Shopping at Wal-Mart. With Your Kids! —What it Says about You as an Entrepreneur (Part 2)

This post...a little shot of laughter and a genuine pat on your backs, fellow parents. This parenting thing is tough, and that fact is evident (I mean, on clear display for complete strangers) when shopping at Wal-Mart, Target or Kroger's with your kids. My belief--if you can shop with your children in tow then you can confidently tackle other challenges. 

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Shop at Wal-Mart...With Your Kids? 3 Entrepreneurial Skills You Already Have (Part 1)

We mommas and daddies don't give ourselves enough credit! I mean, most of us shop at Wal-Mart (or Target, Aldi, etc.) with our CHILDREN IN TOW and manage to obtain 85% of the items on our list. That's victory in my book! If you can do that, then you can chase after that entrepreneurial fire in your heart (or that new goal in your soul)! Read on to see why.

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"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" Moments: Lessons Learned on Optimism & Reality for This Mompreneur

Hey, we all want quick results. I am a sucker for posts titled like "How I Grew My Email List to 15,000 People in Only 2 Months." Yet, as soon as I start to read, I deflate. I quickly realize the writer is starting her life-altering post with the number 2,000. 2,000 SUBSCRIBERS. What? What happened to 0 to 2,000?! I need to know about those numbers as well!!! My post is not about growing your email list. Instead, it is about the patience to grow slowly...naturally...embracing the tough moments.  

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The Butt-om Line, Mompreneurs...Failure is a Part of Life.

What does a 44 to 0 (yes, NOTHING!) lose in a middle school basketball game have to do with entrepreneurship for this momma? And what failures did Sara Blakely experience? Sara is the lady we thank when our butts and guts look great in white pants or a form-fitting dress. She is the creator of Spanx. Hear me, failing is a natural part of life. I've done it. Sara's done it. You've done it. But it is how we handle failure that matters.

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5 (Really!) Dumb Things I Worried About When First Starting a Biz

With almost a year of wannabe-an-entrepeneurship under my belt, I now can look back at some really dumb things I worried about this first year. These things paralyzed me at times...keeping me from moving forward. For example, I thought I could design the perfect website and that I needed to do this before doing anything else. Anybody had similar feelings? Well hear me, perfection is an illusion and one that stops us from pursuing our dreams. The purpose of this post...to share 5 lessons I learned, but mostly to encourage you to START.

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Our Dislike...Then Like...Now Love Story

Not all love stories begin with starry nights and longing stares. Some begin with ugly words, brutal heat, and a 1996 Ford Escort, maroon and hatchback. At least, that is how Brandon's and my dislike-like-love story started. And, although it was not the most romantic beginning, it proved to be exactly what we needed. This year we celebrate 14 years of married life, and I hope and pray for many, many more. 

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To Be Like My Daddy

Ever had a casual comment stick with you (and I mean, really get to you)? Often times, these offhand remarks that hit home are hurtful. They cause us to have negative thoughts. Not this conversation, though! Not the one I had with my dad one fateful, ordinary night. His remark had a positive affect on his scared, yet sometimes brave; intelligent, but often times naive; determined, still hesitant entrepreneur daughter.

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3 Mindsets for Working in Insanity (You Know, When Your Kids Are Awake & Home)

At times, you just have to do it. You don't look forward to it, but it has to be done...work on your business WHILE your children are awake and home. I call it "working in insanity." It usually doesn't bring out the best in us. This post examines 3 mindsets to develop that will help us mompreneurs work with honor in front of our children, instead of work in frustration. I, personally, am tired of the nasty feeling I have about myself after I lash out in anger, all because I wanted to finish a 5-minute task and they wanted or needed me for something before I was done. This post is intended to bring sanity to your insanity and to build honor instead of frustration.  

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3 Tips for Working the Fringe Hours

Realizing as a mompreneur and sidepreneur that you need more hours in the day? Well, that is just not possible. So, we must use our time wisely, even the fringe hours...the frayed edges of the day when others are asleep but the industrious are still working. There are tricks, though, to creating a lasting routine and to maximizing your efforts during the fringe hours. 

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Mom Guilt Anyone? 3 Reasons Why Scheduling Work Time is Crucial to Your Side Business & Your Conscience

Surely you don't suffer from mom guilt like the rest of us mompreneurs?! Oh..you do? Then, you are not alone! Read here to find 3 reasons why scheduling your work time for your side business is a must. Hint: it definitely lessens mom guilt!

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5 Strategies for Recognizing Your God-Given Gifts

What are my gifts? Many of us wonder this at times of our lives. Maybe we have a entrepreneurial tug on our hearts to start a business. We question what our business should be. Or, maybe we are simply having a bad day and wonder, "What am I good at?!" These 5 strategies will help you recognize your God-given gifts. Because, my friend, no matter if you are having a good day or a bad day, you are gifted.

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The Scream Machine & Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship (really...life) is full of ups and downs, much like a roller coaster. One moment you are screaming your head off in excitement and smiling at your seat mate. The next moment your breathe is being sucked from your lungs, and your head is being bashed by the "protective" harness. You are wondering why you are on this ride at all. Sound familiar to you? Read to learn 7 strategies for combating the downs and the ups of entrepreneurship (and life).

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To My Hardworking, Steadfast Mom

Moms struggle today with a constant nagging in their heads to do something...everything better. This mom guilt is a nasty thing and robs us of our joy. We must fight against it! Since when did working hard and setting goals become bad things!? They aren't. In fact, we often strive to teach our children these things. So, stop feeling guilty and embrace the fact that you are teaching your children the value of hard work. My mom did, and I am so blessed by her example. 

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Guilt-Free Entrepreneurship for Moms: 3 Srategies to Combat the Feelings of Guilt

No one can truly prepare you for the overwhelming guilt you feel after you have your first child. It starts hours and often just minutes after that precious bundle of life is placed in your arms.

Guilt-free entrepreneurship.png

Was it wrong for me to send my baby to the hospital nursery so I could sleep for 2 hours (after 24 hours of labor!)? I should be breastfeeding instead of bottle feeding! I needed to try harder to get the pediatrician my friend recommended. Everyone knows she is the best in town. What kind of mother am I?!

Sadly, these examples don’t even scratch the surface of all of the ways we moms begin beating ourselves up almost the moment our babies are born.

The guilt and self-doubt continue on from there.

These emotions rear their ugly heads even more when we start to do something of our own...

exercise.

meet up with friends for no other reasons than fellowship and a good cup of coffee.

create a business.

Ways To Combat The Guilt

I wish I had a magic wand that with a small wave removes all of your and my guilt. Boy would that be wonderful! But, that is not reality.

Therefore, we can recognize it is a natural tendency and then find ways to combat the feeling. Or at least lessen the guilt!

1.) Own It And Own It Again!

This strategy is the toughest (downhill from here!) because it deals with your mental state…your belief in yourself as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Get this…you actually have to see yourself as one! Crazy, I know. But, many of us women (me included) sheepishly whisper that we have a side business or that we would like to have one in the future. Almost like we are ashamed.

What do we have to be ashamed or embarrassed by?

How horrible to want to bring additional money to your family when your husband has lost his job! How rude to use your God-given talents to serve someone else! What are you thinking to learn new skills at the ripe-old age of 30…40…50…60…or 70?! Learning is so dumb!

Really, you should be ashamed!

All of these things are written in jest. And when said aloud, they sound ridiculous. That’s my point!

There is no reason to feel guilty about providing income for your family, using your God-given gifts, or learning new things. We all have our reasons for our businesses, and clarifying yours will help with your feelings of guilt. You may want to read my post on the 5 Mindsets of a Sidepreneur to help you define your purpose.

From there, you can completely own your entrepreneurship goals and then own your business.

2.) Carve out time.

This is the simplest of the three strategies but the one we often dismiss. If done, it has a HUGE impact on what business tasks you actually accomplish and your mental state as you work.

Perhaps this sounds familiar to you. You have your supplies and computer on the kitchen table and begin working. Then, your son runs in to ask you to tie his shoe as he flies out the backdoor. Next, your youngest son yells, “Watch this!” You tilt your head up slightly from your work just enough to nod and smile at him (as if you actually saw his great feat). Two minutes later, your husband walks through the door with his work computer, lunch box, and gym bag and begins to disperse them throughout the kitchen. His “placement of things” messes up your focus, if you ever had any to start.

A few minutes after you huff and puff out of the kitchen, you feel guilty because you didn’t really watch your son when he asked, you have no idea why your other son raced out the backdoor, and you didn’t ask your husband about his day.

I have had many moments like this and probably will again. But, when we carve out time and treat it as work, we are less likely to think that plopping down in the kitchen (the busiest room in the house!) during the afternoon (when everyone is awake and home!) is a good idea.

Carving out time for your business requires that you look at your calendar each week and determine times you will work PRIOR to the week or day starting. It is like a budget you use to control your money, except this budget controls your time.

Rachel Cruze, the daughter of financial guru Dave Ramsey, says that a budget doesn’t put restrictions on you; the opposite—it gives you freedom. If you have ever been on a budget, you will understand what she means. With a budget, you no longer agonize over buying local honey when the cute Honey Bear is a lot cheaper at Wal-Mart. You don’t feel guilty over purchasing your favorite salad dressing that is $1.43 more than the store brand.

Instead, if you have money in your food budget and the necessities have been bought, then you have the freedom to buy! Guilt-free because the money is there!

The same is true with your time. If you plan accordingly (like you would for a financial budget), then you can work guilt-free during the time you have set aside.

Being honest about the season of life you are in is crucial as well. You must determine how many hours you physically can work each week and then go about carving that time from your busy schedule. I recently learned a lesson about the season of life I am in and how it affects my entrepreneurial goals. You may want to read How to Set Realistic Goals as an Entrepreneur.

Presently, I aim to work 15 hours a week on my side business and follow a specific structure to ensure I cover all of my bases.

No matter your business type and the hours you deem possible and appropriate for your present situation, carve out the time and then work the hours.

When you do this each week, you will be more productive, more focused, and feel less guilty.

3.) Involve your family.

This strategy is the most fun because, well, it involves your family.

You look your precious angels and handsome best friend in the face and tell them that you are a business owner. Remember strategy number 1—Own it and Own It Again. That means even with your family. They are a great place to start if you are struggling with the confidence to tell people about your business or your desire to have one.

You will probably have this conversation numerous times. (Hey, we all need reminders!)

To be honest, you will always be mom and wife first in their minds, which is really how we moms like it. We aren’t asking to no longer be moms and spouses. We are just telling them that we are more than those things, and especially during certain times of the day and week. Remember strategy number 2—Carve out time.

Tell your family when your scheduled work times will be and how you want to be treated during those times.

Remind them that they have goals and you gladly help them work to achieve those things. You simply want and expect that same consideration from them.

Lastly, involve your family physically if possible. For example, have them help with packing items to mail, going on trips to the bank or post office, or writing thank you cards to your customers. Having your family physically involved in some way makes your business more tangible, more real, in their minds.

Conclusion

Full disclosure, you may never shake off the mom guilt completely.

Yet, you can face it head on and use strategies to lessen it.

1.)  Be confident that you are a business owner and entrepreneur! There’s no reason to be ashamed of providing for your family, learning new things, and using your God-given gifts.

2.)  Carve out time for your business. You actually have to spend time working on your business if you are going to have one. Be intentional about your time.

3.)  Involve your family. Tell them about your business, when you will be working, and ask them to help when possible. Then, repeat…like 1,000 times.

As moms, we spend much of our lives telling our children to pursue their dreams. Work hard and go after it! Nothing’s impossible!

As an entrepreneur, you have a chance to put into action, right before their very eyes, what it takes to pursue a dream.

Actions speak much, much louder than words.

 

A Step Further

If you struggle with self-doubt, which is truly what Strategy 1 is all about, there's some good news. You are not alone! Welcome to the club that I have been a (not-so-proud) member of for some time now. You may find my post Self-Doubt is a Real Issue for Entrepreneurs helpful--for no other reason than to know that one more crazy momma exists out there. :)

Two Questions

Have I missed any strategies that help you combat guilt? Would love to know them!

Why do you think guilt is so prevalent for mompreneurs?

Feel free to comment or to just ponder.

But definitely, keep working at your entrepreneurial goals!

 

 

 

Little Successes Lead to Big Things

The last two months have been big. I received my first "like" on Instagram, was "followed" on Pinterest (up to 10 now!), ate lunch with a well-established, kind woman who has done everything and knows everybody, and almost potty-trained my then two-year old. (After the third change of clothes in two hours while making no effort to get to a toilet, we...meaning I...decided to try again in a few weeks. So, it is shaping up to be another big month.)

Now, to some of you who are have been on social media since MySpace was the rage, getting a "like" on Instagram or a follower on Pinterest is old news. But, for someone like me who almost pukes before sharing an Instagram post or writing a tweet, these accomplishments are big deals!

This post is about celebrating successes...big and small. I read an interesting blog post several weeks ago about keeping a success journal. That idea resonated with me because those of us just starting, and especially women, only remember what did not go well, who did not email us back, and who snickered behind our backs about an idea. Those are the things we focus on, not the positive events.

As Taylor Swift would say, "Shake it off!"

This blog post celebrates several of my small successes. You are welcome to laugh at me; I don't care. More important to me is that I gain some motivation and courage from a few things that have gone well (even if by accident). I hope, in turn, you reflect on positive things happening in your life and in your business and ultimately your courage is bolstered.

littlesuccessesequalbigthings

Brandon Gaille Followed Me

Oh, the excitement I felt when my phone buzzed with a Pinterest notification that Brandon Gaille, from The Blog Millionaire Podcast, followed me! It was not Brandon Gaille himself that followed me; his podcast actually did. But, his picture is next to the podcast's title, lending a very personal feel.

Seriously though, I still remember exactly where I was sitting in a Cheesecake Factory in Dunwoody, GA sipping on a Coke and devouring the delicious bread when I felt the buzz of my phone. I looked down to see the Pinterest notification and immediately was on cloud nine! When my husband and sons returned to the table soon afterwards, I informed my husband of this huge accomplishment, and being my biggest fan, he congratulated me on becoming a rock star.  

In my newbie thinking, this whole following thing went like this. Brandon Gaille, who has a remarkable story and a huge fan base, just followed me! He thought to himself, "That Rachel Eubanks really knows how to pick some Pins! I better follow her."

After several weeks of pondering this "following" on Pinterest, I realize it probably didn't go down as I imagined. But, this realization doesn't diminish my initial exuberance that a podcast as well-known as Gaille's followed me. Something good happened to me on Pinterest! And, I choose to focus on that!

For this girl, one "following" led to much-needed confidence!

Got Liked

Now that you know you are reading the blog of a Pinterest rock star, it will be no surprise to you that I also have, shall I say, an uncommon presence on Instagram.

Sadly (or fortunately for you), I can't remember as many details about my first "like" on Instagram as I do with my Pinterest experience. But what I still remember is the happiness that came over me. Someone liked what I had to say.

Honestly, I almost puked before sharing my first post on Instagram. My friend April insisted that I would enjoy Instagram more than other social media platforms; she was correct. It is my favorite, if I have to choose one.

I am not sure why I can write about insecurities and embarrassments on a blog, yet almost have a panic attack when I social media-ize. (At this time, I don't even have a Facebook page! I have a Twitter account, but it scares me to death.)

So...for someone like me who wants to build a business based on her spoken and written words, my first "like" was earth shattering. I was truly surprised that someone, besides my sister and husband, "liked" my image and my message.

I picture myself as the Cowardly Lion when he received his crown of courage from The Wizard of Oz. He instantly held his head higher and walked with a swagger. Such a small, simple gesture can really mean a lot. This experience gave me courage to make another post just 2 days later. I know...I was blowing up Instagram! :)

For this girl, one "like" led to much-needed courage.

Ate Some Lunch

Usually, eating lunch is not a huge ordeal, and on most days I would agree with this sentiment. However, on a cool day in February I found the grit to email Vicki Morris asking her for a lunch date. My brother-in-law spoke highly of Vicki and encouraged me to reach out to her. He thought talking with her would give me motivation, inspiration, and friendship.

A surprise to me, I found the courage to email her. (This giant dose of spunk was around the same time I started using Instagram. I was on fire that month!) So another lesson here, when you get some nerve...just go with it. That is what I did! I composed an email explaining how I knew of her, how impressed I was with her accomplishments, and how I would like an opportunity to take her to lunch.

Guess what?! Vicki agreed to meet me. I was shocked, excited, and anxious. Now, I was faced with actually talking with a stranger who I only knew from a recommendation and from some stalking activities on the internet. Plus, I had to make conversation for the duration of a lunch. Ugh.

We agreed on a place and time, and I called my brother-in-law for my own personal pep rally before meeting with Vicki. (Because he does a lot of networking with his job, I knew he would have some tips.) His poignant advice, "Just have fun," stuck with me. I love people, and obviously, Vicki did too since she readily agreed to eat lunch with a total stranger. 

With that mantra in my head, I ate lunch with Vicki Morris. And, I did have fun...lots of it! She is a rock star. Vicki has been a stay-at-home mom, entrepreneur, musician, consultant, organizer, and the list continues. She is kind, energetic, and determined and has numerous awards proving her accomplishments. I am so glad I took my brother-in-law's suggestion to reach out to Vicki and even happier that she said yes.

In doing so, I found a fellow mom who has navigated the murky waters of entrepreneurship and motherhood, and she is still standing tall and smiling brightly. 

For this girl, one "yes to lunch" led to much-needed encouragement.

Little Successes = Big Things

On paper...having someone follow you on Pinterest, receiving a like on Instagram, and eating lunch with another person...these things are insignificant.

In my mind and in my heart...the places that direct how we humans attack new, scary ventures...these events were momentous.

Each one gave me something I needed so desperately at the time.

Confidence to continue with Pinterest and other forms of social media.

Courage to put my words out there for others to read.

Encouragement to know that I am not alone in my entrepreneurial pursuits.

My Challenge To You

Reflect on the last couple of weeks or months. What things have gone well for you? Maybe you were surprised. Or maybe you put in a ton of work, and it turned out perfectly. No matter if little or big, accidental or purposeful, document your successes...the events that made you happy at the time and motivated you to continue.

On days when you seriously doubt yourself and your business, go back to admire what you have accomplished, who you have met along the way, and how you have changed.

You will be amazed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Being Gritty. Advice from a Cat.

As I read Dr. Seuss's I Can Read with My Eyes Shut to my two young sons, we were laughing at all of the pictures Dr. Seuss had drawn to illustrate his hilarious ideas. Then, we hit a page towards the end of the book, and I was suddenly taken back by the sincerity of the words and how they fit perfectly with my stage of life (and probably yours as an entrepreneur).

"The more that you read,

the more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

the more places you'll go.

You might learn a way

to earn a few dollars.

Or how to make doughnuts...

or kangaroo collars." Dr. Seuss

Admittedly, the last lines about doughnuts and kangaroo collars are rather silly, but I left them in the quote as a reminder that we all are trying to do something unique...something memorable so people notice us and want to hang around (sign up for our emails, buy our products, purchase our consulting services, etc.)

So...here's to earning a few dollars and making doughnuts and kangaroo collars!

being a gritty entrepreneur advice from a cat

What The Cat Was Saying

Not everyone is as sophisticated as me and has such a diverse reading background as Ido (wink, wink). So, in case you are not read up on your Dr. Seuss, in I Can Read with My Eyes Shut, the Cat in the Hat tells a younger cat all the different ways he can read, including with his eyes shut. :)

His main gist, though, is a poignant one--reading takes you places...both literally and figuratively.

Where Are You Going?

When we read, our minds wonder to the dark cave where gold coins worth millions is discovered or to the boardroom where the founder of the company is dethroned by greedy shareholders or to the windy prairie where a rambling cowboy is reunited with his lost love. Many of us use reading as an escape; we leave our lives figuratively...just for a bit. There is nothing wrong with that! Our brains need a little down time in order to be productive on the up time.

But, for reading to literally take you places, we have to be reading content to further our entrepreneurial goals.

I realize there is only 24 hours in a day, and you are working like a dog for about 19 of those hours to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality (and also to be a good parent, spouse, friend, sibling, son/daughter, worker if you are still employed with another job, etc.). In other words, your time is limited!

But, entrepreneurship is about grit...it is about the will to outlast the average person. The old adage--if it was easy then everyone would do it--comes to mind here.

The Challenge

Therefore, I challenge you to spend at least 10 minutes a day furthering your future, going somewhere. Read or listen to content that teaches you about business, your niche, or how to approach entrepreneurship wisely.

Lastly, I must ask...

Where are you going?

Where do you want to be in 5 years?  10 years?

What are you reading to get there?

A Step Further

If you don't have a book in mind, I strongly suggest Chris Guillebeau's The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. Essentially, it is a case study of entrepreneurs. Some of the entrepreneurs accidentally landed in their new businesses while others very methodically pursued their entrepreneurial goals. Chris, who also has a very successful business, lends his experiences and perspectives throughout the book as well. It is both inspirational and informational.

If that one doesn't tickle your fancy, check out the other books I have read along with my reviews. You may find one there to interest you. And, I am always up for suggestions. Let me know in the Comments of one I should read soon.