As the number of women-owned businesses rise, so does the number of mompreneurs who juggle the responsibilities of raising a family with business ownership. We interviewed a couple successful women in business to find out how they balance motherhood and entrepreneurship.
According to Guidant’s State of Small Business survey, the number of women-owned businesses is on the rise in the U.S., increasing by 18 percent in 2017 alone. Aside from facing the challenges of business ownership, many of these women also have families and juggle raising children with building their business. We interviewed a couple successful women in business to get a few tips on what it takes to be an entrepreneur and a mother.
There’s never been a better time to be a woman in business. There are 9.1 million women business owners in America, and according to the National Association of Women Business Ownership, they’re raking is more than $1.7 trillion in sales. What’s more, those female-owned businesses are overshadowing companies owned by men in terms of success rates and employment rates. It should come as no surprise that a growing number of those women in business are also mothers, juggling responsibilities at home with nurturing their businesses.
Take Trinh Hinson, for example. A mother to two girls, she decided to leave her stable job in auto insurance to pursue the personal and financial freedom business ownership offered. “[My parents] were entrepreneurs, and they were successful enough to raise eight children and send them to college,” she said, attributing that to her own desire to own a business. She used her retirement funds to purchase a Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise in Tustin, California in 2011. Since then, she’s opened two other Nothing Bundt locations in the surrounding area.
Then there’s Dina Dwyer-Owens, co-chair and past president/CEO of The Dwyer Group, which owns eight service-brand franchises, including Aire Serv, Glass Doctor, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Rooter and others. Her father founded The Dywer Group, and his six children, including Dina, grew up working in the business. Now, Dina, with two children of her own, helps run the company and has been an integral part of its success and growth over the years. She’s also an author, her latest book, Values, Inc., inspiring business leaders nationwide.
So how do these ‘mompreneurs’ do it? How do they find the balance between being good business leaders while also having quality time with their families? For them, it is possible to have the best of both worlds, but it takes patience, planning and prioritization.
Values of Motherhood, Business Ownership Are Parallel
For both Hinson and Dwyer, there are a multitude of lessons that are interchangeable between being a good mother and a strong business leader. “You wouldn’t [entrust your kids or your business] to someone else,” Hinson explained. “If your kid throws up at 2 a.m., you have to go clean it up; if someone breaks into your business at 2 a.m., you have to go take care of that too … You really don’t ever disconnect between the two at all.”
Dwyer also agrees that the values of one can offer a solid foundation for the other. “I think they go hand-in-hand,” she echoed, citing patience, tough love and giving praise when due as key components to motherhood and business leadership. In her mind, it all comes down to the need people have to feel loved and valued. “Whether it’s at home or at work, we have to love people enough to give them our best, which means sometimes we have to give them coaching and redirection. If we love them and care about them, it’s what we should be doing.”
Delegating Tasks Is a Must
Of course, there’s not enough hours in the day for a mother business owner to be responsible for every aspect of her business and home l
ife. That’s why Hinson and Dwyer advise other mompreneurs to delegate tasks to those they trust.
For Dwyer, that means bringing in individuals from the service brands her company owns to repair household appliances and hiring a housekeeper to keep her home tidy. “My kids didn’t really care if the toilet’s clean, to be frank,” she said. “They would rather have quality time with mom and dad.”
Hinson relies on the team she hired to keep her businesses running smoothly while she attends her daughters’ school and sporting events. “You have to learn how to let go,” she explained. “I learned very quickly that [doing it all] wasn’t possible with this business. I have to learn to delegate and trust people and train them.”
Family Support Is Key to Business Success
For any entrepreneur, having a strong support team in their corner can make or break their chances of success. Similarly, when a mother becomes a business owner, the backing of her family is vital.
When Hinson initially thought of pursuing franchising, her first step was to make sure her family was onboard. “You have to get commitment from your family and tell them to be patient,” she stressed. “[My husband, my two daughters and I] had a very serious family meeting, and everyone had to sign off. Even my husband learned how to cook! Now my kids ask me, ‘Why don’t you make it like dad?’”
Similarly, family support has also been critical for Dwyer, especially as she worked her way up the ranks to co-chair of The Dwyer Group. “It does require a village to help us [women] as we grow our businesses,” she disclosed. “My husband and my kids have been my greatest cheerleaders, and I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.”
Risk is Worth the Reward
Ask any mother what her most difficult job is/was, and she’d most likely respond with motherhood. Raising children is a full-time job in and of itself, and it requires dedication, patience and above all, love. But for moms who also own their own businesses, those words take on double meaning as the business itself becomes like a child. But just as any mother would say, the reward is worth the effort.
Today, Hinson’s daughters take pride in their mother owning a business. Her youngest, now 11, has even showed interest in owning the bakeries one day. “Every chance she gets, she goes in there to work. She clocks in and out, and I pay her a salary of $2/ hour,” Hinson smiled. “I never thought about the possibility of her [taking over the business], but I was very pleasantly surprised.”
Dwyer’s children grew up a little differently, always attesting they’d never go into business after seeing the hard work their parents invested. But now, the tides have changed, and her daughter, 24, just celebrated the first anniversary of the yoga studio she owns in Waco, Texas. And her son, 20, also started a part-time business as he attends community college. “[My husband and I] knew they had it in them to be entrepreneurs if that’s what they chose to do,” Dwyer beamed. “It’s so rewarding … it’s wonderful.”
For mothers with that entrepreneurial itch, Dwyer recommends “going for it with your eyes wide open.”
“Figure out what it is you love to do and pursue that,” she said. “But [we women have] got to learn not to be hard on ourselves. If we’re going to go into business, we’ve got to be willing to make mistakes, learn from [them] and push forward.”