balance

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I recently attended a time management seminar, and the core idea was to break down the entrepreneur’s time into a systematized workweek of 1-hour blocks, allocated in certain ways. I’ve spent 10 years professionally helping mostly women with time management, and I was one of the first true work-at-home employees over 20 years ago, when the internet was still new and shiny, and “logging on” meant listening to a symphony of computer clicks and chirps at 64 baud. So I know a little about working, working whenever and wherever, and working when family demands your attention. I know this traditional approach of managing your life in tidy 1-hour blocks doesn’t work as well on the road as it does on paper.

If you, also, are a busy women looking for time management answers, check out the latest book I’ve read on this topic, called “Overwhelmed:  Work Love and Play When No One Has the Time” by Brigid Schulte.

For some people the issue is needing more structure and discipline in their lives, and I love it when they show up in my client base, because my job is then easy.  We just fill in a calendar with one-hour blocks as traditional teachers on time management will propose, and away they go. BUT THAT NEVER HAPPENS. The real problem is what Schulte pinpoints as “contaminated time” or “fractured time”, which is the modern expectation to work from anywhere, seamlessly, and still hold down the home front. This is mostly a female problem, magnified in households where there are young children, and quite different from what most men experience. This is not chauvinistic, just the facts.

Some folks can still operate and succeed in this world of contaminated time, and some feel constant and unmanageable stress from it. The idea that our day can be broken down into 1-hour blocks of time is hilarious. Even 30 minute or 15 minute blocks are hard to come by (although one strategy that I help my clients with is to create those 15 minute blocks, using an audible timer while removing or  shutting off all other distractions for brief bursts of time, repeating them over and over in rapid fire to create larger blocks of time).

I think Schulte’s book is an important addition to the modern library. You’ll hear Schulte describing, sometimes with real, justified anger, what the family has to go through in America. Most women I know and work with are exactly what Schulte describes…successful professionals who had to make drastic changes, sometimes “dropping out” and re-inventing a new career path in order to find a spot where they could re-fashion their calendars to allow for the demands of a family that needed them to be there for sick days, snow days, and horribly expensive childcare situations.

Women will read this book and feel relief; their “contaminated” and “fractured” calendars aren’t a symptom of their inadequacy, but rather a symptom of modern life. Men can benefit from this sometimes raw description of how their wives, daughters, and co-workers are juggling too much. There isn’t one solution to this epidemic, but rather a series of small steps to recognize the problem and manage it for every phase of your life. Read Schulte’s book through to the end, and then develop your own plan to manage the time challenges in your own life.

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Recently I received this request:

I run a business, I am an expert in a very niche area, my business is four years old and I am based in Scotland. It has really taken off in the past two years, with lots of hard work on my part, I work for companies around the globe. My business is my baby and to a large part it is probably my sense of self. I love my business, I love what I do, I love being an expert go to person for people. It is also the money source for providing for the two kids (7 and 8) I already have, my husband is also unemployed at present so I am the breadmother (43% of women in the UK are the breadmother).  I have a network of consultants who work for me on various projects, but I do not employ any directly. So I am pretty much freaking out about how I continue in this high growth phase of my business and have a little baby, without going slightly mad with the stress. Just knowing there are other women out there who have done this and coped is a massive help. Will your book, the Pregnant Entrepreneur, be useful to me as non-USA-based person? (emphasis added)

The Pregnant Entrepreneur blog and book does does reference once of the biggest problems US entrepreneurs have historically faced, of getting healthcare at any stage of life. I don’t devote any significant amount of space in the book to that, and the situation here in the USA is now changing, with the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The topics that the book and this site cover are universal:

  • When to disclose your pregnancy and to whom
  • How to prioritize and balance the demands of pregnancy with your business
  • Maintaining credibility with your peers, employees, and customers, even while you can’t see your feet
  • Wardrobe worries
  • How to manage the “fourth trimester”, maternity leave, and re-entry

My heart breaks when I read stats about other countries and their generous maternity leave policies and state-based support for new moms. 

I’m a mom, an entrepreneur, and an author. I may be an activist, in some sense. But I am US-based. I’d love to hear your experiences as a pregnant entrepreneur, whether US-based or in some other country. Let’s open the dialogue, and share in the comments below. 

What was or is your experience as a pregnant entrepreneur?

 

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how to juggle a Ph.D., new biz and new babyPlease welcome Marissa, as she shares her story of adding a new life to her already very full life, twice!

 

I was in the last semester of a Ph.D. program when I found out I was pregnant. Luckily, I had most of my dissertation written, but I still had the daunting task of defending my research before an audience of professors. At seven weeks pregnant I can remember walking into the committee room at the university and facing my dissertation committee – with massive morning sickness. It felt like a miracle that I made it through the presentation without vomiting, but I managed to complete this last hurdle with grace. And, a few short weeks later at eleven weeks pregnant I proudly graduated with a doctorate in Educational Psychology.

I had done it. I had reached my life-long goal. I was ecstatic, overjoyed, and as elated as I always thought I would be. Only I hadn’t ever dreamed that graduation would coincide with pregnancy.

So, I had a new Ph.D. and a new baby arriving later that year. I’m not going to lie and say that this didn’t make me nervous. I had worked extremely hard — five long years of classes, teaching apprenticeships, research, writing, oh, and a full-time job – to reach this goal, and now what? Could I find a new job with a baby bump? Should I keep my current job and put my child in day care once she arrived? Or should I quit work to stay home with my baby?

In the end I made the difficult decision not to return to my job. In fact, never in a million years did I think I would want to stay at home with a baby, but there I was in my new found profession of “Dr Mom”.   I loved (and do still love) every minute of it.

But, I found that I did miss conducting research, writing, teaching, and most of all, working with children. So, I founded a blog called Land of Once Upon aTime, which is devoted to showing parents how to guide their child in learning, literacy, and development with the help children’s books. In 2011, my blog was nominated for a Bammy Award which recognizes excellence in the field of education, which was a proud moment for me. In addition to blogging and being Dr Mom to my daughter, I was freelance writing and teaching college courses in psychology (in my spare time).

As my daughter got older, I became ready to take on even more work, but I didn’t really want to go back to a corporate job. I wanted the freedom to be my own boss, work from home, and set my own hours so I could continue to spend as much time as possible with my daughter. After a little brainstorming, I came up with the idea for A First Foundation, which provides consulting to parents and education professionals to equip them with the knowledge they need to give the children in their lives the best foundation for a lifetime of learning.

As luck would have it, I found myself (happily) pregnant again as I was just setting the groundwork for A First Foundation!

Being a mom to a toddler and a pregnant entrepreneur wasn’t always easy, but I tried my best to capitalize on my bursts of energy and the “nesting” phenomenon. Now, after nine long months of pregnancy and planning, I’m ready to launch my ideas into action with a new little baby boy in tow.

 

Marissa Kiepert Truong, Ph.D. is a mom on the mainline, early literacy blogger, and early learning consultant. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. For more information about her consulting services, please email her at AFIRSTFOUNDATION(at)GMAIL(dot)COM.

 

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Welcome to Carrie Curry.  She’s the first guest this year eager to tell her story of being a Pregnant Entrepreneur.  I hope her experiences help you get through your special nine months!

carrie and baby-pepostWhen I became pregnant with my first child, I was working full time for a great non-profit organization. I did much of my work from home so I was able to sneak in a few naps here and there and rest when I needed to. I thought I was exhausted then…

After our precious son entered (and rocked) our world, I decided to stay at home with him full time. I loved watching him grow and explore his little world. But he napped a lot. And slept well at night! So I started to get bored, and needed an outlet for my creativity.

When he was around 1 year old, I started a cake business, Coastal Cakery www.coastalcakery.com. I had a strong passion for making beautiful cakes that tasted delicious – and there was very little competition in our area for it – so it became successful very quickly.

Soon enough, I was pregnant again. It was much different this time. I couldn’t nap when I was tired. I had a 2 year old to chase around and the cake business to manage on the side. I was responding to emails, planning cake designs, and shopping supplies during the days with my little helper by my side. After bedtime, I would bake and decorate until the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, most of my business was done Thursday – Saturday as most cake, cookie, and pastry orders are placed for the weekend. I was able to rest more during the week and was refreshed for the next busy weekend. I remember thinking on Saturday nights, “I can’t do this anymore!” but by the time I had the next cake to work on, I was ready to get my creative juices flowing!

When my daughter was born, I realized how much my life had changed. I got a call for a cake order the day she was born and non-chalantly told the client from my hospital bed, “Well, I just had a baby today so I can’t do it this weekend.”

Fast forward a few years and the creative outlets grew. I started a website and blog with my sister called Chockababy ( www.chockababy.com). And then, found out I was pregnant again. This time, something had to give. I passed on most of the cake orders to my assistant and the website/blog became a stand-alone blog.

This pregnancy was the hardest on my body as I had a hard time saying “no” to all the things I love to do. But, being my own boss, I was able to take breaks when needed and find assistance so as to not feel the stress of looming deadlines. The Chockababy blog has adapted over time as well. I was able to focus my attention from sharing about everything to my passion: being a supportive mom community and my life dealing with a child with food allergies.

As much as being an entreprenuer can be exhausting, it’s also so freeing to be able to control my own schedule. I think I would have a very hard time being a full time working mom outside of the home. Occasionally, I may feel like I work all the time, but I am doing things I love. And, over time, I have come close to finding a great balance – with hope that perfect balance will come soon! I think, the best thing about it is this one truth: you can do what works best for you and your family. It makes whatever you do “the best job ever!”

 

Carrie Curry lives in Milton, DE. She’s a blogger at Chockababy.com, owner of Coastal Cakery, and part-time math instructor – when not actively being “mommy” to 3 crazy kids. 

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THANK YOU for voting and helping The Pregnant Entrepreneur to win this award.

 

See more posts and info about the other winners here.   

Q:What tips would you give a mom who wants to write a book?

If you want to write a book, start writing. Seriously, that’s it. Also, start connecting with others who can help bring your book to market. Writing your book is the easiest part. Publishing the book is harder. Marketing the book is even harder.  But in the end, if your book is something you believe in, or if you have a story only you can tell, then all of the hours you put in both pre- and post-publishing will be worth it. Don’t write a book because you can.  Write it because you must.

Q:How do you balance writing and motherhood?

I was absolutely possessed to write The Pregnant Entrepreneur. I was pregnant with my second child when it became clear that I was the one to write it. Much of the book is about how there is very little balance in a mother’s life, and even less in the life of a mom who is also an entrepreneur. Moms use the kind of balance needed to ride a bike: always in motion, constantly adjusting your position and center of gravity, going off road when the old path doesn’t lead you to the right end. My children have always seen me working, but very often they don’t realize that I’m working because my life as an entrepreneur is so much fun and I’m around more than I would be if I had to go to an office 10 hours a day. I want them growing up knowing that you can achieve everything you strive for, but you don’t have to “have it all,” at least not all at the same time. My main business, a successful professional organizing and design business (www.HeartWorkOrg.com) , makes even more demands on my day and time with family than my book does, so I make sure that I really love what I’m doing.  Since I’m the boss in both my kitchen  and my business, shame on me if I’m not creating a life that I love. Entrepreneurship offers the best path to a workday that caters to a mother’s own family needs.

 

Q:Where do you find writing inspiration?

The inspiration for The Pregnant Entrepreneur was personal. I needed a guidebook to get me through something completely new, which was how to get through my special nine months as a credible and successful entrepreneur. I was honored to include in my book the stories of other women who have gone through pregnancy while running their own business. It’s hard to find these stories when you most need to hear them. Even with all of the improvements in women’s rights and working conditions, women are still largely unsupported in the US as young mothers, so I wanted to give women a heads up on the issues they will face as pregnant entrepreneurs. The book includes some simple spreadsheets in the book to help women do things like fund their own maternity leave, so they can stay home with their newborn for as long as possible. I want to encourage women to take the next step to their dreams. Technology has created an amazing opportunity to kick the Old Boy’s Club to the curb and really maximize the New Girl’s Club. We are put on this earth to help each other, and women’s stories from around the world inspire me to encourage others.  Since writing the book, both of my blogs (www.PregnantEntrepreneur.com and www.HeartWorkOrg.com ) provide a platform to help other women and men live more organized, peaceful and maybe even more balanced lives…even though balance is like the mythical unicorn.  But wouldn’t it be great to happen upon it one day?

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Why yes, it really is that simple.  Not only do most US corporations effectively send some of their brightest and most motivated employees packing with a baby shower, but the US economy is the big loser.  You know, the US economy that we’ve been hearing so much about in recent years, with stagnated growth and recessionary tendencies? 

According to Sallie Krawcheck, a former corporate president, “Fully engaging women in the economy can increase GDP by as much as 9%.” 

Let’s be clear on one thing.  Women who leave the corporate life in favor of raising their families aren’t generally sitting home eating bonbons.  They are the women volunteering all around us and taking low-paying but indispensable jobs in what is known as the “shadow economy.”  These women make our schools run, keep our churches growing, mobilize others for political agendas, and lend their influence to their communities as bloggers and small business owners.  They volunteer in the health care systems.  They run back offices for their family business.  They take care of the aging.  They mentor others.  They teach our children.  And they are penalized in corporations for it.

Read more in this compelling article. http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121211003923-174077701-big-idea-2013-flexibility-without-shame.

While a lot has improved in the work world in past decades, we still have far to go.  It is amazing how far behind the curve the US is, compared to many European countries.  If you can’t wait for changes, then entrepreneurship is probably for you.

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Cats in the cradle and the silver spoon

Little boy blue and the man in the moon

When ya coming home Dad?  I don’t know when,

But we’ll get together then, son.  You know we’ll have a good time then.

 

This little refrain dances through my head with a folksy little tune quite a bit these days.  I’m sure I was a strange child, because Cats in the Cradle has been one of my favorite songs since I was about eight years old. Yes, I was cat-crazy from an early age, but I’ve always understood the story that the song tells. http://www.lyricsdepot.com/harry-chapin/cats-in-the-cradle.html

Cats in the cradle…

It seems like recently has been a particularly tough “cats in the cradle” time for my family.  My mom just retired after working 44 years with the same company.  She called me on the last week of her job, also my birthday week, and I was working on deadlines, stressing about sitter arrangements, and a dozen other things that day.  It was hard for me to stop the whirlwind of my day to settle down long enough to ask her how she was feeling about her next big life change.   Recently, I forgot my Dad’s birthday, but randomly called home just to say hi on his big day.  Luckily, it wasn’t a birthday ending in a zero. Both of these incidents shone the light on me, constantly in motion, compared to their process of slowing their lives to a “smell the roses” pace.  My workaholic mom and I have officially switched places.

And the silver spoon…

My two preschoolers keep me busy with the usual stuff, like running to school and playdates. We have a lovely home that takes time to maintain and update. We are blessed with friends, church, and family.  My husband sometimes travels for his job, which strains our schedule.  And, of course, we joke that I work for the most demanding boss ever, myself.  It’s not quite a silver spoon life, but we, like most Americans, have it relatively good, as long as we are working and paying our dues.

Little boy blue…

Discipline, sibling rivalry, and reminders about manners take up a lot of my day.  Most days feel like one step forward, two steps back.  I thought two little girls wouldn’t wrestle, for heaven’s sake.  Sometimes I am blue- no-worn out- by day’s end. Where are all the well-meaning lookers-on from the malls and the stores when I’m refereeing my 99th wrestling match of the day?

And the man in the moon…

When Cats in the Cradle was a hit for Harry Chapin in 1974, I was just a baby.  Moms all over the country were still busting out of the household, scratching and clawing to make it into the working world.  My girls don’t realize that women have, indeed, reached the moon, but only recently.  They don’t yet realize how happy it makes Mommy to be able to keep one foot firmly in my professional life, while also working a second shift at home rather than sending them off to daycare.  The song croons about a boy and his father, working too hard to fully experience his growing son’s life.  The young child wants to be just like his daddy and by the end of the song, the workaholic dad realizes that, “He’d grown up just like me.  My boy was just like me.”

In this day and age, the song would be written for mother and daughter.  I really believe there is no absolute balance, no way to fully appreciate every single moment, no way to keep the kids small at their cutest stages.  If it’s hard to decide whether this is an article with more “up” sentiments or more “down,” that reflects reality.  Our lives are Cats in the Cradle moments strung together. Many women today take big risks to fashion a life that allows for professional pursuit, flexible scheduling, and time enough with their mini-me’s.  I wonder who will write the next Cats in the Cradle song for this generation.  I won’t be surprised if it will be all about a mom and her daughters this time around.

 

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Pregnant Entrepreneurs are about to learn about the sweetest sound in the universe: a child sleeping.  For the first two years, you can get an awful lot done from your home office when your child naps.  But somewhere around two, many moms get a little shaky because it appears that your sweetheart is giving up naps, which can destroy the entire balance of your universe.

Here are a few great and practical tips from my friend, Erin Flynn Jay, Philadelphia writer, public relations executive and mom of two girls. http://www.metrokids.com/Blogs/MomSpeak/April-2012/When-Your-Toddler-Drops-the-Nap/  Check out her blog at FlynnMedia.com/blog.

To be completely honest, my own sleep hygiene these days isn’t the best, what with trying to burn the candle at both ends.  But I have always zealously guarded my children’s naptime. In addition to Erin’s tips above, here are a few of my own.

  • When your youngster first starts giving up naps, that doesn’t mean she’s actually ready to give up naps.  This is called a nap strike, and may just be for a few days.  If your child doesn’t get back into a sleep routine, try changing the routine.  If she always sleeps in her crib, for example, try taking her for a drive.  Find a situation she falls asleep in, and try to repeat it over the next week to get her back into a sleep habit.
  • Guard naps religiously if it makes you a better mom and a better business owner.  I am ALWAYS, ALWAYS home for naptime.  That means we miss out on a few events and some lunches with friends, but my kids know the routine, and usually go to bed with little fuss after lunch.
  • When naps fail, turn it into quiet time.  My pediatricians back me up that even a kindergardener needs quiet time.  While it may not be as long as a nap, your child can still stay quietly in their room, reading or playing with quiet toys.  It might be a shorter window than nap, but we don’t need that much time to accomplish our entire daily to do list after all, right?   😉
  • Reward naps.  As a mom, I am not above bribery.  When putting my little ones down for lunch, I often say something like, “I’m really looking forward to heading to the park with you after nap.  But you need to be well rested.  So read quietly and maybe close your eyes so you can have enough energy to do the fun stuff we have planned, alright?” 

Keep these strategies with you as your child ages.  I have found that my days are the best with my kids when they are well-rested, especially as they grow into toddlers and pre-schoolers.

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You don’t know what you don’t know when you become a parent.  Here are a few doozies that still catch me off guard.

Table manners matter.  I’m not sure when this happened, but I became a stickler for table manners.  Of course, toddlers don’t have table manners.  More accurately, my toddlers actually own manners, they are just constantly misplacing theirs.  My oldest is five, and she absolutely loves being loud, making funny noises, hiding under the table, and getting her younger sister to misbehave along with her.  I wish I could be the carefree mom that laughs and sings at the table savoring every moment with my young children, but after getting everyone to a hot meal, I just want to enjoy it in relative peace.  Not complete silence, just peace.  Call me crazy.

No respect.  It amazes me that Rodney Dangerfield, who is absolutely a man, made a career of the phrase, “I get no respect.”  In fact, it is mothers who get no respect.  It’s become a running joke in my family, and it happens all the time.  I shop for dinner, plan dinner, and prepare dinner, but hand it off to my husband to grill, and the girls say, “Thank you for a great dinner, Daddy.”  For our recent trip to Hershey Park, I clear the dates, book the hotel, and buy the tickets, but my husband drives the car, and the girls say, “Thanks for taking us to Hershey, Daddy.”  I shop for clothes, launder them, and get the girls dressed, and the girls run to daddy to hear his obligatory praises of, “Oh, how pretty!”  I knew this would happen, of course, because I under-appreciated my own mom.  Serves me right.

Guilt.  I am sometimes ashamed and terrified of my perfect children.  As I befriend mothers who are raising children who are allergic, fragile, disabled, or tragically taken too soon, I am struck by guilt that I don’t actually worship my perfectly healthy children.  When they have a meltdown in the store or smack each other, I admit to sometimes losing my cool.  No, I’ve been too busy rearing them and setting boundaries to smother them in kisses several times a day, which is exactly what I should be doing. Which is exactly what my friends would do if their child were suddenly cured, restored, returned to them.  In the same breath, I am terrified that something terrible will happen in the next moment to my perfect children.  Would I be as graceful as these women I have come to admire?  There’s no way of knowing until I am tested, which I pray I won’t be. More guilt.

I love working.  Not that this one is a complete surprise.  I’m just grateful to be able to design a life where I can enjoy my kids and enjoy a fulfilling creative outlet that produces and income.  Especially when my kids drive me crazy, I still have this professional side of me up and running, and it is worth all of the energy that it takes to keep both sides of my life running at the same time.  Frankly, some days I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my awesome business.  Yes, I love working, and I love working for myself even more.  udge me if you want, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this one.

I’m sure there are more. But they’ll have to wait for a refill on chocolate and coffee, which I swore I would never use as crutches to get through my day.  Never say never.

 

 

 

 

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If you haven’t ever heard of co-working, that’s not surprising.  I hadn’t either, until very recently.   This is not to be confused with “job sharing”, which is a strategy some women use to work part-time in a full-time position at a corporation.  No, this is really a new concept, or perhaps an old concept with a new structure.  You’ve probably gone to a coffee shop to get a bit of work done, where you congregate with other people doing the same thing, but independently.

 coworking for moms

Aliza Schlabach, herself a working mom, has launched a group who comes together to work in their own businesses, but in a shared space.  She schedules the events, once or more each month, and finds the space so that (mostly) business owners can congregate and benefit from the engery and resources that workers in an office take for granted.

Update since originally published:  Aliza’s business has been renamed the JuiceBox and is currently on the hunt for permanent real estate.

The really exciting twist on this is Aliza’s addition of childcare to the mix, since her market is mostly moms and dads who usually run their business from their homes and around their kids. Is this a brilliant idea?  Here’s the interview, where Aliza buckles down and shows how it’s done.

 How did you come up with the coworking concept?

 

This past fall I took part in DreamIt Ventures startup accelerator program in Philadelphia; for three months I worked as a User Experience consultant for one of the startup companies. We worked in a crowded open room, and while it wasn’t particularly comfortable, it was still wonderful… we (15 startup companies which consisted of about 45 people) bounced ideas off each other, learned to network like crazy, and collaborated. Even though my company consisted of only three people, we were in an environment that was much bigger and more exciting; it fostered enthusiasm and creativity beyond what could have happened from our small group working alone. 

 

During that program I also became familiar with Indy Hall, a cool coworking space in Old City Philadelphia that was founded by Alex Hillman, who is extremely well known in the coworking community worldwide. DreamIt and Indy Hall were my introduction to coworking.

 

One day in November I was driving home from a school we were considering sending my five year old to for kindergarden, and was fretting over how far apart my home, my work, his school, and my daughter’s daycare were. And suddenly I had one of those lightbulb moments; the Coworking for Parents concept was born.

 

 

Are there other similar models in operation elsewhere, in other parts of the country?

 

So far in all of my Googling, I have only found a handful of other businesses with this concept worldwide:

 

Third Door Workhug & Nursery London (UK)

http://www.third-door.com/

Bean Work Play Cafe (Georgia)

http://www.beanworkplaycafe.com/

The Work SPot (Georgia)

http://workatthespot.com/

(Germany)

http://www.koelner-zeitraeume.de/

Cubes & Crayons (San Francisco) (closed their doors – I heard for personal reasons)

http://www.cubesandcrayons.com/

 

Who is it ideal for?  Who else might benefit?

 

This facility will be perfect for most work from home parents of young children… anyone who spends the majority of time on their computer and who also has young kids to attend to.  We will also welcome anyone else who wants to cowork in our area… parents of older kids, and those without kids as well; they just won’t need the childcare services. Finally, we are considering including a commercial kitchen in our space. This will be great for event hosting, as well as for renting to those with bakery and other food related businesses who might sometimes need a larger facility (and maybe childcare) to handle larger orders and grow their businesses beyond the capacities of their home.

 

The childcare side of the business will allow entrepreneurial and telecommuting parents the ability to be more productive than they could possibly be at home without childcare. 

 

The coworking environment will foster a true community spirit and opportunities to inspire, be inspired, network, socialize, learn, and be happier and more productive. It will of course also offer traditional business services such as access to conference rooms and print facilities. 

 

 

Do you see this as a mentoring/networking possibility as well?

 

Absolutely! I think networking in a space of fellow entrepreneurs is a given. We will likely also set up a program of monthly networking events, speakers, and perhaps also a mentoring program for startups. 

 

 

What kinds of work might a parent actually get done in a few hours?

Hosting a business meeting in a board room or participating in a conference call (with no screaming children in the background). Designing a few mockups of a web site. An intense session of programming. Writing a proposal, or a magazine article. Finances. Getting through a big pile of email. Cooking in the commercial kitchen. The possibilities are endless!

 

 

How will you address concerns about quality of child care?

 

Quality child care is all about the people who are providing that care. In addition to thorough background checks and references, I plan on interviewing all candidates personally. They must demonstrate warmth, responsibility, attention, a youthful spirit, and creativity. Part of the interviewing process will include having them provide examples of activities they would love to pursue with the children they work with. I will also institute both a parent and peer review process to make sure we reward the teachers who excel, and dismiss those who don’t perform. 

 

 

Do you see this growing into a business, or is this just a really great networking opportunity?

 

The facility will either be set up as a for profit business or a non-profit organization, depending on how the revenue plan works out (currently a work in progress). I could see large family friendly organizations potentially sponsoring us, as an effort to support family-focused entrepreneurship on a community level. Ikea, Wegmans, and Whole Foods perhaps? (Is this wishful thinking?  🙂

 

 

How have you been getting the word out about this option?

 

I have been very active setting up my email newsletter mailing list on CoworkingForParents.com, and getting the word out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CoworkingForParents) and Meetup.com (www.meetup.com/CoworkingForparents). Locally I have been talking to people in person and online from Philly Startup Leaders, Main Line Parent magazine, have posted on Craigslist, and have been meeting individually with many local business owners.

 

 

Would a pregnant woman be welcome?

 

Absolutely! How wonderful would it be for her to be supported in her business and through her pregnancy by others who have been through it.

 

 

What is the one biggest success you hope to have?

 

Just one? That’s tough.  🙂 If I can open the doors to this business, have it be even a little bit profitable within a year or two, and make a few parents happy and productive enough to spread the word, I will be a very happy and content woman.

 

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For more information, contact Aliza Schlabach Founder | Coworking For Parents

215.858.4658  info@coworkingforparents.com

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