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Mom Entrepreneur Mentors: "The Things I Wish I Would Have Known While

By Terilee Harrison

Moms are busy people. Raising a family makes you busy, but when you throw in the added responsibilities of running a business, you may feel like a professional juggler trying your hardest every day not to "drop the ball". Today's Mom Entrepreneurs are so busy juggling their family and business, some days it may be difficult to find time to breathe. The Business Mom believes the benefit and good advice of Moms who have already raised their families is priceless and will help you to set our priorities. A special thank you goes to the following Moms from NAFE's For You Network for taking the time to share their thoughts and stories.

Reminder #1: Children grow up quickly"

Meli Van Natta's son was seven years old and her daughter was four when she got into the real estate business. Meli of Prudential California Realty says, "I learned that children grow up quickly and you can never recapture the time that you miss." If she had it to do over again, she would have arranged her schedule to spend more time with them even if it affected her business. Now that she is older (and wiser), Meli realizes that she could have delegated some tasks, maybe taken on a partner, and she didn't have to attend all the social events that went along with the business. But, she was young, having fun, and feeling very powerful and successful with all the money she was making.

Meli's kids don't seem to feel that she neglected them. After all, they had time to go to Disneyland, the Zoo, and other places during the week when all the other mothers were at work. So, they didn't mind too much if she worked weekends because of her schedule. They often helped her by stuffing envelopes, going with her to knock on doors, and sitting with her at Open Houses when she couldn't get a sitter.

Both of Meli's children are now happily married, well-adjusted adults with kids of their own. Her daughter has chosen to be a stay-at-home mom and is expecting her third child. Her son is the entrepreneur in the family. After a brief foray into the real estate business himself, he is now the proud owner of two successful businesses.

Meli's Top Tips:

Learn when to turn off the phone and learn the difference between merely important and urgent. Take those vacations and make your days off sacrosanct. It may take you a little longer to reach your business goals, but you'll be happier for it!

Reminder #2: Mom entrepreneurs can take advantage of their flexible schedule to share great times with their children"

Robbie Motter of Contacts Unlimited was a single parent who raised her three children (who are now grown). Robbie loves being an entrepreneur. Robbie says, "If I had known then what I know now, I would have left the corporate world earlier so I could have had the quality time with my older children that I had with my younger daughter." Robbie took a break from work each day when her daughter came home from school for about an hour and a half so that they could spend time together before returning to work and while her daughter completed her homework.

Robbie recalls that it was she had some hard challenges when she first became an entrepreneur. It took awhile for things to start to move forward and times were tough. Her two older children were not too supportive at first, as they were use to the big corporate paycheck. Many times they told her to go get a regular job, but she was determined to make it work. Before long it did, and they truly loved having her work from her home office. They shared great times together.

Robbie used to have her children help in the business. They stuffed envelopes or jobs like that, and they loved it. As they got older, Robbie let them answer the phone so they could learn the right way to do that.

Robbie's son is an entrepreneur. He and a partner have owned a company for 18 years. Her two girls are not entrepreneurs--they like having a big paycheck, the perks, and all the benefits that a corporate job provides. Today all of her children are very successful, own beautiful homes, and make a fantastic salary with lots of benefits. They do not take their work home with them; they leave it at the office and come home to be totally with the family.

Robbie's Top Tips:

When you run your business, and if you work from home, make your children feel a part of it. When it is family time, stop worrying about business and give your children quality time.

About The Author

Terilee Harrison, The Business Mom, is Mom to Jackie (12) and Cole (4). The Business Mom is helping mom entrepreneurs to "get a life as they juggle running their business and raising their family. For free articles and to learn how you can contribute to Terilee's upcoming book, The Business Mom Guide Book: More Life, Less Overwhelm for Mom Entrepreneurs (Wyatt-MacKenzie, Sept. 2006), please visit


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