After the birth of my first child it dawned on me that my dreams to work for a big firm and have that coveted guaranteed paycheck at the end of the month would probably not happen without me having to give up time with this little bundle of joy. This is what sparked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.
I had a degree in interior design but no previous business background or experience. It all started with a business licence, followed by the cheapest version of vistaprint business cards and an ad on craigslist. No logo, no website, no mission statement or business plan. Just boom, I had a business and was totally unprepared.
Being brand new in a business, I dealt with things like: people stifling me, to straight out telling me I was too young to be taken seriously. It was a tough journey but nothing compared to what motherhood had in store. Being a mother has prepared me in more ways than one can imagine to run a business. I oftentimes get asked how can I do everything I do and have time to be a mom on top of it all. Here are some of the things I’ve learned through my experiences:
1. LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS FROM SOCIETY (OR YOUR OWN)
There is this crazy unspoken myth floating out there that as women, our main job is to be everything for everyone all the time. I can’t be a full-time mom, housewife and business owner all at the same time. This just isn’t physically possible and letting go of that preconceived notion was honestly my first step to success. There are weeks that go by that our house isn’t very clean, the laundry piles up, and dinners are far from being gourmet. And you know what? That’s okay. These mundane tasks that need to be done every day truly aren’t what will make us ultimately happy. Instead, concentrate on the things that give you the best return for your time spent.
2. HELP. ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
Maybe your help will come in the form of your partner doing more dishes, or you’ll hire someone to help watch your kids, or cleaning around the house. Whatever it is that is putting more stress in your life than necessary should immediately go. For me, it was hiring a great sitter that watches my kids while I work, occasional cleaning help, and my husband who is by far my biggest helper and supporter and does bedtime routine every night. All of that happened when I was able to understand that I had to give up some areas to gain more time for my business.
3. BALANCE ISN'T REAL
Achieving this perfectly balanced life where you spend the same amount of time and effort towards your work and loved ones isn’t always possible. That’s why it’s imperative to set realistic expectations. Some days are easier and others are harder, and that’s ok. Instead of balance, what I really strive for is making intentional time. This means being able to spend 20 minutes with my children where they have my full undivided attention is many times better than spending a whole day next to them but focused on other things.
4. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
Being a mom/entrepreneur isn’t for everyone so if there’s one advice I can give to other moms is to find things that you are passionate about. From doing volunteer work to running a fortune 100 company, do what makes you happy at the end of each and every day. Whether you are just now making the jump to being an entrepreneur or have been doing it for years now. I hope you can be kind to yourself and proud of all the great things you do for yourself and others. In the words of Mark Twain, "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: FERNANDA BERTRAND
A native Brazilian, Fernanda moved to Southern California in 2002 where she graduated from High School and attended college. She earned a Bachelor’s of Art in Interior Design before moving to Seattle as a newlywed. She quickly fell in love with the culture and scenery of this diverse city and has never looked back. Fernanda is an Interior Designer, and you can learn more about her and her work at her website: FernandaBertrand.com