Working Mothers: How to Make Money Doing What You Love
Attention working mothers! We hear you! When it comes to juggling parenthood with career (and life), many moms find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not to mention, the "mom guilt" that comes along with working full-time while your kids are in daycare or with a babysitter. How do you do it all without that overwhelming feeling? We spoke with Certified Business Coach Christy Wright, author of Business Boutique, about overcoming the mom guilt, finding a job you love, and her advice for working mothers.
Q: Why do you believe more women are launching businesses than ever before?
A: There has never been a better time to start a business. With free online tools and social media, you can start a business with nothing more than an idea and a Facebook page. Over 40 million Americans are working as freelancers or independent workers, and studies show that many women start businesses because they want more flexibility, freedom and opportunity to grow in their strengths.
Q: What is the #1 entrepreneurial mistake a lot of women make?
A: Most new business owners make it up as they go and they don't have a plan. I've found in my research that it's not having too many things to do that overwhelms us, it's not knowing what to do. You need to know what to do and what order to do it in. You need steps. You need a plan. A plan will help you start with the end in mind and define your version of success. That way you don't end up running really hard toward someone else's finish line. At a minimum, your plan needs to cover market research, vision and goals for the future, money management (such as pricing and profit), operations (such as shipping), fulfillment, policies and processes, and marketing strategies. When you do a little of the planning work on the front end, you not only save yourself headaches and mistakes, but you're much more likely to be successful.
Q: What career advice do you have for a woman who is re-entering the job market after a long absence?
A: You have the unique opportunity to really evaluate what makes sense for you and your family. So whether that's starting your own business or re-entering a 9–5 job, take full advantage of going into something that you truly love and explore all of your opportunities. This will help you not only get back into the job market with excitement and passion, but you also don't have to feel bad about leaving your kids because you're pursuing something that you're passionate about.
Q: What advice do you have for overcoming that mom guilt?
A: Regardless of your stage of life, number of children, type of work, or personality style, I think guilt is one of those things that we women will battle at some level for the rest of our lives. It's that feeling in the back of your mind that you've done something wrong, you're not doing enough, and you could have done it better. If you work outside the home, you feel guilty for not being with your kids. If you stay home with your kids, you feel guilty for not working outside the home. If you're present in one place, you feel guilty for being absent in another.
I love how my friend Tony explains it: "I'm always driving to somewhere I love. When I'm driving to work, I'm driving to a place that I love. When I'm driving home, I'm driving to a place that I love." It's the difference of looking through the windshield toward where you're going instead of gazing in the rearview mirror at what you're momentarily leaving behind. Wherever you are, be all there.
Remind yourself that what you're doing is important. It may just be the reminder you need to shake the guilt and get back in the moment.
Q: Lastly, any secrets to maintaining a healthy family/work balance?
A: Life balance isn't about 50/50 split. It's about being 100 percent present. The word 'balance' also makes us believe everything in our lives should be divided equally. Life balance isn't about doing everything for an equal amount of time. It's about doing the right things at the right time. Just remember to always look to where you're going instead of what you're leaving behind. Look in the front windshield rather than the rearview mirror. Mom guilt can be overwhelming, but you can have this guilt whether you're working or staying at home with your child. When I decided to go back to work, instead of focusing on what I was missing out on, I focused on how much I love the work that I do. If your work is important to you—and I hope it is—focus on that. When you focus on the importance of the work you're doing, it keeps the mom guilt from creeping in and distracting you. If you aren't passionate about the work you do, I encourage you to look for something that excites you and utilizes your strengths. Leaving your child each day is much easier when you're doing work that matters and makes you proud.
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