According to the Center for Women's Business Research, there are over 10 million firms in the U.S. that are at least 50 percent female-owned.
By Kenyunia Ransom
Women-owned firms employ 19.1 million people and generate over $2.5 trillion in sales. With those numbers growing each year, the number of women who are both entrepreneurs as well as moms keeps growing too.
So are you among these estimated 6.9 million women? It's a 24 hour a day job, you are a mom, you are a business owner, and you are busy!
People often marvel at how you do it. But what people don't often see are the long hours you put in, the lack of sleep and lack of time for yourself. Like all working moms and working dads for that matter, there is often a struggle to balance work and home life. For entrepreneurs at times this issue can be even more difficult as all business decisions usually stop and start with you.
So we offer these tips to help the woman who is the boss at her office and at her home.
Work from home
Working from home has become a viable option for many busy working women. The influx of technology and the relevant comfort level many people have doing business over the phone or online has made this phenomenon more acceptable. In fact, home based businesses ranging from property management to Internet businesses have become a multibillion dollar industry over the past few years. Sharifah Gavins, mom to 4 and President of Baltimore based event planning company The Social Butterfly says, "My home based business allows me the opportunity to not only work from a comfortable environment but allows me the flexibility to manage my household without a negative impact on my business." There are also moderate tax benefits for home businesses, but be clear you must designate exactly what portion of your home and personal services (phone, Internet, etc.) will be used for your business. A downside to some home based businesses, particularly when you are in the service industry is seeing your clients at your home or potentially seeming smaller than you may be because of lack of an outside office. However for many entrepreneurs, the home office provides a great way to balance home and work.
Hire a great assistant
As a business owner and mom, you wear many hats. A good assistant (if you can afford one) will help keep you on schedule, take away some of the administrative takes that keep many working moms at the office late, and if the working relationship is a good one, the assistant could also help with child care if necessary. Sharon Ellis, mother of 2 and owner of Athens, GA based Onepoint Visions says "I could not live without my assistant, she not only keeps my schedule, she is the first line of defense with my clients, and my boys absolutely love her." She goes on to add "At times her job description gets clouded, however we have become more than boss/assistant, she is my right hand and ensures I am a successful businesswoman and mom."
Be clear when you are mom and when you are boss
This is often the hardest thing for entrepreneurs to do. For business owners drawing the line between work and home often becomes clouded because ultimately the buck stops with you. Time management is critical - develop a set schedule and attempt at all costs to stick to it. Do your best to realize that during work hours it's time to be the business owner and save updates from home for after hours (unless of course there are emergencies). Doing this will ensure when you complete your day at work, there are no interruptions (unless absolute emergencies) from the office that could take away time from your family. Joy Mitchell mother of 1 and CEO of New Jersey based Syndicorp LLC says "My staff is well aware that I give 110% during my 10 hour workday, however when the clock strikes 6, I am off to spend my evenings with my daughter and husband. Unless there is an emergency at the office, email alerts are off, my Blackberry is off, and my employees don't call."
Remember to take time for yourself
Whether mom or entrepreneur you'll always need time to release and just be you. Wearing these two hats can make for a 24 hour a day job. However like all individuals you need time to recharge, even beyond sleep. Give yourself some alone time and find ways to refresh yourself without the family and business issues. Activities like exercising; reading books, or your favorite hobby are all ways to release after or before a busy day. Stacy Williams, mother of 3 and principle of Gotalou Finance of Charlotte, NC says "I set aside two hours each day just for me. Before I wake up my husband and the kids to prepare for the day, I take time out to exercise, read, or just meditate during quiet times. It really helps me recharge."
Kenyunia Ransom is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Exclusives Review and Black Opinions.