The skills set required of mothers isn’t that different from the one required of entrepreneurs. Yes entrepreneurs have an expertise in a particular field. But you could be the world’s top expert in anything and still that would not be good enough to get a business off the ground, run it day to day and grow it. Running a business requires additional skills that aren’t always front and center, but are critical to success.
I’m lucky to have a mom who demonstrated these skills my entire childhood—and whether she knows it or not (she probably does, she’s pretty smart)—taught me these lessons and how to use them in my professional life. In honor of Mother’s Day, I wrote them down. So without further ado, here’s a list of skills I learned from my mom that I use today in running my business:
Self Motivation/Self Discipline
Moms have no boss. No one doles out tasks. Moms see what needs to be done and do it. My mom made her own hours (usually 24/7), set her own giant to-do list and created her own routines. No one checked in to see if she was accomplishing her responsibilities. She drove herself and completed her work without status meetings, timesheets or TPS reports. Now self-employed, it’s up to me to figure what needs to be done and make it all happen. The to-do list can get pretty long.
There is no time in motherhood to mess around (unless it’s playing video games, coloring or reading children’s books, obviously). Working efficiently is key to getting the aforementioned giant to-do list done. Without good time management you’re swimming in a sea of unfinished chores. Thanks to my mom, I learned how to budget the right amount of time for each project, in what order to do them to maximize that finite workday and how to stay focused.
Bored? Yes, mom can fix that. Just say the word and she was quick to rattle off a list of about 30 things I could be doing (whether you want to do them is another question entirely). She can also develop extensive lists of possibilities for science projects or history papers. It’s a gift, truly. But this just shows how important brainstorming really is. Brainstorming ideas for my business is essential for coming up with new marketing and business development strategies as well as service offering.
Kids young and old come up with all sorts of problems. No surprise! Moms can find solutions for just about any scenario. When you’re running the show, you might as well get a business card that reads Chief Problem Solver because it comes with the territory. I’ve learned the key is really to “keep calm and carry on” because it’s much easier to find the right answer that way.
No one is more flexible than a mom. No sooner does she get into her planned activity than a kid gets sick and she’s switching everything. I’m thinking about a particular stomach bug incident I had at church. But moms don’t miss a beat. And it’s true of entrepreneurs too. There is always a fire to put out or something new that pops up and demands attention. We’re always ready to change our focus at the drop of a dime.
Literally getting three kids to baseball practice on the same night. That’s it. That’s the example. How is that possible? Even with dad, it doesn’t add up. And we were fed too! Moms and entrepreneurs have a powerful ability to keep many balls in the air at the same time, from managing clients and deadlines to multiple responsibilities—and usually make it look easy.
Where does it come from? There’s not a lot of down time in motherhood or entrepreneurship, mostly because your brain is always thinking about that next thing. Somehow, you learn to just keep moving.
By now, I think it’s pretty obvious how much moms have in common with entrepreneurs.
Mom, thanks for being one of the best and teaching me everything I needed to know! Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.
A very happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!