8 Lessons Learned as a Mumpreneur:
Getting your family to work as a team and putting in place a system that works
Date: September 25 2015
I think entrepreneurism has always been in me. My dad and granddad are entrepreneurs, so why would it be any different for me? I started my working life in Australia as a customer service consultant. It served its purpose for a while (working from home earning an income while looking after my 1 year old) but after a year, I felt bored. I knew I had much more to give than just work for someone else.
That prompted me to start my own business as a finance broker. I foolishly assumed being self-employed and being my own boss meant less work and more fun – even though I have seen my dad work long hours! When I started my business, I was a mum already and got pregnant a second time. It was a really tough start because I did not have any experience in the finance sector and I had no corporate experience and hence my network was small.
I have been in business for 6 years now and in hindsight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Let me be honest and say it was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and it still is), but here is how I manage it.
Tip #1: Time Management
As we all know, everybody has the same 24 hours in a day. What we do with it determines how successful we can be. I start my work day every day at 9am or earlier without fail. During the week, I work long hours as needed, so I don’t have to work on weekends.
When I am at work, I focus on tasks that need to be done and will minimise distractions in the form of social media or even phone calls.
Tip #2: Delegation
I can be quite ruthless when it comes to delegating tasks at home. I am known to make my four year old fold her own clothes, otherwise they don’t get washed the next week. I also have rules that everybody needs to fold and put away their clothes during the weekend, otherwise they cannot pick any clothes from the washed pile during the week.
It can sound cruel, but if I don’t get my family to help me, then I’m stuck being stressed and over worked and I cannot afford that. As a mumpreneur, I need to be strong mentally and physically both for me and my family.
Outsource tasks that someone else can do, so you have time to do what you are best at. I get a cleaner to clean my house every fortnight and that gives me 3 – 4 hours of my life back which I spend doing the things I love.
Tip #3: Prioritising
As entrepreneurs, we all have a million things to do. I prioritise the important things that I need to do versus urgent things.
There are so many distractions in our life with social media, children, and what not. My work involves having my inbox open the whole day. I can get lost in answering emails as they flood my inbox, but I tend to action them in the order of the date they arrived but also keep an eye out for urgent emails.
Tip #4: Find Good Support
My partner is my biggest support when it comes to tasks like school pick up/drop off, taking the clothes to the dryer, making sure our children are fed and so on. He is an entrepreneur himself, so there is a bit of juggling of tasks between us. If you are a single mom, surround yourself with good friends who can help you.
Tip #5: Planning
When you are a mumpreneur, you need to plan your working hours and include some flexibility. I put everything into my work calendar (both personal and work) as that is the only way I can remember everything that needs to be done. I always check my calendar every night before I sign off to see what I have on the next day, so that I can plan accordingly. For example, if I have an activity at my son’s school on a Monday for a couple of hours, I will work for a couple of hours on the Sunday night, which I would not otherwise.
Tip #6: Being Flexible
As mums, we all love our children. It can be difficult when you have a looming deadline and your child gets sick! But I have seen time and again that being honest with your clients and explaining why you need a little extra time to complete the project can go a long way. There is no point beating yourself about missing deadlines – honest communication can help.
Tip #7: Time For Yourself
As mums, we tend to give a lot and can feel quite depleted. I have my morning rituals (meditation, visualisation) that I do every day before my work and also wind down my working day by reading or doing something for myself. I also take time to exercise as it gives me the energy I need for my daily chores and work effectively.
Tip #8: Reward Yourself
I have a special box with 12 folded pieces of paper. Each of them have something special that I like – some of them may involve money and some others simple things like a soak in the tub with a glass of bubbles. Every time I feel I have achieved something – it can be a small thing like winning a client or something bigger, I will pick a paper randomly from my special box and do it within the next week. This way you feel a sense of achievement and rewarding yourself for achieving it.
I’ve learnt the above tips in the last 6 years as a mumpreneur and still trying to juggle work and family and personal commitment. I love my work and I love my family. As a mum, managing is about getting your family to work as a team and putting in place a system that works for you.
About the author:
Obu Ramaraj is the Director of Smart Money Solutions, a mortgage broking firm helping female professionals with their home loans. She is also the author of “Smart Women, Smart Home loans”, blogger and a speaker.