A Day in the Life . . . Part II Mom entrepreneurs share how they achieve balance personally and professionally in the second part of a series.
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Becoming an entrepreneur as a mom affords more flexibility for those who want quality time with their families. This is the second in a three-part "Day in the Life of a Mompreneur" series. As you learned in part 1, becoming an entrepreneur while being a full-time mom is not only entirely possible, it's desirable for many women. If you've ever wondered whether you could hack it as a mompreneur, read the following profiles to find out.
Name of Company:
Tell us what an average day in your life looks like, starting with waking up.I'm up at 5 a.m. to get my four kids off to school. Then throughout the week I'm running the kids to piano lessons, marching band, football practice, changing diapers and squeezing in dinner before running off to softball, Boy Scouts, young women activities or church. Oh, and I manage to find time to podcast, scrapbook and edit family movies.
What's your biggest challenge as a mom entrepreneur?I would say dealing with the guilt of leaving my family.
What's your best tip for success as a mom entrepreneur?Understanding that you're an individual as well as a mother is a good tip. I feel I'm a better mother when I nurture my talents and skills.
Do you make time for yourself? How?Yes! A few years ago I got really stressed out, and received some very sage advice from my mother-in-law. She was a wonderful mom of five and told me to turn everything off (phones, computers, etc), sit in my room and read for at least an hour every day. Sometimes I manage to do it and sometimes I don't, but it really makes a difference when I make time for myself. Also, I love yoga. Yoga is a really wonderful way for me to relax.
If you could start over in your business, what would you do differently?I wouldn't change a thing. I've enjoyed every step along the way, and I'm still loving it.
What's your favorite book?That's a hard question--there are too many to count. I enjoy fiction; lately, my favorite has been Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series.
My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbirdby Harper Lee.
I also read a lot of nonfiction on motherhood and parenting.
Name of Company:
Mabel's Labels Inc
Tell us what an average day in your life looks like, starting with waking up.Being a mother of five small children (with baby number six on the way) and a business owner, my day is jam-packed. I get up with the kids at 5:30a.m., get the younger ones organized and the older ones ready for school. I do a quick e-mail check, Twitter update and try to get myself ready. Around 7:45 a.m., the three older kids leave for school. By 8:30, the nanny is on duty, and I head to the office. I leave the office at 3 p.m. so I'm there when the kids get home from school. I feed them an early dinner at 4, and get them ready for evening activities like hockey, violin, ballet, etc. Around 6:30, I help with homework, pack school lunches for the next day and get them ready for bed. From 8:30 p.m. to 12 a.m., I work in my home office. I spend one or two full days a week working from home instead of at the office.
What's your biggest challenge as a mom entrepreneur?I know it's easier said than done, but you need to be able to juggle several balls in the air at once. Being a "mompreneur" provides more flexibility, but flexibility doesn't get your work done for you. If you have that afternoon playdate, you'll be sitting at your computer after midnight, still working. In my experience, this career path is best suited to those who aren't too hung up on getting sleep and can function without it. I always know the "mompreneurs" because they're the ones who reply to an e-mail on a Saturday night at 11 p.m.. or a Monday at 3 a.m. You also need to have the ability to tune out the noise around you. If dishes on the counter or laundry in the dryer distract you, working from home may be an issue.
What's your best tip for success as a mom entrepreneur?Use your social capital. You know people who can help you; don't be afraid to ask for advice, don't get so busy working in the business that you forget your job is to work on the business. Also--if you don't love it, don't do it. This applies to everything, from how an ad looks to how a phrase in your brochure sounds, to the actual work you do everyday. Know that sometimes you have to put the cart before the horse if you want to grow. That can be very frightening, but if you don't take risks, your business won't make it to the next level. While you may be the boss, treat everyone else like they're your boss-- your customers, suppliers, employees, etc. If you're not completely accountable to them, you won't be the boss for long.
Do you make time for yourself? How?I don't really have "me time" in the traditional sense. I'm fortunate that I don't crave time alone. I don't consider it a break to work at the office or having an outing with only two of my kids. I find change as refreshing as a break. I couldn't really bear sitting in a coffee shop or going for a pedicure. I'm pretty sure it would stress me out because I'd be thinking about everything I could be getting done during that time. I think women who need "me time" should probably avoid having six kids.
If you could start over in your business, what would you do differently?I would sell something you can just keep in stock. Our products are personalized, which means every order is custom-made. This means that we're in production all the time. Because quick turn-around is important to customers, we dispatch every 24 hours. It would be a lot easier if we had a product just sitting on a shelf that could be sent out. However, the personalized nature of our business is what defines us, so we're delighted to give our customers exactly what they want, how they want it.
What's your favorite book?As the parent of a child with autism, a very important book for me was Let Me Hear Your Voiceby Catherine Maurice.
I have an undergraduate degree in English Literature, but most reading I do these days focuses on business and autism.