by Katie Bell
It’s no surprise that moms make amazing leaders.
Calm under pressure and expert jugglers of everything from dirty diapers to putting together a semi-healthy dinner every night, we mamas have the secret sauce. Media often depicts motherhood as being a death sentence of sorts to a woman’s career and relationships in business, but I believe the opposite is true.
When I became a mom three years ago, I was at the height of my career in publicity with a top firm and was pleasantly surprised to see that welcoming our seven-pound baby girl inspired and focused my work in ways I hadn’t felt in years. Roughly two years later we welcomed our son to the party and I quickly learned that while raising two children is no walk in the park, my burgeoning ambition pushed me forward to a new dream—to start my own business. I’m almost a year into my (successful!) business venture, and I’m here to tell my fellow mamas that nothing could better prepare you for being an entrepreneur than raising children.
Despite the foggy mom brain and mean mom guilt that creeps in from time to time, motherhood highlights your passions and strengths in a way that makes you an incredibly innovative, creative and fun business owner.
So how do you rock the mom thing while also growing your business as an entrepreneur? Here are a few tips:
Moms are used to things not going as planned and always have a plan B (and C, and D) ready along with a snack. When things hit the fan at work, it’s imperative to be flexible, especially in the ways that you think. A global pandemic dramatically shifts your industry? Be willing to pivot and adjust your offerings. A client needs to last-minute reschedule a standing meeting? No problem! You understand that life happens. Being flexible, quick to rise to new challenges, and the first to give grace to your clients (and yourself) will take you far as an entrepreneur.
Moms are no strangers to stress and drama – like bandaging a “boo-boo” on a screaming toddler with a baby on your hip. There’s no time to panic or check out. We stay calm despite the crazy circumstances around us because we’re the mamas.
The same goes for being an entrepreneur. Have an upset client ready to blow a gasket? Your calm demeanor and wise words will help smooth things over. Up against a tight deadline? Your ability to remain calm, cool, and collected will have you rocking and rolling, churning out a quality product just in the nick of time.
As a mom, you learn very quickly the importance of the to-do list and how much you can tackle during sacred naptime. Juggling a full schedule of children’s meals, snacks, naps, play dates, swim classes and more forces you to manage your time in the most efficient way possible while recognizing that not everything will get done immediately.
When it comes to work, you’ll need to invest your time wisely in order to accomplish your key objectives. Make a list of everything that needs to be done—at home and at work—and then circle the things that only you can do. Tackle them in order of importance, and then move to the remaining items as time allows (or outsource if you’re able).
They say it takes a village to raise a child and the same goes for starting, and running, a successful business. Being both a mom and an entrepreneur requires that we wear many, many hats, but the truth of the matter is that we can’t (and shouldn’t!) be experts at everything. Which parts of running a business bog you down? Look at your to-do list and identify those things, and then don’t be afraid to call in an accountant, colleague, assistant, or intern to assist. Delegating these responsibilities will help you to keep productivity—and creativity—high.
Moms have an innate ability to put others’ needs before their own—most notably their family’s. When you start your own business, clients will be in awe of your selfless approach and feel right at home in your care. So many companies boast of putting their clients first, but when rubber meets the road, they fall short and the clients feel that. If you go the extra mile, regularly touch base with your clients, have open and honest discussions regarding expectations and deliverables, and follow up to ensure that they are happy with your work, clients will feel valued and cared for. There is nothing better than a happy client, and before you know it, they will be referring new clients your way!
Running a business and raising a family is definitely a challenge, but I’m happy to report that it’s not only possible, but it’s also fun. If you’re thinking of starting your own business but worried about what that will look like as a full-time mama, take a deep breath, make a list of who and what you need, then make it happen. Remember, your mama skills will transfer over to make you one rock star entrepreneur.
Katie Powell Bell is a preacher’s wife, mother of two, veteran book publicist and chocolate enthusiast. She launched her own public relations company last year, Katie Bell Communications, and recently merged with EPIC Agency as VP of Publicity, based in Nashville, Tennessee.