I am an Entrepreneur.
I am Business Coach.
I help other women on their Entrepreneurial journey.
And yet, I’m saying this up front – not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur.
No matter how many articles on the web glorify being your own boss, traveling the world while you work, working from home and all the wonderful things that come with being an entrepreneur; let me repeat NOT EVERYONE is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
It depends on your personality. It depends on what your strengths are. It depends on how willing you are to learn, to fall, and dust yourself up. It depends on your life circumstances right now.
Before you go chasing that dream, take a while to figure out whether your personality & your life situations really account for it.
Here’s what it really takes to be successful as an entrepreneur – especially when you’re a work-from-home-
1. Extreme Discipline
When you leave the structure of a corporate job, it’s common to flounder around. The new found flexibility of working whenever, however (especially working in your pajamas) is quite heady.Not everyone works best in their pajamas. Click To Tweet
I know I don’t. It changes the way I feel and think. If I’m sitting around in the pajamas I wore all night, I feel like a worker bee. When I get up and take a shower, put on a pair of fresh presentable clothes with that dash of eye liner, I feel like the queen bee.
Then there’s the time creep. Since you work from home, everyone assumes you’re now available for them. The kids. The spouse. The parents. The neighbor. Your aunt. They call up at odd hours, they drop by unannounced. And that project due tomorrow…. well, it just doesn’t get done.
You’ll have to put up boundaries around your time and availability. Make it clear that though you’re at home, you’re still working, and they have to respect your time.
Trust me, again, I don’t know anyone who does their best work, with the kids jumping around, the TV blaring and their aunt yapping away in the background. Yes you can get work done. But it won’t be your best work.
2. A THICK Skin
Ok, perhaps that heading should;ve been “Develop Selective Hearing”. You’ll have to learn to go deaf, selectively.
There are people who’ll mock you – that you’re now unemployed.
There are those who’ll taunt you – that you gave up a lucrative career to sit at home.
Then there are those that’ll call you a gold digger or eye candy – that you’re smooching off the husband/parent.
And there are those that’ll announce outright that you’re never going to make it and you’re throwing away your life.
Yes, everyone loves telling women what they can and cannot do; and what they should do instead.Everyone loves telling women what they can and cannot do; and what they should do instead! Click To Tweet
You’re going to have to develop a really thick skin and learn NOT to respond to those nay-sayers. To not waste your time explaining to them. To not let them get into your head. Especially those well-meaning folks who are closest to you.
Whether they admit it or not, not too many people can whole heartedly accept a woman who knows her mind – and then goes after what she wants.
3. Support Systems
Remember that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Well, the same is true of a business. It takes a tribe to build a business. You can’t do it alone. No matter what they tell you. You need THREE kinds of teams really.It takes a tribe to build a business. You can’t do it alone. Click To Tweet
Team 1 for the mundane household jobs: a housekeeper, or someone to help manage and run everyday things around the house; a cook, everyone still needs those 3-5 meals a day; a driver, to chauffeur the kids around to all those activities; it’s a long list really, but you get the idea. Get family members to help or hire outside help. You need to make sure your time isn’t swallowed by the mundane, mindless tasks.
Team 2 for your Business: If you run an online business, sooner or later you’re going to need to learn all the systems and tools to run your business. Things like all the tech (setting up and running all the automation and backend of your business), graphic design, copy writing, book keeping, scheduling appointments etc. I prefer to hire out things that are not my core competency.
Team 3 For YOU: To help grow. To help you through the transformation. The people around you may not understand what you’re doing. They won’t know how to support you. You’ve got to get that support elsewhere. A coach who’s been-there-done-that. A friend who supports you unconditionally. Someone you can talk with, who get’s where you are. Trust me, this is probably the most important team you need. Working from home, being a solo-prenuer, can be isolating. You need the support to keep you grounded and afloat.
In my experience, Team 3 is the secret sauce that shapes whether you’re going to soar, or just bumble along.Working from home, being a solo-prenuer, can be isolating. You need the support to keep you grounded and afloat. Click To Tweet
4. An Insatiable Appetite to Learn
Because your business grows and evolves only as much as You do.
You’ll have to learn the techniques and strategies about everything from finding your niche, your ideal client, packaging and pricing, marketing, sales conversations.
You’ll have to stay updated with the latest tech tools to run your business – graphics, copywriting, website work, CRMs, mail providers, payment gateways, and a lot more.
There are a million strategies you can apply to better your business, and a few hundred tweaks you can do to double/triple your conversions, your revenues. Just google those terms and see the sheer number of articles that come up.
Along with an insatiable appetite to learn – you’ll also need some extreme discipline (wait, did I say that already!?) to NOT go chasing after each shiny object you find on the net. It’s all too easy to sign up for a thousand free eBooks, a few hundred webinars, a hundred eCourses. There’s a ton of smart copywriters and marketers who can make you feel that their ShinyThing is the absolute-one-thing-that-will-transform-your-life-forever. You’ll need to learn to cut through the fluff. Fast.Your business grows and evolves only as much as YOU do. Click To Tweet
5. Resilience – Never-Say-Die Attitude.
I don’t believe in sugar coating. You’re going to fall and stumble a thousand times before you make it in business. That’s reality. That’s normal.
“Failures” can be as small as getting 0 likes on your FB post, no comments on your blog, or email open rates of 5%. “Failures” can also be hearing crickets when you launch that brand new eCourse that you thought people would jump all over; or that program that friends promised they will definitely sign up for.
No one talks about these things in the world of online business. Everyone shows you the sparkly success stories. But the small ‘failures’ of everyday take up 90% of your time, your mindspace.
It takes fortitude and a BIG mindset shift to look at them as learning experiences instead of as personal failures.
That’s why you need a thick skin.
That’s why you need a team, especially a personal cheerleading squad.
That’s why you need to have an insatiable appetite to experiment, to tweak and to learn.
And of course, the discipline to stay your course. (now, didn’t I mention discipline a while ago!?)
All the while you’re still being mum, and wife, and daughter and aunt. Yes. You’ve got to be superhuman!!
Ok, who am I kidding!?!
You’ve got to develop the ability to compartmentalize these roles. Or Integrate them seamlessly. Which is pretty much the same thing as being super woman. Gah!The small ‘failures’ of everyday take up 90% of your time, your mindspace. How do you get over them? Click To Tweet
6. Systems, Processes, Automation.
I know most people don’t think systems and processes are sexy. In fact, if like me, you’re a
rebel feminist, you’ve probably been fighting the system all your life. You know, systems that insist you have to do things a certain way.
Yet, the only way I have found it possible to juggle everything together – without losing my sanity, is to create systems. For everything.
Housekeeping. Cooking. Blogging. Client Calls. Everything goes into my calendar. My son and I both thrive on routine. We like to know what’s next, what we’ll be doing tomorrow, and where we’ll go on the weekend. I’m not big on ‘impromptu’. So we’ve set up systems for just about everything. And it keeps us afloat. It makes sure I’m not worn down by decision fatigue by the end of the day. It ensure that I don’t spend all my time tracking and doing mindless work.
I learnt this back in my corporate days.
I hated doing mundane jobs, especially ones that were repetitive. If had to do something more than 2 times, I’d create a system for it. A cron job. A form. A how-to-document. Whatever it took for me to be able to automate that job, or to hand it over to someone else lower down the stream from me. I still do that today. And it’s saved me countless hours, and saved a lot of the hair on my head.Save your time and energy for the tasks that are truly you. Outsource, or automate, everything else. Click To Tweet
7. Fanatical drive To Always Be Improving.
Do you know how businesses flourish ?
Hint: it’s not by pumping in hundreds of thousands of dollars in VC funding.
Businesses flourish by constantly improving the experience for their clients and their customers. By providing ever increasing value to their customers.
You’ve got to have that fire in your belly, to be constantly improving. To do better. To create a better experience for your clients. To add more value to your customers. To improve your automation. To improve your bottom line. And thus, to improve your revenues.
It’s a never ending cycle really. The day you stop improving, the day you stop evolving, your business will stagnate. Or die out. (Anyone remember Nokia?)The day you stop improving, the day you stop evolving, your business will stagnate. Or die out. Click To Tweet
8. The Ability to Constantly Put Yourself Out There.
Ah, this is my favorite one. And the one I personally struggle with most, being an introvert, and a Virgo.
You can have the most excellent service or product – but if no one knows it exists, your business isn’t going to make money. You’ve got to put yourself out there. You’ve got to let people know you exist. And not just that you exist – but what problem you solve, for who, and how.
The preferred industry term for that is sales and marketing, which sounds a bit sleazy. I prefer to just say “Get out there, get known.”
I know many women struggle with this. We have this hidden voice in our head that tells us to not be seen, to not stand out. We’re afraid of putting ourselves out there, because we know we’ll be judged. Harshly.
And yet, if people don’t know that you exist, well, they can’t really buy from you can they?
The bottom line is that you’ve just got to let people know. There’s no avoiding that.
Unless you’re lucky enough to land that ONE wealthy sponsor who’ll happily pay a bomb for your services/product. (Relying on ONE client comes with its own pitfalls, but hey, if it works for you….who am I to comment!)If people don't know that you exist, well, they can't really buy from you can they? Click To Tweet
9. Believing in Yourself and Your Vision.
Times will get tough. Things will get worse before they get better.
I keep telling clients – starting a business is a journey of personal transformation. Very similar to giving birth – in all its glory and its pain.
You’ll come up against blocks you never knew existed. Most of them mental blocks, limiting beliefs, that no longer serve you.
You’ll come across many learning experiences disguised as failures. You’ve got to see through them.
You’ll come across many naysayers who tell you it’s impossible. That you’re a fool. You’ll have to turn a deaf ear.
You’ll come across many ShinyObjects trying to seduce you. You’ve got to trust that you know enough.
You’ll come across many you’re doing better than you, who’re shouting their success from the roof tops. You’ve got to believe YOU ARE ENOUGH.
But wait, haven’t I said all of this before? You see the theme, don’t you?You’ve got to believe YOU ARE ENOUGH. Click To Tweet
This is the real raw truth about working from home as a mother, as an entrepreneur. No one tells it real and raw. You don’t need yet another post telling you that it’s easy to be your own boss. You don’t need yet another post telling you to quit your job tomorrow and go live your dream. You don’t need another post telling you how to double your email list in 1 month.
What it really takes to thrive as your own boss, as a work-from-home-
mom-entreprenuer is a spine of steel.
Is it your cup of tea? Is it a journey you really want to embark on?
If this list scared you – good. You’ll know you’re not ready for it yet. Save yourself some heartache and reevaluate your entrepreneurial dreams before you quit that job.
If you nodded along with enthusiasm – “Oh, yeah, this is me!”, then welcome aboard, you’re ready for the journey.
Want some company? I’d love to be part of your journey. Connect with me and other like minded women over at this free Facebook group.
Want some help building that business? Check out my (free) Guides that cover everything from business strategy, getting to know your ideal clients, website design, SEO and much more.