I want to interview successful professionals and entrepreneurs who are also raising children. I am developing a training program for parent professionals and parentpreneurs. I am not looking for theory answers to the questions I will be asking, but actual case studies and experiences. If you would like to be interviewed, post an answer here and I’ll get you the details.
So I figured, what the heck and filled out his questionnaire. Here are my responses.
Balance- Parent Professionals juggle many responsibilities. The series of questions in this section have to do with living in balance and harmony while growing your business and raising children.
1) How do you set your business and family priorities? I seek as close to a balance between the two as possible, with both being high priorities. My spouse and I approach this need for balance from a team perspective. Historically, the female caregiver is expected to be primary regardless of financial contribution, but we buck that trend by my husband being primary day caregiver while I am primary breadwinner.
2) How did you create a private space where you could get away and get alone to be productive? Either go to a remote office location at a client site or by my husband taking my son out of the house with him on “an adventure.”
3) How do you manage the kids + house + career? House is the loser on that math equation.
4) Did multi-tasking hurt or help your business? How? It’s quite likely that multi-tasking on the family front has turned my attention away from increasing income, but it’s a relief to not be away from my son as much as I would be if I had a typical corporate job.
5) How did you find people you could trust at home to be with your children while you were working? My husband is the primary caregiver while I work.
6) How do you balance time with family, business, self and other responsibilities? I attempt to not spread myself too thin by keeping only a few top priorities at the forefront.
7) What else do you do to keep your life in balance with the many responsibilities you have? Regular exercise and building towards athletic goals keep stress at bay and provide enjoyable “me” time.
Energy- Parent Professionals are required to exert their energy in multiple areas. This section goes over your personal methods for maintaining, hope, direction, energy, motivation and all other factors that get you to take action; your overall performance.
1) How do you keep from feeling overwhelmed as a parent and a professional/business owner? Parenting as a team with my spouse, minimizing my top priorities, and feeling grateful for the benefits my life provides rather than focusing on what I don’t have.
2) How do you overcome the guilt you may feel by wanting to be with your kids and fulfill at the same time fulfill your dreams? I think the only way to avoid the guilt is to commit 7x24x365 to the child(ren), but understand that this would not be a healthy long term approach. As a result, I accept some feelings of guilt as a natural outcome of parenthood, particularly being a mother, but I don’t let it override the well-considered choices I make over how I spend my time.
3) How did you stay productive when you had been up all night with children? I’ve learned that sleep deprivation of one night doesn’t effect productivity so much as sustained sleep deprivation. When I am on the wrong side of that equation, I find a way to catch up on sleep.
4) How do you create the energy you need to succeed? By pursuing objectives that interest and excite me.
5) How do you recover from putting family first and clients last, and what did you do to prevent the loss of clients because of this? By having like-minded colleagues and business partners to back each other up.
6) How important is it to have a Peak Performance Partner; someone to account to? Surrounding yourself with people who understand you, support you and provide skill sets where you are weaker is very important. Accountability to these people is a critical part of achieving success in any endeavor. In my case, my primary accountability partner is my husband.
7) What organizations, forums, groups, networking events, and etc.do you know of that act as support groups for parent professionals? I don’t know. I tend to connect socially with other parent / athlete / professionals through FB and blogging.
8) How do you establish your parent and professional goals? My parenting and professional goals are based on subjective assessment of whether I’m aiming towards my long term vision of the type of life I want to build for myself and family.
9) What do you do to take action on your goals? Do something every day, frequent reassessment of direction, and, most importantly, never ignore my instincts.
10) What else do you do to take action and move ahead in your goals? Live life fully and without regrets.
Systems- Successful Parent Professionals develop structure for their lives and businesses. This section will be covering all aspects of your personal and business systems.
1) What systems did you have in place to build an effective business? Aligning myself with people who do things better than I do and work to fine tune my skills in the areas in which I am strongest.
2) As a parent professional/entrepreneur how did you bridge the gap between what you would like to be doing and what you were actually doing? Not sure I understand the question. I was self-employed before I had a child. Looking forward, as I’m able to better define what I’d like to be doing, I figure out ways to implement that plan.
3) How did you fund your business dream? Partnership with someone who had a flow of business started to make the transition easier.
4) How did you find reliable people to work for you? How did you hire or recruit quality individuals? I don’t have any need to hire for myself directly. However, as an HR consultant who has done a lot of recruiting, I have many methods for improving the quality of a hire.
5) How do you manage people? n/a
6) How do you lead others? My most natural way to lead is by example.
7) What goes into building an effective business? Clear vision, commitment to continual improvement and consistent efforts.
8) What are the tax requirements, business basics, compliance laws, marketing practices, payroll rules, accounting, etc.? This question requires a lengthy response to fully respond, but I’m going to make just two points. One, that I’m self-employed and have a variety of sources of income, but do not have employees, which simplifies the tax / compliance issues. Secondly, the HR consulting firm I do much of my work through has some wonderful checklists and self-audits that can help small business entrepreneurs answer a lot of these questions.
9) How did you find someone that cared about your business the way you did and performed the way you did or better? I do have a business partner that I trust implicitly. I knew her from a previous job in a corporate environment.
10) What other systems, policies, rules, procedures, methods and so forth do you have in place to remain effective? n/a – no employees
Time- One of the most limited resources for all Parent Professionals is that of time. This section addresses the challenges of time management, establishing boundaries and being productive.
1) How do you set a schedule when your life is uncertain/unbalanced? Things can happen at a whim with children. There are few things that my husband can’t handle while I am busy during the day. It’s not like I have to stop what I’m doing and go get the boy at daycare of anything. If he’s sick or something, he’s already with a parent.
2) How do you establish boundaries with those around you? I’ve always been someone who knows how to say no when a request doesn’t support one of my primary goals. Additionally, it’s helpful to build a social circle of like-minded individuals to reduce the risk of constantly competing agendas and expectations.
3) How do you effectively track your calendar and tasks? Email and Outlook Calendar. I keep my inbox clear by filing things away that don’t require an action. If it’s in my inbox, it needs attention. I also use the timed reminders to keep me abreast of deadlines.
4) How do you find the time to educate yourself in parenting? Mostly, I learn every day from my son, husband and by sharing experiences with other parents.
5) What else do you do to manage your time, establish boundaries and remain productive? I build athletics into my lifestyle. While it does require time to stay fit, I feel more productive and use training activities as opportunities to nurture and expand my social / business circle.