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Being a “mompreneur” has taught me everything I need to know and understand in running a successful multi-million dollar business operation. Some of the top strategies I use today resulted from my experience as a mom raising two children on the autism spectrum, but they could apply to all the other working moms (and dads) out there. Here are five of the most essential.
1. Versatile communication
Having the opportunity to raise kids that learn differently has offered an incredible communication superpower. Most of us intuitively communicate in the same manner with everyone else. Therefore, if you are a visual learner, you assume that others are also visual learners. At home, I had to learn to communicate in various ways that allowed the proper language expression for each of my children’s development. In doing so, it framed the way I connect with people today. When I lead a meeting or prepare an email, I am hyper-focused on the language, tone and imagery expression. In almost all my communication, I always ask a recall question. For example, I might say, “Does this make sense?” or, “Did I address your question?” I never want to presume that the other person understands my expression unless I verify it.
2. Advocating for your needs
During my children’s earlier years, I had to learn the proper way to advocate for their needs. One of the critical steps was navigating through their Individual Education Plan (IEP) and negotiating with schools on the best strategies for accommodations. It wasn’t easy pushing back against longstanding educational bureaucracy. I remember one of the principals stating that I was a “helicopter mom” after one of my children attempted suicide. At that moment, I realized how necessary it was to advocate for my family and their needs. In business, I have encountered similar highly stressful scenarios, and I had no choice but to advocate for my needs or the needs of the team I managed.
3. Saying no more often
As a parent, I would love to provide everything to my children, but that wouldn’t establish healthy boundaries or a realistic model of how the world operates. Therefore, as a mom, I have learned to say no often and explain why. If you are always saying yes to things, it may make it hard to manage your time. In my day-to-day role at work, I operate the same way. I often decline events, parties and meetings unless directly correlated to my work. It has been a gratifying gift because my time is by my choices instead of having others make the choices.
4. Being great at one thing, outsourcing the rest
Anyone in my inner circle knows I am an awful cook. Seriously. My very first cake, I broiled it. I have tried to cook potatoes, but forgot to poke holes to cook correctly. I’ve even been known to mess up hot chocolate. The point is that I don’t need to be great at everything, including cooking. I need to be great at one thing, and in my case, that is understanding how to navigate the funding world and help small businesses grow. The cooking I have outsourced to my wonderful husband.
5. Building your b-team
And by b-team, I’m referring to my boss team. It’s a group of incredible women and men that know how to be a boss in their world and get results. There are many times that I may not have the answer, the solution, the resources or the connections. However, I have built an exceptional boss team that delivers every time. Most of my teammates come equipped with insights from years of interactions with groups that align with my values. My boss team includes experts in finance, product development, business investments, real estate, Autism Spectrum Disorder and strong mompreneurs
When I have the opportunity to work with a mompreneur, the first point of discussion is to acknowledge her resilience. Mothers have a level of training that prepares them for any business challenge. They understand how to navigate hard things and challenging conversations and still show up ready to work with a smile. I feel truly blessed and grateful to be gifted, my incredible children. It is the best training I could have received to be a successful businesswoman. If you are a mompreneur reading this article, I celebrate you and look forward to seeing your work worldwide.