Jobs Pipeline Radio – Interview with Erin – 10.10.2014
Inc.com – “7 Things Mom Entrepreneurs Need to Know to Avoid Burnout” – 10.20.2014
Michipreneur – “Two Productivity Hacks from Entrepreneur Lara Galloway” – 10.23.2014
Metromode – “Mom Biz Coach Founder Debuts DIY Biz Coaching Book” -10.30.2014
Fast Company – “10 Productivity Hacks for the Overwhelmed Entrepreneur” – 10.30.2014
The Big Biz Show – Interview with Erin – 11.3.2014
KOMO 4 News – Interview with Erin – 11.7.2014
TheSelfEmployed.com Podcast – “Mompreneur Magic” – 11.7.2014
The Kathryn Zox Show- “Motherhood and Business & Future Thinking for Better Health” – 11.12.2014
Investor’s Business Daily – “Mom Entreprenuers: Get Smart to Make Your Firm Work” – 12.2.2014
Celebrate Michigan – Interview with Lara – 12.8.2014
Click on Detroit – “Bloomfield Hills Mother Co-Writes ‘How To” Book to Help Others Launch Businesses” – 12.11.2014
WXYZ Detroit – “Mom’s a Genius: Great Holiday Gifts Brougth to You by Local Mom-preneurs” – 12.15.2014
Inquisitr – “Increase Your Productivity: Tips from Successful Entrepreneurs” – 12.28.2014
Fast Company – “14 Tips to Make 2015 Your Most Productive Year Yet” – 1.2.2015
Bplans – “Five Surprising Traits on Successful Entrepreneurs” – 1.8.2015
WXYZ Detroit – “Local Mom Helps Other Moms Realize Their Dreams” – 1.20.2015
Living Well Naturally with Dr. Anna Saylor – Inverview with Lara – 1.28.2015
Northwest Mom Magazine (p.23) – “My Crooked Path” – Feb/Mar 2015
Can’t wait to know more? Select the chapter you’d like to learn about and, voilà, an overview will appear.
What does it take to be a Mom Entrepreneur? And, more importantly, what will creating success as a Mom Entrepreneur look like for you? Since we all have different situations and factors that make up our lives, the experience of being both a mom and a business owner is unique for each of us. There just isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan. But, by being really clear about who you are, what you want, and how you define success, you can begin to craft a sustainable plan that will get you on your way. We’ve worked with hundreds of women and have developed a customizable system that works.
Section One is the foundational first step: you have to know yourself, you have to acknowledge your priorities and values, you have to take stock of your circumstances, and you have to know how all of these inform you as you make decisions about your future. In Section One, we’re going to hold up a mirror so you can see where you are today and get clear about where you want to go. We’ll start with a quick assessment so you can see how you’re doing, lead you through some exercises so you can articulate all of the things that are important to you, and then have you envision what you want for the future, creating your own definition of success in the process. You’ll also set up systems that will allow you to make huge strides forward while taking great care of yourself. Since owning your own business while being a mom has the potential for burnout, you’ll need to build in some time to relax, play, exercise and just be.
Section Two is about getting your business from Point A to Point B and managing “it all”. We’ll have you take stock of your strengths, skills, passions, and other valuable resources, and help you determine how best to use them to succeed in business. You will create a business plan and begin to determine what steps you’ll need to take to reach your version of success.
Next, we’ll introduce specific time management tools so you can plot out your days and weeks and we’ll address accountability which is really just about doing what you say you want to do. We’ll also talk about how to handle the dips, delays, roadblocks, and other frustrations that you are sure to meet along the way. We’ll cover all of this in a way that can be personalized for you. Throughout, we’ll share some inspiring words of wisdom from Mom Entrepreneurs who’ve already reached their goals.
Whether you are just starting out or you’re trying to grow an existing business, we know it takes a lot to succeed as both a mom and a business owner. Moms Mean Business helps you get where you want to go without losing yourself along the way. Pick up this book and you’ll be on the path to fully owning both your business and your life.
Starting or growing a business is a huge undertaking, and if you are also a mom, your plate is likely already quite full. Being successful as both a mom and a business owner requires you to take a thorough look at both who you are and the circumstances that make up your life–there are just so many factors to consider. Moms Mean Business begins by helping you better understand the most important component of all: you. This chapter is all about you, your life, and what makes you tick.
Before we go any further, it’s important to quiet the noise around you to ensure that you are tapping into the things that are important to you and not just defaulting to what you think you should want. It’s easy to be overly influenced by the media, society, your family, or your peers so we’ll check in on that. It can also be difficult to admit that what you want or what’s most important to you doesn’t match what you think it should. If you aren’t able to be honest with yourself from the beginning, though, you are not going to like the life you end up with in the end.
We start off with a self-assessment that will help you evaluate some important areas of your life. It’s not often that we stop to see a big picture view. Having this perspective can be really helpful as you manage the details and begin to make the changes that will affect how your life and your business will look going forward.
Since feeling fulfilled is a big part of success for most of us, you need to be able to articulate what that means for you. You can’t just hope that fulfillment will land on your doorstep like a UPS delivery. You need to be really clear about what will bring you that feeling of satisfaction so you can go out and get it. To do this, we’ll look at values, motivations, priorities, and passions. Is your most important value financial security? Are you motivated by outside accolades? Is health your biggest priority? These are the types of questions that will make the sometimes-vague notion of fulfillment more clear to you and help you come up with your own picture of what fulfillment looks like.
We’ll also look at your life circumstances. Do you have a hard time focusing on work when you are home? Do you have young children who are with you all day? Does your husband or partner travel for work? Have you already made a huge commitment to another project? Taking time to examine these areas helps you understand the possibilities—and also the limitations—so you can create a solid foundation and realistic expectations that will drive your choices going forward.
Chapter Two is about envisioning your future success. This chapter gives you the chance to think about all that you want for yourself while you get clear on what success looks like to you. This is the “What am I willing to work toward?” and the “I’m so excited about the future!” part. We’ll lead you through a fun exercise to help you tap into your vision for your life. And, before you automatically start limiting yourself, we’d like to say: it’s not too late, you aren’t too old, it’s not too selfish, and you aren’t too busy. This exercise will position your business vision smack in the middle of the vision for your whole life–which, for a Mom Entrepreneur, is the only way to make it all work.
One of the most common complaints we hear from our new clients is that they have spent so much time and put forth so much effort only to realize that they’ve created a business and a life they aren’t all that thrilled with. Things like societal norms, traditions, and your mindset can easily take over and dictate what you think success is supposed to look like. Before you have a chance to realize it, you can let those things guide you down a path that isn’t the one you want to be on. By taking the time to clarify your idea of success, you’ll save yourself time, effort and the potential heartbreak that comes when you’ve let someone or something else decide what you are working toward.
When thinking about your business, how far into the future can you see it? Is it three years from now? Five years? Picture yourself on that date–whenever it is. Now, imagine that you are wildly successful. Remember, this is a visioning exercise so don’t worry about the details or the “hows” here. Suspend reality for a few minutes and just know that at that point in the future you are wildly successful.
From this place, how do you measure success? How do you spend the majority of your time? How many hours do you work? Who are your clients? How much money do you make? Once you know some of the details, think about the milestones you achieved and, based on these milestones, what actions, strategies and/or goals do you need to put into place?
And, what about your personal life? Where do you live? How is your health? How much time do you spend with your family? How are your finances? Do you travel?
This chapter ensures that you are creating both a life and a business that work for you. Thoughtfully answering the questions in this chapter will help you design both your business and your life in a way that meshes with all you uncovered in Chapter One and all that you want for yourself and your family. It will ensure that you are creating a business that is aligned with the life you dream of. The really great news is that by carefully articulating and then working toward your own definition of success, you are much more likely to achieve it–and feel great when you do.
A Mom Entrepreneur’s biggest challenge is managing her time, and there just never seems to be enough. But, contrary to popular thinking (popular whining), you actually do have all the time you need. With so many roles and responsibilities, though, you’ll need to spend your time on the things that matter most to you and find a way to get everything else taken care of. You will finish this chapter with a clear understanding of how to schedule your time so you can make the best use of it going forward and end each day feeling productive.
We’ll start by guiding you through an exercise that lets you see if your schedule lines up with your priorities. You’ll identify the main ways you spend your time and then match them with the priorities you came up with in Chapter One. This is an easy way to see if you need to make some changes in your schedule. For instance, if your biggest priority is financial stability but a huge part of your time is spent watching Top Chef, you’ll likely want to make some adjustments. Ideally, your schedule will be filled with tasks and events that accurately reflect your top priorities. If it’s not, Moms Mean Business will show you how to fix that.
You’ll also decide how you want to handle things like school holidays, early dismissal days, school breaks and summers. Is there an opportunity to swap child care with another mom? Do you take the time off and consider those days quality time with your kids? Do you want to enroll them in camps for those days? You need a game plan and we’ll help you make one. To jumpstart your thinking, we’ll give you some ideas that have worked for other moms.
And, what about all of those aptly named invisible tasks that seem to land on your to-do list? Things like buying birthday gifts, going grocery shopping, and scheduling dentist appointments can take up a lot of time and mental energy. You’ll want to decide how and when these will be handled because ignoring them, as much as we’d like it to, just doesn’t make them go away. Grouping tasks, delegating, swapping or just letting go of some things are all tactics that can help you get a better handle on your time. By planning in advance, you’ll have the luxury of knowing that these invisible tasks are, or will be, taken care of.
Once you’ve gotten a better handle on your schedule, it’s important to get buy in from those who will be affected. If you don’t, your family life and your work life could end up at odds with each other which is the last thing you want. This is where expectations come in. For instance, you may need to set up the expectation that when mom is on the phone in her office, she is not able to be disturbed. Or, you may find that it makes sense to catch up on work one evening a week to free up time during the day to volunteer in your child’s classroom. Explaining that you’ll be there on Tuesday morning but will then be busy Tuesday night will help your kids start to understand both expectations and boundaries.
And, speaking of boundaries, setting them with yourself and with others is crucial. We have a funny cultural phenomenon of taking on way too much as some twisted badge of honor. Missed date night so you could make individually wrapped cookies for the bake sale? Skipped your workout so you could go on yet-another field trip to the puppet theater? Took a phone call from a friend during your busy work hours? Stop it! This doesn’t make you a heroine. It makes you crabby and resentful. To help you prepare to set boundaries, we’ll help you create your own criteria for saying yes. And, we’ll help you see that by saying yes to one thing, you’re actually saying no to something else.
By learning to effectively manage your time, you can accomplish what you set out to do for your business and still have time for the things that are most important to you. You’ll also avoid the all too familiar feeling of overwhelm that causes so many Mom Entrepreneurs to give up on their vision all together.
Since this is a marathon and not a sprint, you’re going to need to take really good care of yourself along the way. This chapter is dedicated to just that. Making sure you don’t burn out is critical. We’ve seen some iteration of burn out with our clients time and again. You get into a productive zone and decide to work more hours so you can move toward what you want and get results more quickly. Soon, you begin to forego exercise, eat crappy food, or go to bed too late. Or you let emails pile up and the snail mail starts to accumulate, too. And, your family doesn’t even recognize you since they haven’t seen you in so long. We can all sustain this go, go, go lifestyle for a short time but guess what happens when you try to live like that for more than a few days? You burn out. You realize what a mess you’ve made and you retreat into a slump. Give it some time and you begin to emerge again. You get your life back on track, restore your equilibrium and then, rather than learn from past mistakes, you start the whole cycle (or a very similar one) again. We’ve all been there and done that.
We have come to the realization that there really is no way to achieve the media-hyped ideal of balance in your life–at least not for more than a passing moment. What you can do, though, is regularly take some time to determine whether you are moving toward balance or away from it. And, you’ll know the answer to that question without having to give it much thought. Have you found yourself in a constant hurry lately? Is “breakfast for dinner” becoming a habit? Have your kids complained that they are out of clean clothes? You are likely moving away from balance. Moms Mean Business will help you change that.
In the game of self-care, all you really have to do is determine what makes you feel great and then incorporate those things into your days. Common ones include: reading, yoga, meditation, crossword puzzles, walks, exercise and coffee with friends. Simply build these into your days and weeks, and reap the benefits. And, hey, if your favorite self-care ritual involves People Magazine, who are we to judge?
And, as if having a permission slip to take really good care of yourself wasn’t enough, we’ll also help you build in some bigger rewards. With all of this work in your future, you’ll need something really exciting to look forward to. You’ll finish this book by creating a game plan to treat yourself to some well-deserved, and guilt-free, breaks and indulgences.
As a Mom Entrepreneur, you have many resources, some that you may not even realize, that can help you in your business. This chapter focuses on those resources; we call them your toolkit. You will identify and assess your strengths, skills, education, past work experience, volunteer experience, and any connections that you can use to your advantage as a business owner. Even if you have been in business for a while, it’s worth reassessing your toolkit from time to time. Since we’ve established that being both a mom and a business owner comes with its own set of challenges, the goal here is to use what you have to make things as easy on yourself as possible.
What do you do better than most people? What do you love to do? What do other people always tell you that you’re good at? Our strengths are typically the things we take for granted. They are things that are so easy for us that we just assume everyone can do them. By making use of what you already have, you can more easily build a business that doesn’t require you to stretch yourself thin at every step. This chapter helps you own all of those assets and determine what you can do to make them work for you and your business.
We’ll also talk a bit about intuition–an often overlooked part of your toolkit. As moms, we rely on our intuition to tell us if we need to be concerned about a new friend our child has made or a situation our child is (or isn’t) telling us about. Because women are known to have a heightened sense of intuition, it would be silly of us not to put that to work for ourselves in the business world as well. We’ll give you examples and show you how to use this gift to help you at work.
It’s time to take a close look at your business. To do this, we’ll start by having you complete The One Page Business Plan which was created by Jim Horan. This plan gives you a chance to think about what you do, why you do it, who you serve, how the product or service is delivered, and what will make you successful over time. Next, we’ll have you think about how to incorporate your values, priorities and motivators from Chapter One into the plan.
And, because we strongly believe that having a meaningful purpose for your work is crucial both in moving you toward your goals and in keeping you going when the going gets tough, we’ll make that a part of your planning, too. The vision exercise you did in Chapter Two will be really useful here.
A carefully crafted business plan is a critical success factor for all business owners. For a Mom Entrepreneur, it ensures that your actions are aligned with your business purpose, helps you monitor your progress, and lets you right yourself or change direction if things go awry.
You will learn the basics of setting up your business if you are just getting started or scaling your business if you’ve been in business for a while. It’s important to think about the big picture starting now so we will show you how to create the systems and structures that allow a business to grow and thrive. We’ll also revisit your strengths and skills as compared to the tasks that make up the day of an entrepreneur so you can decide which ones are the most important for you to spend your time on and which ones you can either automate or delegate.
As the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of your business and your life, you will constantly be pulled in many directions, several of them conflicting with each other. A thought-out business plan will be a beacon for you as you strive to make informed decisions about how best to manage, grow and market your business.
You’ve gotten clear on who you are, you know what you want, you know how much time you have to spend on your business, and you’ve made a plan. Now it’s time to get moving. And let’s face it: being your own boss, while it definitely has its perks, has a downside, too. You are the one in charge of managing the vision and making sure that all of these great plans actually happen.
And, where do you even start? First, you need to know not just how much time you have to spend on your business but how much of that time you will spend on each category. Common categories for Mom Entrepreneurs include marketing, sales, networking, social media, client work, and customer service. Since the time you spend in each area will depend on which stage your business is in, we’ll help you figure that out, too.
Businesses go through stages that are very similar to the stages of pregnancy and child development. As a mom, you are likely very familiar with these. We’ll use this analogy to help you figure out where your business is which will make it very easy to decide how and where to spend your time.
Is your business still in the initial idea phase? Great. This is a time for researching, gathering information, building a network, and deciding on a business model. Have you recently launched your business? If so, getting the word out is your number one priority. Have you been in business for a while? It might be time to reassess your offerings and set some new goals for growth.
This chapter also introduces specific tools to help you as you begin to implement your grand vision. Time Mapping and Project Mapping are a vital part of executing your business plan and we’ll show you, with real-life examples from successful Mom Entrepreneurs, how to use them both. Using Time Maps and Project Maps ensures that you make room in your schedule for everything that you need to do. These tools can also help you avoid the common pitfalls of overwhelm and overscheduling yourself.
And, here is something you might find surprising. Building in time to do nothing can actually help you get more done in the long run. Taking a deliberate break, even if it’s only 10 minutes, can help you feel refreshed and clear-headed when you get back to work. So, rather than schedule yourself for every minute of every day which can cause you to lose focus and burn out, we’ll show you how to build in the breaks you need so you don’t sabotage your best efforts to be productive. We’ll introduce some specific techniques that others have found very useful. By the end of this chapter, you will be crystal clear on your next steps and how best to spend the time you have available to complete them.
No matter what your definition of success entails, focused action that leads to desired results equals fulfillment for all Mom Entrepreneurs. Having a plan to stay on track will go a long way toward achieving the outcome you desire.
Accountability is about making sure you are more than just inspired, that you’ll actually make strides toward your vision. This is your chance to ensure that what you do matches up with what you have said you want to do. It may seem ridiculously simple but putting accountability in place dramatically increases the chances of you following through. Accountability leads to progress and success and that’s what Moms Mean Business is all about.
What are some ways to ensure that you stay on track and keep yourself accountable?Using calendar ticklers, hiring a coach, setting and tracking milestones, having a mentor, using lists, managing and avoiding distractions, and taking breaks when you notice your mind wandering are all possibilities. In this chapter, you’ll hear what has worked for some highly successful mom business owners and decide which ones will work for you.
We’ll help you identify patterns in your productivity (or lack thereof) so you can better understand what will work for you and what won’t. If you notice that you always lose steam around mid-morning, you’ll want to build in a walk or a cup of coffee or some easy Twitter interaction during that time. If you sit down to write a blog post and get sucked into reading emails, you’ll need to find a solution to that. (Shutting off your email access comes to mind.) And, if you are constantly amazed that the day is over before you have accomplished much, you’ll want to make sure that you tackle the most important tasks first thing each morning.
We’ll also cover some common stumbling blocks and give you some unexpected solutions for them. For instance, if you have a big project that you think can only be accomplished by staying chained to your desk, we’re going to ask you to walk away for a bit. If you notice you keep avoiding a certain project because it feels overwhelming, we’ll give you permission to tackle only the smallest first step of it and to stop after that if you decide to. In fact, one of the best ways to get something done is to commit to only the tiniest fraction of the whole project or task.
And since best laid plans often get disrupted, you’ll need to think about how you’ll handle the challenges that come your way. At some point, you will lose momentum, your children will get the flu, or your priorities will shift, making it necessary to either get back on track or potentially reevaluate your plans. The good news is that facing the challenges head on will help you grow as both a person and a business owner which can only help you down the road. And, being prepared for the challenges will minimize their disruption when they happen.
Moms Mean Business is a guidebook for your journey toward fulfillment as both a parent and a business owner. Because of this, we hope that you’ll go through all we’ve covered in this book more than once. The solutions presented throughout are meant to be customized by you for your circumstances. And, just as your life and business continue to grow and evolve, so will your plans. Revisiting the exercises and information in this book will provide insight for years to come so, go ahead, put this book on your bookshelf once you’ve completed it, but we’d highly recommend choosing a shelf that’s easy to access.
A personal definition of success in both life and business—as well as the path to achieve it.
The tools needed to manage both time and productivity when your priorities as both a mom and a business owner conflict.
A mom-friendly, but incredibly effective, business plan to get you focused.
An approach to self-care that allows you to handle all that’s thrown your way.
Tips, checklists, and guidance to quickly solve the problems mom entrepreneurs encounter.