Being a female entrepreneur takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work. Your business becomes your baby as you birth it from idea to launch and beyond. Being a mother is even longer hours and a lifelong commitment to your family. As more and more women start and run successful businesses while having a family, they are often asked; "How the hell do they do it all?!"
We asked 10 Mompreneurs what their “secrets" are, and they openly share their advice, tips, and tricks to juggling their business babies and actual babies.
Let go of control and teach children independence
Actress and Blogger, Elisabeth Rohm, advises to "Instill confidence, positivity, and enthusiasm in the handling of their independence from you. Don't dwell on the goodbyes for too long or create drama around the fact that you're a working mother and definitely don't guilt yourself for working and being a Supermom and super role model!"
“Teaching our son from an early age how to be independent and creating routines and rituals for himself has been a gift. Since the age of 6, he has had his own diary to write his after-school activities in as well as important dates and reminders. We've always instilled in him that preparation is the key. I know he is confident to look after himself without relying on other people." Tina Bangel, Vocal Coach and Founder of One Voice School of Singing
It takes a village
“I have a lot of help around me. I have an incredible team at my restaurant who I am so proud of. They are an incredible bunch who work incredibly hard. At Super Mamas, our sister Elizabeth is our producer and who I delegate a lot to. At home, I have an incredible husband who is a true partner to me in life. So how I do it all? By asking for help, every day." Bricia Lopez, Owner of Guelaguetza Restaurant and Creator of Super Mamas
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Mona Loring, Owner and Partner at Conscious Living PR and Status PR says to "Plan ahead for as much as you can. From planning a week ahead of time to planning out everything I need to get done for the next day, I find that I'm able to get so much more done with a schedule. I will plan the night before for self-care, time with my kids on their homework and extracurricular activities while meal planning and scheduling my business meetings the week before whenever possible."
Fabienne Raphael, Online Business Consultant, Speaker and Podcaster, advises to “Prioritize and accept that some aspects have to get all my attention and some others will be neglected temporarily. It is also a great reminder to recognize which areas to delegate."
The early bird catches the worm.
Allison Carter, Creator of Confetti Party Plans and Host of the Memories in Moments Podcast, gets up an hour earlier before her kids. “Waking up an hour earlier than my kids has been the biggest game-changer for my productivity. It allows me to start my day with intention, rather than immediately being on the defense with kids, needs, and the breakfast hustle. During that time, I plan my day, look at what needs to get accomplished, get social media posts finalized and ready to post, read a business book, work on my podcast, really anything! The sky is the limit in that uninterrupted, quiet hour, and it has quickly become my favorite hour of the day!"
“I've found that when I get up about an hour earlier than the kids (and spouse!), I can plan my day, workout, meditate and really set an intention for how I want the day to go. This morning routine helps me stay focused on my daily goals. When I don't get up earlier than the kids, I am way more irritable and unfocused. It completely changes my attitude and the direction of my whole day." says Renata Rebing, Healthy Food Blogger
Intention is the name of the game
Sitinee Sheffert is a mom of 5, TEDx speaker and the Founder of Giving Artfully. She says her #1 tip for mom entrepreneurs is to “Be intentional with your time and actions. As a mom, when you are with your kids, be intentional with your time with them. Don't be distracted worrying about work. Our kids will grow up so fast before our eyes, we don't want to miss this precious time because we were too distracted. As an entrepreneur, be intentional about your action steps. We are so limited by time that we must focus only on steps that will further our business."
Saying “No" to getting it all done
“For many of us moms, there's a natural impulse to do everything for everyone. The idea that being a super mom means sacrifice isn't necessarily true. One of the best things you can say to free up time and brain-space is saying no when something is out of alignment." says Kenya Moses, Founder of Be A Fit Mama, Inc., Author and Speaker.
Andi Forness, an online dating coach, says “My #1 tip raising my 2 sons as a single mom while I started and now run a successful online business, and dating, was to realize early that I was not Super Mom. The reward for not being Super Mom is that I get time for self-care and fun and my sons are growing up to be responsible little men."
While building and running a business plus making sure your family is in order are all very important, don't forget to take care of yourselves. The last piece of unanimous advice from all of these incredible women is that
"You can't get it all done and that is perfectly fine. You are still a Super Mom."
I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"
I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.
In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.
Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.
For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.
Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.
The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.
It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.
While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.
What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.
While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.