This post originally appeared on startupnation.com/start-your-business
Motherhood and entrepreneurship have been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Being a mom has been the greatest asset in helping me grow as an entrepreneur. It has taught me to have grace for myself, how to be compassionate, and to see the beauty in all the lessons life has to offer, especially the hard ones.
As an entrepreneur, I want to help my customers, and motherhood has prepared me for this immensely. Being a mom has taught me to be less focused on myself, and more focused on my children and others.
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The similarities between motherhood and entrepreneurship
I was 18 when I started the journey of motherhood, and I had these expectations of what being a good mother meant. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing; and sometimes I still feel like that 18-year old girl who had no idea. I sometimes feel as if I am failing in all aspects of life. In the midst of the trials that come with being an entrepreneur, it is usually one of my children whose spirit and belief in me pushes me forward.
I believe moms are the most creative beings on earth. As a mom, I have pumped while driving to work because that was the only time I had to do so. I have managed to take naps sitting up. I think moms are master negotiators and the best salespeople. If you can sell a toddler on why vegetables are good for you, you can sell or negotiate just about anything. Multitasking, sales and negotiation are all skills that are essential in being a successful entrepreneur.
I have learned that it can be lonely in both entrepreneurship and motherhood. My husband is an amazing man, but I am not the type of person to share my weaknesses, so I found it to be lonely as I struggled with postpartum depression. I found that I don’t like to share my struggles in business, either. Being a mom and an entrepreneur can highlight your strengths and expose your weaknesses, all to make you a better human. In both motherhood and entrepreneurship, you have to learn to ask for help in your areas of weakness.
There is no picture-perfect scenario for either
When I see photos on social media depicting the “perfect” family or “ideal” business, I tend to place these unrealistic expectations on myself of what my parenting and what my business should look like. However, having kids has made me realize that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s more like dragons and fires.
Obstacles are everywhere in both motherhood and entrepreneurship. When kids are little, they need a lot of care and attention, and the same goes for a new business.
If I’m being honest, I’ve asked myself, “What the heck am I doing?” on more than one occasion about being both a mom and an entrepreneur.
The loud doubts in my head sound something like this:
“I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“I’m not cut out for this.”
“Why did I think I was going to be such a good mom?”
“Who thought starting a business would be a good idea?”
“I want to give up and quit.”
The thing about motherhood is that I don’t get to give up and quit. On the other hand, I’ve wanted to quit my business ventures many times. I have felt stuck more times than I can count. I didn’t always know what my next move should be. But, I’ve learned in both business and motherhood that I must keep on moving and pivoting until I find what works. When something doesn’t work, I’ll try my next best option, and choosing that next best option will do one of two things: it will give me the clarity to move forward or the confirmation to close the door, and I will try again.
Advice for entrepreneurial moms
Remember that what works for me might not work for you, just as what works for one kid won’t always work for all kids.
In order to create a business that serves others, we need to serve and take time for ourselves first. We need to fill up our own cups, so we can pour into others’.
As a mom, I want to give my best to my family. As a business owner, I want to show up as best as I can for my clients. I owe it to myself and to everyone around me to do my best and that starts with taking care of myself. The same goes for you.
My best advice for entrepreneurial moms is this:
- Mom guilt is a real emotion, but that doesn’t make it true
- Take that next step to benefit your business or your family
- There is always a bigger obstacle ahead, and all of your prior experience has prepared you
- No one cares about your business as much as you do
- Trust yourself
The post What Being a Mom and an Entrepreneur Has Taught Me appeared first on StartupNation.