In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked moms-turned-entrepreneurs how they balance the two tasks, what secrets they have learned, and what advice they would share with other business owners. Here are some of our favorites.
Anne Zimmerman, owner of Zimmerman & Co CPAs, an accounting firm, and Zimcom, a technical service provider, both in Cincinnati, Ohio
Number of employees: 16
Children: 4 (ages 42, 39, 36 and 33)
Her secret: “I intentionally kept my business commitments to less than full-time until my youngest was in grade school, and if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Then, for the rest of their childhood, I literally kept family time at the top of my written priority list and refused to give it up, even if it meant missing a business opportunity.
My businesses would probably be larger than they actually are now if I hadn’t put that constraint on them, but I am not sorry I did – you can never get that time back if you miss it when the kids are growing up. I once walked away from a very lucrative acquisition deal because, at the last minute, my youngest cried when I mentioned it, showing me that she wasn’t getting enough of my time.
Related: Help, I’m married to my business partner!
I believe life is all about balance. I often fail, but always strive, to maintain that balance. Even now I block out time on my calendar to spend a morning at the park or the zoo with my grandchildren for no reason except to see them and enjoy each other. I think my one tip for mompreneurs is to be patient and make time with your kids even if there aren’t important plans in place together.”
Sarah Schupp, owner of UniversityParent.com, a college resource for parents, based in Boulder Colorado
Number of employees: 20
Number of children: One (age 14 months)
Her secret: “The secret to success when building a business and raising a family is to define success on your own terms. You must know what you want and why you want it. You have to be honest with yourself about what you want from your business, and honest about what you are willing to give up to get it.
Being a mom is deeply personal. You can’t judge ‘success’ as a mom. Because it is not about achieving something. It’s about giving your family as much as you can and getting joy in return. For me, it’s humbling, it’s hard, it’s exhausting, but it’s the most incredible experience I’ve ever hard. I’ve never laughed this hard watching someone eat Cheerios or had so much fun chasing someone up and down the stairs, over and over. It has opened a new dimension for me.”