Do a quick search, and you’ll find a million articles on how to differentiate your business from the crowd. Improving the customer experience, showing value, defining your niche, providing exceptional customer service: those are all solid suggestions.
But moms? We have some secret weapons.
Consider Forbes’ top skills most entrepreneurs need to be successful, like resilience and willingness to invest for the long term. Mothers acquire and bolster these through experience. Nobody is more resilient than a mother redirecting a toddler meltdown - am I right?
Each of us has key strengths that set us apart. For example, Pepperlane’s Home Biz Tax Lady, LuSundra Everett, has a drop dead side-eye game that she launches at her children to immediately squelch any potential uprising. She applies that same no-nonsense, direct approach to her clients and has completely set herself apart by doing so.
No matter your background, upbringing, race, class, or ethnicity, or how you define yourself as a mother, there are key principles of motherhood that re-sculpt you as a person and, as an added bonus, elevate your business offerings.
I reached out to the Pepperlane Facebook Community to ask our mompreneurs what skills they’ve developed or strengthened since becoming a mom. With their input (and a few touches of my own), here are the top ways being a mom can help you stand out from the crowd.
Motherhood forces you to slow down, see your child in the moment, and be patient. Whether it’s patience in teaching a new skill, allowing her to express her feelings in a way that feels stressful, cleaning up after an accident, or [insert your latest challenge here] — patience is critical to loving your child and teaching her those critical skills as well.
Rona Renner, a registered nurse and the author of Is That Me Yelling?, explains: “Patience enables you to work collaboratively, have good relationships with others, and move toward goals.” As a business owner, it also helps you see the value of long-term investments in yourself and your business. You know what planting seeds is all about.
Let’s be straight: if you are going to run a business and be a mom, you are not going to be perfect at everything. (Yes, I said that mainly for my own benefit.) Something will inevitably fall through the cracks. However, as moms, we get really good at prioritizing.
As Pepperlane member and artist Karen Fieldstad so aptly described it: moms have “highly flexible reprioritization skills. No plan survives first contact with a kid!”
We narrow down and determine what is most critical in the moment. At Pepperlane, we remind busy moms how to differentiate your business by identifying the critical elements that will effectively move you forward, one step at a time. You can do it all, but not all at once.
Whether it’s motivating yourself or motivating others, motherhood impels us to do things we do not want to do, and we motivate your children to do the same.
Years ago I noted that motherhood was 60% convincing your children to do things they don’t want to do, 35% doing things you don’t want to do, and 5% hugs. (Still holds up!) As solo entrepreneurs, it can be a challenge to stay motivated or to do the things we do not want to do. Luckily, moms know how to get stuff done. If you have employees, you have a leg up, too. Moms know that clear communication is key (though simple things often need to be restated anyway), and that a creative approach to motivation often works best.
As Pepperlane member and power coach Nikki Bruno pointed out, motherhood teaches you the importance of setting boundaries, both for yourself and for your children.
Whether you’re setting boundaries with your clients to set expectations and clear goals, or within your own life to ensure you aren’t overtaxed, boundaries enable us to develop healthy relationships with our customers and work toward healthy work/life balance for ourselves.
There is nothing like a child sobbing over a disappointment to cultivate your empathic abilities. Whether or not you can relate to his pain, you certainly find ways to empathize and see the situation from his perspective.
Your clients need your empathy and ability to relate. Home organizers know that there can be a lot of emotion wrapped up in physical objects and mess. Meal prep providers take the time to listen to our preferences around food (and may have serviced a picky eater or two). Being sensitive to unstated needs, and truly listening to your clients, will put your services in demand.
Earth boasts no more resilient creature than a mom. Whether it’s because our children are constantly pummeling our egos, or because we need to become a pillar of strength when we barely have the emotional wherewithal to keep our heads up, moms are resilient.
As business owners, our ability to keep fighting and moving forward in the face of challenge makes us the best bet out there. We know that sometimes the best plan is to change plans, and that asking for help doesn’t make us weak.
Developing efficiency is a necessity in every mom’s life, as, to put it lightly, we often don’t have the luxury of time. A study confirmed what we know: busy moms are the most productive workers. It’s not that moms cut corners; we just make it happen and happen fast.
Efficiency was the number one quality that Pepperlane members self-reported in our survey, including caterer Kelli McKoy and “Declutterista” Becky Bast. Bonus: we are particularly skilled at being able to focus during the middle of a crisis and identifying exactly what needs to be done.
Seeing the Big Picture
Although we often get caught up in the weeds of our daily minutiae, moms know we need to take a moment to consider the big picture of our family’s lives and goals. We work toward both short term and long term goals, setting our children up for future success.
Applying those principles to your business will help you build a strong foundation with a clear path for both you and your clients. Maybe you’re a parent of high schoolers, and you’re building skills and clientele, ready to blow up when the nest is empty. Or maybe you have full-time work, and you can see how building a business has a positive effect on your children so you don’t get mucked down in guilt.
What Sets You Apart
What makes your unique is your combination of strengths and personal talents. By focusing on your strengths (either inborn or hard-won), you create a powerful offer and authentic voice that resonates with the right clients.
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