Every entrepreneur needs a toolkit packed with skills and character traits to help effectively navigate what is one of life’s greatest challenges (that is, building a business). And when we are talking about the mumpreneur who is also juggling a busy parenting role (another of life’s greatest challenges), it’s fair to say that the toolkit needs to be more of an arsenal!
The truth is, mumpreneurs who achieve success do so because they are better at that which is often so elusive to just about all entrepreneurs: work-life balance. In no other role is working and home life so tightly entwined, and making a go of it requires a unique outlook that lends to the development of the key skills and traits that will help you achieve that balance and tide you through on the long and taxing journey that lies before you.
And just what kind of skills are we ultimately speaking of? It’s an endless list, no doubt, so how about we start by looking at the Virtuzone top five list of qualities we believe define what is at the heart of the successful mumpreneur?
Here we go, then. Successful mumpreneurs are…
1. Clear and quick to get to the point and take decisions
If there is one thing that mumpreneurs are short on, it’s time. Essentially you are facing far too many tasks all at once throughout the day, and need to be fairly quick in deciding on your course of action. Mumpreneurs must therefore be masters at reviewing the facts at hand to make the call instantly so that they can then move on to the next to do. No time for dilly-dallying here.
Mumpreneurs must be masters at reviewing the facts at hand to make the call instantly so that they can then move on to the next to do.
Follow the approach popularly known as “Know-Think-Do”: know the ultimate objective of any decision, think which of the potential options available aligns most closely with that objective, then just do it.
2. A good measure of cool-headedness
No surprise this one is on our list. With so much going on, if you are looking for an excuse to lose it you would never be short of one – either in your work or personal life. That’s because mumpreneurs exist in not one but two highly demanding worlds, so without a good helping of level-headedness, the journey would be impossible to navigate with composure.
Patience is a key word in all of this. As the American author Joyce Meyer puts it it’s “not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”
And let’s be clear: A cool head is vital when making decisions, scheduling work, building business plans, dealing with finances and cash flow, winning over prospects – and so on.
As for how it helps when dealing with the family – well, no mum out there needs me to lecture on that!
3. Somehow not control freaks?
Yes, that question mark is intentional, and here’s why: a lot of entrepreneurs are control freaks, and that is no bad thing. However, a mumpreneur who also wants to remain in control of everything at all times is likely one who will very quickly drive herself to the brink.
The key to getting this right lies in learning to let go. That is, to understand how to structure both your business and personal lives in such a way that you have control over what is important, but are not spending a lot of time sweating the small stuff.
Understand how to structure both your business and personal lives in such a way that you have control over what is important.
Letting go is in fact so important that renowned angel investor Liron Petrushka once described it as the greatest skill every entrepreneur must learn. Petrushka points to the examples of Zuckerberg, Larry Page and others and asks the question: What would happen if they got bogged down in every working detail of their business – would they be the successful entrepreneurs they are today? Certainly not, Petrushka concludes.
Same thing for you mumpreneurs. Hold on to the right things, let go of most things.
4. Incredibly tough
It’s a quote so ubiquitous that it is near impossible to find out who said it first: “There’s no job tougher than being a mum.” While I agree with this sentiment almost entirely, I can’t help but think that whoever did say it wasn’t also trying to run a business at the same time. Therefore, I’d like to put forward a slightly revised version: “There’s no job tougher than being a mumpreneur!”
Both mentally and physically, it really doesn’t come much harder than this, and without an iron will and a thick skin, the journey of the mumpreneur will be too much to bear.
In all honesty, there is no real quick method to developing mental toughness. Perhaps some are born with it, but I do believe it is something we develop over many years. And from a business and parenthood perspective, mental toughness is very much about wanting to do things right for yourself and others. It’s what then leads to you exhibiting self-motivation, positivity, control over your emotions, and so on.
5. Committed to quality
This – like several of the points on this list – could be applied to all entrepreneurs. However, with a mumpreneur’s time often being spread so thin, it’s not always an easy principle to stick to. Do keep in mind, however, that there is not a business in the land that has survived without applying a minimum level of quality to its output.
Any entrepreneur who wants to build something with true potential must be at least as good as the top-tier companies in the sector. Otherwise, with so much competition out there, you can forget about repeat customers and referrals – essentials for growth.
Having said that, I am sure there are times when “settling” is just too tempting. Time is short. You are tired. You just want to throw in the towel and move on. But the successful mumpreneur – regardless of how much she has on her plate – will ensure that all output meets the right level of quality.
The successful mumpreneur – regardless of how much she has on her plate – will ensure that all output meets the right level of quality.
To put it in the words of Aristotle, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”
The long road
Do we really need the added stress? I mean isn’t motherhood enough to keep us busy? Sure it is, but the reality is that most mumpreneurs are building businesses out of necessity. Income is needed.
Just remember, if you are going to do it, then do it right. Work on developing the skills and traits that are not only going to help you achieve business success, but are going to allow you to keep balance along the way.
That’s what the above list is about. Traits and skills that will help you achieve a mix of both, really. It’s a long road after all. On all fronts. So find the formula – and work on the skills – that are going to get you down that road in one piece, bring you success, and ideally keep you smiling much of the time.