By Jennifer Covello
The other day while walking on my treadmill, watching my favorite inspirational program, the above phrase came to me. While my immediate thought was to apply it to my own life circumstances, I began to expand that thinking to mompreneurs. Light bulb moment.
Many mompreneurs simply think too small about their businesses. Why? They certainly didn’t start out thinking small when their small business idea or vision came to them. They didn’t think small when they were doing those first tasks to set up their small business. When did their big dream turn into a small thing? When did their ark turn into a canoe?
I will tell you exactly when.
It happened after their first rejection. It happened when someone told them ‘no’. It happened when they saw another mompreneur with a similar business model succeeding and they weren’t. It happened when they saw more money going out than coming in.
It happened when they let fear came a-callin’.
The moment they let fear drive their decisions, the big projects they were planning turned into little tasks. Instead of sending out press releases to announce their business, they told a few friends instead. Instead of building an e-commerce website, they did a home party. Instead of investing in their business, they misered every little penny for fear of loss of it.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m all for pursuing the baby steps to build your business and am an advocate of taking thoughtful, deliberate steps to grow your business, but even a baby gets tired of crawling and wants to walk, right?
But what’s a struggling mompreneur to do?
Here are a few simple steps to take when you find yourself building a canoe instead of the ark you were born to build.
- Take a break and go back to your plan.
I know it’s hard to stop everything you’re doing and take a break (and even harder to find the time!), but that’s exactly what you need to do. Take a walk. Sit in the park. Go to the library. Think about the moment your business idea came to you and all you had hoped to accomplish. You need to stoke the embers and get the fire back that you had when that brilliant idea first came to you.
Review what you’ve accomplished to date. Are there steps or actions you haven’t done? Why or why not? You may have good reasons for not building a website or calling your local newspaper to interview you, but the key is to make sure they are GOOD reasons. Make sure that the reason you haven’t done these activities is due to solid business decision-making; not fear.
Once you’ve fired up your engines again, jot down 2 or 3 action steps you can take right away. Note any people you may know who can help you. Want to build up social media? Surely you know someone who has a solid Facebook presence for their business. I’ll bet the names of the reporters are included somewhere in the pages of your local paper. I can guarantee that you’ve got a small business in your area that you could contact to offer your products. Reach out to these people and ask for help – which leads me to my second tip.
- Ask for help.
What? You mean I don’t have to do this all myself? Nope. That’s a big ole’ fat lie that someone told you somewhere along the way that you have held on to like a drowning person with a life preserver. Stop trying to do everything yourself. It’s not only impossible, it’s well…dumb. And believe me, you are far from dumb!
I know. I know. There’s satisfaction in saying “I did it myself”. I get that. But there’s also stress – way more stress than a mompreneur needs when trying to balance the scales of mompreneur and mommy-hood.
Think about it.
As a mom, don’t you look to find the easiest and quickest way to get things done? Don’t you buy products that save you time? If a product or service can save you time in taking care of your kids or house, aren’t you all over it?
Why then, would you do the opposite for your business?
It’s time to re-think your “me” strategy and embrace a “we” strategy. Yes it may cost you money, but I’ll tell you what. The money you spend to hire an expert to build your website will be well spent because someone who knows what they are doing can do it in half the time you could. This frees you up to focus on the things you do well – which leads me to my final point.
- Stop doing stuff you’re not good at.
Ok – maybe not one of my most eloquently written tips but hey – I’m trying to get your attention. This point is so important that I’m going to say it again. Louder.
Stop. Doing. Stuff. You’re. Not. Good. At.
What does this mean? If your talent is designing a cool new clothing line but you can’t add a column of numbers, stop wasting your time with balance sheets and hire an accountant. If the word “Twitter” or “Instagram” are foreign terms to you, hook up with a social media expert.
It pains me when I hear mompreneurs telling me that it took them weeks to set up a Facebook page or blog. I want to shake them and say “Why are you doing this?”
I realize as a newbie mompreneur, you may not have the funds to hire all of these people, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck. Surely you’ve heard of the term “barter”. I can’t tell you how many press releases I wrote for people or marketing plans I developed in exchange for other people’s expertise. And guess what? Many times, those barter relationships turned into paying consulting assignments which then turned into, yep, money to hire experts to do things I couldn’t do.
See? What goes around really does come around.
Now, don’t be naïve enough to think that implementing these simple tips will turn your business around in an instant. Remember, it took Noah over 100 years to build the ark. (I promise it won’t take you that long!)
But if you are tired of paddling that canoe and are ready to sail the oceans in that gorgeous ark you dreamt of building, then throw away those oars and get ready for a wild ride!
Jennifer Covello is The Purposeful Parent, an award-winning author, blogger, creator of Frittabello baby gifts and mother of two children. With her unique perspective on parenting coupled with her sense of humor and vast experience, Jennifer is able to relate to a variety of women and the daily challenges they face as a mom and business owner. Jennifer has been featured on both radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate “cubicle dweller” to “mompreneur” providing helpful tips and inspiration to moms and dads alike. Most recently she was on Better Connecticut Weekend Edition where she provided tips on overcoming SuperMom Syndrome. Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.