3 Important Lessons I've Learned as a Momtrepreneur
Sometimes, being a mother and an entrepreneur merges in the best way possible.
One in three female-owned businesses is owned by a mom. That’s nearly four million company leaders who carry the titles “mom” and “boss.” But when you think about the 582 million entrepreneurs globally, it’s clear to see that we have a lot of room to grow.
I’m one of those four million women who spends their day juggling afterschool activities, carpool schedules and the daily operations of a growing business. I am the COO and co-founder of a call tracking and contact center solution, CallTrackingMetrics. Early in my career, I was no stranger to a fast-paced, constantly pivoting lifestyle (I spent time working in the fashion industry as a buyer for Bloomingdales — enough said.) But nothing prepared me to take on motherhood and the next step in my career at the same time.
While starting a company with my husband in our basement with three young children, I learned quite a bit about the momtrepreneur journey. Not only did I learn how the roles “mom” and “boss” can work together and learn from each other, but I discovered that it’s possible to accomplish your personal and professional goals without forfeiting either. Every motherhood and career journey is different, but I know one thing for sure: You can be a great mother and a great entrepreneur at the same time.
Here are the three most significant things I had to learn as a momtrepreneur:
You will find a way to make it work
As a mom and entrepreneur, I found it was necessary to work where you can, how you can and when you can. My husband still had a day job, so we worked in the evenings less than three feet away from a crib. With our children so close in tow, we would take sales calls during nap times and become accustomed to the mute button.
The pandemic thrust many people into a similar situation. Those who spent more than 50 hours a week in the office were suddenly expected to work from home and deal with the potential distractions of kids and dogs. For us moms and entrepreneurs, we always have found ways to make it work. We’ve learned to deal with the distractions and still find time in the day to get work done.
Today, moms tend to put themselves in one of two categories — a working mom or a full-time caretaker. However, I found that you don't have to put yourself in one camp or the other, and finding a balance of what you want from both worlds is what's best for you and your family.
No time off is too long
After having my first child, I wanted to focus 100% on being a mom and gain some perspective on what my next professional step would be. It was a great time to think about what I wanted to do next, and within a few months, I realized that I needed to incorporate some business into my day-to-day life.
Call it a maternal instinct, or maybe it was the newfound clarity I had just discovered, but I was missing that aspect of my life and the challenges it brings. I looked into ways to ease back into work and found that the best answer for me was to start a company and grow it at a pace that worked with my lifestyle.
For an entrepreneur looking to start or grow their business, it may never be the “right time” to take a leap of faith. But the drive to push forward will propel your business. It’s essential to have those chances in life to purposely decide where you want to take your career.
Understand that you have a lot to learn
In terms of balancing work and home, I had to learn that you can't do everything. You need to pick your battles and do the things that matter most to you and your family. I leveraged grandparents and excellent nannies to help me keep it together. I’ve developed great delegating skills at work and apply those same skills to our home.
I also learned that my family is an asset to my career. The perspective and experience I gain with children benefit me in many ways professionally. I don’t shy away from talking about my family in professional settings. It breaks down walls. It creates relationships and humility. I am usually the first one to joke about something going on with my family in meetings.
I received one of the best compliments I have ever gotten from my 10-year-old earlier this year. At school, they were learning about the difference between assertive and aggressive and how gender stereotypes often confuse the two. The teacher had asked the class if they knew an assertive person, and there was silence — until my daughter shot her hand up and said, “My mom is assertive. And she is good at it.“
As my daughters have gotten older, they look to me more for advice on life situations. Dinner table conversations have shifted — perhaps unlike other kids, they know what payroll is, understand what HR is and understand what profit means. We talk a lot about what they want to do when they “grow up,” and I try to instill in them that there is no one answer.
All too often we are expected to think of our personal and professional lives as separate entities. Instead of seeing your two roles battling each other for your sole attention, find ways to incorporate your family and career as one. Being a momtrepreneur is not easy. In fact, it’s pretty challenging. But the result is gratifying if you believe in your work.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer