Being an entrepreneur is a serial fantasy of moms nationwide. Most of us put in 10-hour days at the office, only to finally make it home to give our best shot at being normal, wholesome, all-American moms – all the while battling feelings of unrest and chaos within. We’re drained. We’re awry. We’re jaded. We’re incomplete.
As moms, an insatiable hunger for success, a desire to build an empire for our family, an ambition of being the perfect role model for our children and an unyielding motivation to set them up for success are all innate desires. And let’s face it – it’s a struggle to try and manage it all. But entrepreneurship is often viewed as the golden ticket that offers a pass into every mother’s dream world where these innate desires are satisfied and these inner tugs of confliction dissipate.
The women we’ve spoken with who’ve met success in entrepreneurship are some of the happiest women we’ve ever met. And although I’ve never once heard another mompreneur say she regrets her journey, you can’t ignore the fact that it’s quite hellish and scary at times no matter what stage you’re at. But as long as you understand the challenges, it’s a lot easier to mentally prepare for what lies ahead. So here are 6 truths any work at home mom should know at the get-go.
1. The first leap is the absolute scariest.
Though the journey to business ownership is filled with lumps and bumps, it’s the initial leap that prevents most women from living their dreams. “Sure – formulate your hypothesis, research your market, come up with a plan, but most importantly, just start! Once you’ve done it, a whole new world opens up to you,” said Sherry Lombardi, founder of Hulafrog – a growing network of local web guides for suburban moms. “The scariest moment is making the first jump into the trenches and going for it.”
2. It’s overwhelming. Period.
No matter how successful you become, it will be overwhelming for quite some time to know that you’re wholly responsible for your financial success. CEO of Children Inspire Design and Fresh Words Market, Rebecca Peragine, said that despite the challenges of entrepreneurship, the experiences she’s had working from home and raising her children outweigh the sometimes overwhelming feeling of being wholly responsible. “Being able to be home with my children is what propelled me forward,” she said.
3. Patience, adaptability and frugality are keys to success.
Though Peragine is your typical mom next door, she was able to mold herself into CEO of these two globally-focused successful online businesses. Her advice to moms is to be adaptable throughout the journey, to be frugal in the early stages and most importantly, be patient for success. “Plant little seeds every day,” she said.
4. With motherhood, comes guilt – no matter what.
It’s important to note that as a mom, you’ll never truly get away from feeling guilty unless you spend every moment with your child. It’s just in our nature. As founder of online startup, kidzmet, and mother to a 7 and 3-year old, Jen Lilienstein knows the balancing act of “mommy” and “entrepreneur” can seem precarious. “There’s always guilt and worry about not giving your absolute best to grow both a successful business and a successful human being,” said Jen.”But if your business is something you’re truly passionate about, you’re teaching your kids lessons they’re unlikely to learn elsewhere.”
5. You may be a superhero, but you just can’t do it all.
Debra Cohen of Home Remedies of NY®, Inc., says that no matter how awesome you are, it’s important for moms to realize that they can’t do everything themselves. She says it’s impossible to be a full-time mom and run a business without any help, no matter how dedicated you are.
“When my business first took off, I was working around the clock trying to take care of a toddler and manage my growth,” said Debra. “Ultimately, I realized that I needed to prioritize, outsource and focus on the most important, lucrative aspects of my business in the limited number of hours I had to work. I also had to keep reminding myself that my family was the reason I decided to launch my business, so I had to learn how to turn down some opportunities so my life wouldn’t fall out of balance again.”
6. A belief in yourself will help your business thrive.
In the realm of business ownership, “mom entrepreneurs really have to have a tough skin and bull dog spirit to make it work when just getting started,” said Ann Morgan James, author of How to Raise a Millionaire. James helped her son, Jack, start his own business when he was 10 years-old by teaching him six essential skills, which she also lives by – dream it, believe it, love it, work it, own it, give it. “You have to see a vision for you business and dream about its success,” said James. “You have to believe you can do it, even when you feel like you are the only person who believes in you. You have to have passion for what you are doing. You have to work hard, own your mistakes, take your lumps and move on.”
So while fulfilling your dreams of business ownership can seem intimidating, keep in mind that there is a network of others moms out there who’ve already succeeded despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. By tapping into this network, which is the purpose of FreelanceMom.com, you can leverage the advice of other moms who’ve been there and conquered that.