self-care

How To Keep Your Business Thriving During The First 3 Months Of Motherhood

By Stephanie Skryzowski

If you’re a highly ambitious, Type A, make-it-happen entrepreneur, who’s passionate about growing your business, AND you’re about to have a baby, you must read this.

You are excited for your little one to arrive. You’ve probably meticulously planned his or her nursery (and of course you know the gender, because TYPE A!) and have all the little clothes hung neatly in the closet, arranged by size. You know where you’ll deliver and maybe even have some meals socked away in the freezer for after his or her arrival.

You are also a busy entrepreneur. You’re hustling daily (and you love it) and your business is growing, maybe faster than you’d anticipated. Your days are filled with client work, hosting webinars, and creating content for your audience. When you left your 9-5, you didn’t imagine it would all work out so well and you are energized and on fire (as much as can be for a pregnant woman).

Does this sound like you?

Then keep reading and let’s talk about what it’s like to be a new mom and an entrepreneur. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not at all like what you think it will be.

If anyone could do it all, it was me. The Queen of Efficiency and Productivity, I remember my husband remarking at my Master’s degree graduation celebration that he couldn’t believe I was even in grad school plus working full time plus commuting four hours a day because I just had it all together.

So naturally, I thought that having a baby would be similar. I’d give birth and be able to keep all of my client work going, hopping on the computer after a feeding or when the baby was sleeping. I knew I’d be tired, but it wouldn’t be that bad. I could do it all.

Turns out, even the Queen of Efficiency and Productivity needs help.

I am sharing my Five Proven Tactics to help you be fully present as a mom, which is critical in those first few weeks and months, AND continue to help your business (your first baby!) thrive.

1. Prepare financially in advance. You are your own boss and nobody is handing you any paid maternity leave, right?! As an entrepreneur you should be accustomed to saving in advance for business investments like a conference or a new computer, and maternity leave is no different. Figure out what your monthly number is then begin setting aside funds in advance. I had set aside three months’ worth of income, just in case all of my clients disappeared while I had the baby (they didn’t!) and it gave me a huge peace of mind. Voila! Paid maternity leave!

2. Tell your clients. I was super nervous about telling my clients that I was pregnant and would likely need to step away for a little while. What if they all left me and I was left with no job, no money, and no prospects? Turns out, that was ridiculous thinking. My amazing clients were not only understanding, but incredibly supportive (they even sent me thoughtful baby gifts!) and they managed to keep the lights on without me. You will feel a huge sense of relief once you tell your clients and come up with an agreement as to how long you’ll be unavailable and when you’ll dive into work again. 

3. Give yourself a maternity leave. I am serious about this. I know you love your business and will want to get back to feeling “normal”, and a true leave might feel hard. You don’t have to disconnect for a year but you must give yourself some space for a minimum of two weeks. I made the mistake of not putting an out of office message on so I felt obligated to answer emails. I even took a client call at just 7 days postpartum, where my mind was so foggy, it was almost an out-of-body experience. I looked back at my notes several weeks later and they were completely unintelligible, so I wonder how I sounded to the client! Trust me that your clients will wait (remember how long they took to finally sign your contract?!) and that you will feel much better after a break.

4. Ease in slowly. So maybe after two weeks you start answering emails, then another couple weeks you take sales calls, then a few weeks later dig into the actual heavier client work. I thought I’d have no problem handling bigger, strategic thinking type projects but I truly needed that time to let my brain begin to function normally after the hormone surge/drop and sleep deprivation.

5. Enlist help. It’s okay if sometimes that help comes in the form of car seat naps and a coffee shop. I can’t tell you how much work I got done in three hour increments while my daughter slept in her car seat. I felt like a normal human by getting dressed and out of the house, she got a solid nap (when she likely wouldn’t have slept at home anyway), and my client work got done. In fact, there was a point in time where we were frequenting Starbucks so much that her car seat began to take on the aroma of coffee beans. And, are you part of any neighborhood or community organization that uses a meal train? Get humble and SIGN YOURSELF UP. I felt weird about it at first (like, I can’t handle feeding myself?) but when that friendly woman showed up on my doorstep with a bag full of chili, artisan bread, and brownies, a smile, and then left, I couldn’t have been more grateful.

Being a mom and an entrepreneur isn’t easy. I landed myself back in the hospital at three days postpartum with an infection, and spending the night in the emergency room with your tiny newborn isn’t all that fun. But these tips will help you get through those first weeks, focusing on your baby and yourself, and give you the confidence that your business will be there as soon as you’re ready.

And I promise you that your clients won’t run away.

Happy Mom-ing, Boss Lady!

(Disclaimer: Every mom's birth and postpartum experience is different, and these tips are based on my experience alone. Sending lots of love and respect to all the new parents out there.)

Stephanie is the Owner of 100 Degrees Consulting, which provides financial leadership to help nonprofits and entrepreneurs change the world. Having spent nearly a decade in Afghanistan, Nepal, Malawi, and other far-flung locales, Stephanie has vast on-the-ground experience crunching the numbers to help organizations make better strategic decisions for their business. Stephanie brings energy and passion to all things in life. She loves her work as a CFO, running marathons (7 to date!), hiking, and traveling off the beaten path. She is a new mama and currently lives in the US with her husband, dog, and five-month-old daughter, Kyla.

Love Yourself First And Everything Else Flows Into Balance

By Sinead Dunne

Stop everything else you are doing right now, shut down all those distracting tabs you have in your web browser. And pay attention to these words you will read. Your self-care is the most important priority right now. This saying “your health is your wealth” is not just a saying but a true fact that most entrepreneurs ignore.

There is always just one more thing that needs to be done. Who has time for a relaxing bath right? Even if you had time for a bath you would not stop thinking about your to-do list. And self care is just something else to be added to that endless list.

Burn out
Time and time again I have treated entrepreneurs for burn out. Who work tirelessly on their business till late at night. Or get up earlier before the family wakes up, just to get some extra work done.

Your business is you. Just remember if you burn out then there is no business. The same way you invest in your business to keep it running you need to be added to the invest column.

More focus & energy
So I ask you how you would feel to have, more focus, more energy, more clarity and even get your mojo back and be a siren in business and life? By adding some self care to your priority list you can have all this. And you might be surprised that you actually get more done in less time.

Mindset
Entrepreneurs’ with a strong self care mindset are more productive in their work. They attract more opportunities. Why? Because putting your own needs first make you happier and healthier. There is nothing more attractive in a person that is HAPPY.

In business we learn so much about mindset. The main focus is on confidence, sales, marketing and even money. The first thing we should learn is our self care. When we value ourselves this shows up in our businesses and life.

Self care does not have to be time consuming by just adding in some of my top tips you can reap the benefits fast.

My Top Tips:

  • 10-20 minutes mediation (there are lots of guided ones on You Tube if you find this difficult).
  • Eat regularly three main meals with some small healthy snacks in between. Eat away from your desk. Taking time out to enjoy your meals and chewing well. We waste most of our energy on digestion; remember that our stomachs do not have teeth. When you do not chew foods till it is like liquid we give a stomach more work to do and this wastes energy. Chew well and gain more energy!
  • Get out for a daily walk. Even if it is just a short one, we need fresh air and vit.d from the sunshine even if it is in the winter. Some of my clients have gone days without leaving there house.
  • Take seasonal detoxes. We become more focused and clearer by giving our bodies a clean out. There a several types of detoxes chose one that suits your needs.
  • Add some extra nutrition in your diet by having a smoothie you can get so many nutrients in one serving. I like to call mine my cup of health. I add my good fats and omegas in to my smoothie (we need to keep our brains nourished)
  • Juicy juices just go down a treat. A glass of juice power! Your body has to do no work here, just enjoy all the benefits. When we juice all the hard work is done for us by the juicer. We get instant nutrition with no energy waste.
  • Move your body! Exercise even if it is only twenty minutes a day just move. There are plenty of videos of home routines with no fancy equipment needed.
  • Take a nice long hot bath with candles burning, relaxing music playing and some up lifting essential oils burning (this just sounds so seductive).
  • When you invest in yourself you are making an investment in your life and business.

                                    As in the words of Loreal “because your worth it”

Sinead Dunne is a mindset/health/business coach for new mompreneurs who want to uplevel their life and business. Through her totally addictive blogs, 1-1 coaching, free challenges, high energy online courses and face book group. She’s here to show you how to get more money, be the boss in YOUR business and live a sexier, healthier, happier lifestyle while kicking fear in the ass! She believes that you can have it all.

And when she is not mentoring momprenuers and manifesting, you can find her: hanging with her family, living the beach life in warrior pose, indulging in a tasty green juice or on Facebook.

How to Channel Your Inner Spiritual Biz Goddess

By Lisa Lynn Adams

When you are starting out being a mother, blogger and/or entrepreneur it can be overwhelming trying to find balance, especially when you are just starting out. While trying to find your groove, the learning curve can be steep. However, rest assured once you arrive, you'll feel a tremendous sense of peace, have gained a wealth of knowledge and knowhow and be able to look back with great pride over your creations.

Even with a background in business, learning the online world is a whole different ball game. Have patience with yourself. Self-love, self-care and self-acceptance are 3 of the most vital elements to success. There will be mountains to conquer and lessons to learn along the way. This too shall pass. Where you are is exactly where you are meant to be. Starting out on the journey of following your life purpose can be scary, so I wanted to outline some key tips and tricks I've learned along the way to help you accomplish the juggling act with ease, so you only drop one ball, rather than ALL.

Acknowledge that clarity is a rarity when you are starting out. You may begin in one place and end up somewhere completely different; only to realize where you end up is exactly where you are meant to be. The universe will use whatever it needs in order to get the ball rolling, to help you act out of faith, rather than fear. This is the beauty of knowing your big picture dreams, creating a plan, yet leaving room for what will be, to be. Accepting that you will be guided to where you are needed, in order to serve others in the most auspicious of ways. You need to have the perfect mixture of faith, trust and strategic PLANNING. If you combine these 3 elements you are surely creating a recipe for success.

At this point you will start to gain more clarity, as though the veil of uncertainty has been lifted from your eyes. You are starting to hear the call more clearly. You are staring straight at your spiritual destiny, gaining momentum and direction, starting to see the bigger picture and the steps that need to be taken. This is the moment to lock down your planning; this is my favourite part after the whole process, the moment of realization of the grand picture. At this point it's time to implement your DESTINY map, outlining each step needed to be taken in order to reach your big picture goals. With research, strategy and faith, carefully detail the very things you need to accomplish in order to get there. Break each step down into smaller steps needed and mark it with a destiny date, placing this on the wall and into your planner. At the beginning of each quarter create a vision board, include your financial projections for the quarter as well and the things that are needed in order to manifest and reach your target. Include pictures and words to best describe the smaller steps that need to be taken, adding as much detail as possible. This will help you gain clarity and visually see what you need to accomplish through the next 4 months. The more you add to your vision board to more successful you will be.

Each morning set aside time to meditate, visualizing your dreams coming true, as well as seeing the steps needed in order to move your vision forward. Then take some time to do some SOULwriting, knowing that whatever comes to you will serve a higher purpose, helping you along. Your struggles will become clearer and you will begin to see solutions to your once obstacles, so they can become opportunities. Then it’s time to check your planner for meetings, clients, content creation and any other elements you may need to include, then input the times you can move onto your destiny map and measure your progress. The measuring part is often skipped, however this imperative in order to know where you are and where you are going. Also creating a learning list is important as well. Growth is constant, so we need to continually invest time in ourselves to gain the wisdom and knowledge we need for advancement. Remember, everything happens one step at a time, don't get overwhelmed with the big picture, just focus on the smaller aspects that need to be performed as you go.

Create a soul contract with yourself, vowing to fulfill your daily practice to accomplish the things you have set out to do. It is not only your responsibility to yourself, but also to the world, as your life purpose is vitally important to the growth of our planet. Include a commitment to meditation, a “to do” list; or as I like to call them a "To Love & Create” list, as well as creation (we have come to the planet to create - so taking the time each day in order to create content or specific projects needed to fulfill your dreams is an vital step), making sure you take time for your family and self-care as well. These are your daily commitments. If you find yourself feeling frustrated, switch to a different task with a timer (you can use your phone or an app for this), close down distractions and ensure you are slotting time restrictions in order to fulfill each one.

Set aside 3 meditation breaks, as well as intermittent tech breaks (stretch, yoga or go for a walk). Also including Biz Success Affirmations can be very helpful. Even when it comes to time management, one I find very helpful is to repeat, & time is on my side; whenever I'm on a pressing time restraint. This helps to combat the stress and begin working with time, rather than against it. Focus on a specific affirmation that speaks to you daily, once in the morning, once in the afternoon and right before bed. I allow mornings to focus on gaining wisdom, insight and direction. I use my afternoon meditation to unwind, gaining clarity and focus. I use my before bed meditation to dream, manifest and visualize my big picture goals coming true and believing without a shadow of a doubt, that they will! You will find out what works best for you, however you need to take the time to PLAN! :)

Keep in mind you can never plan for everything, or even carve a set path out in stone to living a truly inspired life. Living an inspired life happens by being patient with yourself, expressing love for what you're doing, loving yourself along the way and enjoying the journey not only the destination. Don't forget to laugh daily, love always and dance often. Take the time to create a DESTINY map to guide you along, however, sometimes you need to ride the waves you are given and soul surf your way to success! You truly deserve all of your dreams and desires coming into fruition, never give up, you'll get there.

Shining is your spiritual destiny. Stop playing small and go after your dreams, the time to rise up and SHINE is now! The world needs your light now, more than ever.

Lisa Lynn Adams is a Tony Robbins certified strategic intervention/performance coach, yoga teacher with a degree in social work and business. Author of two books and a highly sough-after Spiritual Success Coach, due to her uniqueness in the field and her wide areas of expertise.

Lisa brings years of business, online marketing and real estate investing experience. She is a passionate prosperity mentor to women helping them create successful and largely profitable businesses. She knew at a young age after witnessing both her parents take their last breath before her eyes, that she had an important mission on this earth and that was helping others see the potential in their pain, overcome obstacles to awaken to their life purpose. Turning it into prosperity, she teaches her students that abundance is our birthright, achievable and POSSIBLE! Lisa is always been a creative genius with a knack for marketing with a million and one innovative ideas, she came to realize that many of those ideas weren't for her, but for the women she was working with to profit from. Many call her the divine mother and nurturing doula to women's DREAMS! You can find Lisa on Facebook or Twitter.

The Journey To Believing In Yourself (It's Not Always An Easy One)

Belief-in-yourself

By Jenipher Lyn

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and still have to do all the time) is to believe in myself. Life is a pretty challenging place, especially when you’re going after your dreams!

Believing in yourself with your whole heart is the only thing that will get you through the rejections, the setbacks, and the disappointments that come unexpectedly and often all at once.

Your true self is the part of you that dances when you think no one is looking and sings at the top of your lungs even though you might be a little tone deaf. It’s being the person you always felt you could be if the pressure of being someone else wasn’t so heavy.

Are you hiding your true self or doing things just because you feel like you’re “supposed to”?

When I was a teenager, I felt like I had to be a “girly girl”, so I had days where I played dress up. One of my friends would invite me out with her friends and I’d go.. but I felt SO insecure being myself. So I would wear my girliest clothes, sometimes even makeup, and try my best to emulate what I thought I was “supposed” to be like. It felt mechanical, exhausting, and I felt like a fraud.

At the time I think I really believed that if I tried harder to become someone different than myself, then I would... but I learned that’s not the case. After a handful of pretending adventures, I burnt out on not being true to myself, so I started figuring out what made me “me”.

Believing in your true self (and not the person everyone else wants you to be) will come more easily once you start to truly get to know yourself.

As an adult I now know my style is cute and comfortable, and I’m certainly not a make up girl. I’d rather paint than spend time doing my hair and feel confident in my messy buns and colorful mixed matched socks than trying to look sophisticated or trendy. And for me, this is my true self!

Here are a few tips to help you begin your journey to believing in yourself:

  • Keep trying new things. Then decide what you like the best. Once you know the answer, DIVE IN and learn as much as you can. DEVOUR your craft and you’ll FLOURISH! The more you know, and the better you feel doing things, the easier it will be to believe in yourself!
  • Throughout your life you will try lots of different things; some activities will stick, some will feel like chores. My creative journey took me to jewelry making, horseback riding, making dollhouse food, painting, food photography, fashion design, and FINALLY illustration.
  • Not everyone will believe in you, and that’s okay too!
  • I have been surrounded by naysayers many times in my life. Especially on my journey trying to find my purpose. Throughout each chapter in life, i felt lonely at certain points. (many points to be honest!)
  • When I finally figured out that I wanted to encourage people for a living, little sparks began to form around me. Until then, my family really didn’t trust my judgement to be an illustrator. Something changed in their eyes and perspective when I started encouraging others, though. My family began to tell their friends about me, and people were excited to share my work. Wanting to encourage others changed my life, it made me believe in myself, which made my family and others believe in me too.
  • Try and find someone who believes in you, even on the days you don’t believe in yourself. Someone that helps build you up and not people who make you feel bad about yourself. There’s something really magical when you find someone [a friend, family member, or significant other] who really understands all of you (both good, and messy you!)

My husband is the KING of pep talks for me. I’m very quick to freak out, pile in the cookies, or take a nap. He is often blunt, and very honest, but in a kind way, he builds me up often and I’m so grateful for him in my life. When I was growing up, my GREAT Aunt Kiki was my only 100% confidant. I felt comfortable to share every thought and dream with her and I’m SO grateful to have had her in my life.

My great aunt was my safe place and I miss her every day. She was the person I went to throughout my whole life. When I needed a trusted friend, a listening ear, and a comforting meal. She made me feel heard and loved. Calm and understanding, even when she didn’t understand.  Someone like this, even just one person makes ALL the difference in the world.

Remember that relationships take time, and just because someone isn’t your go to person right now, you never know what they will become, or who else you’ll meet in time. Give others a chance to believe in you, and show them who you really are.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can truly believe in yourself. The only one who feels the flutters in your belly when you know things are how they are meant to be so trusting your gut is crucial. Over time, believing in yourself will be super easy!!! Except for on the days it isn’t. And those days are okay too! ;)

Jenipher Lyn is a self-taught artist who believes the more genuine encouragement in the world, the better! Her goal in life is to inspire as many girls and women that they are not alone! She accomplishes this with whimsical illustrations and vulnerably humorous articles.She can be found drawing and eating cupcakes in the middle of Florida with her amazing husband and giant cat, Baby.

Are you holding back from self-promotion?

By Kate James

Have you ever noticed that some of the most clever, creative women are the ones we don’t see enough of?

In business, they often hold themselves back from self-promotion and they’re too humble to tell you how good they are for fear of overstating it. They’re the same women who are brilliant at what they do but they have a tendency to be super hard on themselves.

If you’re someone who holds herself back, you’re probably also aware that at the heart of the issue is self-judgement. We judge ourselves harshly because we don’t want to appear full of ourselves and we definitely don’t want to come across as too pushy.

Reign in your self-criticism and build your confidence by working through the following six steps.

1. Tune in to your self-talk

This takes a bit of practise so it often helps to start by writing down your thoughts. Over the next few days, try doing this for fifteen minutes when you first wake up or just before you go to bed. Your thoughts are likely to go something like this: “There are so many great designers / coaches / makers out there. How am I ever going to stand out from the crowd?” “Other women are so confident. I wish I could be as articulate as them.” “I wish I was prettier/ taller /thinner /smarter /funnier/ more interesting.”

2. Make peace with your flaws

Don’t feel that you need to force those negative thoughts away – it’s almost impossible anyway – but rather, adopt an open, curious mindset as you observe them.

Start to be interested in the validity of different thoughts. Some of your self-criticisms may be accurate but it helps to remove the judgement. For example, it would be true for me to say to myself, “I’m overly sensitive at times.” I know this is part of who I am. But instead of making this a harsh judgement, said in a tone of criticism, I can choose to say, “I’m a sensitive person” in a kinder way. Then I can start to think about how I want to manage that sensitivity in practical ways.

If we use this technique with any of our flaws, we create an enormous amount of compassion for ourselves. What if it were true that you are not as witty or as confident as others? What if it’s true that you’re ageing and carrying a few extra kilos? All of us are imperfect, but those imperfections won’t stop us from getting out in the world and doing what we love.

3. Balance the negative self-talk by actively engaging in positive self-talk

For many people, this is difficult. Because the negative bias of the brain, you’ll find yourself drawn back to self-critical thoughts time and again. However, with practise, it gets easier to create some balance. Write a list of positive statements about yourself that feel believable (this is really important so that you’re not going to immediately negate them). If you find it difficult, ask a few friends what they believe are your strengths (or take this strengths test if you’re not comfortable to do that). For example: “I’m a great listener.” “I have a good eye for colour.” “I’m intuitive.”

Set a reminder in your calendar to look at your list. This may sound contrived but remember it’s going to take this kind of repetitive practise to balance the way you think. Repeat at least three of the positive statements during your day.

4. Learn to be your own best friend

Most of us rely on external feedback to boost our self-esteem and to feel good about ourselves, but we need to learn to do this for ourselves. Next time you find yourself in negative self-talk, replace criticism with kindness and instead say whatever you’d say to a good friend who was struggling: “You did ok, even if it wasn’t perfect.” “You might not be your ideal weight but you still look great in that dress.” “You may not be the wittiest person in the room but you’re generous and kind.” Or maybe most importantly, “You’re not perfect and that’s ok.”

5. Take baby steps outside your comfort zone

Changing our thinking is one thing but even more important is that you start to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Remind yourself that there are people out there who need what you have to offer. Your job is to let them know you’re here – and how you can help.

Create a simple plan for self-promotion (regardless of those niggling doubts) and make it happen this week. Submit a guest post to one of your favourite blogs, share a win on social media or reach out to other women who share your audience and talk to them about collaborating.

6. Embrace other women

Take the time to learn from the women who are confident with marketing themselves. Seek out common ground and celebrate their successes so you see them as new friends rather than competitors.

Enjoy being in the presence of amazing women and recognise that you’re one of them, rather than feeling that you don’t belong. 

Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher who helps her clients discover authentic, creative and purposeful lives. Kate draws on 14 years experience with clients in her latest offering, the Life Purpose Programs.

You’ll find Kate’s books, Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love and Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life and info about her services at totalbalance.com.au. Join Kate’s community on Instagram and Facebook or drop her a line on email.