The older I get, the more I look at my friends who are parents
and business owners with complete and total awe. Not only do I have the pleasure of working alongside some amazing working moms, but my personal and professional life is full of parents who are dreaming big and running their own creative businesses while raising their families. I look to these remarkable parents for inspiration and motivation (I hope to join their ranks one day), but I also look to them for helpful ideas and lessons because they are juggling so many different demands and priorities at the same time. If that old adage, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” is true (and I think it is), working parents are some of the most efficient and wise business owners I know.
So today I’m sharing the
biggest business lessons and advice from 10 incredible working moms. These women have launched businesses and worked hard to find moments of work/life balance, and we can all learn something from them. Whether you’re balancing life, work and kids or life, work and pets — or just life and work — this advice is a must-read.
: "Life is (hopefully) long and there are many opportunities. You have time to make your ideas come to life, you don’t have to do it all at once. Take your time, don’t rush through things – enjoy them. Be really mindful about the decisions that you make. A big one in the last few years: being 'really busy' doesn’t make you successful. It can make you sloppy and kind of annoying. Also, be honest. In a Pinterest-perfect world, being honest is really refreshing."
: "PLAN AHEAD. It’s so easy to get behind in purchasing, especially given that the goods I curate are often handmade from artisans in remote areas, often requiring longer lead times. Planning ahead is absolutely of utmost importance!"
Jaime Derringer of Design Milk
: "Don’t undervalue or underestimate yourself. It’s important to know your value as a human, as a person, as a business owner. Never make excuses or assume other people either can’t afford your rates or won’t pay you what you’re worth."
Jonna Twigg of Twigg's Bindery
: "I’m continually learning how to stay focused. Often the entrepreneurial spirit is accompanied by an abundance of ideas. Working methodically and knowing how to prioritize your ideas and goals is very important. There’s always the next season, the next collection — not everything has to be realized immediately."
Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop
: "I have to be true to my own vision. I have to recognize that the business is separate from myself. It is hard, when you are spending every dollar and every minute on your business, not to take things personally. But you have to. Maybe it doesn’t work for your intended audience right now, and that is okay. Trends, markets and tastes fluctuate. Bending to meet market tastes isn’t worth it even if it gets you traction in the short run because creating a business identity means distinguishing it from the pack."
: "Don’t spend money that isn’t yours, and don’t undercut yourself. Taxes man, they exist! And you have got to pay the IRS — they really don’t play with small business — I feel like we get it the worst. Also, your rate is your rate, your fee is your fee, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re worth less. It’s a small world, and through work, word travels fast and people get boxed in real fast and easy, too. Once you do something for X price, you equal X price. Be careful."
: "Running a business is equal parts timing, savvy, and pure risk-taking. I’ve learned if you really believe in the project, you go for it, and whatever the outcome is at least you gave it your all."
Michelle Smith of The Rock & Shop Market
: "I believe that a successful career doesn’t have to be linear, that it can be full of bumps and detours which help shape you in ways that following a straight and narrow path might not."
: "I’ve learned to start with what I have. As creatives, we are our harshest critics and this can cause us to approach problems focusing solely on what we don’t have. What I’ve realized is that there isn’t a readily available solution when you are in that mindset. Your solution lies in your ability to look at what you have and figure out what type of leverage you have to get what you need. Always start with what you have."
: "Never undersell your work. It can be tempting, especially if the request is coming from a buyer or client you’ve been courting for a while, but if they appreciate your work and quality, they will pay. It’s a hard cycle to break once started, so it’s best to set your prices right at the very beginning, and stick to them."