The Mompreneur (or Papapreneur) – if You have Kiddos!

July 2, 2009 at 6:00 am 6 comments

courtesy of Barbie Hull Photography

courtesy of Barbie Hull Photography

Let me begin this post by saying that I have been a parent for 21 months this Saturday.  I am definitely not an expert in parenting, nor am I an expert in being a mompreneur.  This is where I’m going to ask those of you that have children to chime in.  I’d love to know what you consider to be the best advice you could give another parent who is also a business owner. (Psssst… post a comment below.)

So that you know where my “tips” come from… and so that you can apply which ones work for you… I’ll preface by saying that I have had a mix of parenting/working experiences:

  • full time parent / full time business owner (no outside sitting/nannying) – we simply refer to this as “INSANITY” in our house
  • part time parent / full time business owner (my husband and I were both sharing in baby caring equally or a sitter was hired part time)
  • full time parent / part time business owner (I was at home for the first 2-3 months of Lili’s life and working less hours)

I am in the very fortunate situation that my husband is also self-employed and is an equal partner in the insane baby/work balancing act.  He is quite the pinch-hitter in times that our little team has been in need.  (I can’t believe I just made a sports analogy… did I even do that right?)

What I do have to offer in this department is some
habits that have been REALLY helpful for me in my baby/business (ad)ventures:

  • Take care of yourself
    If you are running the machine and you break down, who is going to run the machine?  You MUST take care of yourself so that your child, your family, and your business can continue to thrive.  Whatever it is you need to do for yourself (a glass of wine, 15 minutes with the newspaper, a shower, a walk around the block) do this every day so that you stay grounded.
  • Don’t forget about your spouse or partner
    It’s easy to forget about your spouse or partner when you are so busy keeping everyone else happy.  But, what about them?  They are your partner in this.  Remember that you two are the team captains and that most daily occurrences are just silliness.  If you can laugh about it with your spouse, your relationship will thrive.  (And, so will everything else.)
  • Manage your “wasted time”
    The Mompreneur blog on Entrepreneur.com has awesome resources.  I love a recent post they did on managing all the technology that ends up zapping our time.  Read here.  I’m a sucker for facebook and twitter (you probably see me there all the time)… but learn how to manage those social networking tools to work for you, not to make it another endless websurfing competition.
  • Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
    There are only so many hours in the day and you are doing the jobs of 2-7 people.  So what are you going to do first?  Is it the pile of laundry?  Is it the emails that arrived in the last hour?  Is it the phone ringing?  Or is it the order of wedding invites that needs to go out Friday?  It’s important that you prioritize most important and most urgent first.  (Hint: laundry is not urgent, email is most likely not urgent)
    It’s also important to batch your work.  If you are stopping to pick up the phone every time it rings, you will never get through the proposal you are trying to write.  Batch your proposal-writing time, email time, phone call time, appointment time.  Prioritizing and batching will make your life so much more efficient.  Lisa Druxman addresses a similar philosophy in her Mompreneur blog.
  • Don’t overbook commitments and appointments
    Set limits on how many appointments you make each week and how many networking events you attend.  It’s hard to believe, but if you can’t see a client THIS week chances are they will be OK seeing you NEXT week.  As for networking events, do what is reasonable for your business segment and for your family.  For me, I try to limit these to 1 event every 2 weeks.  I’d rather have the time with my family or just to myself or working on my business plan.  Otherwise, I’m not effective.  Wish I could do more, but it’s all about prioritizing.
  • Wake up an hour before your kids do
    Believe it or not, I started enforcing this only a couple months ago when I was writing posts about productivity.  In talking with my good friend Jean Louise Paquin Allen of Juniper Flowers she mentioned that she woke up before her son so that she could get a start on her day.  I thought she was crazy.  (I am a notorious night owl who is fueled by the darkness and detest any form of morning.)
    But, it made me realize that I was using Lili as my alarm clock which meant that I woke up when she did… and I started my day on her terms (breakfast, dress, diapers, “mama play”, tantrum, time out, read, sing, dance) instead of mine.  My day didn’t begin until all that crazy morning ritual had passed (somewhere around 10am or 11am).  By waking up an hour or two before her I get SOOOO much done.  It’s not something I do every day.  (I still LOVE to sleep in.)  But, on the days where I know I have to be a work maniac it helps to do it.  It makes me a better mom too because with some work done, I can focus on her and have fun.

Well… there you have it… a list that is by no means complete… but, probably represents my most important lessons learned and habits aquired.  Now, it’s your turn… what are your sage mompreneur and papapreneur tips?

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Entry filed under: Inspiration, Life Lessons, Productivity, Time Management.

The Recessionista ~ If you are having to cut back in your business Happy Fourth of July!

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. juliannesmith  |  July 2, 2009 at 10:50 am

    i don’t know if i have anything to add – this list is pretty good! i will say this: for me it helps to keep work and family time separate. i feel the most guilty and frazzled when i try to mix the two. this means that when it is time to play with my daughter, i turn off the computer and the phone and i’m only playing with her. and when it is time for me to work and my husband is watching the baby, then i leave the house to get the work done. it is easy to be tempted to multi-task with the help of technology, but in the end you aren’t giving anything your 100 percent. so, for me this means no twittering when i’m going down the slide at the park – i just try to live in the moment that i’m in!

    Reply
    • 2. Michelle Loretta  |  July 2, 2009 at 11:08 am

      That is a really GOOOOD tip Julianne. People always ask me if I take Lili to the office. Even when she was itty-bitty it was so difficult to bring her with me. I didn’t feel very focused. I’d rather work 2 focused hours (with no baby) as opposed to 8 hours with interruptions. The same goes for time spent with your family… I’m guilty of sneaking in some tweets when I’m home… which is why I never bring pdas with me to the park, pool, etc.

      Reply
  • 3. Bella Signature Design  |  July 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Great post, and SO needed! I too, constantly feel torn between accomplishing one more thing, or playing with my two little ones. Owning your own business means NEVER being done with your work, there is always 3 more things that need to be done, and 10 things you’d like to get done. I have gotten up at 5am the last two weeks, and it’s done wonders for my productivity. (it helps that my husband leaves for work then! and wakes me up) I do love being able to work from home a few times a week, and not missing all those ‘firsts’ special moments, and little things, like having lunch together or being able to kiss their”ouchies” when the happen. Everything is a tradeoff, but I couldn’t be happier!

    Reply
  • […] situations of small business owners.  Last week, we covered The Upstart, The Recessionista, the Mompreneur (or Papapreneur).  Today, we’ll be discussing “The Plateau”.  I like to describe businesses […]

    Reply
  • 5. Tread Light Gifts  |  July 7, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for sharing your suggestions. I have been struggling with this for some time. Today I am up before the family trying to get things done!

    Reply
    • 6. Michelle Loretta  |  July 7, 2009 at 7:44 am

      Me too, Tracy! I was up at a pain-staking 5am today… but so accomplished. It’s amazing what we can get done in the quiet (tiresome) early hours of the day, isn’t it?!

      Reply

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