Finding time to build a business as a busy mom can be tricky enough, but add in homeschooling, a job outside of the home and/or being a single mom and your challenges can seem insurmountable. But I’ve got tools for you to make it happen! First of all, let’s start with all the benefits of launching and owning your own business as a mom with a very full plate.
Benefits to entrepreneurship
The first (and probably greatest!) benefit to owning your own business is flexibility. When you’re a busy mom with lots of obligations to juggle, being able to build a business that fits your unique schedule and needs can be invaluable.
This flexibility includes being able to work when, where and as often as you’d like. Obviously not all businesses have the same amount of flexilibity but that’s the great thing- you get to decide what yours will look like!
The second benefit (also related to the first) is that you get to work from home! Unless you end up opening up a brick and mortar office or storefront, you can do all your work while being present with your little ones and even in your pajamas, if you so choose.
Finally, owning your own business means that you are the only one in charge of your job satisfaction and income potential. You get to do the work that fulfills you most and choose how to scale in a way that can bring tons of financial blessings to your family. How cool is that?
How to fit it in
The most important thing to realize as an entrepreneur mom with a full plate is this: you cannot do it all. The sooner we realize that our lives might look radically different from our neighbors’ or friends’, the happier we’ll be.
If you homeschool, work outside the home or are single, then you’re probably already familiar with being the odd man out at a park day with other SAHMs! But here are a few examples of things you might need to eliminate or cut back on in order to find time for your business:
Playdates & outings
I take my kids fun places when I schedule it ahead of time (library, park, public pool) but because my schedule is so tight, it’s generally very difficult to coordinate this with other families. Communicate with your kids and come up with a plan together for how you can still do exciting outings but work them around your new business needs.
I go to church activities and have a couple friends that I get together with every few months, but I don’t often go out to lunch or spend lots of time socializing. This has been one thing I’ve chosen to cut out because I’m actually more of an introvert than most people know, but if you crave social time, this should definitely be a priority for you! Be sure to read this post about keeping your daily activities in alignment with your core values.
Errands and shopping
Several years ago, I gradually started eliminating most trips to the store and other errands. I know that sounds weird and impossible, but it is totally doable! Now, whenever we need something, I either order it on Amazon or place a grocery pickup order. I usually order clothes online as well (Old Navy for aaaaall the kids clothes), and returns are done the same way.
Any errands I have to do in person (collect a package at the post office, pickup a specific screw at the hardware store, etc) I now coordinate with a time that I’ll already be in the car. For example, I grab cash at the bank on the way to dance dropoff, or get a homeschool curriculum spiral bound on the way back from a doctor’s appointment.
This helps me save time as I’m no longer running all over town, saves gas and really saves money on those impulse purchases that you only make when wandering through Target trying to kill time.
Honor your work time
Even though building your own business means you have more flexibility than a typical 9-to-5, you must prioritize your work time. I cannot stress this enough!
If you go through your day as usual, just hoping to fit projects in wherever you have a few extra minutes, you will never accomplish anything of value. Set aside a specific block of time each day (and a dedicated space, if possible) and honor it like you would for any other employer. Before I had big helpers, I did all my working during naptime and after bedtime. It was hard, but it was the only time I had!
Remember, you are your own boss which means it can be really tempting to choose watching a movie with the kids over working on a website, but don’t cheat yourself! Create those dedicated work hours and then tell your kids, your spouse, your neighbors, and the UPS man (not really, but maybe a do-not-disturb sign on the door?). No one else will honor your work time unless YOU do first.
You probably already know that I’m a huge fan of hiring help, but I know that this is not always a possibility. If you’re in this place right now, make a goal for yourself to hire assistance as soon as your business starts bringing in income.
A few places where I get help are for childcare, house cleaning, laundry and carpooling. When you have teenage helpers, they can help lighten your load but if you only have little ones around, outside help will be so essential! In the meantime, go listen to this podcast episode about other creative ways to get more help around the house.
I hope these tips are helpful! I have absolutely no doubt that you can create the business of your dreams, even as a crazy busy mom. If I can do it, anyone can.
Your future self and your kids will be so grateful that you did!