With my two amazing boys, Emmett and Adrian on a trip to France
When my two boys were under the age of seven, people would often ask if I was going to have a third. I’d smile and tell them, “I do have a third—his name is Little Pim!”
Have you ever noticed how many similarities there are between raising a child and building a business? Many of us women entrepreneurs who are also “mums” (I just spent three weeks in Australia!) describe our companies as our babies. We know they need as much care, patience, attention and love as any child.
Both jobs are exhilarating and demanding, but reward you in ways you never dreamed possible. They both remind me of that Peace Corps campaign, “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.” And of course, they’ll both fall, spill green juice on your skirt, drive you mad and make you feel the most amazing joy you ever thought possible—sometimes all at once.
Mom entrepreneurs – masters of efficiency
There are close to 10 million women entrepreneurs in the U.S. today and an increasingly large number are “mums” or moms, in part because many high performing women have not found the career plus family flexibility they want in corporate America. Statistics show most men start their businesses in their mid 20s and most women start them in their mid 30s, right when they are having or caring for babies. And bam! They decide to become entrepreneurs, just as I did when I had my first son and came up with the idea for Little Pim while on maternity leave.
The number of mompreneurs has gotten so big that there are conferences, networks, magazines, events, discussion boards and numerous resources just for us. I had the pleasure to meet the founder of one such resource, The Founding Moms’ Jill Salzman, at the recent Women’s Entrepreneurs Festival in New York. Jill’s organization is a collective of offline meetups and online resources for mom entrepreneurs around the globe. The Founding Moms currently have 46 chapters and over 10,000 members across the country!
So whether you have children or not, whether you call yourself a mompreneur or not, there is one thing we can all agree upon, and that’s that we mompreneurs are efficient. We have to be! We do it all, and somehow always figure out a way to get it all done. I think it’s safe to say that mompreneurs are the unsung masters of efficiency.
So in honor of Mother’s Day and all the awesome mompreneurs I know, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite efficiency tips (you know, the ones I teach in my Million Dollar Women Masterclass, which puts women on the fast track to $1M in revenues). I guarantee there’s something in here that can help you become just a bit more efficient and have more time for doing the things you love outside of work, whether its baking cupcakes with your favorite four-year old or going to a killer concert and dancing your ass off.
Don’t be the crumb sweeper
Here is a story that sums up how and why you need to delegate, one of the cardinal rules of efficiency. Years ago, before I became a Delegation Ninja, I used to crawl under our dining table with the mini broom and dustpan to sweep up the crumbs after family meals. Not only was this job not well suited to an adult-size person like myself, it was something that could easily be done by someone who was under four feet tell. Now my eight year old son Adrian has the job, and takes pride in keeping “his area” crumb-free, while I have time to focus on other things. But how many of us just keep getting under the table and sweeping the crumbs – at home and in our businesses?
Good leaders and top performing CEOs know delegating tasks will always be more important than doing them. A good doer gets things done, but her ability to execute remains limited because she gets involved in too many things and loses sight of her priorities. She wastes her time and her talent on jobs that may be important, but could easily be done by someone else.
A leader gets things done because she knows how to delegate tasks and to whom. In fact, efficient entrepreneurs know that there are only three things they absolutely need to be doing in their business (from the now famous blog by Fred Wilson):
1. Hire the best people
2. Set the strategy
3. Keep the money in the bank
Anything not on this list ultimately gets delegated. If you’d like to know exactly which tasks you can delegate and which ones you can’t, I encourage you to check out another of my blogs called Delegate Your Way to the Top. In it, you’ll find tons of useful resources, tools and tips that will teach you to flex your delegation muscle as well as a worksheet that will help you drill down on your priorities and identify where you can free up some time.
The risk of not learning delegation skills is working harder but not smarter, and in some cases burning out. Learning to hand off responsibility is one of the antidotes to getting to the end of your rope. It also gives you more bandwidth to focus on responsibilities you can’t and shouldn’t hand off, and to do work that you love while in Flow state.
Get into Flow
You may have heard the term FLOW already (no menstruation jokes, please!). It’s used to describe a mental state in which you feel uber happy and positive while working because three conditions are being met:
1. You are doing work you are capable of doing well
2. There are no distractions
3. The work is challenging, but does not exceed your abilities
Efficient entrepreneurs know when they are most likely to be in a flow state, whether it’s early in the morning or between 3 and 5:00PM. They guard this time carefully and commit to only doing flow-state work during these times. That means they don’t check emails. They don’t delegate tasks. They don’t do dishes or play Monopoly with the kids or review their financial dashboard. They don’t do anything but the highest priority tasks that only they can do during that time. And they experience Flow while doing them.
For me, creating products for Little Pim was Flow work. Now it’s writing these blogs and coming up with course materials for Masterclass. Back when I was CEO of Little Pim, I had to cordon off hours in my day to develop new products, create pitch decks for fundraising, and focus on the tasks that were going to move Little Pim forward as a company. It wasn’t until I learned to delegate that I could make those big leaps and be sure the orders were still getting filled while I made them!
The 90 Day Horizon
Entrepreneurs only get paid for what they create. So you need to be producing stuff. If you are spending more time consuming information than you are creating, you have a problem. Identify the highest impact goal you think would take your business to the next level. What timeframe have you given yourself to accomplish it?
Efficient entrepreneurs know that any goal beyond 90 days risks procrastination and avoidance. How great would it be if you could create something concrete for your business in the next 90 day time frame? What could you accomplish?
Let’s find out!
1. Set a 90 day goal for your business
2. Complete my Delegate Your Way to the Top Worksheet
3. Delegate the tasks that you do not need to be doing
4. Discover your Flow state and calendar that time to work toward this goal
5. Create something new and necessary for your business
6. Celebrate your success at the end of 90 days and set a new 90 day goal!
Triple your productivity
If you like learning how to work smarter, not harder, consider diving into the deep end of the efficiency pool by joining my next Million Dollar Women Masterclass beginning June 14, 2016. Not only will you get even more efficiency tips, you’ll also learn the secrets and tools that thousands of CEOs have used as the foundation of multi-million dollar businesses. We cover core business competencies like Mindset, Strategy, Finance, Networks, Sales and Marketing in six one-hour classes and have fun while doing it! I do believe running your business should be fun. Otherwise you can go get a job, right?
Happy Mum’s Day and please hand off one “crumbs job” today in honor of moms everywhere!