It’s 4:30. The baby is crying and rubbing her eyes, but I can’t put her down quite yet as I’m trying to implement a sleep schedule (albeit a loose one). As I pat her gently and walk around the house, the myriad list of things I need to do swirls through my head. There’s a dress pattern prototype that needs to be cut out, several blog posts to write, some graphic design work to finish. I’ve got to write down thoughts on business strategy, and oh yeah…what about social media? But then my son is trying to find his football and interrupts me while the 5yo tells me she needs just one more snack. Um, maybe I’ll go crazy now?
You’ve probably been in my shoes. It’s the classic challenge of being a work at home entrepreneur AND a mom: taking care of kids and their needs while also juggling your business. There’s lots that could be said on this subject, but today I’m sticking to one topic: business goal-setting.
Why Goals are a Lifeline
That to-do list that I mentioned was swirling in my head? All the items on it are tasks that need to be done. And yet the time in my day is really limited and interruptions are really numerous. That’s why I’ve got to have business goals. Goals provide the target at which to aim, the finish line for which I’m striving. In short, they’re how I measure my efforts!
And in the busyness of mom life, it’s easy to get bogged down with the urgent or even worse, to get lazy and only tackle easy tasks with available free time. Plus as an entrepreneur, I’ve usually got lots of new ideas that can derail progress on my current project. Like a Burmese food truck. And a 3D printing accessories company. And socks for little boys that will never get holes in them. And, um, yeah, there’s a lot to distract me with.
I’ve got to have goals. Otherwise I will drown under the weight of it all and never really accomplish anything. Here’s how I set goals:
Five Steps to Realistic Goal Setting:
- Ask, “Where do I want my business to be in 5 years?” – The time span is negotiable, but think longer term here. This question helps you clarify your destination and is the foundation for all other goal setting.
- Create a realistic road map for how the big picture business goals could be accomplished. – It’s awesome to dream big, but a goal ain’t worth nothing if it isn’t actionable. So roll up those sleeves and think about how to get from here to there. And it’s okay to pull back a bit in those long term goals at this stage. Remember, you’re a mom too, so don’t let business ambitions drown out your family.
- Break down that road map into small goals. – This is where those dreams have to meet action. Take those business goals and turn them into the bite-sized chunks that fit into day-to-day life. For example, if you want launch 18 new designs this year, that means you have to produce 1 1/2 each month. And to produce 1 1/2 each month, you have to devote 10+ hours to design work.
- Map out the action – Now grab that calendar and schedule out the upcoming month based on those small goals! This process of putting a scheduled plan in place is what keeps me on task. Now I can see exactly what needs to be done and when, so I can sort through all the clutter. (As a side note, I combine my work and mom calendar. That way I don’t accidentally schedule a call when I’ve also got a kid’s dentist appointment.)
- Be flexible with your business goals – Now this is where the reality of being a mompreneur kicks in. Sometimes you just CAN’T get those goals accomplished as scheduled. And it’s okay! Adjust, adjust, adjust. And don’t stress about it. I constantly update my goals, refining them to reflect where my life is currently at. Sometimes I surprise myself and am ahead of schedule, but it’s much more likely that I’m behind. And I’ve learned to let go. After all, my ultimate goal is to invest in my children and to love them like Jesus does. And this goal just won’t happen if I’m stressed.
So what about you? Do you have goals for your business? How do you turn those goals into reality? What do you do when goals collide with real mom life? Share your advice in the comments section below.