Second Sunday Series—Editor’s Note: This is the ninth of 12 columns on starting a business—one every second Sunday of the month, September through August. Last month’s column outlined the systems to establish, while previous months discussed making the first sale, ways to choose the direction of the startup, goal setting processes, key startup milestones, burnout, personal strengths and weaknesses of the entrepreneur, and self-employment as a career. choice.
Today’s startup column covers an important topic for every entrepreneur, but especially for women: staying focused and not spending time on non-startup related activities.
Ready? We’ll start with a quiz: what’s most important when starting a business, financing, or owner time? You already know the answer: the owner’s time is the single most important ingredient in starting a business. Any other variable can be adapted to the circumstances.
For proof, think of all the famous startups that flourished even when no funding was available. (Apple, anyone? Medtronic?) Next, think about the startups that have thrived without owner attention. If you draw a blank, it’s because it doesn’t work that way. Whether it’s an hour or a hundred hours, owners need to spend time each week building a business from their idea or it won’t happen.
Now that we have it all figured out, here’s another quiz: when both work the same number of hours, will mothers spend more time on household activities, or their male counterparts? Hmmm. Difficult… What about gender patterns in childless households? Hell, the answer is the same: with or without children, households use up to twice as many hours of women’s work as men’s.
If we assume that women aren’t spending that time cleaning up the mess they’ve made, then it seems like they’re cleaning up after someone else. Guys, if you’re wondering what to get that special mompreneur for Mother’s Day, one suggestion would be a housekeeper, or more of your cleaning time so she can focus on her business guilt-free.
Speaking of gifts, one thing not to give her would be the heartbreak of having high standards and the “choice” she makes to clean house. Not that you don’t have a point; it’s just that adults don’t fix things by making one person entirely responsible for solving a common problem.
Which brings us to women in this equation. Here’s a truth you need to consider if you want to grow your business: you almost certainly do more non-essential things at home than you think.
Clothes can be worn more times without being washed, floors can last longer without being scrubbed, dinner can come from a box more often, and in any case, some of what you’ve done can be outsourced. , whether for children, your partner or someone outside the household.
Plus, you’re not the only person who can handle a crisis. You’re just the first person everyone calls because you usually say yes. It’s not something you’ll be able to do when your business is up and running, so you might as well practice saying no right away.
To make it easier for you, ask yourself: who would this person call if you were in the hospital? So that’s the person they should call now. Will you feel guilty? Oh yes. But don’t you always do it? At least now you would have something to show for, in terms of time spent building your dream.
I am convinced that almost all of the statistics showing that women’s businesses are smaller, less funded, less profitable and generally just less than men’s businesses are rooted in this question of which dream gets the most attention in a household . Both men and women need to eliminate distractions and give adequate attention to building their startups, but women may need to work harder to achieve this.
Male or female, here’s your business startup mission for the month of May: review your calendar for the past two weeks and identify non-startup activities that you might have overlooked or spent less time on. Based on this analysis, now review your schedule for the next two weeks. What can you remove to give your startup process more time?
Remember that if the answer is “nothing”, you are effectively removing the business start-up from your list of activities. Even two hours a week helps keep your dream alive, but zero hours will starve it. For best success, schedule your work time first, then incorporate other activities around those times.
Try your new schedule and track your results. Then check back in a month for the next episode on Sunday 2, where we’ll dive into more steps to guide your business startup journey.
Amy Lindgren owns a career consulting firm in St. Paul. She can be reached at [email protected]