In the bustling rhythm of African urban life, motherhood and entrepreneurship often dance a challenging duet. Juggling these two roles isn’t just about staying afloat; it’s about thriving in both. Here are some pearls of wisdom from a decade-long journey of a mompreneur.
Embrace Realism, Not Overwhelm
Business, much like parenting, is a relentless test of resilience. On days when tasks pile up, remember that the sun will rise again tomorrow. I swear by my weekend ritual – every Friday, I pen down my plans for the coming week in my trusty planner. Mondays then start with a quick scan, a daily to-do, and a sense of direction.
Harness Your Productive Hours
We all have our moments of brilliance. For me, the trick is “power hours”. I create hourly goals, disconnect from the digital world, and dive into the work. And then? A 15-minute breather to reconnect and refocus. This cycle rejuvenates more than you’d imagine.
Prioritize Yourself Too
Amid business deals and school runs, it’s easy to forget oneself. But remember, taking a midday break for a café visit or a quick spa session isn’t an indulgence; it’s essential self-care. Such moments recharge you, making you more present both at work and home.
Limit Phone Time
My evenings were previously dominated by screen glare until I initiated a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. phone hiatus. It was transformative! Not only did it grant me quality family time, but I woke up more refreshed and ready to face the day.
Involve Your Children
Your business isn’t just a source of income; it’s a lesson for your children. By involving them, you show the value of hard work and the joys it brings. My son knows that my late nights mean more cherished vacations later.
Network with Fellow Mompreneurs
Who understands a business mom better than another business mom? Mutual playdates, shared responsibilities, and collaborative projects can ease the stress of school breaks. It’s a win-win for both the mothers and the kids.
For every high and low of my business journey, having a mentor was invaluable. An encouraging word, a new perspective, or a critical piece of advice can be the difference between a setback and a breakthrough.
Delegate. Delegate. Delegate
A common misconception: handling everything ensures perfection. But delegation is the key to scaling. Whether it’s household chores or business tasks, consider outsourcing. It might be a learning curve, but it’s a curve worth riding.
- Rise of Women Entrepreneurs: According to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2019, South Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in Africa, with approximately 38.5% of businesses in South Africa being female-owned. Many of these entrepreneurs are also mothers, juggling the dual responsibilities of running a business and raising children.
- Work Hours: A study from the South African Journal of Human Resource Management highlighted that women entrepreneurs often work extended hours, with 62% working more than 40 hours a week. This doesn’t account for the additional hours mothers invest in childcare and household tasks, making time management a crucial skill.
- Support Systems: A 2018 survey from the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) indicated that 52% of female entrepreneurs believe that having a support system in place, like family or hired help, is critical for their success. This reflects the significance of a balance between work and motherhood responsibilities.
- Challenges: According to the same BWASA report, 74% of women business owners in South Africa mentioned balancing work and family as a significant challenge. This is higher than challenges like accessing finance or dealing with bureaucracy.
- Economic Impact: The International Labour Organization (ILO) emphasized that supporting women entrepreneurs, many of whom are mothers, has broader economic benefits. If women in South Africa participated in entrepreneurship at the same rate as men, it could potentially boost the South African economy by 10%.
Tips To Help Mamas Get Started
Laying the Groundwork
Before plunging into the entrepreneurial world, you’ll want to be well-prepared. Set clear goals for both your business and family life. This means understanding what you want your business to achieve and knowing how much time you can dedicate to it without neglecting your new mother’s duties. Remember, it’s okay to start small. Your ambition and determination will guide you.
Establish a Support System
Launching a business is demanding, and so is being a new mother. Surround yourself with people who support your aspirations. Whether it’s family, friends, or a nanny, you’ll need help. This network will ensure that you can focus on your business knowing your child is in safe hands.
Craft a Realistic Schedule
Time is precious. With a newborn, you’ll quickly learn that every minute counts. Set specific work hours and stick to them. You might work best during your baby’s nap time or when they’re at the daycare. Prioritize tasks and don’t forget to include breaks for yourself and quality time with your baby.
Setting Boundaries is Essential
When you’re working, ensure those around you know not to disturb you. This could mean setting up a home office or having a sign on your door. It’s crucial that when you’re in ‘work mode,’ you can focus without distractions. Likewise, when it’s ‘family time,’ try to unplug from your business.
Embrace Digital Tools
You don’t have to do everything manually. Embrace digital tools and apps that can help you manage your business. From online planners to invoicing software, there’s a tool for nearly every business need. This way, you can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time growing your business and caring for your family.
Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
Recognize when you’re overwhelmed and consider outsourcing tasks. Whether it’s hiring a virtual assistant to manage emails or using a laundry service, delegating can free up valuable time. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a strategic move for you and your business.
Regularly Reassess Your Goals
As your child grows and your business evolves, your goals and priorities might shift. Regularly review your objectives, both personal and professional. Adapting to changes is essential for both your success and well-being.
You’re the backbone of your business and your family. Remember to take time for yourself, even if it’s just a short walk or a relaxing bath. A rejuvenated you will be more productive in your business and more present for your child.
Communicate with Your Partner
If you have a partner, open communication is key. Discuss your business goals and the support you’ll need. Remember, you’re a team, and their understanding can make your entrepreneurial journey smoother.
Celebrate Small Wins
Every milestone, no matter how small, is a step closer to your dream. Whether you’ve gained your first customer or managed a whole day without any hiccups, celebrate it. These moments will fuel your passion and keep you going on tough days.