Ten Ways to balance work and family

Balancing a work life and a home life can be difficult, but with a little knowledge and planning, you can make it work for you. Here are ten tips that will help you balance your work life and home life.

1. Set realistic goals. It’s pretty much a given fact that if you want to achieve something big, you have to make some sacrifices. While the select few can manage, most people can’t become a CEO and run a successful household. When setting your goals, be realistic and don’t stretch yourself too thin.

2. Make schedules. Keeping track of work and your family can be difficult to plan. Try to keep a set schedule from day to day and week to week if you can. Always remember to make a written schedule and give everyone a copy.

3. Take time for yourself. It’s a natural instinct of mothers to sacrifice themselves for the good of their family. However, it’s important to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. Try to schedule in at least a few minutes of “you time”, whether it be going for a run, watching your favorite TV show, or just sitting in a room by yourself to relax for a few minutes.

4. Work from home. If you can do your work over the Internet or phone, you may be able to swing working at least part of the time from home, giving you more time to spend with your family. Just remember that there are a lot more things at home to distract you from getting your work done.

5. Get some exercise. Working out is not only a great way to stay healthy and gain energy, it’s also a great way to spend time with your kids. Instead of hitting the gym, go play ball in the park or take them for a walk.

6. Take advantage of leave. Most jobs allow you a certain amount of leave, but a lot of us end up not using it. Make sure you know how much time you have and take it, whether you go on a vacation with your family or just use it to take a well-deserved rest day every so often.

7. Prioritize. When making your to-do lists, figure out the things that are most important for you to do and get them done first. If there isn’t enough time to do everything, you won’t feel as bad about what you have to cut.

8. Take classes. As many people will tell you, there’s no manual on how to be a good parent and have a successful career. But if you search around your community, you can find classes and seminars from people that have been where you are and managed to do well. They can give you inspiration along with helpful tips and tidbits to get through your day.

9. Watch for burn out. Even if you schedule everything, take breaks, and do everything else above, what you’re doing may just be too much for you. Watch yourself for changes in mood or physical problems. They could be a sign that you’re burnt out and need to make some changes to your plans. Remember, your health is important too.

10. Learn to say no. If you want to have a successful career and family life, you will have to learn to say no occasionally. If you try to do everything, you’re going to burn yourself out and not be able to take care of anyone. Being a good employee and a good parent doesn’t mean you need to do everything you’re asked.

Women Mentoring Women in Business

Becoming an entrepreneur is exciting, but it can also be a bit scary. You’re stepping into uncharted territory, and even if you’ve taken all the courses and read all the books, some things are best learned by experience. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave these things completely to trial and error.

Getting feedback and advice from fellow businesswomen can be a huge help to entrepreneurs who are just starting out. By seeking out a mentor, you give yourself the opportunity to learn from someone who has been there. You can benefit from her experience, avoiding common mistakes and learning the tricks to running a successful business.

Why a Woman Mentor?

It’s a known fact that women do business differently from men. The sexes tend to have different strengths and weaknesses from each other, as well as a different overall approach. That’s not to say that men and women in business have nothing in common, just that they do not usually run their businesses in the same way.

Working with a female mentor offers several advantages. These include:

* Women have experienced the hurdles associated with becoming a successful female. Although women now make up a significant portion of business owners, it hasn’t always been that way. Society once frowned upon women entrepreneurs, and as a result they faced obstacles that were not an issue for men. While many of those obstacles have been overcome, many women simply prefer to have another woman as their mentor.

* A female mentor can be a great source of inspiration. While their achievements are quite impressive, successful businessmen are not uncommon. Women who have made it to the top, however, are in relatively short supply. When the going gets tough, your mentor will serve as a living, breathing example that you can succeed.

* Women may be more likely to help you with the basic needs of a budding entrepreneur. For example, if you lack a proper business wardrobe, a woman entrepreneur may be willing to share tips on helping you find one at a low price. So-called “little things” such as this are more likely to seem alien to a businessman.

Where to Get a Mentor

Many entrepreneurial women like the idea of getting a mentor but don’t know how to go about getting one. They don’t just fall out of the sky, after all. But finding someone to show you the ropes is easier than you might think.

One way to find a mentor is through networking. Attending Chamber of Commerce and Business Support Network meetings is a good place to start. You can also meet fellow businesswomen at trade shows, and you can connect with them via online networking groups. When you find someone you click with, you could ask if she would be willing to give you some pointers.

Another way to find a mentor is through formal mentoring programs. Some such programs connect you with someone to ask questions as needed, while others take a more structured approach with scheduled meetings and evaluations.

A mentor can be a great asset to your business efforts. A female mentor can provide you with the understanding and support you need to get started on the right foot. Many mentorships are completely free, so there’s no reason for any entrepreneur not to take advantage of them.

Do you have questions about finding the ideal mentor or how to find the right business coach? Sign up for our Biz Talk Newsletter or connect with us using the green contact button at the bottom of your screen.


Women Moving Up the Marketing Ladder

Marketing is essential to every business, large or small. Sure, you can set up shop and hope for the best, but chances are you won’t be in business very long. No matter how great your business is, you have to promote it.

The statistics show that woman-owned businesses are growing in number. But they’re also growing in size. More and more of them are grossing millions, and even billions, of dollars a year. Not only are women breaking through the barriers that once kept them from even owning a business, they’re pushing their businesses to the top.

The Numbers

The average woman-owned small business has revenues of about half of the average man-owned small business. Many experts have attributed this trend to the types of businesses women run. Nearly half of women-owned businesses are in the service sector, which tends to experience slower growth than other areas.

Still, with the greater number of female entrepreneurs has come greater earning potential for them. In 2008, Canada’s Energy Savings Income Fund, headed by Rebecca McDonald, had revenues of C$1.73 billion. Forty other woman-owned firms in the country grossed C$10 million or more. Just a few years ago, such figures would have been unheard of.

Although the percentage of woman-owned businesses with revenues over $1 million per year is still small, these businesses are growing in leaps and bounds. With the rate at which entrepreneurship in women has been growing, it’s not hard to imagine that an increase in the number of high-grossing woman-owned businesses will follow.

What Does It Take to Move Up the Ladder?

Getting to the top of the marketing ladder isn’t a matter of luck. There are a lot of factors that go into it. Certain types of businesses, such as those in high-growth sectors, have a better chance of making big profits. It also helps to offer products or services that people have an ongoing need for. Selling big-ticket items can also result in bigger profits, but it’s not a sure thing.

But a major factor in the success of a business is how effectively it is marketed. Not how heavily it’s marketed or how much money is spent on marketing, but how well the marketing efforts work. When your business and its profits are small, your marketing budget will be small. But by using it wisely, you will increase your profits. With those increased profits, you can increase your marketing budget. And the cycle continues.

Women have proven that they have what it takes to run successful businesses. They also have what it takes to market those businesses effectively, resulting in high-profit potential. The sky is truly the limit.

Want to learn more about effective marketing techniques that will propel your business forward, get in touch for a personal consultation and be sure to sign up for the Biz Talk Newsletter so you have access to the latest in local business news delivered straight to you Inbox.

Women Entrepreneurs On the Move

Thanks in part to the troubled economy, entrepreneurship has been on the rise. While some consider self-employment to be less secure than traditional employment, as outlined in this recent CBC article on job satisfaction, the numbers are clear – more people are choosing self-employment. (And I really hate the way that article made it seem as if self-employment were a lesser choice, but I digress…)

Small businesses have helped replace the jobs lost due to large manufacturers moving operations overseas, and they have helped boost the economies of their local areas. But did you know that a large portion of such businesses have been started by women?

According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, women owned over ten million businesses in the United States in 2004. In Canada, one-third of self-employed individuals are female. In decades past, these numbers would have been unimaginable.

Why Do Women Become Entrepreneurs?

Every female entrepreneur has her own story about why she chose the path she’s on. But there are certain factors that often contribute to women’s desire to start their own businesses. These include:

* Lack of work opportunities – A growing number of both men and women are starting businesses because there just aren’t enough jobs to go around. Many have been laid off or lost their jobs due to health or other reasons. Instead of trying to compete for an ever-dwindling number of jobs, they decide to create their own.

* Family concerns – Another effect of the state of the economy is reduced income, which makes it difficult to obtain childcare. Many jobs just don’t pay women enough to make hiring a babysitter worthwhile. So instead of paying someone else to watch the kids, many women are seeking self-employment. This gives them flexible hours, and in some cases, the option to work from home.

* The desire for independence – The need for self-fulfillment, independence and greater control over one’s earnings are often attributed to male entrepreneurs. But this is the primary motivation for many female entrepreneurs as well. Instead of being subjected to the “glass ceiling” in the traditional workplace, they prefer to create their own opportunities.

What Do Female Entrepreneurs Do?

The term “female entrepreneur” often conjures images of moms selling items on eBay. While that is a valid and often lucrative small business, there’s a lot more to entrepreneurism among females. Not only do they start businesses in women-oriented fields such as fashion, cosmetics and home décor, they are also starting technology, finance and construction firms.

Women-owned businesses range from one-person freelancing operations to large corporations. An ever-growing number of small service-based businesses are headed by women. Some high-profile female entrepreneurs include Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network, and Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems and founder of Urban Decay cosmetics.

Women have made great strides in the business world, and much of their success is attributable to entrepreneurship. They are creating opportunities not only for themselves, but for others who need jobs. The impact of women entrepreneurs on the economy has been increasingly significant, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

If you’re ready to join the movement and become an entrepreneur, you’ll want to connect with our business advisor for sage advice and tons of resources to help you move towards your dream. Be sure to sign up for the Biz Talk Newsletter for a weekly dose of inspiration, motivation and ideas to help you build the business of your dreams.

A Woman’s Way to Negotiate Business

There was a time when women weren’t believed to have what it takes to succeed in business. They were expected to stay home, take care of the kids, cook, and clean, because that was their place in society. Business was considered a man’s world – too harsh for females.

Things have certainly changed over the years. The consistently growing number of woman-owned businesses has proven that women can be successful. The thing that was perhaps the most surprising to subscribers to the old school of thought was that women didn’t have to emulate men to achieve that success. They had their own way of doing things, and it worked.

Still, there are misconceptions about women in business. One that persists is that women are not good negotiators. Just like men, some businesswomen find that negotiating isn’t their strong point. But more often, women simply negotiate differently from men. Not less effectively, just differently.

When women negotiate, they tend to focus more on maintaining a good relationship between the negotiating parties. At first glance, this may seem like a weakness, but it’s not. By striving to remain on good terms with the other party, you can keep the negotiations civil and respectful. You’re also more likely to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.

Another talent that women bring to the negotiation table is the ability to effectively interpret non-verbal communication. Body language and tone of voice can speak volumes, and knowing what they mean can be a great asset in negotiations. These signals can give us a glimpse into someone’s subconscious, and we can adjust our negotiation techniques accordingly.

In general, women may be less aggressive than men in negotiations. That’s not always a bad thing, because hardball tactics can backfire in certain situations. It can sometimes put them at a disadvantage, however, particularly when they’re up against a highly aggressive party. So it’s important not to be afraid to get a little aggressive if the situation warrants it.

All in all, given the exact same situation, a woman can negotiate just as effectively as a man. A bigger concern is the amount of experience one has in negotiating. New small business owners in particular may not be as informed as they should be about things like the going rates for salary and standard terms for agreements. It’s important to do your homework before entering negotiations, because if you don’t, they’re less likely to turn out favorably for you.

Women often utilize different skills in negotiations, but those skills are just as likely to get the job done. And the end result is what’s important.

Want to learn more about negotiation? Make an appointment to drop by and check out our print resources – and be sure to sign up for the Biz Talk Newsletter for weekly inspiration, motivation and tips to support your growing business.