When it comes to making the decision to start your own business, or even just work from home, mums face different challenges to those who aren’t parents. We spoke to Heather Bestel, business coach and owner of mumsgotabusiness.com to get her eight top tips for mumpreneurs.
1. Pick your focus
When you’re just starting out, it can be easy to flit between projects, but if you want to make your project into a business, then you need to knuckle down.
“Do one thing, get it working really well, get it making you income,” says Bestel “and THEN allow yourself to chase the ‘next shiny object.’”
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2. Don’t compare yourself to others
With all these stories of ‘million pound mums’ who suddenly make a fortune overnight, it can be easy to start feeling like your business is a failure next to other mumpreneurs out there.
“Be yourself. Be your wonderful, authentic self,” is Bestel’s advice to anyone who’s starting to compare themselves to others. Comparing yourself can hurt you, and it can hurt your business too: “It kills your dreams” Bestel says.
3. Be kind to yourself
Running a business can be demanding, but so can being a mum. When you’re focusing on one, don’t feel bad about not paying attention to the other right at that point in time.
“Don’t be a slave to guilt,” is how Bestal puts it. “When you are working, don’t guilt trip yourself about not being with your children. And when you are with your children, don’t guilt trip yourself about not working on your business. Balance is everything.”
4. Have confidence
“Check your inner voice” is something Bestal tells mumpreneurs - make sure you’re not being cruel to yourself. A lot of research shows that women are held back in the workplace because they lack confidence. Don’t let that hold you back in your own business!
“Don’t tell yourself you are not enough. You are. You always were. You always will be. Get out there and show the world what a magnificent human you are.”
5. Seek out supportive people
“Surround yourself with people who love and support you and your business dreams” says Bestal. As much as you can want to be kind to yourself and have confidence, we all have wobbles sometimes. You want the people in your life to be ones you can turn to, whether it’s for advice or just kind words.
“Accept lots of support,” is Bestal’s advice: “no one does this alone.”
6. Allow yourself to have limits
Many women feel trapped by the ‘can women have it all?’ narrative we often see in the press these days. The answer is often no - and that’s okay. You’re allowed to set your own limits and take each day as it comes.
“Don’t feel overwhelmed - it’s ok to feel like you have so much to learn and you don’t know very much yet,” says Bestal: “We’ve all been there. Just take one step at a time. Trust that you’ll be ok.”
7. Trust your gut
“If you follow unsolicited advice rather than your gut, you’re going to have a bad time - in both motherhood AND business,” says Bestal. Remember that you know both your business and your baby best.
“Every situation is different for every baby/business/mumpreneur. Trust your gut, seek help or advice when needed, and keep working hard!”
8. Take time away from your business
While your business is of course important, it shouldn’t take over your life, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s okay to take a step back: “Spending time with your family, switching your phone off for an evening, or taking a day off, can totally re-energise you. Notice how you go back to your laptop with renewed vigour and exciting new ideas.”
“The same goes for sleeping and eating properly,” says Betal, so make sure you’re well fed and well rested: “You can’t do your job properly if you are not looking after yourself.”
Heather Bestel is a therapist, author, coach and award winning business mentor. Find her supporting other mumpreneurs over at MumsGotaBusiness.com
How do you balance your work life with your family life? Let us know in the comments
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