Stacia Pierce launched her career from home while her little ones played at her feet, just as her mother and father did when she was a baby.
"I come from a strong legacy of entrepreneurs," the Orlando, Fla.-based mompreneur proudly says. "My children grew up in and around independent businesses, like I did."
Pierce's father was a solo realtor and her mother owned a cleaning business. She absorbed a lot watching them run their successful ventures while raising a family, and she's raised her business -- and her children -- on the many valuable lessons she learned along the way.
The 48-year-old wife and mother of two -- who launched her first venture, an ice cream shop and arcade, at just 13 -- describes herself as a "a whole-life coach." Through her thriving business, LifeCoach2Women, she says she helps more than 20,000 clients across the globe "balance their lives and their businesses." It's no accident that 80 percent of her clientele are women and, of those, many are moms, too. Several own home-businesses, such as daycares, she says, while transitioning from full-time motherhood duties to full-time entrepreneurship.
"My express goal is to help them grow their businesses, increase revenues and achieve their most desired dreams, but not to lose their lives -- and their sanity -- in the midst of it all," she says. "I know what it's like and how to make it work because I've been through it, and still am."
In the beginning, when her daughter, Ariana, now 26, and her son, Ryan, now 19, were little, Pierce worked part-time as a motivational speaker and author. (She now has some 21 books to her credit). Back then, she was also the sole proprietor of a store called Chic Images, a beauty salon and fashion boutique hybrid. Heap onto those spinning plates creating and selling her own signature makeup collection and hosting a TV show on The Word Network -- along with meeting each of her children's needs and getting them where they needed to go in one piece and on-time -- and she was one busy mama. And that was fine with her.
"I love that I did not wait for my children to grow to give credence to the ideas and dreams that were bubbling inside of me," she tells Entrepreneur. "Now, the entrepreneurial spirit is an underlying foundation in our home. My children were my first employees, actually more like unpaid interns. Now they both have their own flourishing businesses."
Each year, as her children grew, Pierce's businesses and education did, too. Eventually, on her journey to earning her doctorate degree in philosophy and religious studies, she began hosting "Women's Success" conferences throughout the U.S., and still does today. In the early days, following each event, letters and phone calls poured in from attendees, asking her to privately coach them, she says. "They wanted to know how I was doing it, how I was profiting from my passion."
They also wanted to know how she was "keeping it together" as a mom and as an entrepreneur. We were curious about this, too, which is why we recently picked Pierce's brain for her top four productivity tips for busy mompreneurs.
1. Make mornings your sacred me-time.
"I start each day with a walking meditation outside that I call a thought walk. My mornings are a sacred time for me to cultivate creativity and take control of my day. I also use this special morning time to write down my daily three goals in my success journal. Then, I add in notes and thoughts next to each goal that remind me of what to focus on or how to complete the task.
"Morning is the time we all need to take for ourselves, reconnecting and taking a deep breath. It’s when we think about our day and what we want to get from it, family- and business-wise. We have a lot going on and this is how we start to make it all happen."
2. Live by your to-do lists.
"As a business owner, wife and mother, I play multiple roles. To stay organized, I live by lists. I create lists for everything that I do on a regular basis, like shopping, events, family planning, writing, marketing processes and product creation. If it’s in my world, it’s on a list.
"As I go through the day, I use a highlighter to mark off completed tasks, which helps me keep track of my progress. Once my top three goals are accomplished, I'm relieved and not stressed about anything else on my lists. The rest of the list can be moved to the next day.
"I often text 'to-do lists' to my family and business colleagues every night so that we can start the next day strong. I also have a team of 15 people that I communicate with often. So lists help me to communicate clearly and hold everyone accountable.
"As mompreneurs, we need things we can cross off as we create a map for our lives, our businesses and our kids. Just brain dump every single thing you need to do and get it out of your head. You'll feel better after you do."
3. Plan your schedule one week in advance.
"You have to get into a daily regimen that gives you a sense of balance between family and business. To do that, on Sundays, I plan out my entire week, personally and professionally. While I don't always know everything that will take place, I start with a theme so that I can plan accordingly.
"For example, I could have a writing week, where I will need to block a lot of time for writing; or a travel week where I need to plan packing and arrangements for travel; or a media week where I batch interviews, filming and press rounds to promote the brand; or a conference week, where I'm focused on conference planning or a project planning week, where it's all about meeting and strategizing with the team for upcoming projects."
4. Banish the mom guilt.
"As moms, we're more of the caregivers in the family. We're the ones nurturing all the time and sometimes we feel like we can't step back from that and do something for ourselves. I know I've felt that way. Sometimes when I'm on the road traveling I'll say, 'Oh, gosh, I feel so guilty. I'm not there for them.' After a while, I figured out that they'll be OK. The kids will be OK once your plan is in place and you're working with it. It’s all in order."Part of that plan, and being more productive personally, will be saying no to some business-related things so you can show up for your kids. You also can't beat yourself up, like we moms do. It all boils down to choices and making better ones based on where you need to be and what you need to focus on right now, at work and at home. You might feel like you're failing so much, but, as you master your plan and get more done, you'll see you're really succeeding."