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Why Parents Make Great Entrepreneurs

TAKE YOUR SKILLS AT HOME INTO YOUR BUSINESS

Article by Christy Duckett

Photography by Christy Duckett

I just walked into the room only to find my nightstands had been knocked over and the mattress is halfway on the box spring. Sheets and blankets are nowhere to be found. My 3-year-old son is jumping on what's left of the bed and singing, "Ba Ba Black Sheep, Have You Any Wool?" It's only 6 p.m. and these kids are wound up like a couple of wild horses. I just asked my husband if he could print out a real estate contract, and he gave me a look as if I asked him to complete a mission to the moon. Oh, and I just made everyone tacos. You're welcome.

Is it just my kids that are like this? "No, no, it's because I have boys," I tell myself. My mom always said I was so busy as a child. When I was a younger she would tell me how she couldn't wait for the day that I had kids. Now I know what she meant. My kids are just being how I was; it's in the DNA. She wanted payback, and she got it. I shake it off and find the bedsheets in the guest bathroom (deep breath). I need a glass of wine. 

With the kids finally down and beverage in hand, I began responding to a few Facebook messages from my business page. A page that, I just noticed, has labeled me an "entrepreneur." I don't remember selecting that? Oh wait, my husband set up this page for me. He probably did. Outsourcing at its finest. Hmm, maybe I am an entrepreneur after all. But what does that word even mean?  

en·tre·pre·neur

A person who organizes a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks to do so.  

Sounds like a parent to me. I'm always organizing, setting schedules, planning meals, vacations, paying the bills, making sure the kids brushed their teeth and the laundry's done, on top of everything else. Our house is our business. Our family is our business. And we can go right ahead and just swap out that word "risk" with "stress." As moms and wives, we tend to shoulder the stress of the household. 

It's like women were designed to be entrepreneurs. Don't get me wrong; I've got a great husband. We just think differently. I've found that with a lot of couples I coach, one is the big-picture dreamer while the other is the one trying to handle the logistics of making it happen. The key to making it work is communication and finding the right balance in both marriage and business (saving that topic for another time). 

Back to the definition of entrepreneur, "A person who organizes a business or MULTIPLE businesses." I tell my coaching students who are moms all the time, “You already have systems in place as a mom; now I'm here to help you put systems in place when it comes to real estate investing.”

Let's be clear. Being an entrepreneur has a different meaning for different people. It's like the term "financial freedom." For some, it's having enough money coming in to live a comfortable life and leaving a legacy for the next generation. For others, it could be becoming famous and having the flashy cars, maybe even space travel. There's no right or wrong. When you boil it down to the core, it's about being able to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want—whatever that looks like to a person.

Here are some tips for taking your mom skills and turning them entrepreneurial: 

1. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there when you're just getting started. 

I saw a quote recently that said, "People aren't afraid of making it big; they are afraid of what others will think when they're just starting out." My business is real estate. When I coach students in real estate, often times their biggest concern is that contractors, sellers or lenders won't take them seriously. Look, we can't worry about that.  

Remember when you had your first child, those first months, everything is so new. You're trying to go to the grocery store, doctor appointments, and just getting back to normal everyday things. We didn't have time to stay stuck in an "Oh no, what if someone doesn't take me seriously because I'm a new mom?" mindset. You got that s*** done and got better at it every time. There will always be people who are critical of us, but there are also people who are supportive. It's the same thing in business. You take action, follow or create a system, and get better every time. We get it done. Sometimes we get so good at being a mom that we forget our struggles and end up having more kids! Real estate and business are no different.  

2. Time block.

As parents, we have no choice but to time block. Sometimes we do it without even realizing that time blocking is a thing. It's just part of getting s*** done. I wrote an article on how to time block and create time. As parents and entrepreneurs, I've found this habit to be a game-changer. Here's a tip that I recommend for my students: Many of them will time block in order to have a 30-minute consultation with me, or they will time block 30 minutes to watch a webinar, etc. But what often gets missed is to schedule a time to implement. For those who are starting a new business, getting educated is critical. Avoid delays in your progress by time blocking when you are going to implement what you're learning.  

3. Focus on what you love.

Here's an activity I love doing with my students. Make a list from 1-10 of all your weekly to-dos. It could be longer or shorter; just shoot for 10. At the top (#1) put what you enjoy doing the most. At the bottom (#10) list what you enjoy doing the least. Fill out the rest of the list from favorite to least favorite. If you have a partner or spouse, maybe do this exercise together. The idea here is that #1 will be your primary focus and #10 will be done by someone else. My #1 is cooking dinner. I love cooking dinner, and everyone sitting down at dinner together as a family is important to me. My #10 is mowing the lawn. We hire someone to cut the grass. By hiring someone to mow the yard, it gives us the time to focus on activities that we enjoy doing. By outsourcing this item on our list, it also gives us more time to focus on our family and our business.  

When just starting out, a person may not be able to outsource items on their list. That's OK. Just make outsourcing #10 a goal when your business starts seeing results. Then once we scratch #10 off our list, we make our way up toward #9, and so on and so forth. I am genuinely guilty of trying to do it all. This exercise helped me out a lot whether I wanted to hear it or not. 

In real estate and business, I’ve found that the same exercise can lead to eye-opening results. Prior to having kids, I ALWAYS tried to do everything myself. I grew up on a farm and had a father that instilled in us to save money. But once I had my first son, I quickly realized that I couldn't do it all. I needed to be there for him. I was forced to outsource. I had to put systems in place to remove myself from aspects of the business. Looking back, it was really at that point that I started adopting the entrepreneurial idea of outsourcing. In my real estate business, I love the project management side of the business (#1) but don't really enjoy setting appointments with sellers (#10). I began outsourcing answering the phones, which freed up more time to focus on managing my rehabs. This strategy also makes your work fun because we are focusing on what we enjoy. Don't ever forget to have fun and enjoy what you do. Enjoy who you are. 

I started a business in order to have freedom with my time. Then once in the business, there's this silly pressure that we put on ourselves that everything has to be about the business, about growth, about work 24/7. I saw a post on Facebook about how entrepreneurs read a book a week. My husband loves to read and confirmed that Elon Musk reads a book a day, blah blah blah.

Look, I don't even like to read books. If I have to read something, I usually opt for audio. But it has to be something I'm really into because even then I don't like to do that. I was coaching for a company that hired a John Maxwell trainer to hold a course on leadership. Being that I, myself, am in personal development (as a real estate coach) one would think I would know who John Maxwell is. But I didn't, not a clue. When I told my husband I had to take this course by some guy named John Maxwell, he laughed and couldn't believe I didn't know who he is. 

"Pretty much every book at the airport is written by John Maxwell," he said. 

I responded, "I'm tired of some old man telling me how to be leader when I'm always getting s*** done. I'm going to write a book called The Christy Duckett One Foot Up Your A** Get S*** Done Leadership Book." 

We still laugh about that conversation to this day. Reading books is #10 on list. John Maxwell, if you're reading this, I apologize for calling you old. My husband took your course for me, and he said it was excellent! Again, outsourcing just like an entrepreneur. I am always learning, but I have a system in place to have other people do it for me! Maybe I'm more of an entrepreneur than I thought. 

Here's what I've learned: It's OK to not be Elon Musk. We all know that space travel isn't an easy task. But neither is being a mom. If you've raised a child, you can create an income stream, start a business, and sure has heck can be an entrepreneur—whatever that means to you.

Live and Love,

 Christy Duckett

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