It may be 2021, but the expectations placed on women entrepreneurs – especially mum entrepreneurs – can still feel a bit ‘old hat’ at times. Mothers are often expected to take on all parenting and household chores based on social expectations. What happens, then, if she decides to step outside of this box and start a business?
Mum entrepreneurs can get caught between traditional gender expectations on how a woman or mother must behave and the pressure to conform to the stereotypical image of the competitive, aggressive male entrepreneur in order to be taken seriously – even if that’s not her natural self. The hurdles don’t just stop there. Mum entrepreneurs also face difficulties in receiving funding, gaining mentors, earning respect in male-dominated industries, having a support network in place, and finding a balance between work and personal life (family responsibilities included).
The bar for success is placed so high for a woman entrepreneur that there is an expectation for her to be superhuman. She’s expected to overcome all these challenges singlehandedly while adopting male attitudes, taking on the lion’s share of child-rearing responsibilities, and remaining modest – can you imagine a woman talking proudly about her hard-earned achievements? That would be considered bragging, a no-no for women in business!
When faced with such a tall order, the first thing every working mum should do is to take full control of her life. When you do this, you are taking power away from external forces and giving it back to yourself. You have within you all that is necessary to start bending the world to adapt to you, rather than the other way around. Let’s look at six ways in which mumpreneurs – and women in general – can feel empowered to be the best version of themselves.
1. Say goodbye to negative self-talk.
If you are a female or mum entrepreneur, a big shout-out to you! Just being on this journey and overcoming obstacles to reach where you are says a lot about you. In many cases, women tend to overlook their success and dwell on their inadequacies while engaging in negative self-talk. If you want to be successful, you need to take charge of your thoughts – that’s where the key to success lies. Did you know that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day? And did you know that 95% of them are repetitive and 80% of them are negative? It’s time to notice what you are saying to yourself.
Do you say things like:
“I’m not good enough for this.”
“I feel like an imposter.”
“I can’t do this.”
Or do you say:
“I can do this.”
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me”
“I believe in my ability to figure things out.”
The more you love yourself and talk to yourself respectfully, the more you’ll develop the confidence you need to step up and act.
2. Change your habits and your world will change.
Do you fall into patterns of perfectionism, permission-seeking, or procrastination? This occurs because something is preventing you from moving on to the next big ‘thing’ that will realise your dreams and propel your business forward. If you want to advance your business or do that big thing, you must actually DO IT. It’s not that you are not motivated, don’t know enough, or don’t have it in you.
The reason for this is because of fear, so to break free from a never-ending cycle of self-sabotage, cut through your fear and move on with confidence to become a successful mom entrepreneur. Your actions and outcomes will only reflect your newly empowered beliefs and identity once you’ve identified and let go of your limiting beliefs and addressed the concerns that are holding you back.
3. Focus on your superpower.
Most of us are more concerned with our flaws than with our talents, and it shouldn’t have to be that way. You should centre yourself based on your strengths. Then, determine the abilities you’ll need to lead and win. Make a strategy for acquiring these talents or recruit people who possess them.
Also, keep in mind that your area of expertise shouldn’t only include what you’re brilliant at; it should also consist of what you enjoy doing. As a mum entrepreneur, the more you understand what you excel at and what you want to do – and plan your daily activities to incorporate more of it – the more fulfilled and driven you will be on your entrepreneurial path.
4. Make sure you’re in the proper environment.
A strong individual in a weak setting loses against a weak person in a strong environment. The quality of your surroundings is the most important factor in determining your likelihood of winning. Are you surrounded by individuals who push you to grow and encourage you to take risks? Are you part of any networks or communities that can connect with the people and organisations that can help you move forward? Nobody can accomplish it all by themselves. When you’re knocked down, you need someone to have your back and help you get up.
5. Boost your resiliency.
The speed with which you recover from failures is strongly connected to your capacity to succeed in any business venture. Instead of identifying setbacks as failures and being disheartened, view failure as a signal to examine what worked and what did not. Then, when things aren’t working, adopt more of the techniques that are working or pivot to try something new.
Resilience also entails being able to identify the positive aspects of any circumstance, no matter how bleak it may appear. So, by asking yourself questions like ‘what is the opportunity in this situation?’ or ‘what am I learning from this?’, you can rapidly alter your mentality from dwelling on the problem to dwelling on the solution.
6. Recognise that YOU are the foundation of your available time.
Rather than focusing on how you manage your time, realise that YOU are the source of your time. When you’re anxious, you’re concerned that you won’t have enough time. When you’re in a rush and continuously checking the clock to see whether you’ll make it on time, time seems to fly by.
The irony of time is that it is often blamed. “I don’t have enough time to accomplish this or that” is a common remark as is “I wish there were more hours in the day”. The truth? It is our commitment to what we want to achieve that must be carefully looked at – not time.
Let’s assume you awoke one day to find you had a flat tire. Wouldn’t you make the time to fix it before going to work, even if it meant taking 30 minutes out of your day? What if you wanted to start reading every day? You could find yourself finding reasons to not carve out 30 minutes in your day. So who’s to blame? Is it a lack of time or a lack of dedication towards reading?
In other words, if you want to do anything, such as finishing that ‘big item’ for your business, reading, or spending time with your children, don’t wait to find the time – make the time. Make a list of your top priorities at the start of each month, week, and day, and prioritise them by blocking time on your calendar. Because if it isn’t in your schedule, it isn’t going to happen.
This article is powered by Crunchmoms.