The number of women-owned firms continues to increase. Women now own about 30 percent of U.S. businesses and employ nearly 8 million workers. It’s not uncommon for women to face unique challenges, especially when trying to juggle traditional roles of wife and mother with the demands of starting and running a business. It is not impossible, and you can do it! Here are a few tips to help you on your journey.
- Fit your business to your personal goals
Are you looking to work part time to supplement the family income or work around the children’s schedules or are you focused on building a full-time business? What is the goal, money or freedom or possibly both? There’s no rule that you have to work a full-time schedule when you run a business — start a boutique business or work as a consultant. Choose a business and business style that suits your lifestyle and aligns with your passions.
- Keep your home and work life separate
It is important to set aside time for both personal and work lives, in order to give each the attention they deserve. Set specific office hours and unless there is an emergency, stick to them. Train yourself to work during office hours and do not accept calls or check emails after hours. Your customers and clients will also conform to your schedule as long as you stick to it. That means not calling or emailing others after hours. Create a separate work area, whether inside the home or in outside office space, and shut the door to the office after hours.
- Embrace technology
Don’t let the lure of an incoming message get you off track, whether you are concentrating on a project or spending quality time with your loved ones. Let emails wait until morning or check them at certain times of the day only, allow your voicemail to take calls, and employ auto responders. Let technology work for you.
- Form genuine connections.
It can be difficult to work alone, so the connections you make will prove invaluable, and not only for business. Find a mentor or create a women’s support group and share your ideas, goals and frustrations. Use the “village” to help you navigate the business landscape. Join a women’s business association such as the National Association of Business Owners (NAWBO) or the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) for professional support and resources.