According to recent study, we currently have about 4.9 million businesses owned by mothers in the US and about 252 million female business owners in the world! The highest number of women-owned businesses are in Uganda, Ghana, and Botswana, as indicated here.
After all, motherhood and entrepreneurship are similar in a lot of aspects:
- both babies and businesses need attention, energy, and focus in the initial stages of development
- both roles demand doing multiple things at the same time or one after another, with little time for respite or rejuvenation
- both come with unique challenges, yet are not uncalled for, considering the rewards they bring!
- both are extremely rewarding and fulfilling once taken off the ground, and bless the mom-CEO with precious cuddles & bank balances when aligned and growing!
Why then – do mothers struggle with bringing business ideas to life the first time round & need time for things to “settle” or for themselves to get accustomed to running a business?
In my opinion, these are the probable reasons:
- Most mums I know (across continents, different races/ ethnicity, and across urban/rural economic backgrounds) have and still expect the same with motherhood as with starting and running a business. Of course – nurturing a baby into a fully grown sane adult is no joke, and there is a lot of unsaid mental/ emotional burden which isn’t spoken about!
- However, as a business owners, we expect mothers and ourselves as mothers to be hands-on and get everything right the first time round! Why o’ why?!
- This is the unsaid, unreal, and unfair pressure we put on ourselves to not grow into a business owner’s role but have it all perfect the first time round!
- The challenges of a new business coupled with daily motherhood unpredictability further take a toll on an ambitious mother trying to get her dream business off to a smooth start.
Two challenging, lonely roads, filled with unpredictable scenarios especially as first-time experiences make this motherhood-entrepreneurship scenario quite shaky and God-forsaken from the outside! 🙂
Fortunately for us we know that the women / mothers who do not hold themselves at gun-point on this business journey, enjoy their learnings, failures, growth and are able take things in their stride – at their own pace, on their own terms, and from their own homes!
And what makes this even better is that in a study of 500 American mompreneurs, it was found that over half (56 percent) of them think running a company makes them a better parent despite the heavy workload.
We have enough proof that mothers make excellent entrepreneurs, and this CEO role enables them and empowers their kids to take on responsibility from a young age, be more independent, sensible and make healthier life choices as young adult, who has not been exposed to a working/non-entrepreneurial mum. This article sums it up nicely; kids of Entrepreneur/ business owning moms are definitely at an advantage!
Another study done recently by Shopify, indicated that 44% said they’re either slightly or moderately interested in starting a business, and one in six mothers indicated that they are very interested in starting a business! Which is definitely good news for our ever-growing and nurturing tribe of mothers owning businesses!
But how can we alleviate an aspiring or already turned business owner mom’s growing pains, or rather her how can she help herself?
- Ensure you have a solid support structure of friends, family, staff / remote teams (part time atleast) while starting out, and later too as you and your business are growing
- The journey is your destination – ‘If I am not enjoying motherhood and entrepreneurship every single day, I am doing it wrong ‘- this is my daily mantra! So figure where you need to pull the brakes and switch things up.
- Keep boundaries over your work hours from home, just like we did/do during baby nap hours- no negotiations here!
- For every mompreneur, her babies & business are special and unique – just as she is! So reward yourself on your small & big wins, and hold space for yourself during your low days! Just like you would do for and with your babies!
Finally, definitely make sure that you are putting your mommy skills and experience to good use in your business, thus mastering entrepreneurship:
- Keeping time for everyday work tasks
- Maintaining focus during work works
- Trusting your gut, as always!
- Letting go of things not in your control (oh yea we know this when our babies take their first steps without support :-O)
- Continuing to plan long and short term on your business journey as well, just like in motherhood
- Setting strategic goals for your business
- Enjoying the journey! It isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible either!
Cheers to babies and businesses! We love ’em both dearly! 😛 🙂