A realistic guide to starting a business with a baby (part 1)
Hi there! Chances are, if you've found yourself on this page then you've started a business (or want to) and you're a new mom (or are about to be).
Congratulations! Mamahood is a whole thing and 'hot mess' is an acceptable state of being in this neck of the web. You're welcome to let out a deep breath and just be yourself here.
Well friend, here are the big questions I found myself asking only 3 years ago...
"Is it possible to start (or run) a business with a newborn baby?"
"Won’t I have to choose to be more ‘successful’ at one or the other?"
"Doesn’t building a business mean sacrificing all my time with my family?"
I'm here to answer these questions for you - at least from my perspective. After raising two babies while also building a business, I'm happy to say that I know a bit about this topic. For better or worse.
But I must preface this post...
This isn't your feel good, you can do anything because you're super mom kind of post. But this IS your realistic, sometimes messy, what it REALLY looks like to mom while starting and growing a business post.
So, now that that's out of the way. Let's dive in.
Is it possible to start (or run) a business with a demanding baby?
My simple answer... YES! Obviously I would say that because here I am. I decided to start a business when my first son was just a newborn and I remember being in your shoes. I was Googling ALL the things about how to run a business as a (new) mom and I found all the somewhat helpful (yet still vague) posts filled with all the 'do this', 'don't do that', 'expect this'... yada yada yada.
I think what I expected was a step by step guide. Someone with a magic potion or secret sauce that would explain it all so I could just learn from their mistakes and experience. Or maybe I expected a course. I’d take a course. Actually, I think I'd pay at least 20k for a step by step 'how to' course that walks you through how to be the perfect mom while building a flawless business. Give me all the lines of credit and I'd find a way to make that investment happen (Am I right? Sorry Dave Ramsey). The momma who created that would be a genius millionaire.
But the thing is... that will never exist (and if it does then run for the hills!). As much as it pains me to write that, it's the truth…
There will never be a secret sauce or magic potion to help you become the perfect mom + successful business owner.
Because we're all imperfect people.
You'll mess up. You'll cry on the floor. You'll feel all alone. You'll be 100% sure that no one could ever get you. You'll feel broken and wonder if you're doing any of it right.
But you'll do it anyway.
Why? Because as much as you want to give up. As much as you want to throw in the towel and pick the 'easier life' of non-working, stay-at-home-mom bliss (which I know isn't easy either - bless you all the moms who can mom 100% of the time and not be a crazy person)... as much as you’ll consider going back to the 5-9 corporate life of reliable paychecks....
You’ll know you were made with a that special something that only you can offer the world.
And you’ll know it’s your responsibility to make that happen.
To make an impact that stretches beyond your family and to make an income that changes your future, your community, and yes, funds that big dream in your heart.
So back to the question...
It is 100% possible but it is not easy. The real question is how much do you want it? Because you know all those hard, scary, self-doubting moments I mentioned above? You may think I'm making it up, but believe me, those moments are very real. You will be able to crush this mompreneur thing like orange soda, but only if you want it enough (plus copious amounts of huge, scary, vulnerable action - something I’m still working to overcome 3 years later).
My point is, your mindset and what you believe about your business and yourself is HUGE. It's going to be hard, but the only ones who make it are the ones who never give up.
All the Jesus. All the prayer.
Friends, coffee, and all the long baths.
My tip for you is to think about what you want... dig deep to grab onto your Why (and read Simon Sinek's book, Start With Why if you haven't already) and keep coming back to your most real, deepest reason for doing this.
Learn from my mistakes: Don't make up some reason that you think you should have. Been there, done that. Really tap into why YOU want to do this thing. For me it's my family. But, whatever it is for you, that thing is what will keep you going when you want to give up for the 5,826th time.
Do I have to choose to be successful at one or the other?
Ok, this one's a loaded question so hold on to your seats! The easy answer is no! Of course you can be successful at both. Do you see moms who are great a momming and great a business building? Yes. Believe me, they do exist and they are real (not just Instagram perfect people).
The thing is... this is your life. Not theirs. What are your priorities? What do you really want your business to look like? I'm not taking about what you want things to look like in 3 weeks... I'm talking what is your 5 year vision for how all these things will work together?
Do you want to be home 100% with your kids while you run a business in the background?
Do you want to work only a few days a week while your kids are in daycare and then focus 1000% of your attention on them all the other days of the week?
Do you want to work 5 days a week and hire a nanny to come into your home with your kids each day?
The point is, whatever you can think up is what you can work towards creating.
You define what success is to you. So outline what you think being a successful mom + entrepreneur looks like and get to work creating that.
Does building a business mean sacrificing my time with my family?
Ok, I'm sure you're expecting it by now... but NO! Business building doesn't mean you have to sacrifice all of your time with your family. Actually, I have built and continued to scale my business over the last 3 years, and about 70% of that time has been with at least one kid in tow. I am able to spend time with my family while I work.
But let’s be real. You are wanting to start a business and that’s a lot of work. We all only have 24 hours in a day and that means we have to pick and choose what we do with our time. But remember when we talked about WHY you started your business? Chances are that your kids had a little something to do with that.
So you could spend more time with them.
So you could bring in more income to do more things, go on vacations, have different things, give more.
So you could show them what it’s like to dream big and chase those dreams…
Whatever your biggest WHY is, what is it worth to you? If it means that you will need to sacrifice a little now to see your dreams come true, is it worth it?
The key is that YOU get to decide what this sacrifice looks like.
I would never tell you that you have to sacrifice all of your family time and run yourself ragged in order to run a successful business. In fact, I see a lot of women quit their business because they are worn out. They have been trying to do everything themselves and it’s not working.
They think they need to learn to do everything themselves before they can outsource the things they aren’t good at to someone who is a rockstar at those things.
They think they can’t spend the money on outsourcing time consuming tasks until they have ‘extra’ money in the bank.
They think they can’t spend money on advertisements until they have a booming business…
But in reality, it’s these things that will help them step out of your business more, regain their passion by doing the things they are passionate about (not the things that drain them), and focus the time they do spend in their business on the things they rock at… which will help grow their business even faster and stronger.
So, if I could give you any advice to help you balance raising a family and running a business, it would be to…
Find the things that only you can do that really bring in the money (this can typically be narrowed down to less than 20% of your business tasks)… and do those things really, really well.
Find the things you don’t need to do that can be outsourced (and done even better by someone else), and move those off your plate.
Schedule dedicated work time where you are 100% focused on work… and schedule 100% family time where you can completely take work off of your mind.
Find someone who’s strengths are your weaknesses and hire them as soon as you can to help you manage your online business. SO worth it.
Well, I hope that this has been helpful for you. Starting a business with a baby isn’t easy, but in my opinion, it will 100% always be worth it.
Always cheering you on,