September makes a year since I left my most recent 9 to 5 to become a Doula and full-time entrepreneur. It’s one of THE BEST decisions I have ever made in my life but it’s by far been the most frightening!! Let me be honest -it’s just not as easy as most make it seem. It’s definitely not as glamorous. Not only does becoming a full-time business owner take planning and extensive preparation -it also takes your willingness to let go of every plan you’ve ever made! The truth is that countless vision boards and idea notebooks don’t truly prepare you for what it takes to “successfully” make the leap from clocking in to someone’s else’s dream to being 100% responsible for your own.
I’ve always known that the normal route to a career just wasn’t for me. Even though I spent 100% of my career after college in 9 to 5 positions, I was always dissatisfied with the dynamics of a 9 to 5 like, 1) working for someone else’s vision, 2) clocking in and out; being told when to be at work, when I could go to lunch, when I could go home, 3) having to deal with supervisors and co-workers who were either inexperienced or power-hungry and most important, 4) lack of flexibility as my lifestyle changed and required more of my precious time and attention. So, as someone who has lived through the first year of MOMPRENEURSHIP, here are a few key things to consider as you decide if it’s for you:
YOU’RE A MOM 1st
Entrepreneurship is even more challenging for a Mom. Making the transition from being a 9 to 5-ver to entrepreneur is different for a single person than it is for a woman/wife with a child or children. The load of responsibilities are different and so are the major considerations. There’s no decision I can consider or any business or financial move I can make without first considering my husband and children. In fact, I can’t even plan my day or create a schedule for running my business without taking into consideration how it all will affect my family. You’ll have to think about a lot of things ahead of time: 1) age of your children -are your children daycare age, school age or older? 2) how will you plan your new schedule around your family’s schedule? 3) will you have to act a mommy-daycare while at home to further ease the transition? 4) do you have a support system or person in place? For me, I left my 9 to 5 when Bella was just 4 months old. I saw things playing out totally different. During that time, my husband and I decided to test out a temporary move to GA while he worked on a show. Little did I know that I’d spend the nearly the next year caring for Bella full-time, living with my in-laws so not even in the familiarity of my own home, all while attempting to build my business as a birth and postpartum doula. OH BOY THE STRUGGLE!!! All the basics of running my own business became so unrealistic like, spending time on the computer, responding to emails or sourcing new clients. Let’s not even talk about eating and taking a shower! Daycare costs $ money and so does a nanny. So I had high-hopes for relying on help from family with minimal return. Etc. etc. etc. The list goes on but it’s pretty clear some of what you have to think about ahead of time.
Mompreneurship requires a great deal of financial sacrifice among others. Unless your plan includes being totally dependent on your husband financially then you’d better plan on how you’ll not only contribute to your household but also hold your own as a woman. And if you’re a single Mom then the financial aspect is even greater. If you have a nice financial safety-net and if you’ve already been saving money in anticipation for this new season then you’re ahead of the game! Not every Mom is in the financial position to immediately leave “secure” full-time employment for the risky business of being an entrepreneur. But IT CAN BE DONE!!! Financial projections, budgeting and re-planning will be key. There are many ways that you can prepare financially for making the leap: 1) save and set aside a portion of your 9 to 5 monthly income, 2) spend some time evaluating your credit standing and worthiness 3) discuss with your spouse the possibility of running your household off one income until you start earning profit with your business
I’ve learned so much about MYSELF. I’ve been forced to face the reality of my strengths, weaknesses and work ethic. I’ve prayed countless times asking God to make clear what He’s called me to do. I’ve questioned my gifts and my talents. I’ve scrutinized my every goal and desires to vet out if what I’m pursuing could be merely a hobby or my newest weekend trend. I’ve asked myself a million times if what I’m striving for will truly satisfy me and if I’m doing it all for the right reasons. I’ve always said that the difference between me and the next person with the same dream is what they are willing to do to achieve it. I’m not always the most creative -I’m I willing to take some marketing courses? I’m not the greatest at math -will I need an accountant, financial adviser or are there some resources I can learn myself to stay on track. What will be necessary to do on my own before I have an assistant, team, staff, contractors or business partners? How will my daily schedule flow? Will I need to travel? I highly recommend the book, The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. OMG did it shed the brightest light on going from the life of a 9 to 5-ver to that of an entrepreneur running a business!!
Prayer is part of the work that’s required to “successfully” thrive as an entrepreneur. You can’t do it alone. And you certainly can’t accomplish entrepreneurship depending on other people. Your faith is an absolute necessity as you trust that the people, resources and open doors will line up for you at the “right time” so that you grow and your business grows. One of my favorite books is THE DREAM GIVER by Bruce Wilkinson. From the book I learned the value of carrying a dream in your heart, nurturing that dream for years or however long and then totally surrendering that dream BACK TO GOD -literally saying to Him that if it’s not His will then you don’t want it but if it is His call on your life, then trusting Him to make it all happen in His time. Does that make sense? God gives us dream to see what we will do with them. Also, to see if we will trust Him with them or if we will exhaust ourselves trying to make things happen. I’m the type of person that pretty much follows my heart -if I have an interest, I’m not afraid to pursue it to see where it leads. Being this way has added a lot of variety to my life but it’s also been cause to rein me in and test what and WHO I’m living for. I’ve had to remember that I didn’t create myself and I’m not living for my own purposes. God create me and you with a plan in mind -He has some work for us to do and some things for us to accomplish in this life and yes, they will all be for our good but ultimately for HIS GLORY.
My first year as a Mompreneur was an amazing journey! I’ve cried and rejoiced and I’ve had a lot of fun! I’m so excited about the year and years to come as I continue to learn and grow. I believe that even though there’s certainly some unexpected ahead, that the worst of the growing pains are over. I want to encourage you if it’s your heart to leave the 9 to 5 world and run your own business. No matter what kind of business, if it’s your calling and God’s will for your life trust, that you can do it! Don’t get discouraged by some of the tough truths about entrepreneurship. My story and what I’m telling you I’ve learned from others is not your OK to start comparing your life to anyone else’s. All this information is just a pretty awesome opportunity to PLAN, PRAY & PREPARE. So, it can be done -I’m proof of that.