Nicola from Entrepreneur Mom Now – Edmonton came out to the Grand Opening of my store yesterday to interview me about being a Mom in business. She asked me the simplest and easiest questions, and I couldn’t answer them. I was a terrible interview, and I can only imagine how much editing she’s going to have to do to turn that conversation into a newsworthy video.
I don’t like not having answers, so I’ve spent the last 24 hours pondering. NOW I know what I should’ve said during my interview….perfect timing as always.
1. What are your biggest challenges being a Mom that owns her own business? The simple answer would’ve been time. It’s always time, there’s never enough. It’s hard to be Super Mom and Super Business Woman. It’s doable, but time is my biggest enemy. That should’ve been my answer, but this question TOTALLY threw me for a loop as I couldn’t come up with an immediate response. I was completely, totally stumped. I honestly don’t consider my businesses to be a challenge as they are actually my release and my place of freedom. The time I spend working on my own stuff is where I get to be “me”. The things that truly challenge me are my kids, raising other people’s kids and being a wife … I love those things, but that is where my energy, blood sweat and tears go. Not my business. My reality is this, I am a Mom first. Always. I think as soon as I accepted that, I took the pressure off myself and was able to do both without guilt or condemnation. Some days I’m Super Mom, some days I’m Super Business Woman. Somehow, it just seems to work.
2. What advice do I have for other Mom’s going into business? Be Unique. If I could pass anything on to anyone, it would be that. If you see a successful business or product, don’t copy it. Fill a void that isn’t being met somewhere else. Find a network of like-minded people and work with them. There are awesome groups in my local area, and I’m sure that you can find them wherever you are. I’ve been so blessed to find a great group of trustworthy and encouraging Mom’s to partner with and learn from. Seek that out, it is totally worth the effort.
3. Why did I start my own business? That one was easy … I had babies and I needed to be home with them. That’s a choice that my Hubby and I made, and I was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen. I’ve done so many things at home to bring in an income, and they’ve all been a learning experience but they’ve all served their purpose. I’ve run a dayhome on a few different occasions. I ran a very successful “ebay” business buying and selling used items. Eventually, I took the plunge, bought a cutting machine and started my decal design business. Last year, I jumped again and took over an online baby store, and have turned that into something totally new and fun. By using some creativity and ignoring some fears, I’m able to be a “working” stay-at-home Mom and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Now that I’ve had all this time to think about my responses as a business Mama, I realize that I do have advice and experience to share. Here it is.
~ Choose how you spend your advertising dollars wisely, especially when you’re starting out. You need to find your market before you start spending money. Word of mouth and great customer service will be what helps get your business “out there”. There are lots of free advertising opportunities available, find those.
~ Be honest. Stand behind your product and the services that you offer. If you mess up, or a product fails, or you have inventory issues, be truthful about it. People will respect your honesty and will return again.
~ Do NOT bring in every cool new product that you see. You CANNOT afford it. Listen to what your customers are asking for but keep in mind that you can’t be all things to all people. You’re going to have to choose.
Finally, you CAN be both. A great Mom and a successful Entrepreneur. Do both to the best of your ability as often as you can. There will be days when you drop the ball somewhere, and that’s okay. Pick up the pieces and start again tomorrow. Be sure to give yourself a break from “both” of your positions, without guilt. Even Superheroes get a day off.