Women entrepreneurs need to learn from each other and in this episode, Suzanne Brown is here to share her insight from her 110 interviews she has conducted for her new book, Mompowerment, and her decades of corporate and entrepreneurial work. There is so much value and goodness in this podcast (even if you aren’t a mom).
Suzanne is a wife and mother to two young boys. She works as a strategic marketing and business consultant, who helps larger companies work better with their marketing agencies. In addition to her marketing consulting, she is the author of the book that just came out called Mompowerment. The book shares stories, insights, and advice from more than 110 professional part-time working moms who she interviewed and empowers moms to think differently about their career approach. Suzanne blogs weekly about topics related to work, family, time management, productivity, networking, and work-life balance.
IN THIS EPISODE
3:30 I, Tonya, ask for a fun fact from my guests and your fun fact was that you’ve been to 40 countries before you turned 40. How was that? It was Ireland and it was so cool. We traveled with our boys and the hotel rooms were really well set up for families. We live in Austin, TX and we’d never ridden on a train or a double-decker bus. We got to talk about dungeons and go to castles. The highlight of the trip according to the boys was high tea.
7:07 Why did you think about writing this book in the first place? It was during coffee with a friend and we needed to know if there was a place to help working moms out, a place where you can ask questions about becoming an entrepreneur and make a living. I didn’t have a place for that and when we researched, there was not a resource for that. Which became me creating that resource for moms who want to transition from corporate. There are a lot of resources for moms who stay at home, but there is not a place where those stories are shared from hedge fund managers transitioning and still making 6-figures. And those who are making 20-hours a week and continuing their career. The truth is, it’s definitely doable. When I looked at the numbers and researched, those who are working part-time as a stay at home mom, are making the typical salary. And that’s in between 25 or 28 hours.
13:28 The one thing that moms did talk about, who have been very successful in either staying in the corporate world or going into the entrepreneur world, is that they knew their value. They went and did their own thing and they didn’t think they needed to keep all their hours but instead knew that they could bring value to the table and being able to speak around that. There wasn’t a tentative “maybe” but “this is what I bring” and they knew they could bring a lot to the client and charge for it.
15:31 When women go into business for themselves, they think their value is what people are willing to pay. You need to remember that things that are easy for you, are not easy for others. Think about what you’re good at versus what others are naturally good at and then think about what it means to the person you’re talking to. If it’s the linchpin for their business, then they’re going to see that value. Also, look at who you are and what you bring. You have your expertise and your own perspective and speaking to that is important. The moms I talked to had built businesses around that area where they were different and what difference set them apart.
18:36 Almost all the moms I talked to were in corporate America at one point. There were less than five who had been entrepreneurs the whole time. 38 percent of the moms I talked to are entrepreneurs right now. And for most of them, the ah-ha mindset shift was one of two things: something has to shift on my schedule and I need to scale back on my work. Or it was when they hit a block in the corporate world, they had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and decided that they were done in that company. There are a lot of reasons why there was a change that needed to happen and that shift took place. Instead of saying that they’re going to crunch a little harder, and be a little better at their job, they decided they were done. That shift was important for them to recognize they were done.
20:55 While they didn’t talk specifically about the word mentor, that was what they were talking about. And that was on the entrepreneur side and on the corporate side. If you can talk to someone who is going through the same thing, you will have women who are able and willing to help them find the same solutions and share their story. Almost everyone said they had talked to someone, even if it wasn’t necessarily a mentor. I would say too that if you’re starting a business, it’s better to look for a sponsor and a mentor, or both. That person can introduce you to new clients or team members. They can introduce you to others and help you open doors to others. In my own corporate life, I had a mentor who was actually a sponsor who was higher up in the business I was working at. There was one person who would talk to people on my behalf and recommend that I work for them. A mentor wouldn’t do that and a manager wouldn’t do that. One of the people I worked with was at a marketing agency is someone I no longer have a business relationship with because I don’t work for that company anymore, but he’s still providing me work by suggesting and he’s giving me referrals to a large number of ideal clients. I just reconnected with him formally and I asked him how I can help him. He asked me to help him in an area I’m strong in and I was able to return the favor.
30:58 Things in relation to productivity are very necessary for success. Figuring out if you’re more successful in the morning or afternoon. Batching is important because you get into the groove of what you’re working on. I use the Pomodoro method and set a timer to 25 minutes to work that amount, then break for five minutes. I also break things into 3 goals for the most in one day. You need to think about the steps to achieving the goals that you want to do. That was one thing that moms repeatedly came up for those moms who were successful. You have to be clear on what you’re going for. The number one tip I heard was to network. When you are a working mom, you might say that you don’t have time to network. My thing is that you can network where you are. You can network at a company if you’re getting ready to leave, talk to them about what you’re getting ready to do. You can do coffee chats online. Don’t focus on your kids during this time. It’s easy to talk about the kids and life, and you have to be able to transition the conversation to a professional one.
35:06 Another top tip was set and maintain your boundaries. You want to work part-time and be paid for part-time, then you need to recognize your value. It’s also really good to set your boundaries of how often you’re going to respond to your clients and when you’re going to get back to them.
36:42 The other tip I heard repeatedly was that you have to get help. That can be trading babysitting with another mom, getting a babysitter, a housecleaner, whatever that help is to you. It’s really hard to be a working mom and you need to ask for help. And we take it all on. Who has time for all of those things and how many of them are really important? Can you ask for help? Asking for help is a really hard thing to do. Some people might struggle with saying no. If you reposition it as saying no to one thing, but saying yes to something else. And that might be time with your family or self-care. Good is good enough is a mantra that I subscribe to. Not a lot of entrepreneurs are slackers, and their 80 percent is probably someone else’s 110 percent. If you say yes to something, can you say that it’s good enough instead of everything being perfect?
- I couldn’t find the resources I wanted so I decided to make the resources we needed.
- The one thing that moms did talk about, who have been very successful in either staying in the corporate world or going into the entrepreneur world, is that they knew their value.
- You need to remember that things that are easy for you, are not easy for others and there is value in that.
- While they didn’t talk specifically about the word mentor, that was what they were talked about the success of having one.
- Things in relation to productivity are very necessary for success.
- Set and maintain your boundaries.
- The other tip I heard repeatedly was that you have to get help.
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