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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.

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        “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 August 12, 2020

                      When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                      When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

                      Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

                      In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

                      How to Listen to Your Gut

                      The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

                      Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

                      1. Tune Into Your Body

                      Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

                      However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

                      Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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                      Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

                      In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

                      2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

                      Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

                      There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

                      3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

                      Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

                      As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

                      This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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                      4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

                      As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

                      Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

                      5. Challenge Your Assumptions

                      When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

                      In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

                      A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

                      6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

                      Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

                      There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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                      Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

                      Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

                      Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

                      We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

                      The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

                      We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

                      7. Trust Yourself

                      It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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                      Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

                      If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

                      The Bottom Line

                      The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

                      Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

                      More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

                      Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
                      [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
                      [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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