Five Scripture-Based Gifts of Encouragement for the Mompreneur

God created youIf I could give a gift to the mom who is launching her first business…to the woman who is writing that first blog post…to the mother who is ready to make a change in her life and career…I would give her this: the ability to see herself through the eyes of Christ. With all the expert advice that’s so easily uncovered via Google and Amazon, I think perhaps the best business tip I’ve learned is to see what God sees in you.

Call it a lack of confidence or fear of the unknown, but too many of us mompreneurs are not living up to our potential because we’re simply not seeing it. I know this because I’ve lived it. I’ve watched opportunities come and go because I didn’t believe in my ability to succeed. Because I defined myself by the success standards of the world – and not by the natural gifts I took for granted. I can find myself feeling this way again, if I’m not careful.

And I know this to be true of other moms because they share their stories with me. I hear from women all over the globe who are excited about building a business or launching a ministry. Faith-filled moms who are ready to step out and do what they are called to do. But they’re feeling less than qualified. They’re feeling discouraged by their lack of credentials or experience. They’re feeling ill-equipped for the task at hand.

If any of this sounds familiar, I want you to know I understand, because I’ve been in your shoes and I’ve lived with your doubts. I want to share with you a few words of encouragement I’ve come to rely on when I’m feeling less than confident. [Read more...]

7 Steps to Setting Better Boundaries When You Work From Home

Setting BoundariesMoms who work from home do not lack ambition. We do not lack creativity. We do not lack intelligence, discipline or vision. Some people might say we lack time, although we have the same amount of hours in a day as anyone else. But we are missing something crucial to our success – effective boundaries.

We are in desperate need of a gatekeeper — that wonderful person who protects you from interruptions and distractions and keeps you focused on your most important tasks. I remember being envious of senior level executives in the corporate world who had someone to answer their phones, check their email, schedule appointments and clear their desk so they could solve problems and create solutions. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have that kind of assistant in your home office?

For most of us, that’s a pipe dream. We have to be our own gatekeepers. And it can be particularly challenging when we spend most of our day shifting from “mom” to “business person” and back again. We love both of our jobs and it’s difficult to keep them separated. Our minds are divided and our hearts are torn. But there are some strategies we can put in place to set better boundaries when we work from home.

How to Set Better Boundaries When You Work From Home

1. Establish regular office hours. Even if you have to change them every week, it’s important for everyone to know when you are working and when you are not working. Too many moms try to “squeeze in” a few hours of work when it’s convenient but there never ends up being a good time for it. So be intentional about when you plan to work.

2. Identify dedicated office space. I love those photos of women working on their laptops at the beach but somehow I just don’t think I’d get much accomplished if I took my office to the beach or the pool or the playground. I’m the kind of person who is sensitive to my environment. I like an organized desk and familiar noise-free surroundings. So I do most of my work within the four walls of my home office. It’s the best way for me to set a mental and physical boundary. When I cross the threshold into the foyer, I’m no longer at work. Even if you don’t have a separate office with a door, try establishing a designated space for work – and use that space for nothing else but work.

3. Communicate clearly. It’s not enough for YOU to set boundaries, you also have to make sure those around you know what to expect. Talk with your children about rules for picking up the phone, answering the door, keeping the noise volume down, playing on your computer and entering the office without permission. Discuss your office hours with your husband so he knows when to expect you to be available for him (hint, hint: you might need to have this conversation if he’s upset that you spend every night on the couch with your laptop while he’s trying to enjoy downtime with you). Let your mom know that you can’t chat for an hour every day while you’re working (then give her an alternative time to talk!). Tell the ladies in your small group that you won’t be able to grab coffee spontaneously but that you can’t wait for the next regularly scheduled meeting. And by all means, kindly inform your friends, your sister and your neighbors that while you love their children you are not available to babysit during work hours. [Read more...]

Finish What You Start (and Other Bad Advice)

Finish What You StartRemember rug hooking? I’m probably showing my age but I used to spend weeks at a time pulling colorful little pieces of yarn through a template to form an image of puppies or flowers or butterflies. We didn’t have video games or Instagram to capture our attention, so we made crafts. Lots of crafts.

And I loved starting new crafts! The problem was…I didn’t always finish what I started. I remember my mother telling me I was not going to get another rug hook set, or sand art kit, or needle point set, or watercolor canvas until I finished the ones I had already started.  

It was good advice at the time –I needed to learn the discipline of following through on a project. I needed to know what it meant to make a commitment. I needed to experience the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a job.

But I’ve since discovered there are times when it’s ok to stop in the middle of a project. That you don’t always have to finish what you start. In fact, sometimes it’s better to stop where you are than to waste another second continuing what you are doing.

Don’t be a Quitter

Let’s take a business goal for example. Let’s say you have a dream of holding a workshop. You have visions of an inspirational and educational event that will touch hearts and change lives! You do the research…you create the material…you make all the arrangements…you promote the event…and when it’s a week away from the big day, you’ve only got one person registered. Do you finish what you start? Well, maybe. There are a lot of factors to consider. But I wouldn’t rule out canceling the event. Sometimes the right thing to do is cut our losses, learn from our mistakes and try something else.

Maybe this situation applies to more than a single workshop. What if it applies to your entire business or ministry? What if all logical signs point toward letting go and starting over? Despite what we know to be the best decision, we’re afraid to let go because we’ve accepted the lie that tells us we are failures. We would rather follow through on something for the sake of finishing it than wear the self-proclaimed label of a quitter. [Read more...]