I’ve worked for myself for nearly 10 years now, 5 of those years I have also been a mother. Once I became a mother, first to my son 5 years ago and then to my daughter 2 years later I realised that my business was in fact my first born. I created it, nurtured it, cried over it, sometimes even despaired over it, but still kept going – sounding familiar (cough cough, motherhood).
Just in case you are embarking on this journey yourself I wanted to offer some things I’ve learned along the way. Hopefully you will realise that what you’re going through and feeling is ‘normal’ as a business owner and when times are really hard keep going.
- It’s hard!
Yep jumping straight in, no sugar coating I’m afraid, the fact of the matter is whether you’re a mum or not running your own business is hard, full stop. Then you add in a couple of small people and at times things seem damn right impossible! The highs will make you feel like you are conquering the world, the lows will make you want to hide in a cave and never come out (well to be honest when I have one of these days I sit in a bubble bath with a glass of wine and have a good cry – it works for me).
When you talk to friends about owning your own business you will undoubtedly be meet with admiration and envy, “I would love to work for myself” being a common response. But being completely honest the reason that most people are not business owners is because it is bloody hard! So, if you are, you are a superhero, straighten your cape and keep going!
- You will work more hours than you ever have before!
There is no leaving work at the door, when you run your own business you live and breathe it 24/7. My brain literally never switches off! In fact, I have started keeping a pen and pad on my bedside table to write down notes when they come to me just before I close my eyes at night. I highly recommend this as believe me thoughts will come to you at the most random times and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t record them.
At times you will feel as though you have zero down time, but if you’re anything like me despite being exhausted you won’t mind (well most of the time anyway). My business is not just my business it is also my hobby, my passion and hopefully my legacy so I will put as much effort as I possibly can in.
- You MUST believe in yourself!
There will be days (many days) when everything seems hopeless, clients are saying no, or customers are causing you grief, you literally feel like you are continually walking through treacle. On those days you have to dig deep, and you have to believe in yourself! Self-belief and the motivation to carry on will be vital at these times. I have had evenings where I have worked into the early hours, barely being able to keep my eyes open and the only thing that has kept me going is the will to succeed in my business. Now I have a family I work unsociably at times so that I can be with my children while they are awake, the motivation and want for my business to succeed, not just for me, but for them too is what makes me open the laptop late at night.
I’ll be honest, although I have learned that self-belief is important when starting and running your own business it is something that I do struggle with. As you’ll see from my blog post Learning To Believe In Myself this is something I actively work on. The other option is try and surround yourself with people that do believe in you for those times self-doubt does creep in, which brings me onto the next lesson ….
- You need your tribe!
I have my friends and family and they are all amazing, literally I could not cope without them. However as supportive as they are if I’m totally honest they don’t always ‘get’ what I do and let’s be honest they are not very objective. So, my tribe is mainly made up of some amazing people that I have met through training I have undertaken, social media and networking events. Last year I decided that I needed to upskill in my field of marketing as digital and social media are now such vital parts of any commercial marketing strategy. I chose to do this with Digital Mums and I was so grateful I did. It was not just due to the training (which was amazing) but the fact that you get put in a group with 5-6 other women and those people become not just your tribe but most weeks your lifesavers. Still to this day I can whatsapp those beautiful people and they come straight back with advice and much needed light relief. Then there’s the Facebook graduates group, various networking groups and Instagram friends (something I could never see myself saying!). The point is surround yourself with people who are positive, supportive and lift you up, even if it is with a virtual hug.
- I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Yep despite everything, I genuinely do love it! I started this post comparing being a business owner to being a mother and let’s be honest despite the days where the kids are driving you insane, you feel like you are getting everything wrong and you have no idea where you are going to find the energy to ‘do it all again tomorrow’, you do, because you love them and you believe in them and you know deep down you are the best thing for them – yep just like your business!