Starting and maintaining your own business can be challenging, exhausting, and all-consuming. It can also be endlessly rewarding, wonderfully flexible, and totally freeing. It takes a foundation of passion and confidence. And you also need defined structure, feasible goals, and the right support. This Ultimate Guide to Being an Entrepreneur was created specifically with moms in mind, because we need to know the same things any entrepreneur needs to know — but we also have specific challenges when there are kids in the picture.
So here’s everything you need to know about entrepreneurship — whether you are thinking of starting your own business or whether you are already going and just need a boost.
1. Dreaming Your Dreams and Following Your Passion
A fulfilling and successful career as an entrepreneur starts with a dream. And the dream stems from what you’re passionate about. If there is no spark, there won’t be a fire. So what are you willing to work for? What gets you excited and inspired? That should be the seed of your business. Can you build a business around something you don’t love? Sure. Will it be harder to sustain? Yes.
Here are some posts for you about dreams and passion:
Are You Living the Life You’ve Imagined? (3 Steps to Getting There)
How to Follow Your Dreams: 4 Powerful Lessons Learned from a Preschooler
2. Self Confidence and Your Core Foundation
Once you have your dream, you need to build a strong core. That core is YOU. It’s the confidence you have in yourself. The drive and desire and the knowledge of your already-existing capability to make it happen. Building a business has plenty to do with facts, numbers, and strategy, but it also has a lot to do with belief, hope, and a little bit of creativity.
So read an inspirational book, write an affirmation for yourself, or create a vision board. Remind yourself daily how amazing you are, and make a commitment to your dream.
3. Productivity, Progress, and Managing Our Time
The difference between an entrepreneur who has “made it” and someone who hasn’t is often that they just took action. They identified the steps and they took them one by one. It can be overwhelming, but the reality is that you build a castle one stone at a time. You need systems. And you need the environment that will encourage you to stay in line with your systems and inspire you to enjoy it. And I know your time is in high demand as a mom. Because of this you’re probably already pretty good at getting a lot done in a minimal amount of time. By bringing in a little bit more structure, imagine what you could do!
Here are some posts that will help you get things done like a champ:
How to Have a More Productive Day by Talking to Yourself Like a 3-Year-Old
How to Conquer Your Monster To Do List
I notice there are a lot of people who operate without goals in mind, and they end up confused. They jump from thing to thing and never seem to be satisfied. How can you know you’ve been successful when you don’t know what success looks like? It’s also hard to have one giant overwhelming mountain of a goal without breaking it down into smaller goals.
If you need help identifying your goals and understanding how to tackle them, here are some posts for you:
Big Picture Goal Setting: Mapping it Out in 6 Easy Steps
How to Deconstruct Big Goals to Tackle Them with Ease
5. Focus and Burnout
You need focus to make progress, but if your focus becomes too intense, it results in burnout. You need to know when to slam your foot on the gas and when to ease off and use the brake. It’s a tricky balance. And for some of us, the problem is gaining that focus at all. It takes a foundation of all the elements we’ve listed so far (passion, confidence, productivity systems, and goals). In addition, you’ll need some tips and techniques to sharpen your focus. Try a few different tools to see what works for you like meditation, physical movement or exercise, or getting outside.
Anytime you are taking on a big goal like starting and running a business (or even a smaller goal like learning a new skill), you will benefit from having support. By support, I mean a person or group of people that holds you accountable for your goal. People that believe in you, that can keep you in check, and maybe even those who can give you advice or direct help. It can be a single person, ideally who has a similar goal, or it can be a Mastermind group of several people in the same boat. At the very least, you need cheerleaders. People who are excited to hear your progress and who believe in your capabilities to do it. It’s scary to announce your goal, but even a simple public announcement can hold you accountable.
7. Entrepreneurship and Motherhood
Being an entrepreneur who also happens to be a mom provides you with some unique challenges — especially when your kids are young. But it doesn’t have to deter you from your goals. You just have to have a tad bit more patience with yourself and with the process. Patience, structure with flexibility, and a sense of humor.
Downplaying the struggle will help none of us. Having a conversation about it, however, will allow us to feel less alone as moms who are entrepreneurs. Knowing there are challenges lets you prepare for them before you jump in. But challenges shouldn’t keep you from working towards your goal. Even working a crappy job that you hate will have challenges. And those you won’t be as inclined to deal with.
One of the greatest rewards of being a mom and an entrepreneur is knowing that you are modeling that self-confidence and ambition for your kids. When they see you dreaming a dream and then making it real, it empowers them in ways that words alone cannot.
It is possible to be a mom and to have a successful business. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.