Business

Stop Chasing Balance. What Are Your Priorities? by @bytracyj

working mom with two children
working mom with two children
What are your key priorities for career and home?

by Tracy Jensen | Featured Contributor

When I got divorced a few years ago, going back to work, which was something I’d always wanted theoretically became a critical reality.

At the time, starting my own business was nowhere in my mind. I had enjoyed my career prior to having kids and figured with a few tweaks, I would jump back in where I had left off.

That was not quite as easy as I expected, particularly when responsible for every daycare drop-off and pick-up. After several jobs in-house, I was both overwhelmingly stressed out and unfulfilled. I stepped back to reassess what my real goals were in my new career universe –  as a single mom whose decisions impacted two young kids.

I needed:

·       to support our family

·       to be challenged intellectually

·       a positive and family-friendly environment

·       be accessible to my kids

·       not trade income dollars directly for child care fees

That’s a tall order, but the more I look around, the more I see women and men creating their own work lives versus having one handed to them.

I started Frizz Marketing, working from home. Frizz looks a lot different than it did fourteen months ago , as does my workday. I now split my time, spending half of my week in-house as Marketing Director for a local business group. The other half of the time, I focus on all things Frizz.

Checking in with my goals, I am on track. I have a consistent salary base in addition to being able to build my business revenue. I am learning new things every day and still get to work on a variety of projects I enjoy. My office colleagues and my Frizz clients are positive and motivating. I have set onsite office hours, but I have the flexibility to do Frizz work around the rest of my schedule, reducing the need for childcare.

I am accomplishing exactly what I need to. I can promise you: It is hard. Right now as the busiest part of the school year wraps up, it means I generally work at night from 8:30 as long as I can keep my eyes open. This morning, I was up at 4 a.m. to get some work and cleaning done. I worked my way through most of Mother’s Day and my workouts, for the time being, are nonexistent.

It can be daunting, but that passes. It means that I get to be there for my kids every day, at the school drop-off and pick-up. Every once in a while, I can pull off a function during the school day. I help with homework, go to their sports practices, eat with them and sometimes even manage a few games of Uno.

Nothing is what I initially expected. My business has evolved, as have my expectations. Things will continue to change. This summer, I’ll get to work earlier to make sure we can still do late afternoon bike rides. In the fall, when my kids are both at the same school for the first time, I will adjust my schedule some more.

For those of you who are trying to find your own way of blending life alongside building a business, with or without kids, here is what I’ve learned:

·       Most importantly, don’t feel bound by prescribed goals. Consider your own priorities.

·       Be open to letting your business evolve and adjust your expectations.

·       Remember it may not look how you expect – and that’s okay.

I would love to hear from you: What is your business story? How did you start, and what has changed?

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Tracy JensenTracy Jensen is Founder and CEO of Frizz Marketing, a Chicago-based marketing firm. Tracy has over 15 years of experience in communications, branding and community outreach. Through Frizz, her focus is helping small businesses and nonprofits extract their central identity and voice, cultivating compelling and authentic content. Her specialties are strategy, email marketing and content creation.

Equally content in front of a group as she is typing from her home office, Tracy has spoken on a variety of topics from social media to fundraising tactics. As a writer, she has contributed to a range of platforms, including BlogHer, EverydayFamily, Mamalode, Scary Mommy, and BonBon Break.

A single mother to two, Tracy believes the only limitations to success are the voices within our own heads. When in doubt, fresh air, a good cup of coffee and a book can cure just about anything.

Tracy loves talking with other entrepreneurs. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

One Reply to “Stop Chasing Balance. What Are Your Priorities? by @bytracyj”

  1. Katie

    Thanks for sharing your story, Tracy! It seems like ever since I decided to start a business, life has thrown me some major curve balls. But, it’s almost as though I needed them all to finally understand that life flows better when you can be flexible and adjust expectations.

    One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is being able to set your schedule (to some extent). And, for me right now, one if the challenges is getting work done in the time allotted– 1.5 hours in the early morning, 1.5 hours at nap time, 1.5 hours in the evening. It’s always nice to hear how other moms are making it happen.

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