When you are a single mom, you often have three full-time jobs: mother, father, and full-time business owner. No, it’s not easy, but you are an amazing woman making it happen in your business and for your children. I was thinking back over the last 17 years of raising my son, and as I thought about what it took to become a great woman business leader, it inspired me to share what I learned. Here are my 25 mompreneur tips to help you excel in your business and family life.
1. Build a Mom Network
Topping the list of mompreneur tips is this advice: your greatest resource as a single mom is a mom’s group. You can create a working mom’s group in your local area. Engage with moms at your kid’s school, church, yoga class, or sports clubs, or join a mom’s organization like MomsClub, Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS), Mocha Moms, or Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
2. Get Help as Soon As You Can
I live in a city where I have no family, and I needed to hire a personal assistant to help take care of us. You might need an assistant with a hybrid position managing your schedule and admin tasks and keeping track of personal tasks related to your children, such as drop-offs, school trips, tutoring scheduling, and sports.
3. Line Up Mentors for Your Child
Even though my son’s father is in his life, I found that I still needed other positive male mentors in his life. Three men stood in the gap for my son: my neighbor John, my son’s karate instructor Sensei Gerald, and another friend who taught him personal grooming man stuff. These men have been invaluable to my son and me.
4. Line Up a Team of Babysitters
Many of my mompreneur tips focus on being prepared for anything that my happen in life and business. You need a nighttime babysitter, a summertime babysitter, and someone who can watch your children overnight when you travel for your business. If you are lucky, you can get a grandparent to step in and take your children for a portion of the summer to give you a break. Otherwise, make sure you have at least three babysitting options on standby.
5. Hire a Virtual Assistant
Even if you are a new mompreneur, you can hire a part-time contractor or virtual assistant to provide social media, accounting, sales, or admin support based on your budget. Using platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, or Hiremymom, you can find an assistant that fits your needs.
6. Use Time Management Tools
This is one of the mompreneur tips I offer to all entrepenreurs. Using a time management app will help you keep track of your deliverables to clients and your schedule. My favorite apps are Notion, Remember the Milk and Rescue Time. You should also ask other entrepreneurs what apps they use.
7. Limit Time in Email and Social Media
Set aside a specific and limited time every day to check and respond to your emails and veg out on your favorite social media platform. (Yes, I’m talking to you TikTok folk out there). Focus on email for no longer than an hour a day and limit yourself to 30 minutes per social media site unless you are doing it for business development.
8. Avoid Multitasking
Moms excel at multitasking, so you may be surprised that one of my mompreneur tips is to focus on completing one task at a time. Multitasking reduces efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain cannot perform both tasks successfully. By focusing on one thing, you will achieve more in less time.
9. Build Your Agenda the Day Before
At the end of each day, list the top 5 things you need to accomplish the next day. I find it’s best to tackle these things in the morning before 11am. Start with the hardest task first. I wouldn’t even set a meeting or conference call before 11am. Many urgencies can come up on any given day; if you focus on your agenda and not voicemail or email in the morning, you’ll get much more done.
10. Use a Master Calendar
You can use an electronic calendar such as Google Calendar, which you can see on your computer and cellphone, to keep track of all your personal and business appointments for you and your children. You can even use different colors for each member of your family.
11. Buy Extra Gifts and Cards
Another of my mompreneur tips focused on being prepared! Always keep a few teachers’ appreciation gifts, birthday, and condolence cards on hand. It’s always helpful to have gifts, cards, and bottles of wine around that you can grab as a last-minute gift for a friend or kid’s birthday party.
12. Organize Your Workspace
When working from home, you need a dedicated space, preferably a room with a door. Get a great ergonomic chair and desk. Make sure your background is suitable for online meetings, and invest in a great light to always look good on camera. Create a sign for your door that will indicate to your children when you need quiet and no one should enter. Having an office will also make you more productive.
13. Meal Prep
Plan your meals by the week. Do your food shopping or order it via Instacart or Amazon Fresh. Do all your cooking on Sunday, and store everything in containers, so it’s as easy as grab, warm, and eat. Leverage an air fryer or a pressure cooker to help you cook faster without a lot of stirring the pot. You’ll eat much healthier and save a lot of money by not ordering fast food.
14. Buy in Bulk
If you have a larger family, you may want to shop at wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, or Sam’s Club to stock up on meat, snacks, household items, and office supplies. Not only will you save time but also hundreds of dollars a year. But be careful not to buy more than you can store.
15. Hire Someone to Clean Your House
Here is one of my mompreneur tips I hope you never forget: your time is valuable, so always consider what your time is worth. Hire someone to clean your house. Schedule a visit to your home every two weeks, and don’t let the cleaner do anything in your children’s rooms—they don’t have a cleaning lady, you do. The clean smell will help you be more productive in your home office.
16. Set Out Clothes the Night Before
Prepare clothes at night before you go to bed. If you have a meeting or event, pull your clothes out, iron anything that needs it, and then lay out your children’s clothes, uniforms, or any gear or clothes they use for extracurricular activities. Pack up the clothes and leave them by the coat closet or shoe basket, so they don’t forget them in the morning.
17. Invest in Professional Development
I have invested in professional development courses almost every year since I started my business, so it’s one of the best mompreneur tips I can offer you too. You need to intentionally work on your leadership and business skills. Don’t be afraid to invest in books, courses, or coaching to move your business forward faster. Let’s say you’ve been struggling with building sales funnels; you could enroll in the Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Course at www.smallbizladyuniversity.com.
18. Manage Your Business Finances
Learn how to manage your business finances. First, hire an accountant to keep your books monthly. Focus on you tracking expenses and profits. One of my favorite resources to learn about money is TheMoneyCoach.net by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox. It’s also a good idea to monitor your credit score.
19. Focus on Quality Sleep
‘Team no sleep’ is not a team anyone needs to be on. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. A cluttered mind can never do good work. When you have a big deliverable, get up early and focus on it. You’ll get more done when your mind is rested.
20. Keep Yourself Healthy
Make sure you eat healthily, drink water, go for walks, do line dancing, start golfing, do yoga, or practice meditation to reduce stress. This is one of my mompreneur tips that you should customize, but the general advice is to get yourself an exercise hobby. Also, be sure to get an annual physical to make sure everything is cool.
21. Plan the Laundry
I don’t believe in spending all day Saturday doing laundry. Do a little bit every few days. You can start the washing machine before you go to bed; then, you start the dryer early in the morning. You can even ask your family to help fold the laundry!
22. Celebrate All Your Achievements
It’s important to celebrate big and small victories. Suppose you got a new client or closed a huge contract you’ve been chasing for some time. It’s worth celebrating! Treat yourself to a nice dinner, a deep tissue massage, or a pedicure.
23. Practice Saying No
I once heard that a lady should have at least five ways to say no. It’s best to have a few ways to decline so you can whip out a quick response at any time. Try these: “No” (with a headshake) or “I’m so sorry, I can’t,” or “I couldn’t possibly do that,” or my favorite quip, “I have no budget for that; I’m a single mom.” The more you practice saying no, people will stop asking.
24. Make Time for Yourself
Burnout is a real issue for mompreneurs. Too often, you feel like your day never ends. Find ways at least once a month to do something for yourself. Take a yoga class, meet your friends for dinner, enjoy a spa day by yourself, or go on a girl’s trip with buddies from college. Rest and laughter are good for the soul. Make time for yourself.
25. Remember Your Family Is Your #1 Customer
The last advice on my list of mompreneur tips is to do your best not to put your business ahead of your family. You work hard so that you can provide for them, so don’t neglect them. Children spell love T-I-M-E. Even if you need to keep working late into the night, have dinner and talk with your children about their day before you jump back on the computer after they are in bed.
Is there anything I missed? Please let me know if you have any mompreneur tips to share.