Transitioning from Motherhood to Entrepreneurship
With my sister as my best friend and business partner, it is safe to that I have always incorporated family with what I do for a living. We looked at starting our own business from the perspective of a mother. As parents, it is important that our children grow and succeed. When we were thinking about starting a business, we wanted to include our children. With that being said, I would like to provide some tips for mothers that are thinking about re-joining the workforce or transitioning into entrepreneurship.
Find your work-life balance, and conquer obstacles coming between business and family.
There are always going to be challenges when transitioning from motherhood to entrepreneurship; particularly with work-life balance. Numerous studies indicate that the number of working moms have almost quadrupled within the last couple of decades. According to the United Sates Department of Labor (USDOL), 70 percent of women with children under 18 participate in the labor force. When comparing to working mothers from the 1960s, the USDOL states that over 40 percent of mothers are the primary breadwinners of households today.
More and more women are succeeding in finding the balance. Finding family time is extremely important when managing your business. You can preserve time by working hard during the day and when the children go to bed. I block off times in my schedule so that I do not overlap business-related activities during family time. It takes time to adapt to juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood, but with diligent planning and time-management you can find balance.
A big challenge in entrepreneurship is to acknowledge when it is time to step away from your business during family time. There is temptation to check your email or ‘just get a few things done’ during downtime with the kids. When you are passionate about your business, as most business owners are, it is hard to resist the temptation to do everything right away and to do it all yourself. Every owner needs to actively work to strike the right balance for themselves and their families.
When I was focused on the children, my career took a back seat. When I was focused on my job, I was unhappy because I was sacrificing time with my family. There are always going to be unpredictable circumstances such as days that kids are off school, the days they have healthcare appointments, and days they are sick or have a snow day or cancellation. Prior to owning my own business, I felt a constant struggle balancing effectively doing my job and raising my children with proper care and attention. Every business owner will feel these kinds of struggles. Hit them head-on and be proactive by choosing or building a business that allows for flexibility and that can involve your family.
Hire those who share your same passion.
A challenge that most businesses face is the conundrum of spending money to make money. Investing in the right people can grow your business to successful levels that you may not achieve on your own. Not only does hiring trusted employees open up blocks of time in your schedule, it helps establish a reputable brand image. The passionate, trusting employees that join your team can also become positive brand ambassadors for your business.
For example, our concept employs educators and those who are extremely passionate about learning. I am thankful that my employees are as passionate as I am, and that they look for what is best for children as any parent would. My advice is to let others help you, and this has been an important key to my success as a business owner.
Include your family in the business.
The key to transitioning back into the business world when you are balancing family is to include them in your business. For example, my older son loves to hand out free passes to kids and talk to them about our programs. My younger son loves to help out and be a ‘buddy’ in the preschool classes. My kids are developing a sense of entrepreneurship themselves; which emphasizes how the brand is truly a business started by a family for families. The interactive, play-based concept Snapology was inspired when I observed how Lego® bricks and toys can help my own children learn. With learning disguised through play, I knew that lots of families could benefit from this program. My advice to other entrepreneurs is to center their business around what is important to them and their family. Starting a family-oriented business is perfect for parents balancing working with their young or school-age children.
Create a business that you are passionate about.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to do what you love. If you do what you love, the success will follow. My family was an inspirational part of my decision to transition from being a working mom to owning my own business. Since my children truly enjoy learning, in particular STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), I was motivated to find academic activities for them.
One thing we hear often from teachers is that schools are so focused on test scores that they cannot be as creative as they would like to be. Creative learning is critical with STEM concepts. Since children are not always able to get this higher-level of creative learning in school, we saw a need to create enrichment programs to enhance the concepts taught in school. I want my kids to take things apart and put them back together to learn how to problem-solve. I also want them to experiment with their ideas, and see how things fit together by inventing. In short, I want my kids to experience as much hands-on learning as possible. Children are so naturally curious and creative, and it is just amazing what they can do given the right guidance. If I wanted these things for my children, I was sure that parents everywhere also wanted their children to experience a more hands-on learning curriculum.
Capitalize on your motherly intuition.
Looking at business from the perspective of a mother is a great benefit to have when contemplating entrepreneurship. I can manage and grow my business by looking at the concept from the outside looking in, and think the way that our consumers do. I can better understand the viewpoint of parents putting their children in Snapology classes because I am also a mother. As a mother entering or re-entering the business world, you have an important nurturing characteristic that can be applied when managing your business.
I have always been a working mother since our financial situation did not allow me to be a stay-at-home mother at any point. Transitioning from corporate work to becoming an entrepreneur was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am able to do something I love, support my family, and spend precious time with my children while they are young.
I truly have the best of all worlds, and consider myself very blessed.
What struggles have you encountered during the transition from motherhood to entrepreneurship?