MIH 050:How I Balance Being a Homeschool Mompreneur


I’m a homeschool mompreneur, and I know that there are a few of you others out there as well who are trying, like me, to balance both of these unique lifestyles. And if homeschooling isn’t your thing but you’re raising kids while working your business, then this podcast is still for you…so stay tuned!

Okay, mompreneurs out there- I know by the title of this post you’re thinking, “But is balance really possible?” Like you, I am skeptical of the promise of complete balance and freedom and bliss in my daily schedule. It just won’t happen.

I firmly believe, however, that balance doesn’t just happen but it is achieved through hard work and perseverance (and even then it’s not a complete “balance”). Balance happens for every mompreneur in the way that suits her best for each particular season of her life. And it’s different all the time.

At this season of my life I am homeschooling my kids…and…I’m working flexibly around our daily school schedules. On this podcast I will be sharing what’s been working for me (or not) and how I’ve managed over the years to merge two very alternative lifestyles and adapt them to meet my unique family needs.

I’ve also got a video to share from my homeschool YouTube channel over at MomZest. Most of what you’ll hear in this podcast will reiterate what I’ve mentioned in the video, but I share a few extra tips in the podcast that you might find helpful if you are balancing these two unique lifestyles.

Watch the video

You might be thinking: “But I don’t homeschool” or “I don’t have kids at home, but I’m a mompreneur who still needs help with life balance. Will this podcast be helpful for me?” Although I’m gearing up this particular episode with tips I’ve learned along the way as a homeschooling mom in particular, I do believe that no matter your kids’ education status is, you can still very much benefit from this episode…so don’t tune out.

How I balance being a homeschool mompreneur

Prepare for the ride.

I’ll be honest with you, if you are planning to become a homeschool mompreneur, getting ready for the ride ahead of you will be the biggest challenge.  Mindset is always the #1 deterrent from success. Being mentally prepared for the task ahead and not cheating yourself out of the truth will take you a long way.

You will need to own up to the fact that the ride ahead of you will have some bumps and challenges. It won’t be smooth sailing and there will be days that you may feel like giving up. But in order to succeed, you’ll need to keep going. Prepare for the ride ahead of you by getting some support systems in place. Find groups of like-minded moms who are following the same path as you, who have also decided to become a homeschool mompreneur. Join entrepreneur meetups and groups in your area. Join groups online.  But whatever you do, get with somebody else who is walking the same path as you because you’ll need that support for your journey. Here are a few more tips to help you find homeschool mompreneur life balance…

Embrace efficiency.

Juggling a homeschool lifestyle with work is not altogether impossible. In fact, it’s quite doable. Here’s an example of another mompreneur besides myself who is doing it.  In my family, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade along the years that work for us quite beautifully, but it all started with trial and error.

One of the biggest lessons I learned in the beginning is that if an event, a task, a new routine or schedule isn’t efficient for the family, we won’t choose it. If it takes too much time or energy or doesn’t give our family the room to practice the simplicity when we need it, we won’t do it.

For many of you listening, that may mean finding schools for your kids closer to your home so you reduce travel time. It likely means arranging your work hours to fit around your kids’ school schedules so that you’re available for drop off and pick up. For a homeschool mom like myself that could mean choosing curriculum that doesn’t require a ton of parent teacher prep, choosing school hours that fit around my work routine, and changing my wake/sleep cycle to allow for more time in the mornings and evenings to accomplish my business work so that I still have the space to homeschool.

Efficiency means streamlining my family lifestyle in a way that allows for increased productivity with the least amount of stress for everyone in involved.  That’s a huge undertaking and it’s not a perfect process, but I find that when I set my mind to it, I can place my plans into motion and watch the efficiency begin happening.

Keep a loose, yet solid routine.

Playing off the idea of efficiency, is the concept of scheduling.

Time management is a major topic in the business industry because everyone in business has to learn how to make good use of their time. What I’ve learned as a homeschool mom is that I have to keep our family schedule loose enough to allow for flexible situations that may come up: like education field trips, weekly coops and group classes. But I also have to make sure our routine is solid enough so that, although our days don’t look alike from one day to the next, we at least have some idea of what a daily school routine looks like. I also have an idea of what my routine looks like for keeping up my home (meal prep and cooking, cleaning days, laundry) and what routines I have in place for work.

Stay organized.

As a homeschool mompreneur, keeping organized is crucial. I keep physical notebooks as well as Google docs and a Google calendar. At the beginning of each week I like to set expectations for the week, what I wish to accomplish.

If you stay organized best with physical notebooks, digital notebooks, post it notes, checklists, or one of those fancy planners, do whatever works best for you. The main things to organize are your physical space and your time. If I can ensure that I spend quality time with each child throughout the week, and time with my husband as well, I’m a happy camper.

I love family game nights, and dinner at the table together. That doesn’t happen all the time but when it does at any point during the week, it makes me pretty happy. Our time together as a family is even more important to me than the time I spend on business. However, if I want to succeed in business I have to make sure that I spend adequate amounts of time moving forward on my plans and not getting stuck in a rut, which can happen so often with distractions.

For this reason, I hole myself up in an office or coffee shop during my business hours with a no-disturb sign if I’m at home so that I actually can get some work done. It’s just one of those things I have to do personally to make sure my family is on the same page with me and everyone understands I am working and that just because I’m in the room next door doesn’t mean I’m available to make a sandwich. 😉

Also, my kids are, thankfully, of the age now where they are making their own snacks and pretty much keeping the house running for me while I’m working.  They know that when I’m done working, we can spend time together and they’ll get 100% of me at that time. Keeping organized with my time is the only way for me to maintain family balance and still keep my business rolling!


I hope that these tips have been helpful to you if you are in the same boat as I am. Being a homeschool mompreneur isn’t easy but it is definitely doable. Let me know if I can help you in any way such as with branding your business or designing your new logo and website.

Let me know how you enjoyed the video and podcast!

How to Beat Mompreneur Overwhelm!

Mompreneur overwhelm is a real thing! Over the years I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to set reasonable expectations for my life as both a mom and an entrepreneur so that I can wear both hats.  Or as I like to say: fill both shoes.  The slippers and the heels, that is.

How do I keep balance?  Honestly, sometimes I don’t.  But, here’s what I’m learning.

(If you’re a visual here’s a video for you!)

How I beat mompreneur overwhelm

Set small and realistic goals.

It’s so important that as mompreneurs we ensure our values and priorities in line.  Family and spirituality is first. Everything is else is second.

I do mean this. In my life, if I have to choose between spending a week digging into a project that will make me a nice income for the month but I must choose to ignore my family for the week…I’m going to choose my family first. It’s okay if you would choose to dig in for a week and catch up with your family later.  I just choose to run by a different beat and the thread of family life is the fabric of my life right now.  I must…no, I need to have the kind of balance in my life that allows for flexibility to be a mom and a wife.  Seasons are important, and in this season I am a mom.

So, in order to beat mompreneur overwhelm I set my goals small and try to remain realistic.  I have three blogs currently, with a fourth in the works. I also run two podcasts with a third in the works.  For many of you this might seem unrealistic.  For me, this is the bread and butter of what keeps sponsors and clients coming my way and is part of my marketing goals.

That said, I must set realistic goals if I expect to be successful at any or all of these blogs.  In my blogging life, this means that I don’t blog every day at each blog.  I don’t even blog several times per week, or even weekly on some of my blogs. On all but one of my blogs I post every few weeks with a podcast or tutorial and try to remain active on my Facebook groups.  If I tried blogging every day, posting to my social media accounts every day I would drive myself nuts.  So I don’t do it.  Which leads me to the next tip…

Don’t over schedule.

Why pack in so much at once when you have a lifetime to grow and achieve in your business? I’ve been there, done that when it comes to over scheduling and it just doesn’t feel worth it and the end of the day. Beat mompreneur overwhelm by not overscheduling.

Granted, there are those times when you’re just having a really busy week in business.  But as I mentioned in the video, if you’re attempting to launch your website and a membership site all in a month and post to all your social media 8 times per day all while developing your product line- things can get a wee bit crazy.  You’re stepping into a spin zone.

Don’t over schedule.  Take your life and your business at stride.  It will grow with you. You don’t have to do everything at once.

Embrace your season.

As mompreneurs we want to love the season of motherhood we’re in because it won’t last forever.  Our kids will grow up and we’ll have plenty of time to work and throw ourselves into our passions.

Life with littles can make working business a bit tricky.  You’ll have to find ways to work around the kids’ routines and schedules.  Maybe nap times work out best for you.  Maybe you work late in the evenings or early mornings.  But the kids do grow up eventually, so…embrace your season. Being a mom is truly special.  Enjoy it!

Check out my interview with Stephanie who is raising four children while running a business.  And Andrea’s been able to figure out her sweet spot in balancing life with kids and blogging.  I hope these moms are able to encourage you.

And hey, I just started up a Facebook group for homeschool mompreneurs.  If that’s you, I invite you to come join my group!

 

 

Avoiding Procrastination as a Mompreneur

There is so much going on in our lives between parenting responsibilities and our social lives, and of course, work.  It’s easy to procrastinate and put work on the back burner when you’re an entrepreneur.

How do we avoid procrastination?

Have a plan

Every business needs a roadmap. Ask yourself questions like:

How do you plan to make money?

How do you plan to network and grow your network?

How do you plan to market your business?

Who do you plan to collaborate with to help you accomplish your goals?

Most mompreneurs and creatives don’t have it all figured out.  But the reason we’re getting where we’re going is because we have an idea of where we want to be.  I like to use reverse engineering to figure out where I want to end up and plan the details backward.

Whether you have details or not, though, the main thing is to have an overall vision and plan and then start moving.  Which leads me to my next point…

Take Action

Once you have a plan you need to take action.  No use sitting on your idea, meditating on it, wondering if it will work, and feeling paralyzed.  My husband calls this “paralysis by analysis”.

If it’s a website you need, take action by finding a great designer.

If you need a business coach, hire someone you trust.

Whatever your needs are, remember that it all starts with today.  The moment you take action you realize that it’s easier to continue the process once it’s begun. Nothing will begin magically.  You really have to press for the things you want out of life.

This means you just have got to take action.

Forget perfection

Remember it’s not about being perfect or finding the perfect people to support you on your journey.  Entrepreneurship is a messy journey, and there will be days you want to give up.  There will be days you will hear crickets and won’t see results right away.

The thing is, nobody and no situation is ever perfect.  Your journey may start off pretty rocky and you won’t have all the pieces in place at first- and that’s okay.

You don’t have to be perfect to be successful.  Start where you are and make strides from there.

Has this post helped you?  Did you enjoy the video? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

3 Ways Mompreneurs Can Manage Time

I admit, it’s not easy balancing that one important commodity we have as mompreneurs: time.  How can we manage time effectively- serving both customer and family?

A few weeks ago I recorded a live Facebook video on this very topic in hopes to assist you in finding the simple tricks that work for your lifestyle for finding time.  Time management can be tricky, but if you look at all the places where you can grab a few minutes here and there, I’m convinced you’ll be able to find the time you need to accomplish your goals.

Ways to manage time

Change your wake/sleep cycle

I know I talk about this all the time- but it is seriously a life saver.  If you simply change your wake/sleep cycle, sometimes this is the only thing you’ll need to do in order to find yourself gaining traction in business.

Get up earlier or go to bed later- you get to choose. You’ll get more done and feel more productive.

Determine your routine flow

I don’t keep a schedule really, but I love routines.  I talked about this on my homeschool blog recently- that keeping a tight schedule just doesn’t work for our family.  I really don’t think it works for most families, but I know some for whom an hourly and minute-by-minute schedule is their saving grace.  This doesn’t work for me, though.

I like to keep my routine flows very loose.  There are days that generally I’m up at a 6 a.m. and I get started with my work for the day right away.  Other days we have doctor appointments and some mornings I might go to the gym.  If I go workout, I’ll stop by Starbucks and work for a few hours before I come home.  If my husband is working from home, I have even more time to stay at a coffee shop.  Other mornings I’m up early and focusing on the kids’ homeschool routines before I touch my client work.  It depends on the morning, the week, and my mood.

Determine what your daily routine flow might generally look like, then work your life around it.  It’s really up to you, and you get to call the shots.  It’s your work life, your schedule, your day.

Keep a checklist

I’m a type A personality and love to see my accomplishments in front of me.  A running checklist keeps me motivated to keep going and gives me that pat on the back I need to feel good about what I’ve been able to accomplish.

It also keeps me organized because all of my tasks are listed right in front of me- both on my Google calendar and docs in Google drive.

Make sure you have an off switch.

As moms we tend to go, and keep going.  We want to accomplish so much in a short amount of time- plus we’re dividing our limited time amongst family, friends, activities and volunteering in addition to business.

There are moments, though, that we’ll simply need to turn that “go” switch off and get into relaxation mode.  We need to learn to enjoy life and relax.  Life is to be enjoyed not creating a burnout situation for ourselves.

Have these tips been helpful?  Are you creating doable routines for yourself?  Let me know your thoughts and if you’d simply like someone to chat with about all of this, book me for an appointment and let’s talk.

 

 

Why Don’t Mompreneurs Don’t Dream Big?

I know exactly why mompreneurs don’t dream big.  Why? Because I have personally experienced this. It’s a challenge for many of us, myself included.

Sadly, there are so many things in life that hold us back from not only chasing our dreams, but thinking large, dreaming big, and moving forward with our goals.

Here are a few reasons why mompreneurs don’t dream big.

(Check out my Facebook page…I try to post videos there regularly)

We are afraid.

Yes, fear.  There’s that old word again.  We’re afraid of so many things: namely, what people will think about us.

Sometimes we’re afraid to step forward in those things that are new, different, and challenging.  No worries, a lot of us feel that way, and it is completely normal.  Nonetheless, that 4-letter word FEAR tends to keep us back from a lot in life.  Once we begin to overcome fears one step at a time we’ll start to walk in freedom.

I’m still overcoming my own sets of fears. (Notice I said “sets”).  I’m no where near the freedom I’d like to experience but I trust that with a few precise action steps and support I need along the way, I’ll get closer and closer to getting free of fears.

False humility

Growing up my teen years in the deep South, I found that it’s been a challenge to keep faith in myself while maintaining a sense of what I thought was humility.  I thought being humble meant deflecting compliments and not taking ownership of my successes.

Family, friends, and relatives and how they view us do affect us.  It’s important to understand that we live in the now, not in the past.  We love our aunts and cousins, grandparents, and long-time friends, and we value their opinions.  But the key is not to value their opinions while undervaluing ourselves.

Afraid that we might fail

Business involves taking risks.  Taking risks is inevitable and can’t be avoided.  We’ll have to give up our time, energy, and money in order to create an entity (the business) which begins to live and breathe on its own.  And the key here is that risk can sometimes involve failure…but many times it involves successes.

I’ve been watching men and their responses to life challenges. Many of the men I know personally, such as my father, my husband, my uncles, cousins- they take risks, and they do so with less struggle than most women I know.  I find women in general to be more careful and calculating with less tolerance for risk…and I honestly think that’s a good thing.

(Now, that’s not always the case, of course, and I’m using over-generalizations here.  And then there’s the mere fact that just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is risk. It all depends on how you view risk-taking.)

But I also feel that in business, there has got be a little bit of drive for risk-taking that takes us over the edge and gets us moving in the direction.  In business we need a little spunk, a little sass, a little but of that crazy energy that takes us over the edge to where we want to go in life.

What are your reasons for not dreaming big?  It’s okay to dream small, too.  Small dreams eventually turn into bigger ones.

But if you want to dream bigger, reach for more, move higher…why not?

MIH 042:Branding, Life, & Business with Stephanie Ciccarelli of Voices.com

Listen to “042:Branding, Life, & Business with Stephanie Ciccarelli of Voices.com” on Spreaker.
On this podcast I am super excited to bring to you an awesome guest and mompreneur, Stephanie Ciccarelli!

Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com and has contributed content to such publications as The Huffington Post, Backstage Magazine, and Upvoted, and her company has been written about in the LA Times, New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. Stephanie is also the author of Voice Acting for Dummies and has been listed on the PROFIT Magazine’s 2013, 2015, and 2016 W100 lists, a ranking of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs.

What is Voices.com?

Voices.com is an online marketplace that connects people who need to get a voiceover recorded with talent that can record for them.  Over 200,000 clients and 200,000 talent are connected on their platform.

Just a bit about her background: Stephanie grew up surrounded by music- involved in world-renowned choirs, and attended a school that was music-focused.  She found her career path through finding her voice.

What does the voiceover talent landscape look like today?

People come from various backgrounds and industries and are bringing their voices to the platform.  If you are a voice artist who has a background in a niche area, you could record projects related to your industry.

What are some ways actors can transition into voiceover more smoothly and to break into the market?

The answer is pretty simple: it really boils down to your ability to read well aloud and picture an audience of one (rather than many), then delivering your message as a believable expert.

How can women begin the process of branding their own business?

Get to know yourself before you start developing the brand.  You are the brand since the business is an extension of yourself.

Also, finding out your personality type can be helpful in building your brand.  You can use a number of different tests tools such as Myers-Briggs,  The Disc Method,  and Social Styles to discover your unique personality type. It’s important to understand how you are a part of your brand and getting to know your own personality can be quite helpful in this process.

Some other key factors you should know when developing your brand are:

  • what drives you
  • what your values are
  • and how you want others to perceive you

On family life and business balance…

Stephanie Ciccarelli agrees that it’s important to keep family first. Within her company, her husband is the CEO and she is the Chief Brand Officer.  They have found ways to keep family life afloat even amidst her travels, by securing needed help and building business around family obligations.

In the beginning, Stephanie was working from home and as her business evolved and the kids grew older she found herself in a different season.  Important points to note are:

  • We should acknowledge that there are seasons in life when we won’t be able to focus so much on business.
  • There are also seasons when we need to push a little more energy into our business to get things moving.

Stephanie talks about the three different circles we tend to live in and how it’s a balancing act to keep those circles from touching each other so that we don’t allow different aspects of our lives to spill into one another.

An example: keeping business separate from family life and remembering that home is home, not the boardroom.

How does Stephanie see her business as part of her purpose?

Voices.com is way to give people a chance to create their own stories and to have a voice. She believes she was meant to use her voice, and she took the guided steps necessary to get where she is today.  By stepping in faith, Stephanie is able to use Voices.com as a connecting tool to bring people together all over the world.

You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.  Zig Ziglar

A business essentially exists to solve a problem. Voices.com gives people tools to help them deliver their message. 

How to reach Stephanie:

Twitter: @stephciccarelli

Stephanie’s Instagram

Purchase her book: Voice Acting for Dummies

Voices.com on Facebook

Voices.com on LinkedIn

Voices.com on YouTube

Voices.com on Instagram

And, of course, visit: Voices.com


I truly enjoyed speaking with Stephanie today!  Thanks for listening in and let me know your thoughts. How are you branding your business as an extension of yourself?  How are you balancing family and business?

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