Starting your own business can seem like a daunting task. Questions like "Will I fail?" or "Is this really worth it?" may always be in the back of your mind. And there are plenty of challenges that can keep mompreneurs up at night. Still, they can be overcome.
Here, we take a look at some common challenges and how working moms triumph over adversity.
Balancing Work and Life
Work-life balance is a commonly repeated but rarely explored phrase. How do you, as a small-business owner, draw the line between work and home when you're the boss? Being the owner means that business success is solely up to you, but if you burn out from overwork and not setting boundaries on work hours, your business will suffer.
Elisa Choffel Low, owner of Door Number 9, sold her first business after taking professional matters too personally. "I felt a personal responsibility to each of my customers to make sure they were happy with their purchases from me," she says. "But as my business grew, so did the number of people I felt responsible to and it became impossible to satisfy everyone. I started being afraid to check my email to see who was going to be mad about something this time."
Now, Low lets any angry messages marinate for 12-24 hours before responding.
Finding a Support Network
For some momprenuers, sharing parental duties with a spouse or partner makes starting a business possible. But for professional momprenuers, getting support and feedback from other successful women is also essential. For Low, having an online community has improved her success in her second business.
"I have a small, close-knit group of online friends who are also small-business owners, and we build each other up and encourage one another," she says. "It helps a ton to be able to check in with them."
Being Flexible in Your Expectations
When Jenni Crowe Callahan and her husband, Paul, started their family farm, Harp & Shamrock Croft, their business plan was too narrow to support their family. Their small-business failure happened because they did not realize their own potential.
"We put all our eggs in one basket and had the mindset that growing vegetables could bring in the income that we needed," she says. "But the longer we do this, the more we realize that's just not possible."
Since the Callahans rely solely on the farm to support their family, they learned to diversify quickly.
"In addition to the vegetables, eggs and milk, I now offer handmade items like soap made with goat's milk, as well as canned goods," she says. "We also started teaching gardening classes, and now we host weddings and other events, as well as run a farm-stay Airbnb." Because of their flexibility, the Callahans were able to grow their business and make it successful.
Being Honest with Your Clients
Small-business owners who are just getting started often make the mistake of promising too much to their clients. Because they want to succeed, their promises may not be realistic.
When Angie Athayde Stevens first started Meticulous Talent Management 10 years ago in order to balance new motherhood with her career, she remembers not being direct with her clients about their unreasonable expectations. "If a client asks for something that I know upfront is impossible or nearly impossible, I now tell them," she says.
Since Stevens works with actors and professional athletes, this is not always easy. She saw others in her business promise more than they could deliver. "I watched how others did it, and noticed I didn't want to do it like they did," she says. "They would string along clients or promise deals that weren't there."
Because of her honesty, Stevens' business has been successful. "I have learned to set realistic expectations and deliver," she says. "It's better than promising the moon and then coming up empty-handed."
Starting your own business as a momprenuer can be intimidating. Be prepared by anticipating your needs as well as your family's needs and your small business will be more likely to succeed.