Running your own business is not easy and neither is raising a family. If you add into the mix being a single parent whether you are a mom or a dad that’s a whole other level of challenge!! I am speaking to all single parent entrepreneurs as a whole however I hope the dad out there will cut me some slack for using mumpreneur here (as I am a mumpreneur and this is coming from my perspective), what I am saying here applies to us all. In this article, I want to show you the top 10 challenges I and many other mumpreneur have found and tips for smashing through those challenges or avoiding them so you make your business a success.
Accepting and Embracing the Title Single Mum
It surprises me in this day and age that there are still attitudes and assumptions made in society about being a single parent. It doesn’t even matter whether you are young or older single parent there are some very harsh social stereo types out there where we are almost shamed into hiding from being a single mum.
Whether by choice or by circumstance it does not matter! And being a single parent does not equal SET BACK or GAME STOPPER when it comes to running a business. There seems to be this perception that entrepreneurs ‘hustle’/’crush it’ 100% of the time. This is NOT reality.
Yes, entrepreneurs need to work hard however the real key is learning how to maximise your time! We all have 24 hours in the day regardless of who we are and where we come from. Don’t allow these old social concepts stop you as a mompreneur before you get started. If someone passes a comment or judgement don’t let it get to you, know what you want, why you want it and know you will achieve it no matter what and you will have a mindset where success is inevitable.
And in fact, single mum’s can be a real WINNER on this one.
To be an effective entrepreneur you need to;
- Prioritise favouring the tasks that will generate income for your business; running ads to your products/services, building relationships with your leads, etc.
- Time management – creating a plan and executing it, when you have time to dedicate on your business you focus all your energy on your priority list once that’s done go to medium priority and if you can’t get to low priority that’s ok it doesn’t matter anyway.
- Creativity thinking out of the box – come on mom’s how many times have we faced situations where having a ‘partner’ with us would have made things easier and yet we find some creative way to solve the problem. This level of thinking will help your business!
- Manging and operating a budget, when everything is on you, you know you have to make every last penny count.
- Problem solving – something that we get thrown into the deep end with becoming a single parent we suddenly face a lot of challenges we never thought of. Often having to solve the problem there and then you get good at knowing there is a solution and finding it because you have to – essential business skill right there!!
Get Rid of Toxic People, Situations and Influences
There is nothing like being left on your own with a child to look after for you to see where your priorities are. You realise quickly who is supportive and who really isn’t. If there are people in your life that constantly leave you feeling drained or that chip away at your wellbeing on any level get rid of it. You are already a single mum/dad so you don’t have enough time to deal with anyone else’s rubbish.
If you are spending time with someone that invades your confidence, makes you feel low you MUST remove them from your life. And yes, I can hear some of you immediately say they may be relatives or your ex-partner and therefore it isn’t that easy. In these cases, minimize interactions and if need be in your mind see them as a client and customer and build a level of detached professional communication with them. Don’t get caught up in the drama no one has the time or the emotions for that!
Cut Yourself Some Slack – Listen To What Your Saying To Yourself and Take A Break!
When you become a parent, you realise that this is a full time 24 – 7 job in itself. Entrepreneurship can be much like this, with some days you get up early before the kids are awake to get stuff done and times you are also up late after they have gone to bed for the same reason.
It is so important to really listen to the words you are saying to yourself, especially when you are starting up there are a lot of new things to learn and mistakes will be made. Just like when you are handed your baby you want to be perfect and then realise you are human. When something doesn’t work out don’t beat yourself up about it. Know that it was just a way of learning how not to do something, learn from it then keep going until you have tweaked things so they do work.
Be kind to yourself and make sure you are using empowering and positive language to yourself. If you keep saying ‘I can’t do this’ then you will believe you can’t and that is a lie it isn’t reality. If you wouldn’t talk to your best friend or child the way you talk to yourself then you need to change it. Become your own best friend and you will feel more positive and empowered. Yes children make messes, are noising and sometimes crave your attention right at a business critical moment, files get lost, etc best way to deal with what can feel like an adult temper tantrum brewing is to laugh, take a breath get some fresh air and find your sense of humour. If you feel that emotion rising take a time out, make a cup of tea, do some drawing with your kid, then get back to it.
Give yourself a break, it is important to find some balance. There is always a lot to juggle with children and a business however that is no excuse for self-neglect. Give yourself some me time.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
This was something that I realised very quickly when my son was born that as people we are often serial comparers. Comparing ourselves and our children with others. This is not healthy for anyone. The only person’s business we should be concerned with is our own. Whatever the next person has done/achieved is up to them.
There is no point comparing yourself to what other people have, if you don’t have it, etc. These are distractions that take you away from what is important which is your business and your family. Comparison mentality can often result in ‘poor me’ attitude which only causes procrastination, self-doubt, increased stress levels and negative thoughts.
Notice when you are talking when you are comparing yourself to others and stop yourself or if someone else brings something up then quietly change the subject. Then be aware and make choices to steer your mind away from making these comparisons with people. It is fine to observe and see in others traits you would like and aspire too as long as you don’t then beat yourself up for not being like them right now.
Build Your Business Around Your Life and Not Your Life Around Your Business
This was by far the best advice I was ever given, I know so many people that build a business and then realize they cannot maintain it because it is demanding too much of them and then their family suffer as a result.
Things to think about;
- How much time you can commit to your business consistently.
- Choose a business with a proven successful system.
Look at the system and look to see if there are people achieving results. By system; you need automation in place where you just need to find people who are interested in what you have to offer and you redirect them into a business system that woll convert leads to buyers and repeat buyers. This way all you need focus on initially is placing ads and then as you improve on this you can add other layers into your business (email marketing, relationship building etc).
- What things you enjoy doing; social media, blogging, videos, etc and pick one at a time. Get good at it before adding another.
- Look at what you want your family life to look like and the things you want to have, be mindful that things will not meet this exact picture to begin with however if you want your day time to be free for the kids, plan your work in the morning and evening and not in the middle of the day.
- Always be clear on what your specific situation needs, other people running a business may not have a similar family situation so be clear what you need and then schedule your business around that allowing for consistency!!
Keep Your Mindset Positive
There are many moments in the journey of being a parent where you feel a sense of guilt, and this can also be the case in business. So it is so important to make a conscious effort to focus on the positives. I find that I like to start each and every day with a motivational video, afformations (By Noah St John) or a song that makes me feel up beat and happy.
I find that this raises my energy and that it is easier to maintain this state if you make an effort to start each day in joy. I do have days where I find it hard to achieve, and every time I struggle there is something to stop me and remind me to let go and find the positive.
A bit like the ‘Glad’ game in Pollyanna where she asks everyone to think of one thing they are glad for each day. If you are grateful for what you have then you will attract more things that make you feel that way. Also, it is a lot easier to get things done if you are in a positive space.
If your thoughts are circling around and you are getting attached to a pattern of negative thoughts, take the kids and dog (if you have one) for a walk. It’s a great way to break the thought cycle!
The Right Schedule, Commitment, Consistency and Focus
Mumpreneurs, especially single mumpreneurs need to be highly effective with their time. Be aware when you fall into procrastination; watching you tube cat videos, commenting on social media and checking emails is not effective use of your time. Factor this in on a break or condense it into a 30 minute window at a specific time.
Work out what the rhythm of family life is for you and schedule appointments, work commitments and income generating activities so they fit naturally around this. It allows for working days that flow nicely with family life. Be committed to maintaining the schedule and being consistent day in, day out.
With the caveat that there will always be exceptions to the rule. Sickness happens and sometimes priorities may change overnight. Be ok with this however also be 100% honest with yourself when it is a true exception and when you are justifying clacking off.
It is all too easy to ‘just take one day off’ and then it becomes two and then three and then procrastination has taken hold and it take a lot of effort to get back into the right business flow again.
Don’t Wait for The Perfect Time
Any time can be the perfect time or not depending on how you see things. If you are putting off starting your business because ‘it’s not the right time’ then chances are you will never get started.
Waiting for ‘THE RIGHT TIME’ is the biggest excuse that results in procrastination. It will always be challenging to take the first step, it always is no matter what you do in life. The best thing is to take that step into the unknown. That is not to say rush in without having a plan. More know why you are starting a business, what business you want, get some info on how to get started and then DO IT.
Don’t wait because the knowledge will just rot away in your mind and life will always happen there will always be some excuse as to why it isn’t the perfect time.
Be Careful Where You Get Business Advice
This should be a no-brainer, take business advice from people that are successful in the area of business you are looking to be in. Would you ask a plumber how to build a jet plane? NO because they have no expertise in that field.
However, how many of you ask friends and family for business or financial advice? Why do you listen to them? Because they are after your best interests? Wrong answer! They do care and of course they would not want failure for you. But, if they have no experience running a successful business, or experience of the sector you want to be working in. It is like asking a plumber how to build a jet plane.
Seek other successful people in your field, there is no excuse with social media keep reaching out, asking questions, connecting and building relationships with these people. They will give you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear.
Sometimes the best advice might be hard to hear initially however when it is given by someone you have built a relationship with in your business network. They will be advising you based on their accumulated experience this way you can avoid making mistakes that they made.
Include Your Children in Your Business
You can include children in your business when they are small they can help out with small tasks and when they are older they can be more involved and perhaps earn a small wage (obviously, they have to be old enough to receive a wage). Children like to feel included so get creative and look for ways where they can feel included into your new business venture.
I loved hearing a story from a successful mumpreneur that she liked to see her kids as the board of directors so when there were decisions that would be made affecting the family they would be involved and included in these situations.
I also heard a story of a single dad who had a successful coaching and training business his 5 year old was inspired by his dad having a business. So they discussed him having a ‘chore’ business where he could negotiate his rate for different jobs and manage his own budget. He wanted to be included in what he saw his dad doing and as such he is learning so many amazing skills.
Ultimately as a mumpreneur we do everything to improve our lives and the lives of our children. So go out there and create your success story.
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And if you want to create your own online business and want to know how you can partner with me and create the life you desire click here for more info.