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The 19 Habits of Successful Parent-Preneurs

The 19 Habits of Successful Parent-Preneurs

Running a business with children running around can be chaotic at the best of times. Talented parent-preneurs know that discipline, focus, and drive is needed to advance a business towards success. Being self-employed means that a flexible working schedule can be developed, and priorities can be juggled at any time of the day or night.

The following successful parent-preneurs tell us the habits they practise to stay successful at work and at home.

Habit #1: Communicating Effectively

I had stresses in business going on and they were affecting me at home. I realized that I was difficult to be around for everyone, but especially my wife. I make it a point to let her know what’s going on in the business now, even if she finds it boring. The most important part isn’t what’s happening, but how I feel about what’s happening. So even though she might not understand what’s going on, she understands that it’s making me stressed (or excited) and she feels like she’s more connected with me and I feel the same with her.

Nurture your family as much as you nurture your business. Your business may take care of your family but your family will care about you.

Brian GattiPartner & Consultant, Inspire Business Concepts

Habit #2: Saying No

I tell my clients that the definition of balance is not trying to get to a perfect 10 in every area of their life. Rather, it’s figuring out how they want their life to look in each area and putting the plan in place to get there.

My #1 tip that always works for me is to pause and consciously choose what I want to say yes to and what I want to say no to. When I don’t do that, I can make choices without realizing that saying yes to this thing really means saying no to something else I may not want to say no to.

Elene Cafasso, President & Head Coach, Enerpace Executive Coaching

Habit #3: Scheduling Family Time

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    Devote one entire day to family each weekend and put away all technology. What I find that my kids want the most from me is quality time. It’s much better to set aside large chunks of time to play, talk, and explore the world and everything else can wait for a few hours (or a day).

    The easiest way to do this is by setting expectations with your clients. In the digital marketing world, it’s tough not to be always on, but communicating when and how you’re available to clients can mitigate any problems.

    Aalap Shah, Co-Founder, SoMe Connect

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    Habit #4: Loving What You Do

    You have to love what you do so it doesn’t feel like work but like a hobby or passion, because you will put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business.

    Kelley Kitley LCSW, Owner, SERENDIPITOUS PSYCHOTHERAPY, LLC, Author of Autobiography, My Self

    Habit #5: Focussing Attention, Not Time

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      You may think you have five hours to work and then wake up to a sick child. So, learn to focus only on the task at hand when you have time. You’ll find yourself much more productive if you do so. If you want to focus on your business while raising kids, you have to become a high performer. That means developing the ability to focus on what is in front of you and be present in any moment. And it means developing clarity, persuasion and productivity skills, and a sense of purpose.

      Nina AmirChief Inspiration Officer & Inspiration to Creation Coach, Pure Spirit Creations

      Habit #6: Taking Care

      Keep your energy up! You can’t help your children or your customers/clients if you have no energy. Take care of yourself first so you can care for your kids and your business. (This is just like the oxygen mask on a plane. Put it on yourself first!)

      Nina AmirChief Inspiration Officer & Inspiration to Creation Coach, Pure Spirit Creations

      Habit #7: Using The 20-3-20-10 Rule

      I work for 20 minutes, then do 3 minutes of quick chores (loading laundry, making coffee, etc.), then 20 more minutes of work, followed by 10 minutes of movement (stretching, prepping dinner, etc.). I use a headset whenever on a call and walk around the house if possible, or load or empty the dishwasher. When my little girl is home, she has a schedule with rewards, extra time with mommy for cooking or reading together, if she doesn’t interrupt me on a call, etc.

      I will say having a child in a kid-focused business is great! Her friends served as preliminary focus groups for my gaming app and she comes up with a lot of great ideas.

      Melissa Halas-Liang, Founder, Super Kids Nutrition

      Habit #8: Writing a 5-Minute To-Do List

      Make a list that you keep on your phone called “5-minute to-do list.” These will be things that take 5 minutes or less to do. Every time you get an extra few minutes, whether it be waiting at the dentist’s office or standing in line at the grocery store, look at the list and do one of them. They can be things like merge your multiple contacts in your phone or search for clients’ birthdays on facebook so you can start a list and make sure you wish them happy birthday next year.

      Amber Dolle, Real Estate Agent

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      Habit #9: Practising Balance

      Being a working mother is a true blessing. I’m showing my children, especially my daughter, that it is okay to work, be a wife, and a friend all at the same time. Aside all the busy trips, meetings, and calls, the moment I walk inside my home, I put down my phone and step away from the computer. Turning off notifications goes a long way and helps remind me that at that moment, nothing is as urgent and important as family time.

      Sometimes it’s easier said than done. In that case, I explain and show my daughter what I’m up to and why I’m on the phone. It’s a great way to converse, bring her in, help her understand and appreciate the work I’m doing. I understand that there’s more than one way to be a good mom. Being confident and balanced in life, I’m showing my children that you can be whatever you want to be without sacrificing the people and things you love.

      Harriet Mills, CEO & Founder, Wine & Design

      Habit #10: Identifying What’s Important

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        Do something every day to move your business forward. Growing a business takes time, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Doing little items everyday will add up to success.

        Heather Christian, Stressed Mommy LLC

        Habit #11: Including The Family

        Being an entrepreneur is typically a 24/7 commitment and therefore, my habit for success is consistently educating and including our son in our business. I wanted him to have some understanding of why we work so hard and have him feel some ownership and pride as well.

        As a parent-preneur, it’s difficult to separate work from home, so giving him an opportunity to participate and learn some business skills made it truly a family business. In the process, he has set up trade shows, packed boxes, worked on our database, met with clients and worn an eagle costume!

        Mickey Swortzel, Owner/CFO, New Eagle Consulting, LLC

        Habit #12: Scheduling Work Hours

        jann

          If you work from home, this is the time of day that you need to be up, dressed, and ready to go. The start time may flex depending on what else is going on in your life, but keeping to a schedule gets you in a regular work frame of mind. Conversely, be sure to schedule time with yourself, your partner, kids, and your friends in your calendar.

          It might seem too rigid to schedule fun time, but often if we don’t schedule it, then the time gets away from us and it doesn’t happen.

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          Jann Fujimoto, Speech-language Pathologist, SpeechWorks

          Habit #13: Remembering Happiness Brings Success

          I try to be a generally happy person. Success does not bring happiness, it’s the other way around: happiness brings success. If you are generally an unhappy person and feel sorry for yourself, if you’re constantly engaged in negative self-talk, you won’t be successful. If you are generally happy, give yourself positive feedback, and believe in yourself, you are more likely to be successful.

          Jesse Harrison, Owner, Zeus Legal Funding

          Habit #14: Being Disciplined

          Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 8.53.30 AM

            When I had an 8-5 job, I use to think I was so busy, but starting my business has really put things into perspective. I wake up around 4 am to get my training done by 6:30. At 6:30, I respond to emails and do client work until 7:30 (when my girls wake up). After taking them to school (they go for half days), I rush back to the house where I fully focus on work for 4 hours. Then off to get the girls, run errands, take them swimming, make dinner, bathe them, read them a story, and then get them to bed.

            After that, I enjoy my glass of wine while doing some more work.

            Olivia Jaras, Founder & CEO of Salary Coaching for Women

            Habit #15: Learning To Switch Off

            I have to consciously open the app and refresh the screen in order to download new emails. That means, on a Saturday morning, I stop and think before I hit refresh and I ask myself: how will I feel after I see my emails? If I believe an email could trigger a stress response, then I usually justify waiting till another time.

            I have also moved the email app from my home screen to the last screen of my iPhone so that, again, I have to consciously seek it out to check it.

            Katy Martin & Krista Smith, Web Designer Beauty School

            Habit #16: Embracing a Flexible Schedule

            joey4

              When moving from full-time employment to self employed, I kept my working day the same, starting between 8 AM and 9 AM through to 6 PM. I kept the breaks to a minimum and did my best to focus and get as much done as possible. So, all I’d done in this change is heap a load more pressure on myself for the same routine. Gone was the security of an employer paying me and there seemed to be no upside of being self employed.

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              After a while, I decided to relax the schedule and give myself a break if I wanted one. Not just a 5-minute coffee, but an hour or two with my son or a breakfast out with my wife, knowing I could catch up those hours this evening or at the weekend and no one was there to tell me otherwise.

              Ben Hitchens, Founder, Older Dating

              Habit #17: Expecting Respect

              Even though I look like a stay-at-home mom, I am not. I run a business from home. They must respect the fact that I work, so if I am on the phone, they must be quiet and respect my clients. In return, I respect their needs of me. When it is their time, I am devoted to them. Very little cheating is involved. No guilt.

              They also need to know and buy into the fact that this work feeds, houses, and clothes all of us, so they are part of this enterprise. I ask them to play their parts, do their best, and show up professionally like I have to for my clients. They come and help out at my events, they see themselves as part of the message and the business.

              To celebrate our accomplishments, we go on cool vacations. My daughter knows what I make, how my work helps other women, and feels the pride in that.

              Mai Vu, Author, The Divorced Mom’s Guide to Dating

              Habit #18: Taking Baby Steps

              Don’t be disillusioned that your business will be an overnight success (unless you’re very, very lucky or well connected). It takes hard work, focus, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears. I set myself weekly goals and keep a huge to-do list and stick to it. I’m constantly re-prioritising my to-do list and I work on the quick wins first. These small steps will eventually get you to your end goals.

              Lucy McShane, Owner, Real Wedding

              Habit #19: Multitasking

              Multitasking is a necessity. Multitasking is also a family event. Sometimes, my kids are right next to me at Panera or Starbucks while I am sending a few quick emails. I can listen to business podcasts while also cooking dinner. Any opportunity I have to get business done during family chores/tasks, I take advantage of that time.

              Heather McCarthy, Owner, Someone Special Uniquely Personalized Books

              Featured photo credit: London Scout via unsplash.com

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              Last Updated on December 5, 2018

              How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

              How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

              Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

              We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

              How do they do it?

              By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

              1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

              There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

              If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

              2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

              Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

              According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

              Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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              3. Demand Learning from Your Team

              CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

              “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

              His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

              Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

              “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

              Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

              4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

              Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

              Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

              • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
              • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
              • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
              • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
              • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
              • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

              5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

              Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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              Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

              • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
              • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
              • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
              • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
              • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

                “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

              Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

              6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

              The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

              Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

              You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

              7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

              Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

              But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

              On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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              • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
              • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
              • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
              • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

              8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

              Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

              When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

              9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

              The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

              What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

              Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

              10. Empower Your Employees

              Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

              They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

              Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

              You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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              If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

              11. Nurture Your Company Culture

              Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

              Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

              However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

              Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

              Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

              Be a Leader, Not a Boss

              Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

              However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

              In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

              Reference

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