I would like to start by saying that I spent six years as a single father to two amazing kids while growing an existing business and starting another. While the challenges of entrepreneurship do not escape anyone, the obstacles single parents face are slightly more unique than others. This article is meant to share some of my harder lessons learned in overcoming the difficulties of running and starting businesses; while being a single dad.
Hot Tip #1: Talk About It
Simple first tip right? Yes, I would encourage you to tell your clients, business associates, or potential clients about your situation. The idea here is not to over indulge on information, but to provide just enough information about yourself to provide awareness. Unless you are completely heartless, most people can empathize with the idea of good parenting.
“The Pursuit of Happyness”, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures, Will and Jayden Smith, Dec 15, 2006
Making those around you familiar with the concept that you are the primary caregiver to your children will help create boundaries when you need them. As a business owner, or aspiring entrepreneur, you will have deadlines. Informing your stakeholders of hard obligations (sports practices, daycare pickups etc…) will help put your mind at ease when tough timelines arise. If the idea of doing all of this seems difficult, consider joining an online support group of other single parents. Here are five popular online support groups you may want to look into.
Hot Tip #2: Make “Anywhere” Your Office
I remember the days that I would frequent my local Starbucks, lugging my toddler aged daughter inside her car seat. I would prop her on the chair next to me, plug in my laptop and get to work. This was our routine while her brother was at gymnastics practice for 3 hours, 3-4 days out of the week. The workers became so accustomed to us, they would actually help me out by watching her when I needed bathroom breaks and such.
Walt Disney CO./Everett Collection
The bottomline here is you have to get after it - regardless of your kids’ schedule(s). One of the benefits of the COVID-19 has been all of the remote technology we have attained to keep us connected worldwide. Most places have WIFI available for free. If you find yourself in the same dilemma I did, my suggestion is for you to scout out locations close to and around your child(s) school, daycare or practice that you can utilize for work.
Hot Tip #3: Stay In Shape!
Easier said than done right? The idea of working out before or after you get your kids where they need to be can be a daunting task to even consider. However, working out is a sure fire way to attain the clarity you need to be the best single parent entrepreneur you can be!
While the benefits of working out are well known, the focus of Tip #3 is all about clarity. When the day begins to dominate you (client demands, kids’ schedules, co-parenting issues etc…), it may become difficult to remain lucid when making decisions that may affect the future of your business.
My suggestion to you is to find a pocket of time to do something to get the blood flowing. There are plenty of YouTube channels that have workouts dedicated to people who are in a time crunch. As a matter of fact, here is one of my go to channels that has a great 20 minute full body work-out that requires zero equipment!
Hot Tip #4: Employ Relatives or Close Friends
If you are fortunate enough to have great friends, or close family members within your radius, by all means keep them informed of your day-to-day issues. You will find they will be more than willing to assist you with your needs if they clearly understand the struggles you may be facing while trying to be an entrepreneur. Yeah - this ties in directly with Hot Tip #1!
There are plenty of upsides to this option as well. Your kid(s) may already be familiar with their temporary caregiver, which in turn makes the dropoff smooth. There is nothing worse for an entrepreneur than having to worry about the care of a child while trying to deal with pressing business matters. This tip may sound elementary, but you would not believe the number of single parents I have met who do not include their family members into their affairs, even if just for the mere act of supporting them when needed.
So there you have it - 4 hot tips on how to create enough space for yourself to become a more efficient and agile business owner. While I am 100% positive there are plenty of tips out there; I hope these simple topics will be a kindle to a new way of operating within your already hectic schedule.
As a matter of fact, I would suggest you check out the TEDx Talk by Aubrey King, encouraging single mothers to rise up! I would love to hear about your experience as a single parent / entrepreneur if you have them. Feel free to leave any comments you would like to share in our comment section.