I know it is terribly difficult to find work-life balance, and even more so if you are an entrepreneur or thinking of becoming one. How do I know well, I am living it! I was reading the acclaimed best selling book Lean In Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook. She talks about how difficult it is for women to keep holding onto the rungs of the corporate ladder, while holding onto partners, and children and other family obligations. This is a fact.
What I also know is that it becomes a very daunting idea for women especially those with children like myself, to make the leap that entrepreneurship requires for the same reason. We cannot fathom how in the world we can run a business and still take care of our family, especially if you have no live in support and you are a single mother like I am. Well my experience has taught me some nuggets that I would love to share.
Step 1 – Keep Your Day Job
Part of what makes leaping into entrepreneurship so scary is the idea of failure. Failing to pay the school fees, buy groceries and pay your rent or mortgage. This is what keeps many of us from moving from dreamer to doer. A simple solution is to start your small venture on the “side” as we say. Why not? There are few downsides – this will allow you to continue to meet your financial obligations, and perhaps allow you to be less cautious, more innovative and creative, as you won’t have to play it so safe anymore! While you stay at your day job make sure you are getting what your worth. Download my free Get What You’re Worth Workbook.
Step 2 – Save relentlessly
I wish that I had taken my own advice when I started out. No sense in keeping your day job if you are not saving so that you can eventually leave it! Then you will be forever stuck in the 9-5 and it will become more difficult to move into your entrepreneurial venture full time. The goal is to create a cushion, a safety net so that when you do go into your business full time there is less fear, less financial fumbling. Everyone will have to do with less temporarily, so that eventually they can have more – more opportunities, more money, more freedom.
Step 3 – Bootstrap your Business
Bootstrapping is essentially self-funding your business. See how all the points in the plan are coming together? Yes! You have saved relentlessly, so guess what you can invest in growing your own business , without the creative stranglehold of an investor. Now I am not telling you not to take investment, you will do what is right for your venture and your life – but it’s a consideration at least initially. Forbes.com article 8 Ways Bootstrapping Makes You a Better Entrepreneur is a great read.
Step 4- Begin crafting your work-life balance plan
Your children are not going anywhere and so you have to begin figuring out how you will merge the work you will be doing, or that you are currently doing with your family. Don’t wait, begin crafting your plan. Here are some ideas:
- Begin seeking out childcare – if your children are younger you will need help. Consider hiring a family member, a teen you can trust in your home, who will take less money and is someone you can trust and gives you the ultimate convenience.
- Take meetings where it is convenient for YOU – if your children are older and are married to their gadgets, bring them along! Schedule meetings in coffee houses, restaurants, book shops, where your children can come along and be unobtrusive. If you can’t dictate your meeting place take them along anyway – they can sit in the waiting room while you take a meeting. Remember shift your mindset – you are not some one else’s employee you are the boss of your own company. Take meetings online. There are scores of video conferencing software like Skype of course. Hey even Oprah uses Skype!
- Try homeschooling or online schooling – NO! I am not crazy! Hear me out. I have done it. I know you are thinking – “crazy lady, where am I going to find time?” Not all home school programs are alike, and you do not have to become teacher. Many like K12 and Connections Academy, have their own teachers who do all the tasks of the traditional teacher. You provide the same support that you normally would as a parent. This will relieve you of the rigidity of a normal school environment. You can take meetings with greater flexibility, travel, research and do all the things you need to do without wondering who will pick up the kids!
I do hope this helps. I am a mom too and so this is real advice from one mom to another mom. Do like and share and subscribe to the blog!