Fifteen years ago, I had three young sons, working part time for a few clients at home. Today I own four successful businesses which jointly employ over 25 people.
We’ve won over a dozen awards and I’ve personally been awarded Networker of the Year four times. With three published books under my belt, plus another in progress, I can say one thing for sure – I’ve been a very busy woman. Oh, and in the middle of all that, I went through a divorce and finished my Accounting studies.
I am still home based. I also have a life and play a number of sports. I’ll share with you my ingredients for success:
The first secret to success is sheer will power. It can sure be hard work! Even on hard days (when I had to organise 3 small children to get to care or school, find a missing shoe under the bed, study for an exam or get a client’s bookkeeping done for a BAS deadline), I didn’t quit.
2. Support Network
This is crucial. I absolutely knew when to ask for help. Whether it was enlisting the services of a cleaner or asking friends how they did it, I wasn’t afraid to admit I needed help. I recognised I wasn’t superwoman. These days I have a PA, business coach and a General Manager for my core business.
This is paramount. I am the Queen of Lists. Planning, scheduling, routines and lists were vital to everything. In business everything is documented, templates are used, systems in place. Keeping a tidy house and doing things as you go helped a lot too. Everything has a place; everything in its place.
4. Quit Perfectionism
To me this was hard; but I learnt quickly that my family could live without ironed sheets, and that if we had takeaway an extra night a week, we all wouldn’t die of malnutrition.
I always found keeping the office separate from the house worked better. Working in your bedroom or at the kitchen table isn’t effective. Set up a room and be clear it’s your work space. Dress to go to ‘work’. Take a lunch break. I educated my boys to not interrupt me when I worked, but I also struck a deal with them I would finish at a certain time – if they didn’t interrupt. Be sure to keep those promises.
This was a little harder, because they often tried the guilt trip “You love your client more than me”. Yes, I wasn’t there for tuckshop duty, but I was there when one son broke his arm and other ran cross country at District. I prioritised what was important. Sometimes that was a client, sometimes family, but I always explained to them the concept of having to work, and money and business. They are all well-adjusted and have a good understanding how things work ‘in the real world’.
Being a working mum is no doubt hard work – it’s also incredibly fulfilling. : )