Juggling the incessant demands of being a full-time parent with the pressing needs of running a full-scale business would even have Superwoman balking in fear.
But for the many “mompreneurs” who manage to run successful businesses while also overseeing their children at home, it’s just another day in the office. For any mom (or, in fact, anyone) who is thinking of taking the entrepreneurial plunge, here are a few deadly mistakes to avoid.
1. Failing to Delegate: The ‘I Can Do It All’ Mentality
Here’s a classic dilemma that most mompreneurs fall prey to: Instead of relinquishing control, and letting someone else take the reins once in a while, they try to do it all on their own. Of course, the instinct is fathomable—moms are anything but inefficient, and mompreneurs are the crème de la crème. They are the masters of streamlining life and creating processes to squeeze out more from each day.
Most moms treat time as a rarity that they cannot afford to squander. Whether it’s being the accounts-payable department of the family or running carpool for after-school activities, the pressing demands of the family entail effective time management and advanced multitasking skills. However, when juggling both work and family simultaneously, this is a disastrous recipe for burnout that can actually thwart success.
So what do you do? You learn to delegate. Handing off a task-at-hand to a capable child can very well translate to the corporate environment as well. As a leader, find out what your employees excel at and try to give them the autonomy and experience in areas that can aid in their professional growth, and leave you time to catch a breath.
Joanna Strober, mom of three and CEO of Kurbo Health says, “Working mothers can be really hard on themselves. We may have a kaleidoscope of conflicting emotions, including helplessness, fear, anger, and guilt that we can’t do it all. But guess what? No one can—not even Superwoman.”
2. Skimping on a Viable Business Plan
When you have an “earth-shattering” idea, you may want to jump right into it and leave the boring details of crafting a business strategy and coming up with a feasibility plan for later. Having a solid business plan, however, plays a major role in determining the success of your startup. After all, a business plan is your guide for steering your business in the right direction.
Before writing your plan, answer the following questions: What is the purpose, values, and mission of your business? Who are the potential customers? What directions do you desire for the company? Who are your competitors and what are they doing differently? How are you planning to measure success?
To put it in a nutshell, a sound business plan determines every aspect of the startup, and acts as a reference every time your business is on the verge of a big change or is stuck in a rut. Make sure you have a business plan in place before you take a step forward.
3. Juggling Business and ‘Momming’ together
One of the deadliest mistakes that some mompreneurs make is not kick-starting their business in the traditional sense of a business. They start out with vague boundaries between being an expert in their industry and being a mom. While all mompreneurs have their fair share of “kid appearances” and “kid interruptions” during important sales and Skype calls, distinguishing the fine line between play and work is indispensable to success.
This involves setting up a dedicated work space and office hours so you can focus on what needs to be done without outside distractions. While asking you to “lock the door” might seem a little draconian, this philosophy will help you realize a better work/life balance to achieve all your business objectives.
Jessica Kettle, owner of Jessica Kettle Photography and mom to three kids, says, “Separate family and work time as much as possible. This increases productivity, and your family and clients are happier when you are able to focus and engage in what you are doing, rather than being spread too thin.
4. Clinging to the Wrong Idea Because Your Gut Says So
Many entrepreneurs are so enamored with their idea and the prospect of launching their own business that they fail to realize their idea is failing before it’s too late. Going on your gut alone to start a business can be the worst mistake you can make.
While you should never ignore a hunch, make sure that “hunch” is balanced with business strategies based on research, viewing key performance indicators, and engagement in number crunching. If this is your first business venture, do tests on what product tweaks or tactics are best for drawing in customers. Closely scrutinize the cost of acquisition of each customer and see if any small revamps can depreciate the cost for you.
5. Not Being Passionate
If you are starting a business simply to pay the bills, you are more likely to run a business “that pays more” instead of doing “what you love more.” However, loving what you do can help alleviate some of the stress of work, offer more personal fulfillment, and help sustain your energy.
According to Erin Schurtz, owner of Mommi and an actual mom of three, “Life’s too short to spend time doing anything for just a paycheck, especially when what you are doing takes you away from your children and family. If you love your work, then it will be easier to lead a balanced life.”
6. Not Finding the Right Support
Trying to juggle family and work can be overwhelming, so it’s important to get the help that you need. Set up a support system of mompreneurs who can be your go-to people for advice and extra help. They understand what you are going through and the kind of support you need.
Amber Lont, founder of ‘Organized (re)designed’ and mother of two, suggests that you find other mompreneurs and try to befriend them. This helps foster a camaraderie with other moms who are also trying to stay afloat professionally and personally in ways akin to your own.
7. Being Incapacitated by Fears of Failure
Starting a new business is a very big deal and there’s nothing wrong about feeling afraid. However, while having a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach before launching a startup is normal, these fears shouldn’t overcome you and hinder your progress.
Dwelling on “what ifs” and letting the negativity of others get to you can do more damage than good. While heeding caution is prudent, don’t allow the pessimistic remarks of others, including your inner voice, play with your mind and quench your fire. The key is to keep fighting for your business and to believe in yourself!