Women with Moxie

Own It: Being a Mom Made Me a Better Entrepreneur

Terreece M. Clarke May 11, 2012 Mompreneurs, Moxie Work/Life Balance, Moxiepreneurs No Comments

People often believe that being a parent can be damaging to a career. Some women hold off telling possible employers about their children until they land the job, others believe they can’t make the leap into entrepreneurship because they have children.

My reality is different. Without my kids I’d probably be a sucky entrepreneur.

Gaining Accountability

I started my writing career before I had my three kids and while I progressed well, it was much easier because I lacked accountability. My husband and I could live on beans and franks, but kids eat a lot and you want them to eat well. Fresh fruits, veggies and organic milk means getting your business in gear to make real money.

I’m accountable to three young people who didn’t ask to be here and that means taking responsible risks to earn more. It means stepping out of my comfort zone and asking for the sale, playing bill collector if necessary and making an offer before a call for bids goes out.

Taking A Stand

I hate confrontation and I hate talking about money – two things entrepreneurs have to navigate on a regular basis.

Being my children’s advocate in a variety of situations helped me grow to be a better advocate for my business. Standing up for a fair price is nothing compare to staring down a doctor intent on using the wrong treatment for your child.

Valuing Gut Instincts

As an entrepreneur, there are times when you simply have to go with your gut. Human resource decisions, when to grow, when to fire a client, these are all decisions that can be made by looking at the facts. And while facts don’t lie, they don’t always tell the whole story and that’s where a gut check matters.

Navigating the world as a parent is no different. Instincts woke me up to check on my daughter at 3 a.m. only to discover she had a fever of 104. My gut tells me who is a safe person to be around my children. A background check is a wonderful, fact-based tool, but it doesn’t tell me the whole story.

An employee may look like the perfect fit on paper, but if the gut says no, I listen to those instincts.

Taking on Time Management

Three kids means three different schedules and coordinating them all is no small task. And while the much touted Mom-based multitasking skills are important, I have found something better.

Knowing when to say no.

We don’t go to every birthday party or school function. Our family works hard to balance activities with free time. I work almost as hard to do the same with the business.

Do you really need to meet for an hour with a client or can you get everything done in a half hour with a bit more focus?

I turn down most afterwork functions because I have a finite number of hours with my children after school before it’s time to do the dinner, bath and bedtime routine. And let’s be honest – every networking event is not for me or my business. I appreciate the invites, but it’s been proven time and time again that working over 40 hours for an extended period time means LESS productivity not more.

Being a mom has given me an opportunity to learn and hone skills with much higher stakes. Applying those same skills to my business has helped it grow and thrive and survive in tough times.

Share your story. What skills have your learned as a mom or from your mom that are imperative to running your business?

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About The Author

Terreece Clarke is the former editorial director of Moxie and has been a freelance writer | journalist since 1999 for a variety of magazines, Web sites and newspapers including Columbus Parent Magazine and About.com - a New York Times Company. She is co-owner of Clarke Columbus Consulting and director of its Writing Services division. Terreece holds a B.A. in Public Affairs Journalism from The Ohio State University. Follow her on Twitter @Terreece.

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