Work-Life Balance: Finding Your Mompreneur Mojo
I’m sure once you became a mom you had no idea that you were adding a second career. Bring home the bacon…or play “this little piggy”? Work outside the home and feel perpetually guilty and exhausted…or quit your job and feel perpetually broke (and exhausted)? For years, these were the tough choices mothers faced. Maybe we could do both—work and parent—but could we do both well? we wondered. It’s a question that, these days, seems positively antiquated.
Thanks to the Internet and to the skills we women have developed from our years in the workforce, we have more options than ever before. More and more moms are crafting lives that have ample time for both work and family—and we’re doing it well.
The mompreneur life doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, and it’s certainly not perfect. I still have days that are stressful, and I still have moments when I feel like I’ll never get it all done. But I enjoy what I do so much that at times I forget I’m paid. And that’s how I know that I’m doing what I love to do and that I’m doing the right thing. Do what works for you and what makes you happy, and your own success story will begin to write itself right before your eyes.
Tips to Get a Mama Dream Job
Find a need to fill.
To get started, you’re going to want to make sure that your venture fills a need out in the existing market. Is it something that is different from what is out there already? Is it better, faster, bigger, more innovative? Consider these questions as you weigh the pros and cons of going out on your own. When I started out, I saw a niche that needed filling—solid parenting advice via short-format video in one, convenient place—that I was more than qualified to fill. Everyone has their own expertise, interests, or an eye for where something is missing. Tap into that to create your own success.
Test market your idea before you take the plunge.
Before you drop everything (your steady paycheck included) and start your new venture, it’s a good idea to “test market” your idea. You would start out doing this work on the side before you resign. Get your first customer or at least some healthy interest before you take the full-time plunge.
Pay attention to your gut instincts.
Some of the most successful businesses got their big break because they were on the cutting edge of a new trend. When I first started my online venture, social media, like Twitter and Facebook, wasn’t nearly as popular as they are now. And yet, that’s become some of my biggest outlets for making connections in the online community to drive traffic to my videos. At the time, it may have seemed to some that the time I devoted to Twitter was a waste, but I knew I was investing in something important. And today, that has paid off.
Figure out how to transfer your workplace skills to your new venture.
Whether it’s people skills you’ve picked up in dealing with clients, marketing know-how, or even just your admirable work ethic, tap into that skill set and transfer it to your new venture.
Assemble a top-notch team.
Approach your new business venture just like you would anything at your old job. As you are getting started, understand that you’ll have to serve as your own team for awhile, but down the line expect to do some hiring (and have a plan in place for it). During your early days as a one-man show, make sure you are always on the lookout for talent so that when you are ready to expand, you can hire the right team. For me, having the right team has been paramount to the success of my latest venture, MommyToMommy.TV.
Stay connected and engage your audience at all times.
Social media is making it easier and more convenient than ever for mompreneurs to stay connected. Twitter and Facebook can keep you connected no matter where you are. You can blog and comment during naptime, or introduce a new product while you wait in the pick-up line at school. I caution that while staying connected is great, it often isn’t enough to take you to that next level. Go the extra step and engage in conversation with those you are connected with. Make solid trusted relationships so that your audience can depend on you and your product. That’s where the true rewards lie.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
We all have our strengths when it comes to business. But that also means we all have our weaknesses as well. When it comes to the areas that are outside of your expertise, don’t hesitate to ask someone to help you. I surrounded myself with mentors and contacts for the areas of business that were not my strong suit, and I called on them when necessary.
Stay true to your brand.
Don’t be quick to jump at the first opportunity that comes knocking. Stay true to who you are and what you know feels right. For example, I was recently approached by a well-known brand to be a spokesperson. While the exposure would have been great, I didn’t feel right about the partnership, because it went against some of the values I had built my brand on, so I turned the opportunity away. Remember, the Internet is forever. Whatever you say and do online will never go away. Be wary of attaching your brand and your name to something that may not be right for you in the long run.
Go for the gusto.
Just because you are going out on your own it doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be backed from the big players. Getting one big contract, client or sponsorship can open the doors for plenty of other big opportunities, and it helps to legitimize your brand and give you some credibility. It took me three years of promoting my brand and showcasing my expertise before I landed large sponsorships like Sony, Vimeo, Kindercare and Yahoo! And it took a lot of persistence on my part to get my foot in the door. Remember, companies are not going to come looking for your talent—YOU have to be the one to put it out there.
Realize that being a mompreneur won’t be easy.
Of course you’re going to get tired, and at times the work is going to pile up. That’s why it’s so important to feel passionate about what you’re doing. It’s knowing that you love your entire life—your kids, your customers, and all—that will keep you running the race.
How will you plan to create a better balance between work and life? How do you plan on finding your "Mompreneur Mojo"? What tips have helped you in the past? What tips do you plan on implementing in the future?
Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT, is the executive producer of the online parenting shows www.TheGoToMom.TV and www.MommyToMommy.TV and author of The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children and The Internet Mommy. For more great tips from the Go-To Mom, click here.
About the Book:
The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-470-58497-2, $16.95, www.TheGoToMom.com) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers. For more information on The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children, click here to view Kimberley’s book trailer.