How to be a Successful Entrepreneur and a Single Mom

1. Own your single-mom status.

Being a single mom is NOT a setback. Nestled somewhere in the pages of a storybook is the idea that entrepreneurs "hustle," "crush it," "grind" and whatever other word you can come up with to describe working really, really hard on your business 100 percent of the time. Out here in the real world we know that's not true.

Don't get me wrong, entrepreneurship is a ton of work. However don't let the perception of this lifestyle count you out before you even count yourself in. Being a single mom comes with a wealth of skills that do well in entrepreneurship like: multitasking, creativity, managing and/or operating on a budget, and problem-solving to say the least. I don't know about you but I'd put my money on someone with these skills rather than a new college grad.

2. Ditch toxic influences.

Ban toxic people from your life. You don't have enough time already, right single mom or dad? So if you are living or working or worshipping around a toxic person or people who invade your confidence and bring you down, you MUST remove them from your life.

3. Include your kids in your business.

You have to make family a part of your business… I've always considered my kids to be my board of directors, whether we're moving or having them share a bedroom so we can open a store in our house. Make them a part of that journey. And that's for any mom, not just single moms… Our kids are our reason to seek out a better life.

4. Give yourself a break.

"Entrepreneurship, just like motherhood, is not a 9-5 job. Some days I stay up until 3 am working and then have to do a 7 a.m. child drop off at school. Be kind to yourself. Make time for you even if it's just to breathe and smell the air. Kids are going to make messes, they are going to eat your reports and download viruses to your computer. Your best weapon is a sense of humor. Enjoy your single mom entrepreneur life, wear the title proudly. We are basically super heroes."

5. Remember: all you need is an idea and serious drive.

Look for inspiration everywhere. Make note of all the things that frustrate you in your daily life, then research creative ways to address those inefficiencies. All it takes is an idea and an Internet connection to create a product that changes the world.

Don’t let inexperience stop you.  Reach out to other business owners who can connect you to experts in manufacturing, production and sales. Each key person met shortens your  learning curve and gives you  confidence. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how other small business owners want to pay it forward and see new upstarts succeed.

6. Focus on the positives.

There is enough guilt to go around for any parent, so I make a conscious effort to let it go and focus on the positives. I may have a hectic schedule, and, as a result, my children are learning how to be independent and self-reliant. They are getting an inside-look at how a startup works, by testing our app and coming into the office, which I know will benefit them in the long-term.

7. Only date supportive romantic partners.

Don’t date competitive guys. This may seem like strange advice, but I can’t tell you how many dates I went on as a single mom entrepreneur where the guy subconsciously competed with my business and my child. It usually was date three or four when it would come out, but I was surprised at how many men want you all for themselves.

When dating, look for potential partners who love what you do and show it by changing their schedule to be there for you. When I found my husband, he made every effort to help me with Sage, he’d drive almost two hours to babysit so I could do marketing events, even though he had an executive position of his own. Not all partners will want to play a support role, so find someone who has a deep passion of their own and isn’t afraid to nurture it, they’ll allow you the same.

8. Give up on finding the perfect work-life balance

Thinking about how I was going to do it all almost stopped me from starting my own company years ago. It seemed unreasonable to think that I'd be able to get everything done that I wanted to get done as an entrepreneur and still be the mother I wanted to be to my three kids.

The truth is you can do it all if you just change what your definition of balance is. There are times where my business gets more attention than my kids and vice versa. In the end I like to believe that is all balances out. Part of being an entrepreneur is being comfortable with changing direction quickly. Needless to say as a single mother and entrepreneur you'll get a ton of use out of that skill! So relax, have faith, and take it one day at a time.

9. Slay the comparison critic.

I fell into a mind wrap trap of comparing myself to men who had assistants to deal with the nonstop scheduling, travel, meetings, reports, and presentations – how productive! Or the men with wives to care for children and manage all the shopping/laundry/carpools/cooking/pets/school/homework/sport registrations – how helpful! Or the men with industry connections brimming with money and influence – how lucky!

 We are all pulled in 100 different directions daily - even men with teams, wives, or connections are shackled daily with stress. You could similarly compare yourself to mothers with free time that and are not starting companies or to entrepreneurs without kids or with supportive wealthy husbands – but it’s not going to change the fact that you have to work harder, and smarter, and longer.

The “poor me” mentality only serves procrastination, self-doubt, and a negative thought loop - not our greater purpose or our nobler ability to trust. Furthermore, those added stressors (or ‘influencers’ as I sometimes refer to my ten year old twins) may in fact be the very inspiration for your next product line, marketing initiative, or social media campaign.

10. Find the right schedule for you.

Mompreneurs, more than other entrepreneurs, need to be disciplined in their relationship with time. When I was a single mom with a growing business, I would wake up at 5 a.m. so I'd be in the right frame of mind to deal with my then teenage children. Morning conversation and breakfast provided the energy we needed for the day and a sit-down dinner provided the engagement we needed to stay connected. I found the natural rhythms in my business and used them to schedule appointments and work out. There were no marathon workouts for this girl, but half an hour on a treadmill can go a long way to clearing your head and reclaiming your energy. Find what works for you and make yourself one of your priorities!

First seen on Entrepreneur

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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