The typical stereotypes still prevail
In the press and in the entrepreneurial environment, stories of how hard work it takes to succeed with its business abound, and the ‘real’ entrepreneurs are those who work 90 hours a week from a basement room. The entrepreneurial environment is described as “a macho culture with an all-or-nothing mentality”.
Prominent entrepreneurs report that you must prioritize your business above everything– including yourself. Several clearly admit that it is their wife and children who pay the price for their success. Many of the statements come from men who have created some great companies, and we can learn a lot from them about doing business, but they can be difficult to mirror and use as role models if you are a woman and have or would like to have children. There is a need for a more nuanced picture of the entrepreneurial stars and different types of role models, so more women dare to take the plunge.
Women do better business
Statistics show that companies do just as well, whether they are started by women with toddlers or single men, and that companies with women inhighermanagement are doing better than those where there are only men. Yet there are three times as many men as women who start their own business.
Studies confirm that female role models are needed for us to get more female entrepreneurs. Mirjam van Praag, professor of Entrepreneurship at CBS, has carried out several scientific studies showing that itis 60% more likely that daughters become self-employed if theirmothersare. At the same time, the female employees in a company are more likely to become self-employed if the company has a female owner. It’s worth thinking about.
There are good role models
You can succeed as a mother and self-employed. Family life is not incompatible with having yourown business. Although you work a lot, you also have the freedom and flexibility to structure your own everyday life in a way you cannot when you are employed. It’s just not the stories we hear most of in the media, or talk about at entrepreneurial conferences, because few entrepreneurs want to be seen as the soft parent whospends too much time on his or her childrenand too little on his or her business.
I am the mother of four myself and work in my company, Mors Business, where I helpwomen to succeed with their businesseswithout sacrificing their family. Through the communityI have started with more than 400 members, I can see the need to also be able to talk with like-minded people, and that you can easily be a skilled businesswoman, even if you also want to be with yourchildren. Based on the interviews I have made with successful mothers over the past three years, it is clear that one of the keys to success is to be good at prioritizing and delegating. You can easily get busy without getting anywhere. The trick is to put energy there where it creates momentum in the company.
In conclusion, here is someadvice to make room for both family and business.
7 tips for creating more time and balance in everyday life:
- Prioritize. You need to prioritize if you want time for your family and business without burning out. When you spend your time on what is most important to you, you will rarely miss what you renounced.
- Take advantage of the flexibility and that you decide for yourself. It may well be you work more, but you can put your work at other times so you can be with your children when they are at home.
- Lowerthe expectations of making home baking, ironing,laundry or participating in all activities in institutions and school. Enjoy being with your family when you’re not working.
- Put things in perspective. You don’t have to do everything every day or week. For example, distribute friend visits over time and focus on quality rather than quantity.
- Get your husband, partner, family or a cleaning lady to help with the household duties.
- Spend your time on what you do best in your business and get help for the rest. You do not need to hire. Networking, study assistants, freelancers, virtual assistants and business partners can do many tasks for you.
- Remember to recharge. You need to be filled up in order to keep giving to your business and those you love. A tired and burnt out mother is not beneficial to anyone. Breaks and self-indulgence are a must.
About the Author
Christine Gouchault is a mother of four and a successful business owner. She also provides workshops and seminars to help other mums develop their businesses, and is a mentor to entrepreneur students.