Being a mother is one of the greatest gifts of life, and so is being a successful entrepreneur. Mompreneurs have been on a constant rise to achieve the impossible, between running around making sure every detail is right on their business plan to packing school lunch for their little one each morning.
Unfortunately, not all mothers are blessed to be around family when raising a child, especially in countries like the UAE where the majority of the population are expats. On the other hand, mompreneurs often have to deal with the criticism that arises when they pursue a career path or open a business of their own, simply because “there is no way you can take care of your kids properly and be working at the same time”.
Aditi Kedia Nemani, founder of Strapize and one of our lovely entrepreneurs on ItsHerWay, shared with us our own experience of how she managed her challenges of motherhood whilst building a successful home-grown business. Strapize is a home-grown business that provides you with high-quality pieces of Smart Watch accessories, the prices are amazing and the shipping is worldwide!
We asked Aditi to weigh in on the topic as she herself faced challenges of “letting go” and breaking free from a perfectionist set of expectations as a mother. We hope to provide guidance and motivation to our lovely mompreneurs who have started their own business and those who are considering doing so through this discussion.
Q: As a mother, how did you find the balance between managing your home and running your own business?
I feel a home-grown business is a solution to the inter-role conflict experienced by women attempting to balance work and family roles. “Let it go” is something I say to myself 5 times a day because as a homemaker I have to set my perfectionist self aside and have to let it go. Over time I learned that if I focus on all the little things with my baby, then I won’t get anything done. That’s why I focus on the big picture and plan ahead; be it planning my baby’s activities to keep him occupied or planning the weekly food chart with the house help or deciding which events to attend. I tried to be a super independent “SHERO” but soon I realized that it’s a myth so now I simply ask for help when needed so that the work gets done faster and efficiently.
When I decided to start my business, my primary focus was the baby and managing the business itself. Running my own business gave me the flexibility to do the tasks at my own convenience. Especially when the business is homegrown, I could be there for him whenever he needed me and at the same time be involved with my work. So, I guess just learning and prioritizing helped me realize that I could be a successful entrepreneur and a good mother.
Q: What is the initial process or action that a mom should take when she is considering starting her business?
For me, the initial process was nowhere related to having a plan chalked out about setting up the business, but it was completely related to preparing my baby and myself for the changes that we both were going to face. I made my desk a learning station for my kiddo so that even when I am working, he feels that he has my attention.
I think the foremost important thing is being mentally strong to understand that business is not successful from the start. When new moms take the initiative to start something of their own and face the setback it can be very upsetting and make us feel very low but being mentally prepared for the same and not letting the hopes being too high help us with a reality check.
Secondly for the most important thing was that my baby should be in good hands when I am not around. Having somebody to take care of the baby is very important because that’s what really helps me to concentrate on my work. When my baby is happy, I can be happily working.
Q: How can you stay up to date with the trends of the business world?
As a small business owner, I need to keep myself informed and then take advantage of the new opportunity. I find it crucial to be on social media and customize my business’s feeds on Facebook and Instagram so that I can scan the relevant and trending topics that very day. I subscribe to the trade journals to know about specific issues relating to my industry and also the consumer magazines for fun because I am sure of finding something relevant that is going to spark an idea. Lastly, I like to engage with my customers which is just having a small conversation with them to know their feedback or replying to the customer’s post. These things for sure helps me with keeping myself up to date but also helps my business change with the changing trends.
Q: What are some networking strategies a mompreneur can adopt to help her expand her circle whilst not having to worry about taking care of the kids?
Being a mompreneur I try to do everything from managing kids to running the business to taking out time for family events and sometimes finding times to keep myself sane. But at the same time when my focus is managing the business I take out time to network because I have learned that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Maya Angelou.
As a mom, it is always difficult to attend any late evening events, so I have to do my research to pick and choose which is the most important for me and I try to make the most of it by bringing myself completely out there. I also try to create my own networking groups of local moms where I know I can take my baby and also use it as leverage to publicize my business. This helps me not only to manage my schedule but also to add on more credibility as I am in charge which definitely makes people look at me differently as a go-getter. The easiest networking strategy which works for me is social media where I get to make connections, find some bloggers who are willing to try my product, promote it and share feedback.
Q: What are the risks that a mompreneur should take into consideration before starting anything?
Starting something of my own always excited me but sometimes it daunted me as well. However, this didn’t stop me as I knew I can use my skills that I have learned from managing the house and job to my business. The most important thing all moms should know is it’s okay to not know everything about the industry and markets. Making mistakes will always be a part of the process, so instead of trying to get everything right, our focus should be on the essentials to get started first. Creating a lean plan that focuses only on the primary considerations totally worked for me.
Initially, I tried to do everything myself as I wanted to cut down on the cost but I soon learned the art of delegating- Be it house chores or taking care of the baby or packaging of my products, or accounting. I would chalk out the cost to time ratio and started to delegate/outsource certain activities which help me perform more efficiently. Every business runs the financial risk and we should try to cut down the cost but understanding that in the course of managing 3 full-time jobs of managing the house, baby and business we may somewhere lose ourselves. So to enjoy what we are doing it’s best to get things done by the people who are the best at it.