Guidelines for Saying “Yes” or “No”

Worried Office WorkerStay-at-home moms get this the worst. Because they are “not working”, everyone asks them to do everything — from being the homeroom parent, to volunteering in the lunchroom, to organizing the canned food drive.

It’s not a problem, because they have time…right?

At least when you have a mom biz you can always fall back on, “I can’t. I have to work”.

Do too much and you end up burned out and short of revenue at work. But be careful of following the advice of some secular mompreneur coaches who encourage you to chuck all the service while you build your business. Postponing generosity until you have your wheat in the storage barn is no recipe for the life of your dreams.’

Either way, we all need a process for discerning which requests to accept and which to politely decline. We all need mompreneur tips to saying no. Here’s my strategy for deciding what gets on my plate:

1) Does this fulfill my mission? – (To answer this you must know your mission. If you don’t, let’s talk at www.talkwithchristina.com.) Questions I ask to see if taking on a task or responsibility will help me fulfill my mission include:

  • Will this activity bring me closer to my kids? – Driving to field trips, helping at class parties, coaching Battle of the Books all create shared experiences with your kids. Seeing your kids in the context of their peers gives insights into their struggles and strengths that you can help them with behind the scenes.
  • Will this activity help me grow my business and generate revenue? – While there are some non-generating activities you need to do to be a team player, you must discern which ones to do and pass on or you will not be able to pay your bills at the end of the month. Be clear on what you are able to commit to and be sure you are not writing an open check with your time.
  • Will this activity enhance the emotional, physical, or spiritual development of my family? Remember these are the important, but not urgent activities that contribute to your kids becoming the people God wants them to be. Make sure you have the right mix of these and then fill in with the other things as your schedule permits.

2) Does that task or project require a gift I possess? You give the greatest value when you devote your time doing tasks that are a match with your unique talents. I invest my time in activities that involve leadership, strategy, and helping to organize bigger systems. I avoid anything that will require counting, phone calls, and administrative time. Think of where your passions lie. You may love the excuse to connect with people by calling to arrange field trip drivers. Say “yes” to those requests.

3) Can I make this work in my schedule? As you advance in your business, you should have a grid that defines your base schedule and includes time slots for the important activities in your business and personal life. Everything can be adjusted slightly each week, but you need a master plan. With one in place you can verify if it is even possible for you to fulfill the request without blowing off your core business and personal commitments.

When two tasks on your schedule clash, ask, “What’s most important?” Sometimes you squeeze out a work responsibility to make extra special time with your spouse. But other times you say “No,” to family requests, because your business needs your attention. What’s most important can change moment by moment. Remembering past choices allows you to make yes-no decisions that are fair both to your loved ones, as well as to you and your business.

A good mom business coach can teach you the tricks of saying “no” or “yes” gracefully so you end up with more time and money and cherished time with your family.

Catholic Mompreneur’s Biz and Life Guide: People don’t like to hear “no” to requests, but when you learn the art of discernment that allows God’s wisdom to permeate, all will be happier in the end.

Making Space for Success in Your Life & Business

Making Space for business and familyLike they say, it’s a good thing we women have the babies. I’ve become adept at tuning out non-essential verbal data after spending close to two decades hearing my husband describe with great detail any slight physical discomfort he might be experiencing.

Well, I got it wrong this time.

The Dish guy had to come to the house because our Hopper didn’t work. My spouse took the opportunity to have him help us rearrange and set up our TV sets. Joe’s dad had given us a large flat screen TV that needed a home. A few other sets needed to be relocated and connected.

While holding one of the sets, my husband let out a scream. Somehow the TV shocked him, and he immediately dropped it on his arm. After two weeks of misdiagnosis and various shades of purple and blue, Joe ended up in the office of the orthopedic surgeon.

Within twenty-four hours he was in the operating room so the doctor could repair his torn biceps tendon.

I spent eight straight hours between taking Joe to surgery and sitting in the waiting room. This followed an entire week with our oldest middle-schooler being sick.

While both scenarios were a bit distracting, those are mompreneur shining moments. I get to be there for my family when they need me, and I’m still able to move forward with what I need to do in my business.

It’s all possible because I’ve been on a journey to make space for both my life and my business.

Making Space

Making space is critical to balancing business and family. You make space for your life and your business when you

  • Know what you need to do when,
  • Are organized with both the technology and the supplies to do it when and where you need it,
  • Have a variety of systems in place that keep your home running relatively smoothly even when you are extremely busy,
  • Lead a team of competent, cooperative family members who know how to pitch in without complaint when things need to be taken up a notch,
  • Embed yourself in a community that allows you to “tap into the village” when you need to,
  • Develop relationships with personal and professional support people who can help pull your weight when your load gets too heavy

Make Space Before You Need It

There is a distinct difference between mompreneurs who arrive at the life of their dreams from those who either have not enough revenue or those that have clients but painfully no time.

Smart mompreneurs create the space before they need it.

They make the space for growth before their business actually take off.

They create the margins in their life, so when life happens they have a little bit of life left in them to devote to it.

You don’t need to be afraid of the journey towards abundance God wants to give you…if you’ll steadily work on making space for the new life he wants you to have.

Catholic Momprenuer Biz and Life Tip: Make sure each week you are taking a step to free up more of your time, energy, and space for the next chapter of your life.

Handling People Who Are Negative About Your Business

Managing negative peopleUnless you’ve kept your mom biz aspirations a secret, you’ve experienced it: those comments and looks about your dream life and business.

“But, will you really make money, or will it just be an expensive hobby?”

“Here we go again. How many of these are you going to try before you finally give up?”

“It sounds great. But if you need the extra money, don’t you think it’s time to get a job?”

“What’s wrong with just staying home with the kids and being content with that?”

(Some of these voices may actually be coming from you.)

Managing negativity from people around you must be a part of your mompreneur tool kit.

Negative statements, especially a regular dose of them, poison you and your chances for success. They are the antithesis of being an entrepreneur.

Usually, these comments flow from a poverty mentality. Individuals adopting scarcity believe that there is not enough time, money, and energy to do what you want to do, that it’s impossible.

The practical solution is to stay the same or think small. Change scares them, as does the thought of you changing. They fill their days with complaining, rather than taking the steps they need to take to improve their lives.

As an entrepreneur, a mompreneur especially, you are striving for a world of possibilities where you can have both a great life with awesome connections with family and friends, along with meaningful, profitable work you love.

As long as your dreams stay out of reach, you’re not a threat to the naysayer’s world view. Expect failure if you soak in their negativity.

Here are some tips for managing negativity from others:

1) Don’t Step in the Doo Doo

Often we initiate the conversations we don’t like. Don’t invite the comments by discussing your business with a negative person. Have several like-minded friends with whom you can celebrate your victories and process your disappointments and opportunities.

2) Gravitate Towards the Dreamers

Entrepreneurs are an odd bunch. To the regular population we do seem delusional, which is all the more reason to associate with successful entrepreneurs for support, encouragement and guidance. Having a great professional support system of entrepreneurs who are making it will inspire you to think big and take courageous steps.

3) Practice the 5-1 Rule

For every one negative unavoidable encounter, you need to offset it with five nurturing, loving, edifying experiences. A schedule padded with activities that build you up buffers you against the occasional unpleasant comment.

4) Memorize Your Mentor

Always have a plan for your business you co-created with a mentor who is several or more steps ahead of you. By working on your next learning steps and acquiring new skills based on solid input from successful people, you gain confidence and reassurance that despite the occasional dips and disappointments, you are on the road to prosperity. This attitude sends those negative comments down your back like oil dripping from a duck.

You will encounter negative comments and unsupportive people. Learning to manage them with minimal impact on your success plan is job #1 of every entrepreneur.

Catholic Mompreneur’s Biz and Life Tip: Be honest about who in your life tries to put a damper on your dreams, and select a strategy to overcome it. Managing negativity is a skill you can master.

The Super Heroes Behind Your Business

Blog ID 60Having God’s will at the center of everything you do is a cornerstone ingredient to having a supportive spouse in your business and home life.

The Holy Spirit will prompt you in big and small ways how you can invite your husband to stretch and grow in his own faith.  This was the case for some unsuspecting friends – fathers, and husbands – who happened to be at our house for a barbeque at the wrong or right time, depending on how you look at it.

Little did they know what they were about to get in to; they were as vulnerable as lambs.

I promise I didn’t premeditate the plot. The Holy Spirit inspired the master plan only 5 hours before our guests arrived.

For the past several years, I’ve had the honor of being the leader of Kids for Jesus (K4J), a virtue building program) in my parish and school. It carries great responsibility, but getting to be silly makes helping out with K4J be more fun than burdensome.

As part of the K4J School of Virtue, K4J surprises are random, funny, unexpected events that help the school kids joyfully remember and absorb the monthly mission and virtue. They are the “icing on the cake” of the program.

I was particularly looking forward to the surprise we had planned this month during the K4J BE A REAL HERO Mission. Being a real hero is recognizing and accepting God’s grace and doing his will.

Our “surprise” was to have several adults dress up in superhero costumes. They would crash the kids’ lunch or recess, quizzing them on the definition of a real hero.

I was having trouble connecting with the people who had volunteered to help with the surprises. I couldn’t reach the new helpers. Neil, the man who did it last year and recruited them wasn’t responding either. So when I saw Neil  handing out tootsie pops with the Knights of Columbus after mass, I cornered him.

With leadership comes the need to be sensitive to others when they need to step down from their service roles. Tragically, Neil’s wife had been struggling with cancer. The couple who had volunteered to help were having marital problems.

Alas!  I felt sad for them. But I also felt sad for me having to find someone else to help.

Enter the Holy Spirit.

As my family and I were scouring around preparing the house for my two good friends and their families to come for dinner, the inspiration hit me. We could have our husbands dress up as superheroes!

While grilling the chicken, I plotted with my girlfriends. They thought it was a hoot. They were in!

Since the youngest guest peed on his jeans while trying to potty cut the evening short. Just before everyone left, my friend introduced the super hero idea to our hubbies…. And the guys were up for it!

Our superheroes came through!

Your spouse can often end up the superhero behind your business. Although they might not be your #1 supporter at first.

So how to have a supportive spouse? By continuing to give them attention and the TLC they deserve, while developing a real business that helps reduce his load, often you can win them over.

But most importantly, when they see your willingness and effort to make God number one, the shove from the dove (the Holy Spirit) will often push them into your camp.

Catholic Mompreneur’s Biz and Life Tip:  Take one step today to make your husband feel support.  What comes around, goes around.

How to Achieve Your Financial Targets in Half the Time

reach your financial targets

For some people of faith, money is a dirty word. Others admit, although with hesitation, that they want to earn more money.

But the proper use of money creates wealth for you and others. It also allows you to fully invest in the people God puts in your life and your mission.  Figuring out how to reach your financial targets gives you peace that carries over into your relationships, life, and business.

If some of your money baggage has you a little behind in developing the financial resources for you and your family, here are four ways to achieve your financial targets in half the time:

1. Know The Numbers

Without exact figures for

  • regular living expenses,
  • current income,
  • college savings,
  • retirement savings,
  • weddings or ordination expenses,
  • 6-9 months of monthly income,
  • emergency funds,
  • vacation savings, etc.

your mind doesn’t take your financial goals very seriously, because you don’t seem to.

It can be daunting and depressing crunching numbers, but view it as your opportunity to increase your dependence on God and open up unexpected ways to reach your goals.

2. Leverage Your Business

I started my coaching business in anticipation of my father’s retirement. I was a marriage and family therapist in the very nice office I shared with him. My one-on-one model could not generate the funds to pay for the overhead and earn the money I needed without working lots of hours away from my family. With coaching I could work from home and transition to a more profitable one-to-many model.

My dad unexpectedly passed this summer. Because of the addition of a more leveraged model, I was able to make up for the overhead he contributed fairly quickly.

3. Follow Proven Models

Good role models, who are steps or years ahead of where you want to be, educate you on what is and isn’t realistic in terms of revenue growth. They can help you set up daily, weekly, monthly, and annual activity schedules that help you hit your financial targets. The systems and shortcuts they teach you cut the time and stress around earning the money.

4. Account for Success

Accounting was my least favorite business course, but the inability to see a snapshot your finances robs you of celebrations that motivate you to reach your goal quickly. As quickly as possible, have the means –software programs, bookkeepers — to see current financial data, so you know where you are in relationship to your goals. Having a command of the financial facts lets you make adjustments quickly, which is one of the advantages of being a microbusiness owner, and it also helps you see creative ways to generate wealth and solve problems.

Conclusion

All of these tools are amplified when you focus on your, “why”. Start making reasonable associations between money and you being able to connect better with others. Know the costs of being short on funds, whether it’s increased stress, being more distracted and not present with your loved ones, or being drained without energy to use in connecting with others.

As my kids get older, I realize I have a short 4-10 years before they start leaving the nest. Do I really want to spend those years distracted, unbalanced, scrambling for the funds I need? Or do I want to have the revenues I need and our finances in order so I can give them my best self so they are prepared and excited to know, love, and serve God in the unique mission He’s given them?

What about you?

Catholic Mompreneur Biz and Life Tip: Determine what you are willing to invest so that you hit your financial targets in time.