Mom Biz Coach - Business Coach for Mom Entrepreneurs
Lara Galloway is an author, speaker, business coach and host of the Mom Biz Solutions Show podcast. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs create and run businesses that honor their priorities and make them successful and happy.
Twelve years. That’s almost a quarter of my life. I have spent the last 12 years building my coaching business. I started this career path after having my first and second children and leaving Corporate America. I needed a business that would allow me the freedom, flexibility and fulfillment I craved and my little, growing family needed.
A few years into my business, we had our third child, and my husband received a promotion that moved us from Michigan to Ontario for three years. Being my own boss allowed me to scale back my business when I needed to put more focus on the family. It later allowed me to build it up over the years as I became more efficient and my children went off to school.
Now, my babies are 15, 13, and 11 years old. The busy time of day for me starts around 4 PM each afternoon. I provide snacks, homework help and accountability, and hours of driving to get them where they need to go each day. And the time we spend shuttling back and forth have provided a space for some of the most important conversations I get to have with these, my wonderful children. I treasure our “van time.”
The last 12 years have taught me so much. I have helped my clients make some of the biggest decisions of their lives: whether to start a business, or to end one; whether to expand their family, or to finally get out of a marriage that wasn’t working. We have studied all the metrics and decided when to make wild leaps and huge investments, and we have also made the fierce and purposeful choice to stay small in order to align with our priorities. Helping people make big decisions has always been one of the most rewarding parts of my work.
And now it’s time for me to make a big one myself. Tomorrow, on March 1st, I’m letting go of Mom Biz Coach. This thing I’ve created and built over the last decade has served me well, but it has served its purpose. My current clients are aware of this change, but it will probably come as a surprise to many of you. I will no longer be accepting new clients, but I am happy to offer referrals to those coaches I know well and hold in the highest esteem.
So what’s next?
That’s what’s really exciting me right now. Back around Thanksgiving, I felt the familiar feeling that I’ve felt many times during my career: that I was ready for a change, needed to do something different, that I wanted a new challenge. And most importantly, I wanted to learn new things and be around people who were smart and fun to be around. This extrovert has absolutely enjoyed all the fruits of her mompreneur labor (like not having to wear pants while working from my sofa with a loving dog next to me), but I seriously miss working with people. In an office. And having a reason to get dressed and look cute every day.
So I reached out to two of my local social media/marketing friends and told them that I was feeling antsy and ready to do something different. I knew that they both liked the companies they work for, so I figured I would ask them a bit about what they were doing and see where it went. I poked around on Indeed.com but quickly gave up, frustrated because I didn’t know how to sell myself. Was I looking for a sales job? Marketing? Strategy? Leadership? Coaching and consulting? Training?
The conversations with my two friends led to meetings with both of their CEOs, and I felt excited to just meet them and have a conversation. Those conversations started looking more like interviews, and then more interviews, and then we were working together to craft a job description, and then…
I’m starting my next chapter tomorrow as a Business Development Manager for White Glove Workshops, a digital marketing company less than two miles from my house. I am totally geeking out over getting to go into an office each day and be surrounded by people I respect. I get to work with an old friend and make lots of new ones. And I get a chance to do so many of the things I’ve been doing to help my clients grow their businesses over the years, while also getting to be a part of that growth. I am so lucky they have chosen to include me. And on top of it all, they have an amazing work culture that allows me to still be home in the afternoons to be the mom my kids still need me to be. I am so grateful.
It’s hard to believe that in the space of a couple of months, I was able to create this opportunity. I followed the steps I have asked my clients to take when they have to make big decisions:
1. Get clear on your priorities. What is influencing and motivating this decision? (For me: Keep my family first, be there for them when they get home and available for them in the evenings, do work commensurate with my strengths and experience, make a significant financial contribution to our family’s finances, find a work culture that is a fun and positive place to be.)
2. Describe the ideal situation that would make this decision a no-brainer for you. (For me: A small, but growing startup where I could do a lot of different aspects of my current job—branding, sales, marketing, consulting, coaching and development—that pays well but has flexible hours so I can be home with the kids.)
3. Start manifesting/putting it out to the universe/making space for this ideal situation in your life. (For me: I had no idea what kind of job I was looking for, but I knew I had to get into action and start talking to people to help me figure that out. I was honest about what I wanted and didn’t want and willing to walk away if my priorities weren’t met.)
And here I am: ready to start my new career and next chapter at White Glove Workshops! Everything feels right. I feel so lucky that they’ll have me. And I’m even luckier to have the support of my friends and family, especially my husband, who have helped me figure out what this “desire to do something different” really meant to me, as well as helping me have the courage to go get it.
I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with all the Mom Biz Coach virtual real estate I have out there—the websites, social media accounts, podcast, workbooks and workshops, etc. For now, I’m just going to focus on taking this next big step and allow myself some time to figure the rest of it out eventually.
Thanks to all of you who have shared this journey with me. I hope you continue figuring out your priorities and aligning your actions with them. It has been an honor! Now, what will your next chapter be?
Marketing is something all small business owners need to understand. It is fundamental in letting customers know about your product or service. Many people, particularly sole proprietors starting out, don’t have much of a budget for this purpose and also don’t feel like they have the money to spare specifically for a marketing budget. You may feel as though that is something for bigger companies to worry about and that you can do without it.
However, this is simply not true. The hard fact of the matter is: anyone in business for themselves needs to have a marketing budget, or they won’t remain in business for very long. You need to be in control of your brand and how customers see you and find out about you. While you may not want to spend the money, you need to in order to give your business the best chance of succeeding.
When tackling this question for the first time, you will likely wonder how you can make the most impact with the budget you do have. Your budget does not have to be massive. Maybe even only $100 per month or quarter. But you do need to have it and spend it in the most effective ways. Here are three suggestions I have for those of you getting started:
#1: Social Media
There are some areas where you should really focus, no matter your industry. The first is social media, specifically something like Facebook advertising. Facebook advertising is a great way for people who have never done advertising before to step into it. The big upside is complete control of cost. You determine how much you want to spend on advertising per day and the costs will not exceed that (perfect for a small marketing budget). It’s great for new product launches or for targeting local demographics in the hope they will come to your event.
The other major advantage of Facebook advertising is the ease at which you can select your exact target demographic. Facebook has already collected information on each user’s habits and can leverage that to display your ads to the people most likely to be interested in them. This makes Facebook advertising an ideal way for mompreneurs to learn how to reach their target demographic.
#2: Event Participation
The second area is participating in various promotional opportunities. This can be tricky because many of these events or TV spots that are well-regarded and have massive reach. But they can cost significant amounts of money – $3,500 or more just to participate. Is it worth paying to be a part of something like that, especially if it is a large portion of your marketing budget? The answer is, of course, that it depends. It is not uncommon for new entrepreneurs to be approached with numerous opportunities like this that ask you to spend money.
The real question you must ask yourself is whether you will really get $3,500 worth in advertising from these opportunities. You can evaluate this by looking at the reality versus the potential. Don’t let someone sell you on the potential. Focus on whether or not such opportunities put you directly in the line of sight of your ideal client. If it does not, you must move on.
For example, if you know a TV program that wants to feature you is heavily watched by retired individuals, and retirees are your main demographic, it might be the perfect decision to pursue that opportunity. It’s easy to get starstruck by being on TV, but if your target demographic is young professionals and the TV program is largely watched by retired individuals, it’s not going to help you sell more of your product or service. Don’t waste advertising dollars on the wrong target audience. Instead, only consider opportunities that put you directly in front of the demographic you are ideally targeting with your product.
#3: Printed Promotional Material
A third thing to do is go out into your community and participate in or host events. For example, there might be a 5k or 10k race in town for which you are going to be a sponsor. This can mean you have a booth at the end where you get to hand out a swag bag, coupons, flyers and other things of the sort. Anytime you are out in the community, you need to have some sort of printed promotional material for your business. This should be passed out to anyone.
This material needs to have some sort of offer on it, in order to entice people to give your product a try. Four-by-six inch postcards are a great option for this because you can get so many of them for a very cheap price from sources like Vistaprint, as well as fit a lot of information on them. You can also handwrite a special date or offer on the back of them to customize them for whatever promotion you are doing at the time. Because they are cheap and easy to have on your person to hand out at any time, they are a great way to get your brand out there and keep it on top of mind.
These are just three of the ideas I know work well, and I know how good marketing budget decisions are key to running a successful business, no matter how big or small. I talk a lot about marketing on this blog and on my podcast, so check those resources out too. If you are unsure how best to utilize your budget, or have had limited success, I can help.
Coaching mompreneurs is my passion, so contact me today for your free discovery session if you would like coaching on how to manage a small business advertising budget.
Your business is growing! Great! But do you have the tools and people in place to continue that growth without overwhelming yourself? Now’s a great time to take stock and see where you may need to hire help.
For example, do you know the status of your current business and whether your systems are effective? Do you have the resources needed to effectively run and grow your business? Have you evaluated your customer satisfaction and loyalty programs? Your freelancers and staff? Do you have the resources, support and the manpower you need to set up and run programs on a daily basis?
If not, then these are some areas and routines that need to change as the season changes – you need to implement new growth strategies for your business. Below is some information that I have about how you can kick off the next season of your business with a strong start to generate solid numbers and a net profit.
Tips for growing your business
If you want to grow your business beyond where it is today, it’s going to require taking on a few more hands and heads to help you think through and effectively grow your business.
When you consider whether you’re going to hire freelancers or full-time employees, it can bring on a lot of heartache and fear when struggling to bring on the right kind of staff –all while continuing to run your business.
The problem that I’ve noticed is that although some business owners are hiring additional help, they’re not doing it well… And if you don’t hire people well and do it the right way, it is going cause you to take a step back rather than a step forward.
Things you need to do to hire help that’s reliable
Regardless of what kind of people you need to hire or when you need to hire them, the following are some things that you as a business owner or mompreneur need to do first in order to ensure that you get the right people on board and that you do not undo all of the hard work that you’ve already done.
1. Don’t line someone up and continue to spend money on them if you are frustrated with them, you don’t trust them or you have difficulty delegating work that eventually bounces back and circles its way back to you.
2. Acknowledge why this is happening in the first place. While coaching for many years, I can tell you that when you set out as a business owner, you probably didn’t get a degree in HR. While you’re very good at what you do, you probably don’t have the best communication style to effectively attract the right people that you need to do the job. Like so many of us, as a result, you probably carry a certain amount of assumptions in your head and believe you are communicating effectively when in reality you are not. Ask yourself, why you didn’t hire the right person for the job?
If you believe job duties were obvious and that it should go without saying, then that’s when you should stop and look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you are the problem. I’m not meaning to be rude but an observant coach. Whenever you are making assumptions, you probably need to communicate outwardly to those you are hiring rather than assume they will know what you’re thinking; which brings me to my third point.
3. Although your assumptions (that you have in your head) are important, get good at writing down what is obvious and important as part of the job description. Review it with job candidates during the interviewing process and let them know what your expectations are at that point. You can then get a gut feeling about whether they’re the best fit in the process. (This improves hiring the right person by 100%.)
I hope you find these growth strategies helpful when you decided to hire help. These three simple tips make such a difference when it comes to getting the right person for the job. For more guidance and specific tips for your situation, that’s where my coaching can be even more useful – so contact me today!
If you’re anything like I was when I got started, the very idea of tracking business financial metrics makes you want to curl up in a ball and hide under the covers. You are not alone! At least 80% of my current clients are scared of their metrics and feel overwhelmed when they think about ‘crunching numbers’.
Yes, numbers can be scary. But there is no better way to get a clear picture of the health of your business than to begin tracking your numbers on a monthly basis. Remember, numbers don’t lie. They don’t sugarcoat. They tell you what’s working, what’s not, and what’s a waste of your hard earned time, money, and energy.
Besides, you’re a mompreneur! You balance parenting and running a business. You can definitely handle balancing a spreadsheet. So, if you want to feel empowered and in control of your business and your life, you will have to put on your big girl boots, pull out your excel spreadsheet, and get ready to crunch some numbers. You can do it, and I have some ideas for you to get started.
This is by no means a definitive guide, but I promise you that keeping track of these six essential metrics will help equip you to make great decisions for your business going forward. We’ll start with the easy stuff, and move on to the more complex material.
The Easy Stuff:
Revenue is just a fancy word for the amount of money our customers are handing over to us. Most of us keep track of our revenue because we like this number. It makes us feel good to be able to say: “I made three thousand dollars in sales this month.” If you’re not doing so already, make a simple spreadsheet for keeping track of your revenue on a weekly or monthly basis. Analyzing your revenue will help you see when your best sales season is, what your customer buying patterns are, and a wealth of other beneficial data.
New Clients or Customers
You should track this on at least a monthly basis. Knowing how many new customers you are getting can help you understand if your pipeline is healthy. Did you get more clients this month than last month? How about more customers this year than last year? If your numbers are trending downward, it’s an indicator that something isn’t connecting correctly.
This doesn’t mean you are failing. It could just mean that you need to make an adjustment in the way you market or promote your business. Tracking new customers can help you make an informed decision.
I ask all of my clients: where are you finding new people? Effective lead generation is absolutely essential to a business’s long-term success. Every month, ask yourself these questions: What are you doing to find new clients or customers? PR? Marketing? Networking events? Partnering with other companies? Social Media? What’s working? What’s not? You want to track this and compare your notes monthly. You can save yourself time and energy by putting
What are you doing to find new clients or customers? PR? Marketing? Networking events? Partnering with other companies? Social Media?
What’s working? What’s not?
You want to track this and compare your notes monthly. You can save yourself time and energy by putting the pedal to the metal on your most effective forms of lead generation.
If you did nothing but kept track of these three metrics, you would already be on the path to making great decisions for your business. But there are three other numbers I also encourage my clients to keep track of so they can really be in control of their business finances. Let’s call this the bonus round.
Your sales conversion percentage is the number of people who complete the desired action after receiving a special offer. Say for example you offered a webinar. How many people signed up for the webinar? Out of the people who signed up, how many bought the e-book or signed up for your masterclass? A healthy conversion percentage is 20% or higher and depends on what the conversion is.
It’s always more expensive to get new people in the door than it is to retain the people who are already there. If you don’t have good customer retention, try to figure out what you can do to let existing customers know how much you value them.
This is really important. What is it costing you to be in business? To figure out your profit margin, subtract your cost of goods sold from your revenue. You should always be left with a positive number.
These six simple spreadsheets will help you take charge of your business finances and make excellent decisions for your business. And if all of this still feels overwhelming to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Yep, that’s right! We’re mixing things up. For years I’ve been sharing my best coaching nuggets from sessions with my clients. I love doing my podcast and sharing expert advice to help mompreneurs all over the world, in different fields, at different points in their business, and with different family situations.
Well, it’s time for a change. I want to bring real mompreneurs onto the show to coach them live, on-air so they can ask questions and you can hear how I work with them. You get the same great information I’ve been giving for years but in a new, exciting format.
That means I need you! I’m looking for mompreneurs willing to be coached on-air. It’s easy to connect and record (all you need is a phone), and you get free personalized coaching. I’ll even schedule a follow-up call with you to see how things are going!
Interested? Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch. Feel free to share and spread the word!
Goal-setting. This is the final topic in our mindset buster series, and it’s a great one to talk about. I was speaking with a client and she was telling me about how she sets goals for her business and her personal life every year, like I’m sure many of you do. She, however, was saying that she always feels like a phony and a fake when she sets these goals because she can never achieve them.
Does this sound familiar? This was me for many years. I hated goals. They felt rigid and prescriptive. I was much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of gal. You
might be the type of person who can just live in the present and pull things off. If you’re happy working that way, rock on.
However, if you’re a little frustrated about how your life is going or feel like things are a bit out of control, then we should talk. Goal-setting can definitely help alleviate that feeling. The problem isn’t so much in the idea of goals; it’s actually in creating the goals themselves.
Scared of not reaching your goals
My client didn’t see herself as good enough to achieve her goals. She felt like she wasn’t doing it right. She had totally developed this stigma that she was not one of those people who could set or meet goals. She had developed this mindset where she didn’t want to set any more goals because she felt she could never meet them. Like with all of these mindsets, they are hard to see. They are hard to acknowledge. It becomes our way of being. So let’s take a moment to break this one down. Maybe you can find a nugget that might be helpful to you.
My client didn’t see the point of setting goals because, in the end, they didn’t get done and they just made her feel bad. It’s like when you’re a kid and you touch a hot stove and get burned. You remember that and you don’t touch the stove again. It’s good that you learned from the experience. So, it made sense that my client didn’t want to set more goals. It’s a normal, healthy reaction after a negative experience.
Look at why you aren’t meeting your goals
My question for you today is to ask yourself, “What is happening with these goals? Why is it that I’m not reaching them?”
I know most of you are not slackers. It’s probably not just because you’re lazy and not doing the work to meet your goals. There’s something else going on. What I’ve found is that most people struggle with setting good goals or SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that reminds us goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound in order to be great goals.
For example, if you set a goal of doing something “better,” that’s not specific enough. What does that mean? The same applies to setting a measurable goal. What does that mean to you? Does that mean more money? More time with children? You have to specifically define what that means to you.
Are you setting achievable goals?
I’d like to focus on the third point: achievable. This is the component of the SMART goal setting that seems to be the most difficult. Someone may set a goal of earning $20,000 a month. My question is whether that’s achievable or not. In order to figure out if a goal is achievable, you have to look at a few things.
First, consider the cost of your widget or whatever you are selling. I have a client who is a sleep and breast-feeding coach for new moms. If she sells her services at $25 per hour or at $100 per hour and can work so many hours per month, it will affect how much she can earn in a given amount of time. The first step, then, is to simply do the math.
Second, you want to consider your personal circumstances. If you set a goal of working out an hour a day, but you have twin infants and a toddler, no family or friends to provide support, and no extra money to spend on childcare, you simply cannot achieve that goal. If you set a goal of losing 20 pounds the first two months postpartum like a celebrity, but you don’t have someone measuring and cooking your food, a personal trainer telling you what to do each day, and someone managing your schedule and your image like that celebrity, it’s probably not going to happen.
The point is to move you forward
Remember that goals are supposed to help motivate. Sometimes people set goals that are not very motivating. They say, “I should do such-and-such.” If you hear that word “should,” get rid of the goal. It’s probably not worth achieving. Remember you want to be able to get behind your goals. They should keep moving your forward. They should excite you. If you find yourself dragging your feet, your priorities may have shifted since you set your goals. Take some time to revisit them and make sure the goals are helping you achieve the successful, happy life you deserve.
Not sure about goal-setting? Don’t even know where to start? Get in touch, I love helping you find clarity on your goals and priorities!
In my last post, I shared a story of a client of mine who felt pressure to check her e-mail all the time and stay tethered to her smart phone in order to be responsive to her clients. It was causing an incredible amount of stress in her life, and when I told her that a 24-hour or 48-hour response time was perfectly acceptable, she responded like a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
It was definitely a mindset buster to be able to accept that. I wanted to take that idea and expand on it. Another related mindset buster is the idea that you have to be available to your clients 24/7 in order to be successful. Simply put, that idea is just not sustainable. I want you to be successful in the long term. If you try to be available all the time, every day, you will burn out.
It’s really an issue of boundaries. All of us, deep down in our hearts, really want to bend over backward for our customers. We want to give them great customer service and believe that if we do, our business will grow. Why? Well, when someone does that for me, I feel good. I want to do something to help that business owner. I might want to give them a referral or write a positive online review for them. We’re all sort of hard-wired that way.
I wanted to share with you one of the things I do to manage my time. Every time I take on a new client, I go through the basics on how we’ll work through our weekly coaching calls and what they need to prepare for our meetings.
I also tell them that they are welcomed to reach out in between our sessions in one of three ways. They can e-mail me, text me or Facebook message me, and they can do any of those things at any time. If they have a question at 2 a.m., they can send it. If they have an idea they want to run by me at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, they can text me.
I explain that I will respond to them by the next business day, and I may respond to them sooner. I tell them that it’s my job to hold my boundaries as to when I will look at those communications from my clients. It’s my job to protect my family time and my free time.
The reason I started this process with new clients was that I realized that many of my current customers were sort of afraid to email or text in between coaching sessions because they didn’t want to overstep the relationship. In some cases, they could have used a little extra support or a sounding board but didn’t contact me because they didn’t want to encroach on my family time.
It finally occurred to me that I had not established my own boundaries and that, as a result, my clients were trying to protect me. That was my mistake as a business owner, as a human, to not set boundaries.
I would challenge you to think about that. Have you set good boundaries? Would you be angry if a client called you at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning? Have you communicated your boundaries clearly to your clients so they know what to expect?
1. Establish your boundaries. For example, I have office hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and reduced hours in the summer. The do-not-disturb function on my phone blocks all but family emergency calls between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. I do not allow Facebook notifications to come through to my phone or desktop; I log into Facebook when I have time to respond to those messages.
2. Communicate your boundaries to your clients. I tell my clients the channels in which they can reach me and that I promise to respond the next business day. I explain that I might respond earlier if it works out in my schedule, but I will definitely respond by my next office hours.
When you do these two things, setting boundaries and communicating them, your stress levels will immediately go down. You won’t have to worry all the time whether a client has a question, if you have a new order waiting, or whether there’s an issue to respond to. Your clients know you will respond by the next business day, and if you respond sooner, that’s just icing on the cake.
Remember that in many cases, you are putting pressure on yourself to respond 24/7. Don’t do it. Play for the long run. Give yourself a break so you can do a good job and be happy. In the end, happy business owners are successful business owners.
Need help setting boundaries? Not sure how to communicate this with your clients? Get in touch, I’d love to help!
Recently, I took the day off to go to local conference. It was a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs to collaborate with teachers, incubators, a few investors and other entrepreneurs. It was fascinating to listen to their mindsets, and for the purposes of this article, it was interesting to see who wasn’t there. Those of us who hold a mindset of having to work all the time don’t attend conferences like that. In fact, we don’t take days off for any reason because we believe we must be working all the time.
Rooted in the Past
Many of us believe that in order to be truly dedicated to our business, especially one that we have started ourselves, that we must sacrifice everything in order to make it successful. We have to give up family, friends, free time and everything else in order to meet our customer’s needs and do all those things that we need to do to succeed.
On the outside, this seems like a noble idea. We hear it all the time in the business world. We hear that the customer is always right. We hear that customer satisfaction is paramount. It’s a mantra that every successful business seems to repeat.
Combine that external message with all those lessons we might have learned as a child or as an employee in the corporate world. We were probably rewarded as children by our parents and teachers for working hard. One major component of our performance reviews in a corporation probably had to do with our work ethic.
We’ve probably even played that game where we try to look like we’re working hard or very busy to make a good impression on those people around us. If our parents, teachers, friends, coworkers, bosses or customers see us working all the time, they will believe that we’re hard workers, that we’re successful entrepreneurs, that we’re good people.
The funny thing is that many of us probably left the corporate world to start our own businesses to get away from that pressure to need to be working all the time. We probably understood that time spent didn’t necessarily mean productivity or success. We wanted to work smarter, not longer. And many of us probably went out on own in order to free up time for other priorities in our lives.
So what happened? How did we get back to what we were trying to escape? And how do we break out of the mindset of needing to be working all the time?
A Case Study
I was coaching a client a few weeks ago. As we were talking, she was telling me how completely overwhelmed she felt. In fact, she was in that place where she felt like she had so much work she couldn’t even write it all down.
When things get that bad, it’s easy to throw up our hands and just believe that that’s life. The reality, however, is that it is only a symptom. It’s not the reality itself. It’s a symptom of certain patterns of behavior. It’s a symptom of time management issues. It’s a symptom of prioritization challenges. It’s a symptom of this mindset of needing to work all the time.
With this particular client, I asked her to give me a brain dump of everything she does for a whole week. When I looked at her list, I had no doubt that she was overwhelmed. She was trying to do an incredible amount of things, but the bottom line was that it was her mindset that was the problem.
One Major Mindset Change
Although we came up with several ideas on how to change the mindset for this particular client, I want to share with you particularly helpful idea in this article. We need to change our idea of what is an appropriate response time.
We live in a world of instant gratification. We can eat whatever out-of-season food we want. We can watch whatever program we want. We can read whatever we want. And we can do all of those things whenever we want to do them. We live in a world of instant text messages, and we expect an immediate answer. On the flip side, we often feel pressure to answer text messages and e-mails immediately.
This particular client was having every e-mail, whether it was a sales pitch, a greeting from a friend or a request from a client, sent to her phone. She spent all day being distracted by every single e-mail that came in, which made it very hard to focus on her more important work. I encouraged her to set aside time in the morning and in the evening, scan her e-mails at those two times only, and respond accordingly. I reassured her that a 24-hour to 48-hour response time was reasonable.
If you are in a similar mindset, that one change alone will reduce your stress significantly. Give yourself permission to compartmentalize your e-mail to a set time. And watch your time become more available and more productive. This goes beyond e-mail as well—phone calls, texts, Facebook alerts all can WAIT. Focus on the task at hand and let some of those things sit, you’ll feel better and get so much more done.
Need help getting to the bottom of your “overwhelm”? I can help! Contact me today for a free call to see if coaching with me is the right fit for your needs.
We all have these mindsets that affect what we do, the decisions we make and the perspective that we have about our lives. Sometimes these mindsets can be positive ones that we should keep, and other times, we hold mindsets that can actually hold us back from reaching our full potential.
One very common mindset for mompreneurs is that being a working mom is selfish. Let’s take some time to break this down and see where this mindset comes from and what we should do about it.
I was talking with one client who is a great mom. She puts her kids first. She does things for her family all the time. She set priorities that she holds. She also has her own business. She realized, however, that she always felt guilty for being a working mom. That in the back of her mind she held this idea that being a working mom was selfish.
Before the days of motherhood, I lived a pretty self-focused life. I got to choose what time I’d get up in the morning. I picked what and when I wanted to eat. I selected what I wanted to do during the day and what time I wanted to go to bed. And I never really felt guilty about living like that.
Self-care after motherhood
Now we all know that once we get pregnant, something changes inside us. Something about motherhood gets hardwired into us. Suddenly, we give up so much of that self-focused life. Now everything revolves around our husband and children. We cook what the children like to eat. We nurse all night. We get up at 5 a.m. because that’s when the children are awake. We give up our needs and wants to take care of the long list of things for our family. There’s not often a whole lot left for ourselves at the end.
So when moms decide to go back to work, we often hear in our own minds that it is an act of selfishness. Stunning, isn’t it? Before motherhood, it was accepted that sometimes we do things for ourselves. Then when motherhood set in, we put everything ahead of us. Moms, in general, don’t excel at self-care. We rarely take a break, do something to take care of ourselves, or find something fun to do on the weekends.
If we decide to go back to work or to start our own business, it will make us unavailable at times. It will put something before our children at times. This will definitely happen, and it can look selfish. Even if we are earning money to pay for trips for our family or for college, we can still feed those lovely feelings of mother guilt.
When I think back to my early days of coaching, I remember feeling like I was stealing all the time. I had two little kids, and if I spent time with them, I felt like I was stealing time from my business. If I was working, then I felt like I was stealing time from my children. I stayed in that mindset of stealing; I was always stealing from some other part of my life. And I always felt guilty. My most important priorities were in conflict. When I was stuck in that stealing mindset, I was not being productive.
What happens in that mindset is that we start unwittingly sabotaging our business and our happiness. I had one client who was blaming the lack of success of her business on her husband. She felt that he had too high of expectations on what she could deliver in her business and what she could handle in housekeeping and childcare. However, as we talked about it more, she realized that she was actually the one with the unreachable expectations. It was her judging herself.
She realized that her work was important. It meant a level of fulfillment for her. It gave her family a financial cushion they wanted. It was beneficial to another community. During the times she felt guilty, she would actually choose to do housework instead of higher priorities for her business for the sole purpose of earning the “good mother” badge. In the end, when she talked with her husband, he was actually very supportive. He was committed to helping support her in her business and pick up some of the household and childcare duties.
So how do you avoid this mindset? The first step is always awareness. If this article is resonating with you, then maybe you have this mindset. If you’re not aware, this unconscious mindset will motivate you to behave a certain way and make certain decisions. However, once you have awareness, you are capable of deciding if you want to continue holding the mindset or to change it. If you decide to change the mindset, you can replace it with a positive affirmation. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with your priorities and find ways to support yourself as a wife, mother, and person.
Is a negative mindset holding you back? It may be, even if you can’t identify it. If you’re stuck and need some help, let’s talk. I’d love to see if coaching is a good fit for you. Get in touch!
As a business coach, I work with a lot of clients who hold particular mindsets that can be helpful or not so helpful in their businesses and in their lives. One of these mindsets that I see often is the “I’m not smart enough” mindset. If you’re a mompreneur who holds that mindset, it might be time to revisit that idea and think about busting up that negative notion once and for all.
Often, it’s difficult to call ourselves out on these mindsets. Many of us do not even see ourselves adopting a negative mindset at all. What I’ve found as a business coach, however, is once we start addressing some of these issues by talking about them, they become clear. And once the awareness is there, we can make decisions about what we want to do about those mindsets.
Some of you might resonate with the “I’m not smart enough” mindset. You might even hear yourself saying things like “that’s just beyond me” or “such-and-such is above my level”. Some of you others might not actually verbalize those words but instead, might have a quiet voice inside you that is whispering the same message. In fact, that voice might be so quiet, you might not even realize it’s there until you start thinking about the topic more deliberately.
One of my clients is a sole practitioner of a communications, marketing, and public relations firm. She’s been in the business for under two years, and she works really hard. Like many others, this mompreneur modeled her business on others she admired. She learned from colleagues and mentors before striking out on her own. After awhile, however, she started seeing her competition capturing bigger clients and more clients. She started seeing her competition being recognized within the larger industry. And she started adopting the mindset that she could not compete. She started believing that she was not smart enough to make it. Once that negativity sets in, it can be crippling to your business and to your life.
After we spent some time talking, we discovered that this practitioner really wasn’t making a fair comparison. She was comparing herself to all those whom she admired. What she failed to see was that her so-called competition was a seasoned veteran in the business with a decade of experience, employed a large team of freelancers and staff, and simply had more monetary resources than she did. She was a relative newcomer to the market, worked as a sole practitioner and had limited time and resources. She was comparing apples to oranges.
The problem with that comparison and the resulting mindset is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you decide to believe that you’re not smart enough and that your competition is better, you will automatically begin to look for evidence to confirm that belief. You’ll literally start searching for evidence to prove that you’re right. That’s exactly what my client did. She had a long list of examples to show me that her belief that she was not smart enough was true.
Challenge your mindset
My challenge to all of you is to think about what mindsets you have about work, your business, and your life. If you have a mindset that is anything less than believing you are doing your very best and that you will achieve your goals, then you might have something to work on. Consider whether you have that little negative voice that is pointing out negative experiences or whether you see positive things, can note your achievements and see your accomplishments. Take stock and consider how your mindset affects your work, your life and yourself.
Here’s a personal example to help illustrate my point. When I was growing up, I never flew anywhere so I had a mindset that I was not one of those people who got on an airplane and went anywhere. It was likely that I’d continue with that mindset, but I had this shift when I was 21 years old that I could be one of those people who flew to places. That mindset could have held me back from doing new things, having new positive experiences, and growing in exciting ways.
I had another client who had a mindset where she thought she didn’t deserve to be happy. She acquired this mindset because of some bad decisions she had made in her life but then held fast to those ideas. That mindset was not a healthy one, and once she worked through that, she discovered she was a person who deserved to be happy.
Today, I challenge you to think about the beliefs you hold about yourself, your business, your life, even your family. Write them down. Think about whether your mindset is helping you support and achieve your goals. If they are, keeping doing what you’re doing. If they are not, decide whether you want to change, whether you’re ready to change, whether it’s time to change. If the answer is yes, then you have some pretty exciting goals to work toward in upcoming months.