Are you thinking of starting your own business but fighting your own self-doubt? From time to time we all have those voices in our heads telling us that we’re not good enough, or that we just don’t have what it takes to succeed.
This can be a big problem for mums in particular, because our business role models are mostly wealthy, extrovert and male. It feels like there’s a huge gap between the dragons in the BBC’s Dragon’s Den and our everyday experience of feeding the kids and getting them to school on time.
But believe me, you have a lot to offer. Here are just a few examples of the valuable skills you’ve picked up as a mum:
If you’ve ever tried to convince a screaming two-year-old back into a pushchair or a three year-old that they don’t want chocolate for every meal, then believe me you have excellent negotiation skills!
Mums are fantastic networkers. I’m always amazed by how a group of mums can connect with and motivate many others to raise money for charity, get all hands on deck for a school event or help out another family that is having a tough time.
Birthday parties, weddings, school events and fundraisers. There’s always an event in the diary if you’re a mum. And most of us are great at organising them, often with limited time and resources.
True, you may not feel like the most calm and serene person in the world when faced with the prospect of removing glitter glue from your carpet. But motherhood definitely teaches you that you can’t have everything precisely when you want it. Sometimes you have to get to work then wait a while before you see success.
Getting things done
Since I became a mum I’ve dropped my standards. And that’s a good thing! My inner perfectionist used to stop me from tackling some projects because the time wasn’t right or I needed to take yet another course first. Dealing with the chaos that comes with small children has shown me my timing will never be just right, I will never be organised enough and I will never know everything I think I need to know. These days I just get on with it. Maybe you’re the same?
Better to finish an imperfect project than to never start a perfect one.
Taken time out of your career?
Don’t overlook all the skills and experience you gained in your LBK (life before kids), whether that was archiving documents at the office or handling patients in a hospital!
It may seem like you’ve forgotten it all, but with a little practice it all comes back. You may not want to go back to the career you had before, but there will definitely be skills you can adapt and use.
If you take some time to think about what you’ve learned from being a mum, I guarantee you’ll have a goldmine of skills and experience you can use in your new business.
(This article previously appeared in My Family Magazine – read it online or grab a print copy in supermarkets and many other places across the UK)