We asked women who raise families and businesses to share the lessons they’ve learned and what they love most about their journey as moms and entrepreneurs (a.k.a. mompreneurs).
As Lisa Heffernan explains, “women can successfully combine family, career and time for themselves. If you ever doubted whether it could be done,” these mompreneurs are writing their own playbook.
Here’s what they had to say about work-life balance, serving as role models, and finding personal and professional purpose.
1. You embrace the fact that every aspect of your life changes.
“Nobody can prepare you for motherhood… I think many entrepreneurs believe they can do more than they actually can – they’re very ambitious. I certainly did. Then every aspect of your life changes when you have children, and you have to rebalance everything and find new ways to multitask, delegate, manage…”
“When I had children I undoubtedly wanted to be a mom first, but what came natural for me was putting my business first so I had to find a new way to balance, not shift, my priorities. My daughters get to see me a lot, despite being a mompreneur, because they’re a priority for me. I always leverage the flexibility I have (and love!) to be able to spend as much time with them as I can.”
2. You teach your kids about passion, self-sufficiency, and hard work.
“As a mompreneur raising a little girl, I hold myself accountable for the example I set for my daughter. My favourite thing about being a mompreneur is that I have the opportunity to inspire my daughter to go after all her goals, both personal and professional. I get to teach her by example about the importance of following your passion, being self-sufficient, and that with hard work, patience and determination, anything is possible…”
“I want my daughter to know that motherhood and entrepreneurship do not have to stand at odds to one another. Being a mompreneur is a blessing – I am able to do something I am passionate about, while also having a fruitful relationship with my child and family.”
3. You learn how to become more flexible.
“As a mompreneur, I am learning how to be more flexible and to accept interruptions without getting flustered. Being the boss, my schedule is flexible – I can choose when to work. I can drop the kids at school, participate in activities and be available for them. The trade off is that when I have deliverables, I stay up until the wee hours finishing my work or communicating with my team located in other parts of the world.”
4. You learn the true meaning of family teamwork.
“In the beginning, I thought it would be difficult to manage and grow our small business while raising children, but it is actually not too strenuous. Sure, there are challenges, but the entire family can step-up and help in many ways. We’ve realized how important it is to keep our kids engaged in the business and share our successes and challenges every day. We want our kids to see and experience how hard work and smart risk-taking is part of life’s great adventure.”
5. You share a common goal that can make your family closer.
“The truth is that starting a business is very difficult, with new challenges every day. Add to that being a wife and mother of two kids and trying to balance everything and do a good job at all of those things, it is nearly impossible.”
“I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to take my kids to a birthday party, missed a soccer game, and – oh yeah – totally missed a parent teacher conference that had been scheduled for weeks… [But] being a mompreneur, while challenging, is so much fun! It has definitely brought our family closer together and gives us a common goal.”
6. You become more patient during challenging times.
“I was an entrepreneur for many years before becoming the mom to twin girls. I am thankful that I was an entrepreneur when I became the mom of twin infants because it gave me flexibility in my schedule which would not have been possible if I was working for someone else. What surprised me the most about raising twin daughters is that it has helped me become a more patient and understanding business owner to my clients, employees and Unit Franchise Owners in the successful and challenging times.”
7. You design a life of meaningful work and family quality time.
“I love being a mompreneur because I have designed a life I love that is full of both meaningful work and an abundance of quality time with my kids… Daily, I interact with clients who get my jokes and work on projects that make my heart sing.2 On top of that, I’ve built a business that affords me the flexibility to be the Cuddler in Chief when my kids are sick and come into the office ‘late’ (by traditional 9 to 5 standards) some mornings because the kids and I are having so much fun before daycare.”
8. You are showing your kids how to accomplish big things.
“I love the opportunity to include my kids in my work and have them glimpse what it means to be an entrepreneur and business owner, while balancing family life too… I’ve involved my girls […] with helping to ship authors’ books for launches, and having them do small chores like shredding at the office… My hope is that they will know that work can fit into life and they can accomplish big things while making a difference for their families, too.”
9. You learn to juggle it all — even if its means being locked in a closet.
“Finding a system that works between naps and meals, and calls with Fortune 500 companies is tough. Sometimes I literally have to take a call locked in my closet hoping that the clothes hanging down around me muffle the sound of my toddler demanding my attention outside my bedroom door. That said, I love the opportunity I have to be an example for my 3 daughters of what is possible in this world — as a woman, as a mother, and as an entrepreneur — and I get to inspire them. I can show them that they can do what they are passionate about in life without giving up family.”
10. You teach your kids it’s okay to work, be a wife, and a friend.
“Being a working mother is a true blessing. I’m showing my children especially my daughter that it is okay to work, be a wife and a friend all at the same time… I understand that there’s more than one way to be a good mom – being confident and balanced in life, I’m showing my children that you can be whatever you want to be without sacrificing the people and things you love.”
11. You finally learn that ‘the perfect time’ is a myth.
“There’s never a perfect time to start a family or a business. The truth is there’s no real prep…2 you don’t know how to do it until you’re doing it. Once you get the hang of a particular phase, the next one hits you head on. But that is the beauty of the mompreneur journey. And the good news is that the ‘Terrible Twos’ don’t last forever.”
12. You reap the rewards of freedom and flexibility.
“I decided to become an entrepreneur when my husband and I were talking about starting our family. I didn’t want my child in daycare and didn’t want to give up my career (or the needed income). So I started my business. I had been in business for just a couple of weeks over a year when my daughter was born and took 30 hours of maternity leave. My daughter was seeing clients with me before she was two days old…”
“Being a Mompreneur has given me the opportunity to be an active and available parent for my daughter (e.g., a pizza mom, field trip mom, home before-and-after-school mom) and grow a successful business.”
13. You can be a present part of your children’s lives.
“As a mom of two, I knew I wanted to be around to be a part of my children’s lives and not traveling for work and doing the daily 9 to 5 grind… I love being able to create my own work schedule so I can be there for my children when they need me. I’m able to work when they are in school and again in the evenings after bedtime. I also love seeing something that started with a typed business plan flourish into a real, living thing that I am so proud of.”
14. You show your kids how to ‘create your world’.
“I want to set an example to my daughter that you can create your world; you can be successful, a female CEO—you can be anything you want to be—with grit, hard work and determination. Being a mompreneur is a blessing, my creative outlet via my passion for my business […] in turns makes me a better mom. I do what I do for my daughter. You can have both, a great career and the rewarding role of being a mother. I’m proof of this!”
15. You have more fulfillment and a sense of purpose.
“I love being a mompreneur because it allows me to feel fulfilled and it gives me a sense of purpose. As a mompreneur, I am empowered and feel I can be an inspiration and a role model to my son. My time is flexible so I am available for school drop-off, pick-up and homework while making business decisions and building a successful company. My role as a mompreneur within the family earns me respect among my husband and son. We are all equals working together to create a better life for our family.”