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Here are five lessons we learn from our mothers, both in business and in life, that can help entrepreneurs harness the courage to go out and be successful.
Grit, determination and flexibility are just some of the many qualities it takes to be an entrepreneur — and who embodies those qualities better than mothers? As we recently celebrated Mother’s Day, I got to thinking about all the lessons I’ve learned from my own mother and how her wisdom translates to business.
Working primarily as a real estate agent but with many side hustles along the way, my mom instilled a work ethic in me from a young age and always led by example. A true Midwesterner, her approach to business was, “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.” To this day, she is my role model in making it happen in business.
When I was a sixth grader in Lincoln, Nebraska, she encouraged me to join Junior Achievement, a nonprofit youth organization that inspires young people to succeed through entrepreneurship. We were sponsored by the local telephone company and we took old payphones and turned them into lamps to sell. Picture a big, chrome payphone with a lamp sticking out of it — as you can imagine, these were pretty horrendous.
But that didn’t matter. My mom helped me sell all of them by tapping into her network and allowing me to pitch these lamps to her friends. Looking back, it was my first lesson in networking and pitching.
Below are five lessons I’ve learned from watching my mother in business and in life that have been valuable for me in entrepreneurship.
Related: 5 Tips for Mompreneurs Raising a Family and Running a Business as the World Reopens
A lot of my mother’s drive was born out of necessity. We grew up with modest means and she had to make it work. Because of that, she was fearless in her ventures; she wasn’t afraid of failure. A lot of entrepreneurs I work with today share this sentiment.
Seeing that approach translated to my own work ethic and taught me to embrace the possibility of failure and not to shy away from taking risks. My mom never filled me with fear; she supported my discovery and entrepreneurship — even when I was just taking apart furniture and building random things — and was a fearless advocate who allowed me to chart my own path. Years later, this gave me the confidence to start my own business.
Mothers are the ultimate multitaskers. Prioritizing tasks is an essential skill that mothers have mastered, and manage to make it look easy — I’m constantly amazed by their inherent ability to maintain a busy schedule. My mom always had a full-time job and a side hustle, all while managing to keep our household running. She was extremely capable and much of that was because of her unmatched time management skills. One of the first things you learn in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship is the importance of multitasking and prioritizing tasks to optimize your time.
Related: 6 Reasons Moms Make the Best Entrepreneurs
In midlife, while my siblings and I were going through college ourselves, my mom went back to school for a master’s degree in psychology. Seeing her commitment to continuously develop and grow both personally and professionally has always inspired me. Having a constant curiosity and willingness to learn are also qualities innate to entrepreneurs as we identify problems and find new ways to solve them.
My mother taught me the value of having a specialized skill. I grew up in a family of tradespeople, everyone was working with their hands. My parents would rehab houses together and my mom hung wallpaper locally before becoming a very successful real estate agent.
My mother became very good at hanging wallpaper from rehabbing houses with my father. She took out an ad in the newspaper and always had one of us kids come along and she would overpay us to help. It was a high value skill — you really needed to know what you were doing. She earned good money and I had the realization that you can make a living as an independent contractor — an entrepreneur — particularly when you identify what you’re good at and what differentiates you from others.
Related: I’m a Millennial Mom and a Successful Entrepreneur. Stop Asking Me How I Manage It All.
The importance of empathy in motherhood goes without saying — mothers are the models for empathy. Likewise, having empathy is often what can make a good entrepreneur. It’s so important to be able to understand the needs of clients, employees and others to be able to establish a working dynamic as you run a business.
I hope what I learned from my mom can help more entrepreneurs harness the courage to go out and be successful. Without the inspiration and support of my mom, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
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