Starting Up A Start-Up While Managing a Family

The Balancing Act Of A Start-Up!

It is Monday morning and I am overwhelmed with the amount of work on my to-do list. When I started Social Stepmom I had no clue how much work it would take. I had an idea about stepmoms coming together and I thought I would just put out there and see if anyone liked it. I really thought it was important for stepmoms to network and to be able to support each other. Then, I woke up one morning and told my husband that "I never want to speak to your ex again" and "I have an idea about a company that I would like to start". My husband (a lifetime entrepreneur) thought it was a great idea, and so it started. I bounced my ideas off of people and ultimately received the same reaction. While doing so, I researched for months looking to see what else was out there. I wanted to be a lifestyle brand, not a coach. I then tested the market to see if anyone would welcome my idea. I hired some amazing people to help me get started.

Then I hit a roadblock...

A frivolous lawsuit (in my opinion) to shut down Social Stepmom from the exact person I didn't want to speak to again- my husband's ex. I kept ploughing ahead and decided that I was going to learn the ins and outs of my company before I could continue. I started programming when I was 15 so I had the technology skillset, and once had a very tiny television show for a local company so it seemed to work given what I needed to learn was the back end of programming all the way to the front end of filming. This was a journey and at times was not easy. I was doing all of this as well as managing my family, mourning the loss of my father (who passed away on the very same day I was labouring the life of my firstborn), learning what it takes to build a company, and battling through a lawsuit.

Here are the things I will share with you:
  1. Be Committed- when you embark on your journey, be sure it is really what you want to do. When you are an entrepreneur there is nobody holding you accountable. You must hold yourself to your workload and stick to it. If you don't (and there will be times you don't) you need to motivate yourself to get back to it!
  2. Be Organized- not being organized as a mom/stepmom is enough to push you over the edge. When you have so many people to care for all at once, your skills in this department will truly be strengthened. Being organized will also prepare you to be an entrepreneur. If this is not your strongest department, find tools to help you organize yourself and stick with these tools until they become habits.
  3. Set your Schedule for Family Time- this is different from being organized. Setting your schedule to spend the time with your family is a must. Do not give this up. I have been up until 2:00-3:00 am in the morning or starting my workday at 5:30 am to get work done because it is important to be accountable to my children when they need me. Our children want a mom, so even if it is just 20 minutes, just be there in full. Not on your phone or reading something. Put down all electronics and focus on them.
  4. Be Passionate About What You Want to do- if you are not passionate, don't do it. Work will feel like work if you don't love it. Nobody wants to do something they don't love. If you are passionate about what you do no matter the time of day it will not feel like work and this will keep you focused. I am so passionate about Social Stepmom, and that doesn't mean I don't have times when I wonder what I am doing, it means that when I have to get a blog out or fix an issue I enjoy it. It makes me happy!
  5. Don't Give Up- if you have the passion and you love what you are doing there will be times when you will want to give up - Don't! Stick to it and see it through (as long as it doesn't depreciate your life). Entrepreneurs have moments of second-guessing what they are doing. Know that this is normal!
  6. Don't Beat Yourself Up- if you have not achieved what you have set out to achieve do not fret. Things take time and Rome was not built in a day. This is a saying for a reason. Things happen, and we cannot control it so make the shift to rejig your timeline.
  7. Know When to Give Up- after reading all of the above everyone should have an exit strategy and know when to pull the plug. It is something every entrepreneur needs to face and setting those expectations from the beginning should be helpful.

Here is me writing about what I love and hoping it sticks!


Sarah Paterson