By Sara Alter
Photograph by ChiChi Ubiña
Entrepreneurship may bring to mind a flexible schedule, independence, and a great work-life balance, but anyone who’s started a business knows this romanticized version of entrepreneurship is far from reality. Owning a business requires long hours, a strong work ethic, determination, accountability, ongoing education, and consistency in marketing, business development and sales. Entrepreneurs often compare their businesses to having children, and with good reason. Even when you aren’t focusing on your business, it’s always with you.
Whether you’re a new entrepreneur, or you’ve been in business for 20 years, this column will provide tips, insights and resources to grow a profitable and sustainable brand. I understand the constraints of building a business while raising a family, and while it’s not always easy, there are certainly ways to balance the two. Each month I will cover a new topic with actionable steps to help you along the way.
3 IMPORTANT BOUNDARIES TO PUT IN PLACE FOR YOUR BUSINESS
1. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
It’s very common for women—especially mothers—to refer to a new business as a hobby or a side-hustle. Due to time constraints, family obligations and lack of funding, many mothers don’t have the resources for quick growth, and whether it’s because they begin small or lack experience, moms routinely downplay their businesses. There is certainly comfort in setting lower expectations, but if you’re investing time and money, bringing in some revenue, and hope to grow over time, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. The way you talk to yourself matters. The way you talk about your business matters too. Check out this article from the Washington Post: Is that side hustle a business or a hobby?
2. PLAY HARD, WORK HARD
As a mom with an endless list of things to do, it can be very challenging to set aside time to focus on your work. Its critical to set boundaries and expectations with your family and allocate work hours just as you would with any other job. You know the flow of your life better than anyone so use that to schedule in bursts of time when it makes sense for you. For example, I typically work while my kids are napping because it’s a block of time I know I can count on – for now. I’ve found that when work is left to chance, it doesn’t get done. Check out this article from Entrepreneur Magazine: 8 Tips for Momepreneurs on Balancing Business and Family.
3.COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY
Social media has provided entrepreneurs with an incredible amount of resources and support as they build businesses, but the downside is that we’re exposed to millions of highlight reels. For many people, seeing the best moments of others’ business successes prompts harmful social comparisons and imposter syndrome. As you build an online business presence for yourself, be mindful of what content you consume. Unfollow or hide accounts that don’t lift you up and inspire you and strategically plan your time to optimize your growth (more on that in a future post!). In the meantime, check out this podcast from Jenna Kutcher: The Secret to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome.