Saturday, May 21, 2011

‘Hardest Working Small Biz Mom’

Saturdays are bring-your-kid-to-work-days at Gumdrop Swap Kids Boutique. It's part of the reason I started my own business almost two years ago. Setting my own hours, not having to lie about when I have to take time off for my child's illness, finally being praised for all my hard work were all the "freedoms" I thought I'd enjoy as an entrepreneur. Sure, there's a lot of fulfillment in working for yourself. But I now realize, I work more hours than I ever did in corporate America, it's going to be a while before I can pay myself, and I took employer-paid benefits for granted. Self-employment is NOT for the weak! You have to push forward every day with blind faith and determination.

As a new (unemployed) mom in the recession of 2009, I launched what I expected to be online national kid's clothing swap club. The interest from local parents to swap in person pushed me to open a retail location. I invested my personal savings. In a year, I've built a customer family on little more than word-of-mouth referrals.

I laugh as I write this. This is an entry to Verizon’s ‘Hardest Working Small Biz Mom’ Contest and I'm supposed to answer " how do you manage running your own business and your household?" If I'm honest and brief, I'd answer "Not very well." As I type, my 3 yr old daughter, Corinne, is yelling "Mommy!" because I'm not participating in her  impromptu Knock Knock joke. I just celebrated my first anniversary of my children's boutique, so maybe I'm being a little hard on myself? I get discouraged after a long day at work and I come home to a sink full of dishes or hampers of dirty clothes. No matter how hard I work in my business, it doesn't cancel out any mom/wife responsibilities. I "manage" because my customers tell me what a blessing my business is to them. That helps.

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