One of the biggest problems many an entrepreneur faces when running a business is to strike a balance between work and home life. This is especially relevant in the first two years of a business, and to be a mom and an entrepreneur must be an incredibly difficult balancing act.
“Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur” by Erin Baebler and Lara Galloway seeks to address this. The book sets out to steer both existing and would-be mom entrepreneurs through the difficult process of running a business while maintaining a happy and balanced family life. Its authors seek to achieve this through the inclusion of a series of exercises and anecdotes from moms who are already established entrepreneurs.
What Makes You Tick?
Divided into two parts, the first section of “Moms Mean Business” concentrates on getting the reader to understand exactly what it is they would like to achieve in life and how they would like their life to be.
It is one thing to come up with what seems like a brilliant business opportunity. It’s another to determine that this opportunity will fit in with your mindset, passion, and family commitments.
Values, priorities, motivators and passions are determined through the answering of a series of questions and exercises. This is done in an attempt to identify an ideal business activity that fits in with your life. The section also looks at the question of what success means to you, personally, since success for a mompreneur is normally about more than just making money.
By answering such questions, the book seeks to make it easier to identify which calls on your time are in line with your goals and priorities, and to establish a realistic schedule.
Additionally, by identifying these key factors, many of the common problems faced by mom entrepreneurs, such as a lack of time and dissatisfaction within the family home, can be avoided.
Once you have established your vision of how you would like your business to look and fit in with your family life, the authors suggest that you should set both personal and business goals and review and revise them regularly.
Over time, your life and your aspirations will change. Because of this, you should not be afraid to change or remodel your business so that it meets your idea of success, rather than allowing it to consume or overrun your life.
As with most entrepreneurs, there will undoubtedly be times when mompreneurs have doubts, worries and fears when it comes to achieving success. However, there are other issues — such as a feeling that you are too old, too busy or being selfish — that may also play on your mind. And these you will also need to overcome to achieve the success you desire.
As Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, one of the contributors to “Moms Mean Business,” states:
“Fear is at the root of so many barriers that women face. Fear of not being liked. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of drawing negative attention. Fear of overreaching. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. And the holy trinity of fear: fear of being a bad mother/wife/daughter.”
Time is always the enemy in the day of an entrepreneur, especially in the early years of a business.
When working in corporate life, I was sent on time management courses. However, back then there were far fewer distractions, and the time I was at work belonged to the company that was paying my salary.
For mom entrepreneurs, time management can be more problematic as there are so many calls on their time due to having more responsibilities than just running a business. The authors cover this subject in great detail. They recommend that you keep track of your time in the same way you keep track of your money.
This will enable you to see where your time is being spent, and where you can save to enable you to spend more time on your priorities:
“One way to think about your time is to see it as currency. You have 24 hours a day to spend.”
Since the authors have already urged the reader to determine a list of priorities, this can then be used as a framework to determine how you allocate your time for your business.
To make the best use of this time it is necessary to rid yourself of distractions, interruption and habits such as frequently checking your social media. A mompreneur needs to learn to say “no” or “not right now” when something is not a priority and also to avoid over committing.
As lack of planning is a major contributor to a lack of time, it is recommended to always try to plan ahead. The book also recommends creating “Hit Lists” so that when you do find yourself with some extra time you do not waste it. The importance of setting boundaries, using a calendar, and identifying when you are most productive are also discussed, as is the need for self care.
Your Actual Business
In part two of “Moms Mean Business,” the focus turns to how best to run your chosen business. The authors explain in detail the need to recognize and make use of your personal skills and assets and to take advantage of the support system around you.
They also go on to describe the various stages of the business cycle and what you can expect to encounter at each stage. The use of a one-page business plan is recommended to help set realistic, smart goals for both the business and your life outside of it. The plan can also be used to form strategies and to create to-do-lists and action plans.
To conclude, the reader is reminded that in business there will always be obstacles and unforeseen events. Some of these may be minor and some more serious. As a result, the authors suggest having contingency plans in place. When faced with what seem to be major obstacles, revisit your list of goals and priorities to see if they are still the same or viable.
Could You Benefit from Reading “Moms Mean Business?”
The emphasis of “Moms Mean Business” is on identifying what is right for you based on your circumstances and priorities and on how to successfully create a balanced working and family life. As the authors freely admit, “Moms Mean Business” is not an all encompassing book covering entrepreneurship. Nor was it meant to be.
However, if you have aspirations of becoming a successful entrepreneur while also having a family, “Moms Mean Business” will provide you with an abundance of practical tips and guidance to keep a balance and harmony between both your business and family life.
About the authors
Erin Baebler (@magnoliawkshop) is a freelance writer and editor. She also works as a certified coach helping mom entrepreneurs to achieve success in both their business and personal lives. Lara Galloway (@mombizcoach) is a business coach for women entrepreneurs, a writer, public speaker and a radio show host.