This week’s featured Mompreneur is Nicole Johnson. Nicole is a Lawyer, Real Estate Investor/Property Manager, and Social Worker who manages a homeless shelter for women and children. We asked Nicole a few questions about what got her started as an entrepreneur, how she balances work and home life, as well as some challenges that she faces day to day. Check out her answers below!
What inspired you to become an entrenpreneur?
I've been working since I was 14, and I've always hated it! I've always felt that working for others placed me in a box. I have diverse interests, and wanted the flexibility to do work that I enjoy, for purposes that matter to me. I wanted to create my dream job.
How have you been able to find balance between Motherhood and business?
Honestly, I don't know that I've found balance. I'm two years into motherhood, and most days I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of to do list items. But there are some things that help:
- I plan and control the things I can. That way, when the unexpected happens, some things are at least handled.
- I practice, and try to learn new time management skills. I schedule EVERYTHING. I use technology to help.
- When possible, I outsource tasks. I hire someone to deep clean my house once a month. I have my groceries delivered. I also don't go out evenings or weekends unless the event or activity is family-friendly, because that time is reserved for them. To some, that may be extreme, but it works for me.
- I demand that my partner share parenting responsibilities. We discussed how we wanted to manage our home before we got married, but I don't think he really grasped what shared parenting looked like. Really, neither did I. We were both raised by single mothers. Single black mothers. Queens of getting stuff done and taking care of everyone and not themselves. Although I didn't want that, once I had the baby, it kind of just happened. We had to both work at sharing parenting responsibilities. I had to learn to let him do his thing and he had to get comfortable just doing it. My partner also really supports my goals and dreams as his own. That makes all the difference in the world when you're trying to start a business.
-I keep work totally separate from family time. When I'm with my family, I'm totally unplugged from work. In this era of folks glorifying the 24/7 grind, its been really difficult to draw such a hard line, especially as an entrepreneur. But that's the lifestyle I want to have, and the example I want to set for my children.
What are some of the challenges you face as a Mompreneur? How have you/are you overcoming them?
- Motherhood has come with so many confusing feelings. One day I want to be a boss mom, showing my kid an amazing example of a woman who has it all. But the next day I just want to arrange flowers, clean my house, and bake cookies. So, my career goal is to create a work week that allows me to spend time doing whatever I want. Since becoming a mother, my priorities changed pretty significantly. I'm still adjusting and making changes as I go. Being open change is key.
- Entrepreneurship is emotionally and financially draining. I talk to friends, a therapist, and my partner. I communicate my needs so that my circle knows how to support me.
- Money. We don't see a lot of entrepreneurs in their early stages...I'm talking about the folks driving for Uber between client meetings, renting out spare bedrooms, and working temp jobs to pay bills. Its hard. For example, I'm currently working full-time and running my businesses. The full-time job allows me to meet my personal financial goals while I create systems and fine tune my business to run the way I want. I AM TIRED ALL THE TIME. But the job gets me to where I want to be long-term.
What tips or advice do you have for other moms who are considering venturing into Mompreneur/WAHM life?
- Know your purpose. Have a clear understanding of WHY you want this lifestyle.
- Maintain a schedule.
- Treat your business like a real job, because it is!
Save money and plan. There are tons of free classes that cover the basics of starting and managing a business. Identify those resources earlyand an accordingly.
- Create clear and measurable objectives to assess your progress.
Keep personal and business finances separate.
Hire professionals like attorneys and accountants to at least review your founding documents and practices.
- Create a designated work area, especially if you're working from home.
We want to thank Nicole for sharing her tips and advice with us! Follow @nikkig_johnson on Instagram to keep up with this busy Boss Mama and her little one!