Tips for starting out as a single mother entrepreneur.
Starting your own business can be fraught with many pitfalls, but no one said it would be easy. You might have been putting off an idea you’ve had, and finally, you can’t bear to keep it locked up in pandora’s box any longer. Yet, you may also have been struck by a lightning bolt of creativity and want to exploit a gap in the market. At this point in your life, you’re a mother now, and you’ve willfully put any career in the backseat, in favor for a family.
No one ever explains the speed bumps you’re likely to run into when you start out as a single mother entrepreneur. Not only does your business involve planning from the professional sense, but your life does too. For you to succeed in business, your private life should also be razor sharp and accurate.
Now, I’m not going to say I have it all totally together, but here’s what I aim for.
Be organized, be prepared
Before the working day, the night before you plan out the day for your children. Wash, iron and lay out their clothes before you sit down for dinner. The last thing you need as you’re getting ready for your business day is for your children not to know what they’re wearing.
Make and pack their lunches the night before and store in the fridge to keep them fresh.
Technology is at your fingertips, so download apps onto your tablet or phone to help you organize your double life. There are apps that are purpose built for single moms, so find one which is simple and easy to follow and set yourself goals.
Team up with your kids
Work with your children, not against them. When they’re young, they’re going to be inquisitive; they’re not going to understand what it is you do for a living. Child-proof your working area, get covers for your files, which those little hands won’t be able to open. Buy child safety locks the drawers at your desk so your files won’t get covered in peanut butter.
To avoid your child accidentally spilling their juice onto papers and notes that you’re working on, simply keep them out of reach on your desk. As your children get older, get them to be a part of your work.
Save time by letting them stamp letters, organize your filing cabinet, chronologically dating your invoices or shred papers you no longer need. Don’t put up a wall between you and your kids, harness their curiosity, make them part of your life and give them something to do which makes them feel involved.
Children can very understanding, and their enthusiasm and energy can make your life much easier; as well as your kids feel like they’re useful and relevant to you.
Don’t suffer alone
Entrepreneurship is far from a 9-to-5, and neither is motherhood. You must accept, that you’re going to get stressed, and you’ll have times when you want to pull your hair out. The key is not to get overwhelmed.
Make a list of the things you need to do outside of work, every week. From the laundry, cooking hot meals for the kids, cleaning the home, paying bills, etc. You must have all this mapped out and in the form of a checklist every week. Sitting down on a Sunday afternoon while sipping hot coffee, or minding the kids, write out a checklist of all the things you need to do next week.
Physical fatigue can build up until you hit a point where you’re utterly drained of energy and unable to get out of bed, so revitalize body with 2-3 hour naps whenever you can.
There will come a time when you’ll have to accept, that no matter how much you juggle, some things are just out of your hands. Things will go wrong, but you need to recognize that it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you roll with the punches that will keep you charging ahead to your goal.
Don’t suffer in silence as there are people out there that want to make sure your mental health is assured.
Track your spending
As you’re a startup, it’s important that you keep track of your spending, this will help you keep track of any spikes in spending and identify any times you’ve managed to save money.
Keep all your expenditure papers in one file, the last thing you want when it comes to paying your taxes is to rip up your many files and folders scrambling around trying to find a little tiny detail.
This type of system also bodes well for you when reporting to you bank if they expect and loan payments, and indeed, if you happen to find an investor who wants proof that you’re going to be competent with their money.
Your employees will also expect you to pay them on time. As salary payment is one of your largest outgoing sources, you must keep track of who has been pay what amount, when did you make a particular payment, etc.
As you might have guessed, this gathering of receipts could one day be a collection of evidence should you find yourself being challenged legally by an ex-employee.
Schedule mummy day
When they’re older and more mature, they’ll remember when their mum took them out for a picnic in the park, bought them ice cream and pushed them higher and higher on the swings.
Your business is your passion, but work isn’t the end all be all. Your children should know you love and understand them. Cook something in the kitchen together, like chocolate brownies, or do a DIY project at home together; bonding with them at such a young age is crucial for their mental development as they get older.
Always keep in mind, they’re watching and learning from you. One day they’ll be self-reliant, but they need your help to do so, so show them you care and that your work isn’t everything in your life.