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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.

              1414505714-10-single-mom-entrepreneurs-share-their-best-business-advice-melissa-kieling

                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 24, 2021

                      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                      How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                      Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

                      For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                      But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                      It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

                      And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                      The Importance of Saying No

                      When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                      In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                      Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

                      Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

                      Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

                      “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                      When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                      How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                      It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

                      From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                      We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

                      And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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                      At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                      The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

                      How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

                      Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

                      But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

                      3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                      1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                      Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

                      If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

                      2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                      When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

                      Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                      3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

                      When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                      6 Ways to Start Saying No

                      Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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                      1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                      One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

                      Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                      2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                      Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

                      Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

                      3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

                      Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                      Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

                      You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

                      4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

                      Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                      Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                      5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

                      When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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                      How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

                        Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                        Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

                        6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

                        If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                        Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                        Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

                        Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

                        More Tips on How to Say No

                        Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
                        [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
                        [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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