I am a Mama CEO.
I am an entrepreneur and a mom to 2 lovely children. A few years back I adopted the term Mama CEO over the popular mompreneur.
A mentor had impressed on me that mindset is critical when it comes to business success and growth. Having a CEO mindset means treating your business like it is on the Fortune 500.
That mindset is sometimes hard to keep when you work at the kitchen table surrounded by leftover Cheerios and business meetings get interrupted so the CEO can wipe someone else’s bottom (true story). With these kinds of challenges, a CEO mindset matters even more. You need to think strategically about your business to grow.
So, ready to build your business like a mother? Here’s how to get your own Mama CEO Mindset.
Have a Plan, Be Flexible
If you spend more than 3 minutes with me, you’ll know I love a plan. A plan is essential when you are trying to raise a family and grow a business at the same time.
But, I hear you say, “As soon as I plan to do something, my child wakes up from a nap” or “My business relies on creative inspiration.”
Here’s a secret: Having plan actually allows you more flexibility.
When you don’t have a solid plan, your to-do list becomes daunting. While trying to figure out where to start, social media browsing and laundry eat up your kid-free work time.
How many times have you sat down to a 2-hour block of work time (like a baby’s nap or an after school soccer practice) and thought, “I’ll get these 14 things off my to do list done”? Two hours later, you’ve completed 1 or 2 things and feel disappointed for not working harder or being more productive.
The truth is you didn’t have a realistic plan.
You need to know exactly what you need to do, how long that task will take, and how much time you have available.
If you know you have four 30-minute projects to work on during that two-hour window, when the baby wakes up early, you can just shift that last 30 minute task into the next 30 minutes of available time. You still have a clear picture of what needs to get done.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Mommy Guilt is tough for working moms of all kinds.
When moms are working, they feel like they should be spending more time with their kids (or that their kids are spending too much time on the iPad so mom can finish a blog post.) When they are with their kids, they keep thinking about what isn’t getting done in the business (or responding to just one more email). Sound familiar?
This is where my first tip comes back into play. The more I can schedule my work time (and what I need to do in that work time), the less mommy guilt crops up.
If I know I have 3 projects that add up to 3 hours of time needed, I can structure my day to focus hard on those tasks (must.stay.off.facebook.) Then when I am done, I can put work away and focus on family.
I also have less mommy guilt when I can explain the plan to my kids. This morning, when I left the house to finish up a few work projects before we leave for a family outing to a baseball game, my son was upset I was missing morning cartoon time with him. I reminded him (and me) that once I finished my work, we would have the rest of the day to eat garlic fries and cotton candy and cheer on our favorite team. My son was a little disappointed this morning, but I know he will appreciate having my focus later today.
Having a plan means I can be a mom and a CEO—and give both my kids and my business the attention they need.
Entrepreneurs, especially solopreneurs, can do it all right? Especially if we are just starting out and bootstrapping our business, we take on the roll of the CEO, CFO, web designer, content strategist, customer service rep, administrative assistant, janitor, and usually the daycare provider as well.
Another secret: your business will grow when you stop doing it all yourself. This is the CEO Mindset.
Start by outsourcing the tasks that you hate the most (hello, bookkeeping!) or the ones that are the easiest to take off your plate. Places like Upwork help you find someone to handle little tasks you would spend precious hours doing yourself. So stop trying to do it all.
But when I talk about getting support, I am actually talking more about support for YOU, the Mama CEO. You need a circle of people that totally “get” you and what you are doing.
If you are the only entrepreneur in your circle of friends, finding other business owners to connect with is key to your growth, not to mention your sanity. Find a Facebook community like my Mama CEO Club. Hire a coach who specializes in entrepreneurs.
Better yet, join the Mama Mastermind.
You’ll get the tools you need to create that clear, flexible plan. You’ll connect all the dots so you’re taking care of business, family, and you! Plus, you’ll stop doing it alone. And you’ll combine coaching sessions with support and accountability from an intimate group of mama CEOs who are also ready to move their businesses forward.
You have amazing things to offer this world, your family, and yourself. Start thinking bigger. Start thinking like a Mama CEO. Change your mindset and start building your business like a mother.