars - one on my mac and of course my Google Calendar, and at times, the good old fashioned desk one that adds visual balance. I add all my classes and workshops on Google Calendar so they sync to my websites. Awesome Note is also a great ipad user tool. Franklin Covey offers great calendars and inspirational quotes that help me to organize my day to day tasks and keep me on top of my game without losing sight of important reminders and the kid’s events as well.
d) Virtual Paper & Pen or Notebooks -Before I got my iPad I purchased notebooks in packs of 6-10. I had daily notebooks, specific notebooks and sketch books for all my thoughts. When I set up my iPad I learned there were some installed programs like “Notes” then I added apps like “Pages” which is similar to “Word”. After I was comfortable with them I added Skitch by Evernote. Skitch is a FREE easy application for capturing and sharing images. You can then write and draw on top of it, resize and share it with everyone. Penultimate is an iPad handwriting & sketching application. I still use a real 9 x 12 sketch pad and believe I have saved most of a tree with using these virtual tools too! Well it makes me feel better and much more “green”).
e) Daily Task list -Back when I was in the corporate world I was taught to use the Franklin Covey planner and system to organize my day. I learned to use it daily and grew to understand the value of organizing your day to be productive.
Proper support systems – I use the word “proper” because relationships are important, but “proper” relationships are a necessary component of being a successful Mompreneur. No woman is an island and in order to balance the “Mompreneur balancing act”, one must have proper support systems in place. A significant other, a trustworthy caregiver, a mompreneur network - all of these can give ease to what is the “Mompreneur balancing act”. Surround yourself with people who are in support of your journey. Do not isolate yourself and please ask for help when needed. Seek out organizations in your neighborhood that support women in business , e.g. Integirty Women in Business Center, Inc. (see us at IBCVI). Integrity Women In Business Center, Inc. is a non-profit foundation that I founded in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands due to the need for proper support systems in my neighborhood. I saw a need as I recently became a single mother and wondered, where does a Momprenuer go for support and who can a Momprenuer talk to? There wasn’t such a place for me and so I created one. Ten years later, my non- profit has assisted over 250 local women with all kinds of services to include: workshops, expos, seminars, one-one counseling, coaching, financial advice, networking and more. I enjoy the sisterhood and it has made all the difference in my career. Our members support each other and often testify that the network that “we” have grown is immeasurable. Seek these in your community.
Purpose – it’s not the what, but the why. Why you do, what you do and loving it is most important in this journey. Your why will be different from my why. Understanding your life’s purpose and aligning that with your Mompreneur journey is essential to success. If you are doing this to be like the Jones, to fulfill someone else’s idea of who you should be or for any other generic reason - you will not enjoy this journey. If you do not enjoy your journey, you will not be a success. I define success not by my bottom line, but by the contributions I have made to my family and to the community as whole. I define my success by the fact that I believe my Creator has called me to do exactly what I am doing. This is confirmed by the fact that even though it is not an easy road, my spirit is fulfilled and I am joyful. My joyfulness breathes new life into my family life and business life daily and I can go on yet another day, despite the struggles. I was born to be a Mompreneur. I challenge you to ask yourself, why?
Persistence and Patience – Persistence can be defined as a continued existence or occurrence. Hang in there, don’t give up! Be patient with yourself and the process. The world needs Mompreneurs. Persistence is the foundation of taking anything you can imagine, and then weaving it in your life for a desired outcome. As creators/givers of life you are in the right place and you can manifest your dreams. I love this Proverb[i], as it speaks to the Mompreneur – encouraging, multitasking, accomplished, resourceful, careful and wonderful.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
The author of this poem obviously encountered the “Mompreneur”.
Be you and be blessed! Go out into the world and know that you are not alone. There are many others out there who have already paved the way for the evolving Momprenuer. Stay connected to your sister circles. Stay engaged. Have question or need assistance in your small business we want to help
IBCVI & Co. Specializes in Entrepreneur /Mompreneur (Start –Ups and Small Business) support services. See us at www.ibcvi.com or give us a call at 340-778-4228
Until Next Time...