Being a mom is hands down the most challenging job I have ever had. It will push you to the limits emotionally and physically. These days will string together where you realize you can’t even remember when the last time you showered or put on deodorant is. And far too often, I have asked myself if that is poop or spit up in my hair. Yet, amidst all the chaos and sleepless nights it is hands down my favorite job title I have ever held.
Having my first baby, Calihan, a year and a half ago changed everything. When he was just a few months old, Duo Collective was just beginning to form. Courtney and I had countless meetings over coffee, wine and mimosas – many of which Calihan was nearby in a bouncer – and began asking ourselves “why don’t we start something together?”.
Why did I decide to start a business with a 5 month old?
I went back through my emails to see when these conversations started to form. It was May of 2019 and Calihan was almost 5 months old. So why on earth would I be talking about adding a second job to my plate on top of caring for a new baby? Maybe it was sleep deprivation ? but somehow motherhood lit a fire in me that I didn’t know was there.
I am sure that it all started years ago with my mom. She stayed at home, raised three kids and then went back to teach once we were a little older. She had always had a passion for photography and capturing our memories as we grew. So one day, she decided why not take this passion and turn it into a business… a pretty darn amazing business too!
Through her actions she taught me to relentlessly pursue my dreams, take risks and never say “I can’t”.
She finished college with me as a baby, raised three kids, pursued new career paths that she was passionate about and started a business from the ground up. She taught me that it is never too late to chase your passion. I know she will always be my biggest cheerleader and for that I am eternally thankful.
So, it’s safe to say that I got it from my mama!
There is one more person that has always influenced me and my career decisions. A former high school teacher, Mr. Rosen. I can still remember sitting in a coffee shop years ago and talking about what I wanted next. At the time I thought I wanted to become a travel planner – I have a huge passion for planning trips and traveling the world. In fact, I still do! I was discussing different companies I would love to work for and he paused and asked me, “why don’t you start your own company?” For some reason, this question always echoes in my mind. He always believed in my entrepreneurial spirit and pushed me to find that drive.
This my friends, is the power of networking – stay in touch with your mentors! You never know when they can change the course of your career path.
Finding your why
Have you ever heard the importance of finding your why when it comes to your career or business? Every once and a while you will find yourself questioning everything. It’s human nature. If you haven’t yet found your reason why, sit down and truly think about it. Better yet, write it down so you can look back at it on those hard days and remember why you started this business in the first place. Here is a snippet of mine:
I want to show my boys that anything is possible. That finding your passion and your career can go hand in hand. You are never too old, too young, too busy, too poor or too anything to follow your dreams. I want to have the flexibility to not only work and pursue my passion, but also be with my boys more than just evenings and weekends. I want to create my own schedule, one that infuses my passion for this business into my everyday life and not the other way around. I want to connect with other entrepreneurs and inspire, teach and motivate them to build the business of their dreams.
You can see that motherhood is infused throughout my reason why. My boys have molded me into the entrepreneur I am today. They are the fuel behind my passion and I am confident that I work twice as hard because of it.
Behind the scenes
So what is it really like to be a mom and an entrepreneur? It’s messy! There is no schedule to follow or rulebook to guide you. It means giving yourself grace to miss deadlines and take a break. These babies don’t wait for you to finish writing an Instagram caption or post a blog. They want to play, snuggle, eat and be rocked to sleep for what seems like hours. Guess what, that is more than okay!
On these days where I feel extremely unproductive, I have to simply remind myself that motherhood comes first. After all, my reason why is structured around these little boys. These snuggles won’t last forever. These babies won’t want to be rocked to sleep for much longer – in fact, Calihan is already out of this stage! Cue the tears. So for now, I will break whenever they need me to. I will pause whatever I am doing and sit on the floor and play with them when asked. I will cherish all these messy memories of mixing momming and working because for me, this is the dream.
Tips for aspiring mom entrepreneurs
Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you?
- Right now isn’t the right time
- Maybe once my kids are fill in the blank… self sufficient, sleeping through the night, a certain age, etc.
- How would I be both a mom and a business owner
- I don’t have the money or time to think about starting something new
Now take those excuses and throw them away. There is no reason why you can’t do both. If you can find 30 minutes a day to pursue your passion, do it!
You will never regret starting slow, but you might regret never starting.
Here are some tips for all you working SAHM and mompreneurs:
- Write down your why: read above!
- Set realistic goals: set some goals for yourself both big and small. Be realistic and don’t forget to celebrate and reward yourself every time you accomplish one.
- Find a support group: find other moms and business owners who inspire and motivate you. For me this comes in the form of other entrepreneur girlfriends, an Amma mom group I joined when Calihan was first born and Instagram, of course. It’s amazing what connections you can make on the gram through interacting with other like-minded individuals.
- Ask for help: On those days you just need a break, time to get your hair and nails done or a couple hours of uninterrupted work, do not hesitate to ask friends or family for help. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure you take the time to fill yours up.
- Make a rough schedule: It’s amazing how productive I can be during nap time now that I know this is my uninterrupted time to crank through my to-do list. I simply block out my day, saving the items that take more concentration for nap time and leaving others knowing I might have to multi-task.
- Be prepared to throw said schedule out the window: There are those days where naps don’t happen, babies want to be held all day long or you simply just need to nap when they nap. On these days, you have our permission to throw everything out the window, snuggle that baby and start again tomorrow.
Regardless of where you are on your journey, know you are in good company. I know what it’s like to sit on work calls while praying the baby monitor doesn’t go off and revolving my day around nap time. This journey has been messy and beautiful and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
If you need anything – advice, motivation or simply a friend – we are just a message away. Don’t hesitate to reach out! You got this mama! Before you go, don’t forget to check out our top 10 small business marketing tips to get your business up and running.