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10 Inspirational Life Lessons From Single Mom Entrepreneurs

10 Inspirational Life Lessons From Single Mom Entrepreneurs

Being a successful entrepreneur parent is a feat in and of itself. But single mom entrepreneurs all need a medal of valor. You don’t only have your business’ profits hinging on your every move, you have your children’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being resting squarely on your own shoulders. And every decision you make doesn’t just affect your company, but your family…with few, if any, people to help you carry that load.

Being a mother requires tremendous amount support. Being an entrepreneur, just as much. But when you carry the boulder of responsibility of the two alone, well, some days running and hiding in your blanket fort sounds far more appealing. Yet, you get up and do it anyway because they both depend on you and that’s your only option.

These 10 single mom entrepreneurs do it every day and have created businesses that are thriving and successful, and so are their babies.

1. Single motherhood is not a setback.

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    “Being a single mom is NOT a setback”, says Angela Benton, founder and CEO of NewMe. Her company has accelerated over 300 startups and helped them secure $17M in venture capital funding. Design and tech leading lady has been power listed in Ebony, Marie Claire, and Goldman Sach’s.

    “Don’t get me wrong, entrepreneurship is a ton of work. However don’t let the perception of this lifestyle count you out before you even count yourself in. Being a single mom comes with a wealth of skills that do well in entrepreneurship like: multitasking, creativity, managing and/or operating on a budget, and problem-solving to say the least. I don’t know about you but I’d put my money on someone with these skills rather than a new college grad.”

    Use the skills you’ve mastered as a mom to master your business by utilizing your think-outside-the-box creativity and resourcefulness to make your supermom status work for you in your business.

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    2. Your babies are the most valuable parts of your team.

    1414505713-10-single-mom-entrepreneurs-share-their-best-business-advice-lauren-thom

      “You have to make family a part of your business… I’ve always considered my kids to be my board of directors, whether we’re moving or having them share a bedroom so we can open a store in our house. Make them a part of that journey. And that’s for any mom, not just single moms… Our kids are our reason to seek out a better life,” says Lauren Thom, founder of Fleurty Girl.

      Lauren took her 2009 tax return, invested it in her t-shirt idea and five years laters, her brand is a staple for the NOLA enthusiast.

      Whether it’s letting them in on deadlines or turning a bedroom into an inventory space, like Thom did, keep your babes in the loop and on top of what’s going on in your biz. Some of them even work well as motivators to get you back on track when you’re feeling off. (My youngest serves as a manager on those days when I can’t get my head around everything.)

      3. Feel out your own rhythm.

      1414506672-10-single-mom-entrepreneurs-share-their-best-business-advice-nusha-pelicano

        “The truth is you can do it all if you just change what your definition of balance is. There are times where my business gets more attention than my kids and vice versa. In the end I like to believe that is all balances out. Part of being an entrepreneur is being comfortable with changing direction quickly. Needless to say as a single mother and entrepreneur you’ll get a ton of use out of that skill! So relax, have faith, and take it one day at a time,” says Nusha Pelicano, owner of 5 Orange Leaf franchises, Iron Man competitor, and single mother of six.

        Balance happens when magic does. Make your magic in your business on you schedule, even if it means working when everyone’s asleep or making arrangements for them to be entertained so you can work when you’re at your most creative.

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        4. Fairy tales don’t serve you.

        1414506671-10-single-mom-entrepreneurs-share-their-best-business-advice-zhena-muzyka

          “When dating, look for potential partners who love what you do and show it by changing their schedule to be there for you. When I found my husband, he made every effort to help me with Sage, he’d drive almost two hours to babysit so I could do marketing events, even though he had an executive position of his own. Not all partners will want to play a support role, so find someone who has a deep passion of their own and isn’t afraid to nurture it, they’ll allow you the same,” Zhena Muzyka, head of the multi-million dollar fair trade tea company, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea.

          Date only the people that see your value and don’t try to detract from it.

          5. Say no to toxic people.

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            Ban toxic people from your life. You don’t have enough time already, right single mom or dad? So if you are living or working or worshipping around a toxic person or people who invade your confidence and bring you down, you MUST remove them from your life,” says Lisa Stone, co-founder of Blog-Her, a women-focused media platform with an audience of 100 million.

            People can suck the life out of you or they can add to your power. Stay away from the energy drains and pay attention when the red flags pop up in your gut.

            6. Break before you break.

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            1414505714-10-single-mom-entrepreneurs-share-their-best-business-advice-karla-campos

              “Entrepreneurship, just like motherhood, is not a 9-5 job. Some days I stay up until 3 a.m. working and then have to do a 7 a.m. child drop off at school. Be kind to yourself. Make time for you even if it’s just to breathe and smell the air. Kids are going to make messes, they are going to eat your reports and download viruses to your computer. Your best weapon is a sense of humor. Enjoy your single mom entrepreneur life, wear the title proudly. We are basically super heroes, says Karla Campos.

              Sometimes a shower is all you need to take a few minutes to recharge your batteries, but the key is making your breaks conscious additions to your day by reminding yourself, “Okay, it’s time to walk away for a minute and when I come back from it, I’m going to be re-energized and ready to roll (with the kids or the work).”

              7. Drive trumps all.

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                Look for inspiration everywhere. Make note of all the things that frustrate you in your daily life, then research creative ways to address those inefficiencies. All it takes is an idea and an Internet connection to create a product that changes the world.

                Don’t let inexperience stop you. My business résumé was basically limited to school bake sales. Not knowing which steps to take first nearly paralyzed me with fear. I overcame this by reaching out to other business owners who could connect me to experts in manufacturing, production and sales. Each key person I met shortened my learning curve and gave me confidence. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how other small business owners want to pay it forward and see new upstarts succeed,” Melissa Kieling, owner of the $14M PackIt Personal Cooler company, born out of her need to keep her kids’ lunch cool and safe.

                Drive is a massive substitute for talent. Don’t see what you don’t know as a block, see it as fuel to get to the next step.

                8. Kiss guilt goodbye.

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                1414506671-10-single-mom-entrepreneurs-share-their-best-business-advice-natalie-angelillo

                  “There is enough guilt to go around for any parent, so I make a conscious effort to let it go and focus on the positives. I may have a hectic schedule, and, as a result, my children are learning how to be independent and self-reliant. They are getting an inside-look at how a startup works, by testing our app and coming into the office, which I know will benefit them in the long-term,” says Natalie Angelilo, founder and CEO of Swopboard.com and Swink Style Bar, she’s also held VP and C-Level positions as Getty Images, PhotoDisc, and PhotoZone.

                  This guilt thing is a huge road block for so many. Keep your goal in mind and remind yourself that you’re creating a better life for your kids, while teaching them skills that will give them self-confidence in a world that won’t always flow in their favor.

                  9. Adopt a new view.

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                    The “poor me” mentality only serves procrastination, self-doubt, and a negative thought loop – not our greater purpose or our nobler ability to trust. Furthermore, those added stressors (or ‘influencers’ as I sometimes refer to my ten year old twins) may in fact be the very inspiration for your next product line, marketing initiative, or social media campaign,” Brook Eddy, founder of Bhakti Chai.

                    Feeling sorry for ourselves as moms who may not have the luxury of time that others have puts a veil over what we potentially have the ability to accomplish. Hold your regard for getting things done high because you ARE making it happen without the ease that others have.

                    10. You are your only protector of your time.

                    1414506673-10-single-mom-entrepreneurs-share-their-best-business-advice-sherry-colbourne

                      “Mompreneurs, more than other entrepreneurs, need to be disciplined in their relationship with time. When I was a single mom with a growing business, I would wake up at 5 a.m. so I’d be in the right frame of mind to deal with my then teenage children. Morning conversation and breakfast provided the energy we needed for the day and a sit-down dinner provided the engagement we needed to stay connected. I found the natural rhythms in my business and used them to schedule appointments and work out,” says Sherry Colbourne, 20-year tech star from Canada, now living and growing entrepreneurs in Oman.

                      Guard your time, and look for the windows of minutes that will accumulate enough to give you what you need to make magic in your business. Sometimes that means letting go of the notion that you’ll be able to sit down and accomplish things in one sitting. Chris Brogan calls this “weaving time”. You work when you can and don’t hold out for the huge chunks of time you dream of.

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                      Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

                      In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                      Step right up, don’t be shy!

                      Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

                      The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

                      Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

                      Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
                      So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

                      A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

                      Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

                      Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

                      When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

                      Culturally Conditioned

                      We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

                      I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

                      The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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                      Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

                      Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

                      Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

                      1. Broadens Your Network

                      After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

                      2. Improves Your Communication Skills

                      I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

                      Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

                      3. Continually Learning

                      So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

                      Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

                      4. Increases Self Confidence

                      Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

                      Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

                      So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

                      How to Talk to Strangers

                      Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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                      1. Say Hello

                      Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

                      Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

                      Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

                      2. Ask About Them

                      Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

                      You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

                      As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

                      3. Just Do It

                      One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

                      When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

                      Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

                      4. Don’t Take It Personal

                      One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

                      When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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                      5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

                      I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

                      One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

                      6. Detach

                      A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

                      Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

                      7. Share Your Stories

                      Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

                      To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

                      So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

                      8. Give a Compliment

                      Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

                      When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

                      9. Relax Your Body Language

                      If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

                      When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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                      If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

                      10. Practice, Practice, Practice

                      Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

                      Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

                      After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

                      The Bottom Line

                      As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

                      There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                      Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

                      Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

                      More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

                      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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