For today’s mother, flexibility and control of her time are now more important than ever as she struggles to achieve the right balance between family and career.
There is a (not so old) saying that goes “It’s not quantity, but the quality that’s important.” However, today’s mum wants not only quality time with her family, but she wants quantity as well, especially if she has young children.
One of the biggest challenges facing working women today involves finding the optimum/ideal combination of time and choices. There is just not enough time for women to do everything that they need and want to do. There are 24 hours in the day (a fixed number). No one can make or create more time.
Female Entrepreneurs Making Tough Choices
Today’s mums are realising that the rules in the corporate world are not working out for them. Even though flexible working hours are being embraced by an increasing number of companies, it is still not the norm. There are many mums who are not permitted to have flexible working hours.
This causes many women to make some tough choices. This may lead them to leave their jobs and/or careers temporarily, and be, voluntarily, unemployed. They would prefer taking a job with reduced pay for reduced hours if this was available. Even small changes such as working from home once or twice a month would have made it possible for many mums to remain in the workforce. However, this is not the case, even after COVID and working from home needing to be done, a lot of employers are wanting their staff to return to the office if they have long leases still on the office space.
This is usually the main reason why more and more mums are moving towards giving entrepreneurship a try. Women-owned businesses have become increasingly popular, especially since an (ever) increasing number of mums want control of their time for their families and for themselves.
Balancing the Work-Time: Personal-Time Equation
In many cases, becoming an entrepreneur seems to be the only way a mother could combine work-life with personal life without conflict. It is estimated that there are currently 10 million women-owned businesses in the US and that number is steadily increasing.
It should be noted that emerging entrepreneurship does not magically yield more free time or give the mum more control of her time immediately. In fact, in the beginning, mums had even less free time than before. These emerging entrepreneurs need to be prepared to work hard and long hours in the beginning. Most businesses do not have staff when they commence operations. The new entrepreneurs, therefore, have to do everything on their own. I remember working until well after midnight when I started out as a virtual assistant and then getting up with Lucas at 6 am.
Some make the switch from employee to entrepreneur gradually and will effectively be juggling two jobs for at least one year. Others make the complete switch immediately. This second option often involves a pay cut in total household income. It can be quite hard on the family if they are not prepared for it. However, patience and commitment are two of the most important traits of any entrepreneur. The mum and now new entrepreneur and family will see the rewards of it all if she sticks to it.
Work/Life Balance- Taking Control of Time
Remember, mums planning to launch a new business need to understand the following:
- Launching and maintaining a business tends to take up significantly more energy and time than most people ever think it will take. Becoming an entrepreneur is not a quick fix to controlling and having more free time.
- No one can create more time. The new female entrepreneur will never have as much time as she wants or needs. She must be prepared to make careful choices with the time that she currently has.
- The most important thing she can do to achieve a healthy balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship is to build a realistic timeline for launching her business.
Realistic expectations provide time and breathing room. They help the entrepreneur realise that she does not need to do everything right away. It helps to have a proper transition plan in addition to the business and entrepreneurial goals and timelines.