Motherhood teaches skills and brings out talents that are as valuable to our littlies as they are to a business’ stakeholders.
There are many organisations dedicated to growing women in business, but does a group need to exist specifically for mothers to succeed in business?
Absolutely! I started my first business right in Cape Town after my son was born in 2010, I couldn’t bear the thought of returning from maternity leave and I then re-launched in JHB in 2014. As much as I adore working for myself (making my own rules, my own hours, my own money), it was difficult to complete with women who either weren’t mothers or for whatever reason, had less time constraints than I did. Perhaps their support structure was bigger and could leave children on weekends or evenings, maybe that didn’t bother them. But it bothered the heck out of me.
Success for me must be a balance between family and money; all too often we are told that we can’t have both.
We are lead to believe that we must work for hundreds of hours away from our children, or be prepared to travel in order to succeed and I refuse to believe this. Flat out and point blank won’t accept it (I was in the military for almost six years at one stage too, I didn’t take authority well back then either!) My success can only be deemed a success when it includes my family AND allows me to make more than enough money to provide. A tall ask? I don’t think so.
It might be scary but believe it or not, there are some very good reasons that moms can be the successful entrepreneurs they dream of becoming!
1. Clear values that stay front of mind: Values are that reason you have to get out of bed every morning, to keep going no matter what. Children are the very best reason that I can think of. On days when I don’t feel like getting up early, I think who benefits from what I achieve, and off I go! It is more than a goal – it is personal! So get clear on these values first.
2. Organisation: This is not my strong point and I often feel rushed (ok manic) and show up 10 minutes late (ok, 15). But the fact of the matter is it takes a lot longer for a mom to get out the door – even more so when the children are so young they can’t get themselves ready. Just getting OUT THE DOOR is a huge accomplishment. You do more than most, don’t underestimate yourself!
3. Negotiation Skills: We know that women are better communicators and negotiators, and this certainly applies to a mom who has had to keep the peace between siblings or see a toddler through a tantrum. A boardroom discussion is a simple task when you have gone through a public meltdown with your child!
4. Ability to multi-task: A mom is expected to do a variety of tasks every day as she does so successfully. Without even realising the potential she has inside, moms are able to complete many projects even while having a constant distraction. This is a powerful trait in business.
5. Discipline to follow through: Ever have one of those days when you don’t see how to get it all done? Like why do children need to have three meals a day EVERY day? But no matter what you feel like, even when bedridden, a mom keeps going, takes care of everyone’s needs. This is a valuable asset in business.
6. Fear of the unknown: Starting a new venture is terrifying but so is motherhood. Remembering being bombarded with information from well-meaning friends and family? You made it through all of that, sifted through the information and look where you are now! I guarantee, any woman who is able to rise to the challenge of motherhood will be equally successful in starting any venture.
7. Been there, done that: A woman changes and evolves constantly, but going through motherhood is an event that effects a lasting change. Even if you did not feel confident enough to start your own business before having children, the fact you have come so far already is testament to the fact that you can, and WILL, do anything you set your mind to completing.
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