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Expert opinions from moms in business

Advice from moms for moms

Expert opinions from a mom in business

Cynthia Marsh-Croll, a mother of two and an active woman in the business world, is an expert at helping women entrepreneurs build successful small businesses. As the Program Manager at the Women’s Enterprise Development Center 2015, and a business owner for years before that, she knows all about the struggle between finding time for it all and prioritizing to make the pieces fit together.

Moms are busy and a balance between work and family is something they all strive to achieve. According to Marsh-Croll, there is no “balance.” “If you are spending time with your partner, spouse or your children, you should not be distracted by other stuff. If you are working in your business or career you need to be present. This will help you to focus and perform better thus using less time and energy,” she says.

Part of Marsh-Croll’s job is to teach training programs to women attempting to enter the business world. This combined with the years she spent as a full time mom and business woman makes her an expert on the things moms should know before entering a career. What’s her biggest tip to a woman looking to enter the business world? “Planning is key,” she says. “Really examine where you are, what you would like to achieve for you and your family and what would be the best way to get there. You can’t plan for everything but you can do a better job of responding to unexpected things if you already know where you are going.”

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What is the biggest problem you have encountered in balancing your work schedule with your kid’s schedule?

“The biggest problem we have encountered is when unexpected events come up that were not planned.  For example: when a cow gets out but no one is around to help babysit so we can chase the cow back in,” says Kristen Brown, owner of Historic Brown Family Farm LLC for 3 years.

“One of the best parts about owning my own business is being able to set the parameters around my time. That being said, my work and life events sometimes conflict. I’ve learned to be there when I can and to forgive myself – and let my husband take the lead role at times – so that I can be 100 percent present wherever I am, whether it’s with my clients or my family,” says Filomena Fanelli, owner of Impact PR & Communications for 3.5 years.

"I think the largest problem I have encountered in balancing my work schedule with my children's is when communication has been lacking. With my children, husband, coaches, teachers, etc. It is very important to have clear plans as to how each day/ week will flow. Not planning early creates unnecessary stress and issues. My husband, my children and I keep a joint calendar and we all use that as a base for our schedules. If you have planned well, the emergencies that pop up are easier to address," says Jen Dunn, owner of The Jen Dunn Agency Inc, State Farm Insurance for 10 years.

"Trying to do it all by myself. Moms are the backbone of the family. We're the rememberers, the cooks, the nurturers, the on-and-on you name it job doers. I quickly realized that by not asking for help, I was suffering and not being the mom, role model and wife I knew I could be," says Jane Savage, owner of Savage Health for 8 years.

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What is some advice you would give to new business owners that you didn’t know about balancing work and home life?

"The only words of wisdom are...'just go with it.' All too often I find myself trying to over plan but things come up, life is not perfect." - Kristen Brown

“Despite what you think, you cannot do it all by yourself and you do not need to do it by yourself.   Learning to ask for help early and often!  Find the things that can be delegated or hired out, freeing you up to focus your non-work time on your family.  If you surround yourself with the right people, volunteer to assist others when you have the capacity to do so, you will build a community of support around you to find balance.” - Jen Dunn. 

"My best advice to a new business owner is that balancing work and home life looks different for every parent. What works well for me may not work well for your and vice versa. What I've found most helpful is bringing in help, whether that's from a supportive partner or family member, a daycare or even a kind neighbor. No person can do it all alone!" - Filomena Fanelli

“Done is better than perfect.  As a recovering perfectionist, I have learned that balancing work, life, family and home is not about having "perfect hair and make-up" but about taking care of the essentials in a joyful way.  You must learn to give yourself permission to do those essentials, like exercise and eating well, and delegate non-essentials, like laundry and dinner clean up, to others.  Everyone pitches in to help.” - Jane Savage.

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What is one misconception you had when starting your business about how family life would integrate with your new business schedule?

“One misconception was that my family would be as excited and interested in my business as I am.  The endless hours of homework done at the office, the nights they slept on the couch while I worked through the night grew tiresome for them.” – Jen Dunn

“I thought that I could continue functioning at the same fast paced level I did prior to my daughter’s arrival.  Lately, some things take longer than expected but to work side by side with my family is priceless!” – Kristen Brown

“I was pretty overwhelmed in the beginning trying to make every day look the same.  There are non-negotiables that we fit in everyday like healthy meals, movement, work hours, and family connection without screens. Create a non-negotiable list for your day and be flexible with the rest to help bring more joy and ease to your life.” – Jane Savage

“I believed that I could easily integrate my business with my family and vice versa. I now know that I’m at my best when I block off my time and protect each important area of my life as much as possible.” - Filomena Fanelli