Women are owning their own businesses and many are doing it because it puts them in control of their own lives. This is especially relevant as we approach Mother’s Day. Consider this: 11.6 million firms are owned by women. This is 29% of all businesses, which has grown 68% since 2007.Women are definitely on a roll. Women want control of their careers and their lives. And if they are mothers, this can be vital for work life balance. NAWBO offers so much for women in business but also gives tools to mothers who are searching for better balance in their lives. Many of our members are moms and NAWBO as a source of collaboration and education with our mentoring program, Neighborhood NAWBO gatherings and our monthly luncheons.
Raising children is a major barrier for women. According to a study from Visier, a work force analytics firm, the gender wage gap widens at age 32 for women. This is because that is when many women begin to have children. It’s interesting to note that while women have a similar number of management position in their 20s, the gap widens for high earning positions at age 32.
I have always enjoyed owning my business and it gave me the ability to finish my work and pick up my children from school. My children, Daniel and Karen, were just 3 and 1 year old when my husband and I started Urman Enterprises. When you are your own boss, it’s not because you will work less hours. Actually, the opposite is true. However, it allows you to adjust your schedule according to the kids’ schedule for games, performances and field trips. It put me in control of my time, schedule and of what I earn.
When my kids were in elementary school age they often wanted me to spend more time in their class rooms like some of the other moms and I always explained that I have other responsibilities at work. Our kids experienced firsthand what it means to own your own business, how sometimes plans have to change, trips have been cancelled or postponed due to work. As a result, it made them be responsible, follow through, have strong work ethics and be leaders in life.
As we get older and our kids do not need so much of our time, we find ourselves in a different stage as we become care givers for our parents. Again we have to adjust our schedule to help them with doctor appointments, assisting with technology, driving them around and so much more. Again having control of your schedule allows you to take care of your parents. In my circumstances, it’s my mom.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend all the time with my children when they needed me the most. We all know how fast they grow. It’s also true now with my mom. After all, my mom is the one who showed me the way to be the leader and independent woman that I am. She was my role model as a mother.
In addition, kids make us better in business. They teach us patience, to set boundaries and to be better listeners. And having a staff is a lot like having children. You have to have structure and encourage your team members to do the right thing. How many times when your kids made a mistake you had to count to ten and explain why what they did was the wrong choice, how to own it and how to correct it. Don’t hide the mistake, be honest and learn from it, regardless how devastating it may have been. We are all human, we make mistakes we learn from them and we move forward. You can easily translate it to your employees.
In order to succeed in our business we have to invest a lot of time, effort, and financials. Just as we raised our children, we invest so much time, effort and money especially in educating them and advancing them. We have to do the same with our staff. We need to give them the time, invest in their education/certification that will help develop their skills, appreciate you and become more productive which will help the business be more successful.
NAWBO takes great pride in shaping and growing the incredible women (many whom are moms) in our various programs and I am proud to be part of this collaborative effort.
Happy Mother’s Day!