Being a Mom-trepreneur - What it Really Takes
So, you’ve decided to do it. You’re going to take the plunge into the amazing sea of starting (and running) your own business. And you’re going to be great! Because you can do this. After all, as a mother, you already wear five thousand hats, every hour on the hour -- what’s one more?
OK. Let me tell you something. And you need to know this because it’s the truth and because you have to know what you’re getting into. This whole “starting a new business thing as a mom” is not just one more hat. It’s another five thousand.
You will have to learn to juggle all ten thousand of them in your new business world. A world where some other business owners may only wear two or three thousand hats. Or maybe literally only one. And you have to be okay with that.
I know your next question: How will I be a mother, and wife, or single parent, and a cook, and a taxi to the kids and then add in marketing, making, selling, shipping and (this is a biggie) customer service with a smile—and not kill myself (and my kids and/or spouse) in the process?
Here’s how. It will take a lot from you. A heck of a lot of everything from you. But here’s a few things to remember that can help you start the business and help you still love the business when it’s finally a rolling wave in your sea of prosperity!
1. Be willing to give up stuff. Like everything.
We moms know what this is like already. We have to die to ourselves in order to make it, some days. Or every day. We give time, energy, love, and care to our kids and in order to do that, we have to truly forgo our wants. With a business, you’re going to be giving up even more. You’ll give up eating a full meal (don’t have time), you’ll give up going to bed on time (ain’t got time to sleep), you’ll give up peace and quiet, you’ll give up solitary time to yourself (and being in bed doesn’t count.) If you’re saying, “I do this already with my kids,” then perfect. You know what kind of sacrifice it is. So, think of your life now -- sacrificing stuff -- and then think about doubling the sacrifice. Because that is what it will take to run a business. It’s every waking moment; it saturates your brain, day and night, because it’s your burning passion; your love; your goal; your dream! Getting there takes giving up pleasures for a season to gain success. And yes. It’s worth it.
2. Put yourself on ice and wait.
This is hard. But, while you’re starting up, you’ve got to take it easy. Put yourself on ice and relax while you work through all the kinks. There are licenses, or certificates, or hoops to jump through just to get it going. And then if you’re making the product, there’s the time involved making your precious items to sell! Take it one day at a time, and work efficiently, but do not rush! Now’s the time to lay the perfect foundation for a quality and profitable business. And that all takes time. Yes, it will feel like you’re moving at a snail’s pace in rush hour. Be okay with that. Practice deep breathing. It will all come together in time.
3. People will think you’re nuts.
“You’re doing what?” Hear those words? Memorize a pleasant response to that question because you’re going to hear it a lot. Sure, you’ll get those few positive people that are truly happy for you and want you to succeed. But, there will also be those naysayers who will try to talk you out of doing what you want. Which is crazy. I mean, you wouldn’t have begun the process if you didn’t really think this is what you wanted! That aside, be ready to say things like “Yes, I quit my job to start this business” with a pleasant smile or “This is my dream and I’m going to do it,” without gritting your teeth. Life is short. Make it what you want regardless of what people say or how often they tell you how “hard it will be.” Ain’t nothing you can’t handle!
4. You’re going to think you’re nuts.
Yes I told myself I was nuts every day I went out shopping for vintage clothing. Why was I doing this? Did I really have the guts to make this little business of mine work right? Here’s what you do when you question your sanity for the hundredth time before lunch: ignore it. It’s just your common sense talking. But common sense doesn’t always make true sense … or profit! Common sense sometimes runs off of fear. And you don’t need that when you’re starting your dream job! Drink your next cup of coffee, dive into your work, and ignore the voice that says you’re crazy. Because you’re not crazy. You have passion --which will ultimately lend itself to success.
5. Persistence makes profit.
This is a well-worn phrase. But, it’s well-worn because it’s true. You must have a “stick-to-it” attitude when starting a business, one that doesn’t give up after a few setbacks or a few hundred setbacks. When you are driving through the storm as you set up shop, remember your goal: to make/do/create/sell what it is you love. That’s the forging truth when things seem like they’re never going to succeed. Keep going! Keep at it. Persistence reaps its own reward: success. And the only way to get there will be pushing through the storm, with the rain on your face, knowing the clouds will part soon. Because they always do. Always.
6. Be organized beyond anything Martha Stewart could ever come up with.
I’m telling you without a shadow of a doubt, organization is the key to running your business properly. Invoices, accounts payable, accounts receivable, your product stored in an organized matter -- it all matters. Because happy is the customers whose invoice wasn’t lost on your desk! Happy is the customer when they receive exactly what they ordered because your desk was organized, your accounts were clean and you shipped the item on time with a smile on your face (even if your kid was on your hip smearing a peanut butter and jelly kiss on your cheek at the same time).
7. It’s not about the money. It’s about being happy.
I swear this is true. The money is a bonus, an absolute positive side effect, of the actual product you are making/selling. I sell vintage clothing in my etsy shop and I have the most fun finding the items, making them perfect, taking photographs, listing the item exactly as the product is, and then shipping it off to the customer who wants it! The camaraderie with the clients/customers is also just as beneficial to me as it is to them. I love getting to know my customers and I want them as happy as I am with the product! The money is nice. Yes, it adds to the ease of my life. But, it’s not the goal of my business.
I honestly can say vintage makes me happy to the point that if I could do this free, I would. If I could live and prosper without the need for money to buy the food to keep me alive, I would sell vintage and do it free because I love it that much.
While running a business can be an ends to a mean, i.e. it’s a job to make money to live, the other old cliché “work in something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is equally true.
Of course, you will have bad days. But, overall, you will have mostly spectacular ones, because your business pretty much puts you in a state of euphoria. So all you reading this, do you have an idea of something you want to do? Something you love making, or doing, or being? Get started. Know it will require work to start it up. Know that it won’t be easy and you will want to give up. But, that just means the success will be sweeter when you get there.
And you will get there.
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