Top Three Tips for a Successful Summer as a Mompreneur

sunny wall with bicycle

It’s that time of year. The school year is coming to a close or already has, and you may be wondering how you will survive the summer. As a mompreneur, there are mixed feelings when it comes to summer. A part of you is looking forward to spending time with your kids and going on family vacations, but you also must maintain a business. It’s normal to want to power down and go into maintenance mode with your business and enjoy family time, and with a strategic approach, it can be done.

Why is summer so wild?

Getting through the summer without going crazy is the number one topic with my coaching clients around this time of year. There are many reasons why summer tends to be a little stressful. For one, we often tend to give up our routine during the summer. Lack of routine is a contributing factor to some of the stress and chaos in our lives.

Also, kids get bored, and what happens when kids get bored? They sometimes misbehave. Or, they may look to you for stimulation. When we don’t have a routine, everyone gets on a different clock. Your children may stay up later; you may stay up later. This is especially an issue during the summer.

Another reason why summer can be such a challenge is that there is a lack of clear expectations. This is a really critical element to address during the summer. Kids are used to a routine during the school year. Their days are structured and they are constantly being told what to do, where to go, and when. During the school year, they have a consistent schedule. When kids no longer have this routine and structure during the summer, we expect them to figure it out on their own. If there is no routine, your summer will be more stressful.

Three summer success tips

If you want to have a successful and happy summer you must get everyone on board by taking a strategic approach to scheduling, communicating, and setting clear expectations. These three tips will help you have a successful summer for your family and business.

1. Create a Summer Calendar
It’s important to have a visual. Get a poster board for each summer month. Create calendars, and fill them in with events that you know are going to take place. Be sure to have your kids participate. Little kids that cannot read or write yet can draw pictures or use stickers. Note craft projects, and your family summer bucket list. Place the calendars in a prominent place; they must be very visible to the entire family.

2. Have Family Meetings
Family meetings provide much-needed routine and help communicate clear expectations. These meetings do not need to be formal but should take place near the calendar. Meetings can take place at breakfast time while everyone is gathered. These meetings should be weekly, and daily. At the start of the week, go over what is planned for the week, and fill in anything that is missing. Everyone should be clear on the overall plan for the week. Start each day with a meeting. Talk about what is going to happen for the day. For example, discuss who needs to be picked up from where and when. Communicate upfront before the day or week begins.

3. Get Input and Collaboration
As noted when creating your summer calendar, always get input from the entire family when making summer plans. Don’t create a calendar alone and expect everyone to be happy about it. If you engage everyone then they become collaborators who share your expectations. Shared expectations help reduce stress and chaos.

You can have a successful summer from a family and business perspective with careful planning, communicating, and setting clear expectations. Enjoy your summer!

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How to Know What and When to Delegate

Have you also noticed that as an entrepreneur and a mother we easily get caught up in doing the same things over and over? We often let our old responsibilities become so engrained in our minds as what “needs to get done” that we just get into a routine to accomplish them.

Unfortunately, over time it can become more evident that you are outgrowing some of those responsibilities or chores. Some of the things you have always done become a waste of time and resources that can easily be delegated to others. Delegation is a skill set that a hear a lot my clients say they don’t think they can efficiently do. They have a fear of losing the control of their work quality and having to trust someone else to do something that they can do and do it as well as they would have.

Many of my clients have told me in the past that they simply don’t believe a leadership comes naturally to them. And, though this is a very understandable concern, it’s also one that proves consistently to be a non-issue. Of course, there are coaches out there (like me) that can and will happily help you to feel confident to grow into a leadership role.

You Already Know How to Lead

But what most of my clients fail to recognize or give themselves proper credit for is that as a mother, you are already a leader! You already successfully delegate things that need to get done to your spouse, your family, and your children. Chores that need done around the house like yard work, laundry, dinner planning and preparation are (hopefully) passed out evenly amongst the others around the house. As a mom, it probably just makes no sense to do everything on your own while everyone else sits watching TV. As as true as this is for your home, it is absolutely just as true for your business.

In order to reach the next level of productivity in your business you really need to consider reaching out and asking for the help you need. Once you determine what you need someone to do, it is also critical to ensure that you organize yourself and your needs so the help you do hire can be as effective as possible for you.

The beauty of having someone who wants to help you is you can rely on them to really step up and step in, just taking some of the easier tasks off your plate that are time consuming. And, as a bonus, just think about how much time delegation will actually give you to spend with your children (or friends, or sleeping).

Baby Steps to Delegation

And remember you don’t have to think on a enormous scale here, either. Think about simply hiring a part-time, capable virtual assistant. VAs can help with so much because of the blessing of new technology. Simple tasks that you spend considerable time on or busy work (think social media, bookkeeping, marketing or even just simple sales follow up for your webinars and program participants). In the long run, it takes so much less money to pay someone who is proficient and professional, particularly if you calculate how much time you spend on the tasks plus your hourly rate.

The fall season is a great time to take a step back and start considering some business areas where you can use some help. You still have time to get organized to implement and hire that out in 2017 and take some of your own time back! Not sure where to start? I can help you! Contact me today for your free Discovery Session.

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How to Stay True to Your Family Priorities as a Mompreneur

Have you ever felt like though you are succeeding in business, you are not doing so well as a mother? This can be a very common issue for mompreneurs, and you are not alone.

As a business owner, you have probably set goals, timelines, and measurable metrics for where you want your business to go in the future. But, unfortunately, many of us don’t often do the same for motherhood.

Women who find success with how their businesses are going oftentimes realize after accomplishing their business dreams that they don’t feel successful with their families. There are so many pieces and dynamics at play when you are both a mother and a business owner. One of the biggest is that it is very easy to get caught up (and carried away) in business. Your business, clients and schedule have needs and demands that are right in front of you demanding your attention. You are always quoting a potential client, building a new sales funnel or keeping your many appointments each day. Your business has its own ways of keeping you accountable—we just don’t have those metrics to keep us accountable in motherhood.

Sometimes, even the best laid plans of “making time” (planning to work until 2pm, then have family time from 2pm-5pm) can be sent completely off the rails unexpectedly. Humans can be tricky. Especially humans of the smaller variety! They are sleepy, hungry, grumpy, or just plain fussy. When you make a plan and can’t stick to it for some reason, it can be very difficult for some of us to bounce back when the plans change unexpectedly. These changes can cause stress and unhappiness and, after a pattern of this, it can be tempting to get frustrated and stop trying to plan. You will find yourself drawn to focus more on your business because it is predictable and you are in control. You just feel happier and more relaxed when you make a plan and stick to it—and that’s generally easier with your business than with your family.

Here are the three things I recommend if you see this becoming a pattern for you:

1. You have to force yourself to put real metrics in place. Because we know that best laid plans don’t always work out; but having some plans and some routine helps. Help your children and family members know what to expect because it will help you have much greater chances of accomplishment.

2. Make a point to always minimize your business or work distractions during your allotted family time. Don’t allow yourself to zone out and just get on the internet or check your email “real quick”. Create a very real boundary between work and family time.

3. Plan ahead for quality time. Sit down, free from stress and distractions, and make a hit list of 5-10 quality activities you can do in just 30 minutes at a time (walk around block, going to open swim, craft time). Put things on your list that make you feel successful as a mom—because that’s what this is about!  Now, when a moment comes up where your kids need you, you’ll have a list of activities ready to go and not waste time trying to decide what to do together.

If you can implement just some of these rules and do so with determination, you will feel a huge shift in your ability to “mom” just a little better. You will feel more connected and present in the time that you are spending with your family. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend grabbing my book Moms Mean Business. My co-author Erin and I really dig deep into creating metrics for your business and your family so you feel successful on all fronts.

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Permission Granted: You Don’t Have to Make Your Passion Your Job

Guess what you get today? You get my permission (not that you really ever needed it). Ready? Permission granted. You are granted permission to free yourself from “shoulds”, the “woulds” and the “coulds” that can be thrown at us by our daily lives and the media. These things tend to have an uncanny power to stress us out and make us unhappy.

When you set goals for yourself, you probably create an action plan and get going right on it don’t you? I know you do! And sometimes, you find yourself doing it all right, following the plan & meeting the goals and yet you are missing something. There is some element missing from the equation that would’ve made that goal truly fulfilling and satisfying for you. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be nearly impossible to figure out what or why that is for you. The reality is things can always change mid-plan. So many different things can happen in the time frame that you are so focused on your plan that you are distracted and don’t even notice. Then, you wind up reaching your goals & benchmarks and realizing that you are still feeling unhappy.

Sometimes, I think a large part of this can be the alignment or misalignment with your purpose and your passion. Good jobs are financially stable, offer a predictable routine,  and have benefits like sick days, time off and insurance. But, what if you have a “good job” but your true passion is something completely different? What if you are a nurse who loves public speaking, a waitress who feels inspiration in writing short stories or a paralegal who thrives through her photography? All of the sudden it has become a very common theme that if someone is not doing work that they love, there is something wrong. Or worse, that you better feel a burning passion for what you do—or quit and search until you find it. There is a crazy pressure to measure yourself and your success based on whether you truly love your work or not.

Well I’m here to say it is not one thing at the expense of all else. There are certain passions or hobbies that will never make good money. There I said it. Some things were just never meant to be a profit-turning venture. You can enjoy your passions your off time, while also keeping you fulfilling, stable job. I say go for it.

Happiness and fulfillment aren’t always in the same package. I can’t feel right coaching someone starting a business doing something they love, but also isn’t necessarily something that will ever be a profitable, sensible business. Or if it could, it would no longer be any fun anymore. Starting a business means wearing many hats, of which have nothing to do with the thing you are passionate about—like bookkeeping, paying bills, keeping schedules, appointments, managing people, and budgets.

You do not have to leave your job, take off and quit just because your job isn’t fulfilling you. If your job is providing you with things that you value and need for your priorities, you can usually find some other way to use, develop or enjoy your passion. This will still allow you to leave the mark or legacy that matters to you—that’s how I would do it.

I’m lucky to be passionate about being a coach, but I also don’t have to be a breadwinner. I don’t have a weight on my shoulders to support my family financially. I chose this path so I could spend more time with my kids and family while also doing what I love. If I wanted to build a huge business and wanted to define success in terms of extreme growth and profitability, I could do that. But it would also cause a major cosmic shift in our family dynamics, which is most certainly not something I want—at least not right now. I like the time I am around to spend with my kids, responding to emergencies and being here for them while still getting to enjoy my business. When my kids are older, I may shift that to a more growth and profit driven model, but only when it doesn’t affect my ability to spend my time with my family.

So, you’re welcome. Stop listening to the media and getting pushed around that you are some sort of failure if you are just doing a job that suits you and your priorities right now. You are not a failure. You can do a job that serves your family and find ways to fulfill your passions elsewhere in your life. You get to be happy and successful on your terms.

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How to Get Healthy Food on the Table

It can be hard when routines change (back to school, new schedules) to be able to fit everything in that you have had set on a pretty rigid schedule up until now. Simple evening activities like showering, homework for children or chores can be thrown for a loop even with a 1 hour change in your routine or schedule.

One of the tasks that can be the most daunting and time consuming for mom business owners can be simply making dinner for their families and themselves. Getting food made, on the table and the family fed can feel like an impossible mission on some days, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Now if you have been following me for awhile, you know that not only is cooking a passion of mine, but it is also fundamentally in my business plan. What I mean by that is that it is part of my schedule everyday. I’m committed to making it happen as much and as successfully as possible. It is one of my defined goals is to have a home-cooked meal on the table for my family at least 5 nights a week by around 6:30.

I have been successful with this goal for the most part in the past, but it is getting much more difficult with my children getting older. They have their own schedules, commitments to work around instead of just the adults.

I have used these four basic principles to help me to remember how to prioritize meal times:

Make It a Commitment

Commit to yourself and your family to making your mealtimes a family connection time. Try having no technology at the table: no tvs, computers, phones. Try just talking, connection and sharing together. This can be a magical time, even if it is only 20 minutes. Also, be sure to put it on your schedule. Try to have a set goal time for dinner every night. Make sure that everyone knows when that is and to not schedule other (avoidable) things at that time. And, just because it is a commitment, does not mean you have to be rigid about it. Be flexible, sometimes it will be a picnic at soccer or at the park, it will be a box in the minivan, but it is still a home cooked meal that you are having with your family.

Make It Simple

Don’t overthink meal time. Don’t put so much pressure on needed a freshly-cooked, just-out-of-the-oven full meal every night. That’s unrealistic and very difficult to do. Instead, try and make extras when you do cook to be frozen already prepared. Having things pre-cooked, pre-chopped and packaged for future meals will help immensely when you are short on time. You can pull them out and thaw / warm them even when you need to run out the door and still have a home cooked meal on the go!

Make it fun

Make a conscious effort to involve your kids and spouse in the meal-time process. Encourage selecting your dishes for the week as a family and allow them to help you prep and cook meals whenever possible. Not only will this give you more family bonding time but it will also teach your children a valuable, important life skill for their future. Win-win!

Make it matter

Make mealtime an important part of your family time. Dinner time doesn’t have to be long-stemmed candles and linens. It simply means sitting down, enjoying your food and being together. It means truly connection and conversation without the constant distractions of our busy lives. It may only be about 20 minutes, but it can be a 20 minutes that really, truly matters. If you have to have dinner separately due to certain (unavoidable) commitments, then make an effort to possibly sit down once you are all home to have dessert together, or a family breakfast time the next day.

Being a mompreneur is about keeping your priorities in order—and dinner is one way I make sure I’m meeting all my goals. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to set more concrete measurements for your home life, even if dinner may not be one of yours. Even personal goals need to be specific and measurable, just like your business goals.

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Why Striving for Work/Life Balance is Stupid

Did my title get your attention? Great! Now, I will admit it was a little bit misleading because it may seem very contradictory with my mission when you first hear it. You all know that I am a business coach especially for mother entrepreneurs, so when you hear me say striving for work life balance is stupid you may be like “wait, what?” But just hear me out!

In this blog, we’re going to revisit my humble beginnings in business and in motherhood. I like to refer to this time in my life as my “perfect storm”. I started out becoming both a business owner/coach and a mother at the same time. I know, right? Hello, stress! I went from just a person one day to so very much more in such a short time. And you guessed it: I struggled. Just like you probably have as well.

I have very high standards for my business as well as my family life. I had a business coach of my very own at the time kept and she kept noticing my unhealthy relationship my work/life balance. She noticed that I wasn’t living it. She noticed I complained for being unable to accept new clients by spending too much time on my baby. Yet, caring for my baby and living up to my own standards as a mother had become all encompassing for me.

My coach did something for me at that time that I will never forget and that has continued to help me grow even to this day. She forced me to have a terrible coaching call one day that ended in tears, and I thank her for that immensely. See, she knew my unhealthy attempt at balancing my life, so she scheduled a coaching session with me while I took my baby to the public pool. I thought she was crazy, but I obliged after much urging. That call was an absolute mess that I was constantly pausing trying to focus on both baby at the pool and the session at the same time. I wound up, unsurprisingly, in puddle of tears

I had been so heavily compartmentalizing my life and she could see that. I was trying desperately to keep my work life and my parenting life entirely separate and if they ever collided I got very upset. I felt like I couldn’t handle anything fully. I learned that day and every day since that life isn’t about balance. It isn’t about giving your best to both your business and your parenting at the same time and balancing them together. It’s about integration.

Focus on your priorities. I have 4 of my own. They are my well being, my marriage, my family, and my business. Rather than trying to evenly split myself between those 4 things, I integrate them together. It’s impossible to have precise balance between all your priorities.

What I mean is this: recently I had a speaking engagement in Las Vegas that happened to fall on the weekend of my wedding anniversary. So, instead of feeling the need to choose between a work engagement and my marriage/husband, I integrated them together. My husband came out with me to Las Vegas for the entire weekend before my speaking engagement on Monday. We spent the weekend together and made a mini-vacation out of the experience. Not to mention, we hiked and explored outside in the beautiful area outside of Las Vegas. In just that weekend, I integrated together my husband/marriage, my business and my wellbeing. All at the same time. And I loved every minute of it! Similarly, when I go for runs from home, I will often invite my son to run with me. This integrates my wellbeing and my family.

Instead of striving for balance, strive to integrate your priorities together. I promise you will feel more relaxed, fulfilled and you will have more time to truly devote to each one, individually and together.

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11 Steps To Owning Your Path

Owning your path. That sounds like a great idea, right? We’re all on a path, most of them winding, some quite crooked, with a fair amount of bumps along the way. But that path is ours, so let’s dig into what it means to really own it and how we can apply that to our businesses so that we are moving forward into our future with confidence and intent.

  1. VISION. Your vision is your focus—what your eyes are fixed on. Whatever you focus on you get more of. So adjust your focus to the positive, to what you hope for, to where you want to go.
  2. WHY. Things are going to get tough. Things are going to get messy. You’re going to get confused, distracted, discouraged. Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing ensures that your motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward is coming from within, not based on all the external circumstances that you’re facing.
  3. CULTURE. Who you are, how you’ve done things up to this point, your habits, and your mindset are critical forces in determining the path you will choose. All these things come together to make you who you are. Embrace it!
  4. POSSIBILITIES. Don’t get trapped by a “But this is how I’ve always done it” mentality. Open yourself up to the world of possibilities that awaits you when you replace old habits that aren’t serving you with a mindset that says, “This is possible.”
  5. EXPERIENCE. Experience is the skills, knowledge, and expertise that you have acquired over the course of your life. Acknowledge your strengths, the things you are best at, and determine how you may use them going forward.
  6. COMMITMENTS. This is the “owning” part of owning your path. This is where you put a stake in the ground and declare, “It will be done because it matters to me!”
  7. PRACTICE. Practice is the opposite of perfectionism. It’s the opposite of fear. It is being willing to stink at something and keep trying until we get it right. Keep practicing!
  8. SUPPORT. Support is so critical to owning your path—both giving and receiving it. Get the help you need from others and invest time and energy into others to help them on their own paths.
  9. ACTION. This is where the rubber meets the road! Baby steps are still steps. Take action and make it happen!
  10. ACCOUNTABILITY. As internal as owning your path may seem, we need external drivers to keep us on track. Accountability is a good and necessary element of success, whether it is enlisting the guidance of a coach or simply checking in with a likeminded accountability buddy.
  11. CHOICE. This is all about your choice. It’s at the heart of everything. There is freedom in realizing that no one is making you do this, that this path you’re on is your choice, and that nobody can take away the success you find along the way because nobody but you has gotten you there.

I hope these tips help inspire you to really own your path. Do you have others you would add to the list? Let me know on Facebook!

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Put Happy in Your Business Plan

happybizplan

I have two questions for you today. I don’t want you to think too much about them—rather go with your gut. These are simple yes or no questions, but the answers will tell you A LOT.

Question 1: Are you successful?

Question 2: Are you happy?

Why does it seem so often that we have different answers for these two questions? Well, no more. Today I’m giving you permission to include happiness in your definition of success. And, as you work toward your goals for this year, I hope you have happiness written into that equation. It will be so much easier for you to get up and go go go every day if you are fulfilled in every area, not just in your business.

Success doesn’t have to look a particular way. I give you permission to make it look however you want it to look. You have permission to design the life that works for you and demand that your priorities matter. You have permission to create your business plan with “happy” in mind, goals that match and support your life stage, grow your company and your career at a rate that works with your personal agenda, and keeps your health, relationships, and personal fulfillment at the center of everything.

Because what’s the point of a definition of success that doesn’t include your happiness?!

Speaking of happiness, have you signed up for my newsletters yet? I send them twice a month and they are another great opporunity to get some coaching with me along with worksheets and other goodies. The next one comes out on the 30th, so sign up today!

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In The Zone: The Comfort Zone

In the Zone: The Comfort ZoneToday I want to talk with you just a little bit about when being comfortable may be holding you back from being really successful.  Now it’s perfectly natural for us, as mompreneurs—women who have essentially signed up for two full time plus overtime occupations—to naturally gravitate toward what’s easiest for us.  It’s a way of managing all that’s on our plates, keeping our heads above water, normalizing, maintaining.  And sometimes what’s easiest is also smartest, because let’s face it—when you’re CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of your business and household, the “work smarter, not harder” principle is definitely worth considering!  But there are times that comfort and ease and “normal” (whatever that is!) can work against what we really desire out of life, and we need to be on the look out for ways we let our comfort take precedence over our greater vision.

 

Here are some common ways we get stuck in that comfort zone.  Think about which of these may be true for you:

 

1.  Your habits aren’t serving you.  Okay, moms—admit it—we ALL know what this looks like.  We’ve committed to allowing the children a certain amount of time in front of the TV.  But we’ve had some deadlines we’ve had to make on a project for work… and if we can just eek out a little bit more time from the afternoon… and it’s just this one time… And before we know it, the kids have developed an affinity for the couch and they’re whining and fighting and we really aren’t getting anything done now anyway.  And we do the same thing in business, don’t we?  Little slips can become big problems over time.

 

2.  You want to grow.  Doing what you’ve always done in the way you’ve always done it is not going to work when it comes to personal or business growth.  It will keep you where you are rather than helping you get to where you want to go.  Normal and safe and comfortable is not what you’re shooting for when you want to grow because growing means moving outside those boundaries that currently exist for you.

 

3.  You’re setting goals.  Any time you vow to move toward something new or different (as is the case with a goal), you are, by definition, leaving your comfort zone.  You have to push past what’s familiar in order to get to that goal.  And since goals are set to align with our values and priorities, the temporary discomfort associated with charting new territory is well worth the effort.

 

These are just a few of the ways that being comfortable keeps us from being successful.  Identifying these areas of weakness can help us to head them off at the pass, as we continue to press outward on those boundaries, toward the greater prize.

 

I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment! 

Do you struggle with wanting to stay in your comfort zone?

In what ways is staying comfortable holding you back? 

 

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F-Words Mompreneurs Love

F-words Mompreneurs LoveWhen you say to me wine, I already start relaxing.  When you say girls’ night out, I feel excited.  When you say taxes… But again, they’re just words, right?  And yet words can actually have a lot of power over us.  Well, today we’re going to talk about F-words.  Yes, you heard me right.  F-words—some that we love and… well, some that we as mompreneurs may have overlooked.

 

Here are just a few of my favorite F-words:

 

FREEDOM:  If you’re a mom entrepreneur who has any experience working in corporate America and trying to juggle all that entails, plus raising a family, you know what this word freedom is all about.  You have an appreciation of what it means to be able to determine how you spend your own time.

 

FLEXIBILITY:  What’s a mom, much less a mompreneur, without flexibility?  Flexibility is the ability to spend the day with the kids during a snow day, or go on vacation over spring break.  Flexibility is that tango, that mompreneur dance, if you will, where some days I work and some days I don’t, and really maximizing the time that I have available to me in powerful and efficient ways tailored to my family and business.

 

FULFILLMENT:  Fulfillment is huge.  Let’s face it.  We are some strong, bright women.  This work that we do is not the only thing we could be doing with ourselves.  But we choose this work because in it we find fulfillment; we find something with purpose, something that aligns with our priorities, with things that matter to us.  In this work we find our place in this world, a place of value and significance.  What a powerful F-word!

 

FAMILY:  It is often for the love of family that we start a business so it should come as no surprise that our businesses are often at their very best when we are nourishing and growing our families along with our work.  Learning opportunities abound for the whole family when you own your own small business, not to mention the benefit of added income potential, which brings me to my next F-word.

 

FINANCES:  Granted, this F-word may not be on the top of your list of favorites, but gals, if you are serious about running a business, this is a word we must not overlook. Now this is some medicine of my own I have to take because it doesn’t come naturally for me to want to study the incoming and outgoing of money in my family and business.  But in order to make that money count for the things I’m working so hard for, this F-word is something I’ve got to come to terms with.

 

FEAR:  Fear is like the monster under your bed.  Until you acknowledge it for what it is—probably an old pair of slippers or half-eaten sandwich, if you have kids around—it has complete power over you.  Rather than allowing ourselves to be ruled by the unknown, fear can be an incredible motivator for us in our businesses.  So shine a light into those dark places where fear likes to hide and learn to use this F-word to your advantage!

 

So these were just a few of my favorite F-words.  My hope for you today is that you will find real strength in these words for your life, your family and your business.

 

You know I love to hear from you, so leave me a comment!

What are some of your favorite F-words? 

How have you come to love some of the more “angsty” F-words in your life (like finances or fear)? 

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