Managing motherhood and entrepreneurship is not easy. There is always something going on and someone is always up to something! Keeping your little ones out of trouble is a full time job in itself, and motherhood is quite honestly exhausting.
Running your own business when you have a family is even more taxing.
Trying to arrange your business hours around your family’s schedule. Feeling guilty when you are working because you are not spending time with them. Then when you take some time off work, you feel like you should always be getting back to it!
It is really hard balancing it all, and when you are not from the area and have almost no support network, it becomes quite the challenge! It can be done however, with a lot of hard work, grit and determination.
I became a mother back in 2012. Four years later, after the birth of my second daughter, I decided I wanted to start my own photography business in Sligo.
Being from Sweden originally, and my Irish husband being from Limerick, we had no support network close by that we could depend upon. I learned quickly that if I wanted to make my dream of running a successful portrait business a reality, I would have to work hard, make the best of my situation and not give up, no matter what.
I would love to share my 5 favorite tips that I have learned over the last three years, so that you too can run a successful business while being a mother and a blow-in.
My tips for managing motherhood and entrepreneurship
1) Keep things simple and organised
Your family is going to take up most of your time, so work efficiently when you can and simplify everything in your business.
- Focus on one niche rather than being a jack of all trades. Let your clients come to you for your expertise in one area rather than your ability to do anything and everything.
- Do you reply to the same type of emails all the time? Template your emails so they don’t have to be rewritten every time.
- Do you get overwhelmed by everything you have to do? our tasks can be organized and managed, use apps such as Trello. By breaking down big tasks into small pieces, it will all seem more manageable.
2) Learn from others and from their mistakes
When you set up and your own business, you are undoubtedly going to make mistakes and that is ok. No it is more than ok, it is necessary! You make mistakes and you learn from them, and then you move on.
But there is absolutely no need for you to make every single mistake just for the sake of it. By listening to others who are a few steps ahead of you, you can learn quickly what not to do as well as what you should do.
Options to find learning opportunities:
- Join business forums on Facebook.
- Borrow business books at the library.
- Hire a mentor.
Then implement what you believe applies to you and your business.
3) No is not a bad word
When you start out, you will get a lot of opportunities. Some will make your heart sing and even though you may not know how it will benefit you in the future, you just know that you want to do it.
Other opportunities may sound good at first, but your gut feeling is that it is not for you.
Listen to your gut. You don’t need to take every opportunity out there.
Saying no is actually a good way of setting boundaries and you will be more respected as a business if you have clear boundaries.
4) Share the parenting
I could never run my business without the support of my husband. He works full time, and when he comes home, we will have dinner and then he will bring the kids to bed. Nighttime is when I meet with my clients, do my marketing and go to networking events. During the weekends, I photograph sessions, edit my photographs and deliver the ready to hang portraits to my clients. I work around my family’s schedule and it works for us. We are managing motherhood and running business, managing the childhood, the dad-hood all together.
5) Meet new people
If you are a blow-in like me, chances are you don’t have a huge network. Networking does not mean you have to go to a business event (although they can be good too and I have met many wonderful people through those). You can network by going to your local toddler group, attending a crafty club.
Networking can also be partaking in a Facebook forum or simply by chatting to your neighbor or someone you meet at the bus station!
Never underestimate the power of networking, of making new friends and of telling people what you do for a living. You never know who might know someone who might need you and your business!
Those are my 5 top tips for running your own business when you have a family and a very small support network.
Starting your own business is scary. Managing motherhood and running business even scarier! It’s tough and it’s hard work. My advice to you is to be scared and do it anyway. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. Unless they run a successful business themselves, you do not need to take any well meaning advice to heart. And take time out for yourself every now and then too. You deserve it!