It was a deep moment of despair. It was Christmas Eve, and the baby was asleep, but I definitely, was not.
In fact, I sat at our dining room table, scrambling to put together a resume for the first time in over 7 years, and wondering what I was supposed to write down as work experience.
…“I founded, and currently own… or do I say I used to own?… Studio 22 Creative Brand Management. Since 2011, Studio 22 has been catering to small and midsize agricultural and creative businesses, creating stand out brands, unique web presences, and badass business strategies.
With a staff of 6, our small but mighty team ranges from project managers to technology gurus, design aficionados and fabulous copywriters. As the owner and creative director, I’ve had the pleasure of not only managing a badass, fast-moving, idea-executing team but also the blessing of working right alongside our clients as they bring their dream to fruition.”…
I had so much to say, and that half-inch space just did not seem sufficient to summarize my almost 8-year career as a self-employed creative entrepreneur. And the question after that was even harder to answer: the reason for leaving your last job?
I didn’t even know I was leaving. I was just looking. Just trying out what was on the other side. Mostly, I was craving stability. And I assumed a job working for someone else, with a steady paycheck and childcare options, was the definition of stability.
Here I was, jumping the fence. Or at least attempting to. And my entire career had been built on helping other business owners jump the opposite direction.
As you can imagine, words such as “hypocrite” and “naysayer” flooded my consciousness.
But something had majorly shifted in the last 6 months. I was no longer just serving my business.
As a matter of fact, I was a brand new mom to a baby boy we had prayed LONG and hard for.
One of the reasons I, and I’m sure most, small business owners go into working for themselves, creating their dream from scratch, is the legacy we can leave for our family. Along with flexibility, no glass ceiling, and the massive amount of joy that comes from creating, leaving a legacy for our children is a dream worth chasing.
Think about that – we are entrepreneurs FOR OUR KIDS. Yet, here I sat, new mom and experienced business owner, and I had lost sight of that completely.
It wasn’t because of lack of support, or lack of business coming my way.
The reason was simple – I had no time to actually do the work my business required of me.
None. Not one minute. And when I did, I wanted to sleep. Or talk to my husband about something other than diapers. Or better yet, see my friends or go to the gym or call my mom.
But I worked. And the rest of my life suffered. There was suddenly no in between work and momming. I was 100% immersed in one or the other, all the time. My identity had been stolen from me, and I had watched it go, without knowing how to fight to get it back.
Back to my dining room table – applying for a job to work somewhere else from 9-5 with a paycheck every other week. Convincing myself that this is what “work-life balance” was going to look like.
Needless to say, I did not get this job. Not even an interview. Most likely because the person reading the applications knew who I was, small town and all, and wondering why in the heck this successful business owning new mom would want to go and work somewhere else.
This was the biggest blessing of my life.
But it didn’t solve the problem.
I was overwhelmed. I was flooded with mom guilt. I was exhausted. I had no idea how to be a mom, never mind a mompreneur.
During a nap-time not many days later, 6-month-old baby boy strapped to my chest and laptop in hand, I decided I was not going to let this kill my joy. I was made for this. I was made to run my business, and raise my child. THAT’S WHY I STARTED TO BEGIN WITH!
Mompreneur is the coexistence of two of the world’s most privileged roles – I needed to stop battling them against each other and treat them as one harmonious state of being.
I’m here to tell you that this changed me to my very core. I was fighting mom against entrepreneur, battling the two roles against each other instead of embracing the fact that they fed each other.
I am a mom – I am strong and brave and empathetic and patient. I have traits and strengths only a mom can have.
I am an entrepreneur – I am tenacious, strong-willed and persistent. I have qualities in my heart only an entrepreneur can have.
These two things together make me a mompreneur.
From that moment 3 years ago, I have been able to stop battling these roles and implement tools in my life that allow them to exist as one.
I needed resources to teach me, and show me, the tools that help streamline my tasks. I needed to do less work, not more work, and make more money doing it. I didn’t want to start something new – I LOVED my business. I needed and wanted, to work in my business and on my business, while also growing as a mother.
I began by documenting my day. Every single minute. Looking at the day, exactly where my time was spent, easily put my time management into perspective. I dove deeper into my tasks, looking hard at whether they served me, my business, or my family well. I began to eliminate things that didn’t. I began to delegate tasks I thought I HAD to do to my team, and started frantically Googling how to automate things I didn’t know could be automated.
Better yet, I asked for help. I asked my husband, my friends, my mom and dad, the simple question: what was it that I was great at? I needed help finding my way back to my roots, or at least my new roots, and where my passion really was. Where I was talented, and how those worked together to serve my life. And then once I knew, I got rid of the rest.
Finally, I looked at my season of life. I accepted the fact that it was just that, a season, and I could foster it or fight it. I knew this season would change, and quickly, to a different one. And I didn’t want to miss this.
Since that fateful Christmas Eve, my businesses, and my life have changed significantly. We have a thriving 3-year-old and another sweet babe on the way. I’ve started two other business for myself and changed Studio 22’s structure to better serve my clients and myself. Our seasons of busyness, childcare, finances, and recreational activities change, depending on our season of life. And we embrace the transitions with grace and affection.
But now, knowing that I have these tools in my back pocket, I’m excited instead of terrified of the newborn days. The idea of taking risks looks much more appealing, and simpler, and not scary at all. My fear of despair, overwhelm and guilt has subsided, and though each day is a treacherous journey to bedtime, it’s filled with joy and anticipation for the next.
SOME THINGS THAT HELPED ME OVERCOME OVERWHELM, DITCH MOM GUILT AND TAKE BACK THE BALANCE
Finding and embracing my mompreneur season.
Seasons of life, just like the weather, come and go. Seasons of business. Seasons of motherhood.
This season of new motherhood had left me with a business that was lagging behind, no matter how much I had prepared. This season, from my skewed perspective of the postpartum blur, was that of pruning. I was losing my leaves. Dying inside. Failing, and ugly and retreating back within myself.
It felt so new but so scary. So rewarding and so life-sucking. What I couldn’t see in the moment was that I was GROWING, not pruning. My baby was growing. My heart was growing. My emotions, my hormones, my life. And for some reason, I thought that meant I had to prune my business. But I didn’t. I had to grow. I had to learn. I had to see that growth was taking place in all the places of my life. And instead of trying to put my business in dormancy, I should have been putting my business in the world to grow, in whatever way that looked like.
But all in all, we fall into one of four seasons through everything. Our businesses, our journey in motherhood, our fashion sense, our tv binges, the list goes on. We find ourselves in seasons of mompreneurship just as we find ourselves in seasons of sunshine or snowfall.
So, what are the seasons I’m talking about?
Through some research, massive experience and some Bible study, I’ve been able to find four seasons of our lives as mompreneurs.
Hustle. Rest. Growth. Prune.
Pairing them with our weather seasons seems appropriate, and you can learn more about what season is what in depth in the first lesson in Mompreneur : the Course.
Not sure what season you’re in? Take the quiz to help you identify what season of mompreneurship you’re currently in (or headed towards!)
Realizing my passion + talent sweet spot, and ditching the rest.
It seems fairly cut and dry to be able to know your passion and talent sweet spot. Add a baby or multiple children into the mix, and that spot gets all blurred and spread out and is no longer a pinpoint. It’s client calls while making lunches, and nursing babies while sketching logos.
All of the sudden, your purpose as a mom and a business owner gets all smooshed together and feels like a burden instead of purpose. You see, we try to do it ALL.
We try to be superwoman but at all the wrong things.
There is no reason we have to be good at all these things, most of which we actually don’t enjoy doing.
Managing finances. No. Working while I try to be a present mom? No! Dishes? No way.
But exercise with my baby? YES! Work on my business and new projects? YES! Cuddle my newborn and watch a movie? YES! Sleep when he sleeps? YES!
Why was I trying to do all these things I was not only terrible at, but hated doing?
So I stopped doing them and asked for help in those areas. It was a big ask, but I was desperate.
Being Superwoman serves nobody.
Not you, not your kids, not your friends or your spouse or your dogs.
Finding our passion + talent sweet spot can take some inward looking. But it makes us Superwoman in all the right places, and that’s what matters.
You may be thinking, I have no idea what my passion is! Or I have no idea what my talent is! And that’s totally ok. Let’s figure it out together.
Answer these three questions:
What excites me about my day when I wake up in the morning?
What do my friends say I’m good at?
What’s the first thing on my list that I WANT to do?
Find the word or phrase that answers all three of these questions, and you’ve got it: your passion and talent sweet spot.
We do not have to be the “do it all mom”. We do need to be, however, the mom that loves what she does, and does it well.
Not sure what your passion and talent sweet spot is now that mom and entrepreneur exist together? Mompreneur : the Course dives deep into finding your deepest, and possibly new, passion and pairing that with your talent areas, allowing your thriving business and your role as mom exist in harmony.
The undeniable truth is this:
We do not have to be good at everything. And we certainly don’t have to literally DO everything.
If we can undeniably and fearlessly pursue our talents and passions TOGETHER, we are unstoppable.
But what about everything else?
Managing my time with what’s left: Delete, Delegate, Automate
We have enough time to do the passion + talent thing. Which for most of us, is mompreneurship at its core. But what about everything else? That leaves us with time for three things and three things only:
Get rid of it completely.
Tell someone else to do it.
Get a robot to accomplish our task.
I have lots of favorite delete, delegate, automate stories. Some of my favorites include my iRobot vacuum named Rudy, my bedroom Alexa, Zapier, InstaCart, Amazon recurring deliveries, Apphi and care.com.
And though this seems, up front, like a lot to manage, these things allow me to spend a bulk of my time focusing on my passion + talent sweet spot and spending the time fostering the season of mompreneurship I’m in.
I can see you sitting there, saying this to yourself.
I don’t like letting go of control. If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.
There is nothing on my to-do list I can flat out delete.
I don’t have the time, money or energy to spend to automate my tasks.
Let’s break down these false beliefs.
I have friends that are the crafty moms, the moms that look super put together at daycare drop off, the mom friends that have their makeup on at the gym. I am not one of those moms, but being one of them isn’t my priority, either. If it’s yours, yay! Run with it. But I’m more of the mom that buys Valentines from the grocery store and signs them with a premed signature stamp. I’m the business owner that does a Skype call in my jammies, with makeup on.
I’m just not the “all-inclusive” mompreneur. The reason being is that those things take time away from the things I actually enjoy doing.
Delegate the bake sale cookie making to my neighbor in exchange for babysitting. Delete baking those cookies all together because, momma, you don’t have to do everything. And automate that cookie making by picking up pre-made ones at the store while you’re already there.
I realize that cookie making isn’t on all of our lists, but let’s envision that cookie making is anything, like “business bookkeeping, client emails, or project onboarding.”
Automate, Delegate, Delete with HoneyBook
You may know HoneyBook as the magical business automation wand, but implementing systems in your business can help you do all three. You can automate recurring tasks, you can delegate pieces of your process to team members, and you can delete tasks that are not working or producing by taking a bird’s eye view of your consistent workflow. Sounds freeing, right? Start your free trial, and you can even get 50% off of your first year from Nicole.
Our minds immediately go to things like using programs and such to automate our social media posts or delegating means to hire a contractor to work for us or to delete means we are giving something up completely. But as soon as we can shift our mindset to focus on the things that align with our passion+talent areas, and make the rest fall into one of these categories, we free up our time, our minds, our money, and our hearts for the things that really matter.
Dive deep into the depths of learning how to Delete, Delegate and Automate your tasks, every day, in Mompreneur : the Course, and actually feel like you have FREE time for yourself, extra time for your kids and time to dream for your business.
So as we collectively dive into the mompreneur life, raising good humans and running passionate businesses, we can do so without living in survival mode. Learning, and embracing, your role as both mom and entrepreneur, and implementing the tools that allow them to live in harmony, can be rewarding and freeing.
And now, momma, how are you going to thrive in this season? Are you ready to ditch the overwhelm and guilt and instead live in a place of harmonious motherhood and entrepreneurship?