• Motherhood & Entrepreneurship


    Motherhood and entrepreneurship are two nouns that are more similar than not – they both thrive on nurturing, creative thinking, patience, planning and smart work. Women are naturally equipped for both rolls – we have proved to be able to spin more than one plate at the same time for centuries and we have assertively raised babies into capable human beings... and businesses from the ground up.

    99% of the clients I work with are women and I dare say that 90% of those are mothers. Some are drained from working uninspiring 8-5 jobs, some others have used blogging as a form of catharsis but never wanted to get anywhere with it... while others (like myself) didn't have any "luck" after several years of pouring themselves into their blogs and businesses – yet interestingly enough, 100% of these women deal with the same feelings of self-doubt and worry.

    I dug into my server archives and rescued a decent list of questions I get asked whenever I’m working with a "mom-preneur". Here are 5 of the ones I think are the most common and the most important ones:

    How did you decide to start a business?
    I became a mother almost 11 years ago and 6 months into motherhood I created my first blog and my first business while sitting on the floor of a tiny villa here in Brazil. I sincerely knew nothing about what I was doing, both in motherhood and entrepreneurship. I simply knew 3 things and those things only: that we needed money, that my baby kept me up for hours at a time while she breastfed into a milk coma and that I was going bonkers not doing anything... and that is how everything started. No, I didn’t have a revelatory dream. There wasn’t a prophecy or a call. I needed to maintain some level of sanity so I jumped in with both feet.

    What do you wish you had known before starting?
    To be honest, the only thing that I wish I had known was that I was doing the right thing at that time. I made many mistakes and the entire ordeal was a mess sometimes. It looked amateurish when I started and there wasn’t much or any information to find online back then but that learning curve taught me a lot – even that I didn’t want to run my business like a machine and that I wanted to keep this a one-woman operation working from the comfort of my home. But the thing that got to me was that irrational mommy guilt you feel when your tiny swaddled baby is taking its 9th nap of the day and you feel that by sitting in front of a computer you're missing out on precious moments that you will never get back. It wasn’t like that and it isn’t like that now that my little swaddled baby is just about my height and has feet as big as mine.

    How do you juggle motherhood and business at the same time?
    You don’t. I could end it there and drop the mic but I won’t. The reality is we all need to stop trying to be everything all the time. Nobody can constantly be at 100% in every area of their lives at all times – and that is the case with being a mother and an entrepreneur. You will eventually sort out a plan that seems to work for you... but 90% of the time you are just going to need to pick your battles: one day you will thrive at your business and get the rush of a professional bad-ass and some others you will be super mom and tackle all your little one’s appointments and needs and even sneak an extra hour of playtime in there; but we all need to understand that only some things are urgent and only some things need our undivided attention at any given time.

    Do you have a routine while being a freelancer?
    Yes, I have a weekly routine that tells me what to do every day from Monday - Friday and that forces me to work in a systematic manner. My days look different and I pay attention to different things during the week giving each task my undivided attention. A good routine for mothers who work from home should always start with them - say, having time alone in meditation in the morning... and then end with them as well – maybe reading a book in bed or spending time in exquisite silence. Of course, as a freelancer, your routine will probably look different from day to day but time for self-care and (if possible) weekends offline should be non-negotiable.

    Should I venture into a business of my own?
    What advice would you give new entrepreneurs?

    10 years ago I’d have simply said, "Yes!"... but in these times I need to be honest and say that you should start a business only if you have a clear idea of what that would look like and you are willing to put in the time to patiently see it evolve. If you are determined and already have a clear idea, I’d then tell you these things:

    ¹ Be clear about how much time you want to devote to growing your business on the daily. Calculate what your time’s worth according to your capabilities, resources and available time and don’t accept anything less than that.
    ² Treat yourself as your only source of income – so invest in your well-being and mental health.
    Communicate to your children and set boundaries: you need some sort of delimitation between home and work.
    ³ Working from home is being flexible and using what you have around you. Do not invest in anything until you’re truly seeing it take shape.
    ⁴ Loneliness is a common denominator for at-home workers, especially when your little ones are not yet in a talking phase.
    ⁵ Structure your work weeks and if possible make weekends off non-negotiable.
    No matter how much more you think you can do by sleeping less and working more, never sacrifice your mental health for your work.
    ⁶ Save a part of your money whenever you surpass your earning goals – for a rainy day.
    Be aware of the privilege that it is being able to always have your kids an arm's-reach away. That will allow you to swiftly take your work hat off and enjoy times with them without the guilt of stopping work for the day and vice versa.

    Neither mom-life nor entrepreneurial life are easy to manage; you will win some battles and you will lose some – but it is important to keep sight of what made you take that leap in the first place, as it is important to let go of self-doubt and worries.

    Make sure your business is constantly growing and that you don’t have to completely neglect one thing for the sake of another. Trust your instincts and always – and I mean always – look for help in people who are here to help you... yes, like me.
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