Question: I’ve been told that I would be “great at being my own boss." What attributes do you think make for a successful entrepreneur? Are women naturally better suited to be entrepreneurs because we're used to multitasking and moms even more so?
Answer: The attributes of a successful entrepreneur are indeed similar to the strengths one develops as a mother. These transferable skills are a big part of what enable mompreneurs to simultaneously succeed in both fields of endeavor. And they all come down to negotiating the proper balance between extremes.
How do you rate on these five factors?
1) Big picture/daily action
In parenting and in business, mompreneurs need to maintain focus on both long-term goals and the daily grind of small, specific actions. Increasing kiddo’s GPA means turning off the TV every day at 4 p.m., just like increasing annual sales by 10 percent means 20 cold calls a week.
2) Surrounded by others/sometimes still lonely
Starting a business requires dealing with people. Lots of people. Being a mom requires dealing with lots of little people. But the buck stops with you and sometimes it’s lonely. A new mom deals with long stretches of solitary tedium, pacing with a colicky newborn, just as a new business owner endures long stretches of solitary work, building something from nothing. Seek support, but prepare yourself for times when you’ll have to hold your own hand.
3) DIY/expert help
Sometimes you can get by with Neosporin and a Spiderman Band-Aid, and sometimes you have to go to the doctor for stitches. Which is just like figuring out when you can muddle along with QuickBooks and when it’s time to hire an accountant.
4) Stick to the plan/be flexible
You need to have a plan, whether that’s a nap schedule or a list of service offerings, but then you have to listen to your customer. Inevitably the nap schedule will evolve and so will your service offerings, based on real world feedback.
5) Sell, sell, sell/dealing with rejection
I don’t think anyone hears the word “No!” more often than the mother of a toddler. Unless it is an entrepreneur starting their first business. But success in both endeavors requires that you bounce back, adjust your strategy, keep selling, and never take “no” for an answer.
So if you have both vision and discipline, can tolerate some isolation, know when to ask for help, are good at planning and adapting, and can keep selling in the face of rejection, then I would say you have the attributes of a successful entrepreneur and a great mom!
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