Motherhood, Entrepreneurship, Covid-19

How to find forward-moving energy for your business as a female entrepreneur, mother and in the time of corona?

I was 37 weeks pregnant while completing the last module of my coaching training in Cambridge University. The director of our course was guiding us through a 121-coaching demonstration. The topic was “what’s next? What will you do with your coaching diploma?” I was the one being coached.

The course ended on the 11th of September and I gave birth to my daughter on the 16th. The gestation period for the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs was a tiny bit longer: almost exactly 2 years later, we registered the company. I believe motherhood has inspired me more than as the simple process of creation. Many female entrepreneur friends, customers and the community of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs have asked me “How did you do it?” So, as a humble mothers’ day present to all women entrepreneurs out there (whether or not you are the mother of a child doesn’t matter, as your business is like a child) I decided to share how I survive:

First, let’s BUST THE MYTH: No one is a superwoman!  I am not a superwoman. Absolutely not. The only way for me to survive a toddler and a newly launched start-up was to get help. A lot of it, and from anyone who offered or as much as we could afford. I am grateful to everyone who supported me during this journey. My mother (I’ll talk about her soon) has been fantastic and extremely supportive since the birth and jumped in with both feet during all my travels to the EU Commission, TTT session or different training and client visits. My dearest friend Anna has been looking after Nina every Monday since as long as I remember. I can never thank her enough. My husband helped finance our family throughout my maternity leave and early days of work. We have a live-in au pair since Nina was 15 months old and a fantastic house helper once a week.

Dead or alive: have a ROLE MODEL. I am a lucky woman. I have grown up with a kickass entrepreneur mother and I can describe my experience as character building: being a daughter of a strong woman who fights her way through in the business world taught me resilience and inspired me to be independent. My mother opened her first business – an architecture firm – when she was 28 years old ( I was 5) in Turkey in the 80’s. I remember her leading hundreds of builders on large building sites, in mud and cold, having to prove to them that she was as intelligent and as tough as a man. I have always respected her for being such a strong businesswoman, which gave me the strength to dare to dream, create, lead and change and moreover inspire my own daughter (hopefully).

Role models make what seems impossible possible. They give access to dreams, they inspire you to do it (by the simple fact that they have done it), they reassure you that it doesn’t hurt that much when you fall and they encourage you to get back up again. I was lucky, because my role model for entrepreneurship was my mother.

What about those with mums who have dedicated their lives to the care of the family or those who grew up with hard-working employee-mums? I would simply say, find a role model for your entrepreneurship experience. Dead or alive, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you study their paths and patterns and get inspired by them.

“TIME” is king. I am obsessive, protective, manic, rude and vicious about my TIME. My calendar is full of blocks, colours and alerts. A step further would be to put in toilet breaks. And I still struggle to keep up! So, I can’t even imagine life without an organised, ritualised, regimented calendar.

I simply use the Ical with different calendars. Most often, I organise the week from Sunday evening with the priority (urgent vs important) matrix in mind. I would say motherhood has made me more efficient, certainly more rather than less.  Most weeks I end up accomplishing 90-95% of my tasks.

We have supported many clients in shifting their services into Covid-proof ways and they have been able to protect their business activity. This gave us the energy to create a 3-month online business training and coaching programme to help our community of female entrepreneurs protect business activity and prepare for growth.  We’ve made 80% of the programme FREE and some components heavily discounted to be able to support you as much as we can while navigating our way through this. Join our Empower Tribe Webinar. I look forward to seeing you at our FREE WEBINAR on Friday the 27th. Love Ceylan