MIH 051:How to treat your business like a garden

Listen to “MIH 051:How to treat your business like a garden” on Spreaker.
I’ve learned that owning and operating a business is very much like gardening. There are moments you put in a lot of work only to have to step back and allow it to grow. Other times we have to be more hands-on, give out garden a few sprinkles of water and be more attentive to its needs. In order to grow a business that thrives we should think of nourishing a business the way we might a garden.

On this podcast I’m sharing some ways we can do just that! Here is the basic outline:

  1. Start with a seed.
  2. Plant the seed in good soil.
  3. Water it.
  4. Give it sunshine
  5. Watch it grow!

Listen in to hear my thoughts this week. I’d love to hear yours, too…just comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.

MIH 050:How I Balance Being a Homeschool Mompreneur

Listen to “MIH 050:How I Balance Being a Homeschool Mompreneur” on Spreaker. I’m a homeschool mompreneur, and I know that there are a few of you others out there as well who are trying, like me, to balance both of these unique lifestyles. And if homeschooling isn’t your thing but you’re raising kids while working your business, then this podcast is still for you…so stay tuned! Okay, mompreneurs out there- I know by the title of this post you’re thinking, “But is balance really possible?” Like you, I am skeptical of the promise of complete balance and freedom and bliss in my daily schedule. It just won’t happen.

I firmly believe, however, that balance doesn’t just happen but it is achieved through hard work and perseverance (and even then it’s not a complete “balance”). Balance happens for every mompreneur in the way that suits her best for each particular season of her life. And it’s different all the time. At this season of my life I am homeschooling my kids…and…I’m working flexibly around our daily school schedules. On this podcast I will be sharing what’s been working for me (or not) and how I’ve managed over the years to merge two very alternative lifestyles and adapt them to meet my unique family needs. I’ve also got a video to share from my homeschool YouTube channel over at MomZest. Most of what you’ll hear in this podcast will reiterate what I’ve mentioned in the video, but I share a few extra tips in the podcast that you might find helpful if you are balancing these two unique lifestyles.

Watch the video

You might be thinking: “But I don’t homeschool” or “I don’t have kids at home, but I’m a mompreneur who still needs help with life balance. Will this podcast be helpful for me?” Although I’m gearing up this particular episode with tips I’ve learned along the way as a homeschooling mom in particular, I do believe that no matter your kids’ education status is, you can still very much benefit from this episode…so don’t tune out.

How I balance being a homeschool mompreneur

Prepare for the ride.

I’ll be honest with you, if you are planning to become a homeschool mompreneur, getting ready for the ride ahead of you will be the biggest challenge.  Mindset is always the #1 deterrent from success. Being mentally prepared for the task ahead and not cheating yourself out of the truth will take you a long way. You will need to own up to the fact that the ride ahead of you will have some bumps and challenges. It won’t be smooth sailing and there will be days that you may feel like giving up. But in order to succeed, you’ll need to keep going. Prepare for the ride ahead of you by getting some support systems in place. Find groups of like-minded moms who are following the same path as you, who have also decided to become a homeschool mompreneur. Join entrepreneur meetups and groups in your area. Join groups online.  But whatever you do, get with somebody else who is walking the same path as you because you’ll need that support for your journey. Here are a few more tips to help you find homeschool mompreneur life balance:

Embrace efficiency.

Juggling a homeschool lifestyle with work is not altogether impossible. In fact, it’s quite doable. Here’s an example of another mompreneur besides myself who is doing it.  In my family, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade along the years that work for us quite beautifully, but it all started with trial and error. One of the biggest lessons I learned in the beginning is that if an event, a task, a new routine or schedule isn’t efficient for the family, we won’t choose it. If it takes too much time or energy or doesn’t  give our family the room to practice solace and simplicity when we need it, we won’t do it. For many of you listening, that may mean finding schools for your kids closer to your home so you reduce travel time. It likely means arranging your work hours to fit around your kids’ school schedules so that you’re available for drop off and pick up. For a homeschool mom like myself that could mean choosing curriculum that doesn’t require a ton of parent teacher prep, choosing school hours that fit around my work routine, and changing my wake/sleep cycle to allow for more time in the mornings and evenings to accomplish my business work so that I still have the space to homeschool. Efficiency means streamlining my family lifestyle in a way that allows for increased productivity with the least amount of stress for everyone in involved.  That’s a huge undertaking and it’s not a perfect process, but I find that when I set my mind to it, I can place my plans into motion and watch the efficiency begin happening.

Keep a loose, yet solid routine.

Playing off the idea of efficiency, is the concept of scheduling. Time management is a major topic in the business industry because everyone in business has to learn how to make good use of their time. What I’ve learned as a homeschool mom is that I have to keep our family schedule loose enough to allow for flexible situations that may come up: like education field trips, weekly coops and group classes. But I also have to make sure our routine is solid enough so that, although our days don’t look alike from one day to the next, we at least have some idea of what a daily school routine looks like. I also have an idea of what my routine looks like for keeping up my home (meal prep and cooking, cleaning days, laundry) and what routines I have in place for work.

Stay organized.

As a homeschool mompreneur, keeping organized is crucial. I keep physical notebooks as well as Google docs and Google calendar. At the beginning of each week I like to set expectations for the week, what I wish to accomplish. If you stay organized best with physical notebooks, digital notebooks, post it notes, checklists, or one of those fancy planners, do whatever works best for you. The main things to organize are your physical space and your time. If I can ensure that I spend quality time with each child throughout the week, and time with my husband as well, I’m a happy camper. I love family game nights, and dinner at the table together. That doesn’t happen all the time but when it does at any point during the week, it makes me pretty happy. Our time together as a family is even more important to me than the time I spend on business. However, if I want to succeed in business I have to make sure that I spend adequate amounts of time moving forward on my plans and not getting stuck in a rut, which can happen so often with distractions. For this reason, I hole myself up in an office or coffee shop during my business hours with a no-disturb sign if I’m at home so that I actually can get some work done. It’s just one of those things I have to do personally to make sure my family is on the same page with me and everyone understands I am working and that just because I’m in the room next door doesn’t mean I’m available to make a sandwich. Also, my kids are thankfully of the age now where they are making their own snacks and pretty much keeping the house running for me while I’m working.  They know that when I’m done working, we can spend time together and they’ll get 100% of me at that time. Keeping organized with my time is the only way for me to maintain family balance and still keep my business rolling!


I hope that these tips have been helpful to you if you are in the same boat as I am. Being a homeschool mompreneur isn’t easy but it is definitely doable. Let me know if I can help you in any way such as with branding your business or designing your new logo and website.

MIH 048:Interview with Urbana Chappa

Listen to “MIH 048:Interview with Urbana Chappa” on Spreaker. On this week’s podcast, I enjoyed speaking with mompreneur, Urbana Chappa.
Urbana is  fashion designer and celebrity stylist. She began her company Maison de Mini, which is an eco-friendly children’s fashion line which focuses on creating from bamboo, soy, and hemp. Her husband is a songwriter for Bruno Mars and has written many songs such as “Just The Way You Are”. They have four adorable children together and she is an advocate for childhood cancer awareness and giving back to many children causes. Urbana is raw, real, and authentic. On today’s podcast she gives an unhindered transparency of her experience with postpartum depression and how she overcame it through finding her passion in the fashion world. We also talk about the realities of balancing life as a mom in business and what it means to take care of and make yourself a priority.

What we talked about:

  • What lead her into the world of fashion design and styling
  • Her struggles with postpartum depression and how she managed and overcame it
  • Where she got inspiration for her designs
  • How she developed her different clothing lines
  • Some of her favorite style clients   (Diane Warren, her husband songwriter to Bruno Mars Natasha Henstridge from Species)
  • Her biggest passion in life and how her fashion lines reflect her life mission
  • How having a family affected her career on a day to day basis and how she balances motherhood with running her company
  • Urbana’s words of advice for mompreneurs out there wanting to live their dreams, but who also really care deeply for family and being a great mom

Encouragement Takeaways

As women we should… Be comfortable in our skin! Embrace ourselves! It’s all about being okay with who we are in each season of our lives.

How to reach Urbana Chappa

Maison De Mini UrbanaChappa.com

Website Design Special Holiday Web Design Special for Mompreneurs

How to Beat Mompreneur Overwhelm!

Mompreneur overwhelm is a real thing! Over the years I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to set reasonable expectations for my life as both a mom and an entrepreneur so that I can wear both hats.  Or as I like to say: fill both shoes.  The slippers and the heels, that is.

How do I keep balance?  Honestly, sometimes I don’t.  But, here’s what I’m learning.

(If you’re a visual here’s a video for you!)

How I beat mompreneur overwhelm

Set small and realistic goals.

It’s so important that as mompreneurs we ensure our values and priorities in line.  Family and spirituality is first. Everything is else is second.

I do mean this. In my life, if I have to choose between spending a week digging into a project that will make me a nice income for the month but I must choose to ignore my family for the week…I’m going to choose my family first. It’s okay if you would choose to dig in for a week and catch up with your family later.  I just choose to run by a different beat and the thread of family life is the fabric of my life right now.  I must…no, I need to have the kind of balance in my life that allows for flexibility to be a mom and a wife.  Seasons are important, and in this season I am a mom.

So, in order to beat mompreneur overwhelm I set my goals small and try to remain realistic.  I have three blogs currently, with a fourth in the works. I also run two podcasts with a third in the works.  For many of you this might seem unrealistic.  For me, this is the bread and butter of what keeps sponsors and clients coming my way and is part of my marketing goals.

That said, I must set realistic goals if I expect to be successful at any or all of these blogs.  In my blogging life, this means that I don’t blog every day at each blog.  I don’t even blog several times per week, or even weekly on some of my blogs. On all but one of my blogs I post every few weeks with a podcast or tutorial and try to remain active on my Facebook groups.  If I tried blogging every day, posting to my social media accounts every day I would drive myself nuts.  So I don’t do it.  Which leads me to the next tip…

Don’t over schedule.

Why pack in so much at once when you have a lifetime to grow and achieve in your business? I’ve been there, done that when it comes to over scheduling and it just doesn’t feel worth it and the end of the day. Beat mompreneur overwhelm by not overscheduling.

Granted, there are those times when you’re just having a really busy week in business.  But as I mentioned in the video, if you’re attempting to launch your website and a membership site all in a month and post to all your social media 8 times per day all while developing your product line- things can get a wee bit crazy.  You’re stepping into a spin zone.

Don’t over schedule.  Take your life and your business at stride.  It will grow with you. You don’t have to do everything at once.

Embrace your season.

As mompreneurs we want to love the season of motherhood we’re in because it won’t last forever.  Our kids will grow up and we’ll have plenty of time to work and throw ourselves into our passions.

Life with littles can make working business a bit tricky.  You’ll have to find ways to work around the kids’ routines and schedules.  Maybe nap times work out best for you.  Maybe you work late in the evenings or early mornings.  But the kids do grow up eventually, so…embrace your season. Being a mom is truly special.  Enjoy it!

Check out my interview with Stephanie who is raising four children while running a business.  And Andrea’s been able to figure out her sweet spot in balancing life with kids and blogging.  I hope these moms are able to encourage you.

And hey, I just started up a Facebook group for homeschool mompreneurs.  If that’s you, I invite you to come join my group!

 

 

MIH 044:Mompreneur Spotlight: Andrea Thorpe

Listen to “044:Mompreneur Spotlight: Andrea Thorpe” on Spreaker.

Who is Andrea Thorpe?

Why she began her blog

  • She began her blog because  it was only natural to write about her current lifestyle of homeschooling
  • She was having a hard time finding homeschool materials and resources specifically for African American students and wanted to reach out to other moms who were looking for similar resources
  • It started with 12 moms and grew to over 2,000 people in just a few years

What she enjoys most about her blog

  • She loves being able to help and encourage people with topics on marriage, parenting, and homeschooling.  She feels it is important to give back to others and provide assistance to her audience in taking some of the guess work out of the research they are doing on homeschooling.
  • She also enjoys networking: meeting people and developing in-real-life friendships through her Facebook group.

About Andrea’s kids and a snapshot in her life as a mompreneur

  • Andrea has 3 girls: ages 12, 10, and 5.  She will be homeschooling 8th grade, 5th grade and 1st grade during her upcoming school year.
  • Her oldest daughter is an athlete and plays soccer and also plays piano.  Her middle daughter is artistic and enjoys sewing, art, and dance.  Her youngest stays busy!
  • In order to balance her day, she starts planning the night before with a decent bedtime. She strives for an earlier wake-up time and each morning she starts the day with prayer, devotions, and planning time.  Her next goal is to plan for her blog posts and graphics.
  • On a good day she can accomplish about 2 hours of private work time before the kids arise.  This is the time that most of her work is accomplished.
  • She also garners the support of her husband during his early day off from work to help with the children while she gets a bit of work done.

Additional advice for mompreneurs and work at home moms:

  • Write things down and look at your schedule. Be realistic about when you can really work.
  • Fit your blogging and work life around your kids’ schedule.
  • Keep your family priorities aligned.
  • Exercise discipline and stick to the schedule.
  • Limit your distractions from the computer. Keep social media and email for a separate time.

Ways to reach Andrea

EmbracingHim.com

AfricanAmericanHomeschoolMoms.com

African American Homeschool Moms Facebook Group

Instagram: andrea.thorpe

 

I enjoyed this chat with Andrea Thorpe- this week’s Spotlight Mompreneur!  What are some of your takeaways from this podcast?  

Avoiding Procrastination as a Mompreneur

There is so much going on in our lives between parenting responsibilities and our social lives, and of course, work.  It’s easy to procrastinate and put work on the back burner when you’re an entrepreneur.

How do we avoid procrastination?

Have a plan

Every business needs a roadmap. Ask yourself questions like:

How do you plan to make money?

How do you plan to network and grow your network?

How do you plan to market your business?

Who do you plan to collaborate with to help you accomplish your goals?

Most mompreneurs and creatives don’t have it all figured out.  But the reason we’re getting where we’re going is because we have an idea of where we want to be.  I like to use reverse engineering to figure out where I want to end up and plan the details backward.

Whether you have details or not, though, the main thing is to have an overall vision and plan and then start moving.  Which leads me to my next point…

Take Action

Once you have a plan you need to take action.  No use sitting on your idea, meditating on it, wondering if it will work, and feeling paralyzed.  My husband calls this “paralysis by analysis”.

If it’s a website you need, take action by finding a great designer.

If you need a business coach, hire someone you trust.

Whatever your needs are, remember that it all starts with today.  The moment you take action you realize that it’s easier to continue the process once it’s begun. Nothing will begin magically.  You really have to press for the things you want out of life.

This means you just have got to take action.

Forget perfection

Remember it’s not about being perfect or finding the perfect people to support you on your journey.  Entrepreneurship is a messy journey, and there will be days you want to give up.  There will be days you will hear crickets and won’t see results right away.

The thing is, nobody and no situation is ever perfect.  Your journey may start off pretty rocky and you won’t have all the pieces in place at first- and that’s okay.

You don’t have to be perfect to be successful.  Start where you are and make strides from there.

Has this post helped you?  Did you enjoy the video? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!