A Mompreneur Dilemma: To Grow or Not To Grow?
Posted on April 07 2020
A Mompreneur Dilemma: To Grow or Not To Grow?
As a business graduate with finance and IT double major, I was well prepared to create a business plan prior to the launch of Jolie Gotique. The future growth of my business was meticulously detailed in an excel spreadsheet with numbers and formulas, rows and columns, sums & equations. An ambitious, albeit conservative plan, forecasted sales and growth strategy over 10 years. With my excel spreadsheet no one could stop me. I would grow and expand yearly until I franchised fashion trucks in every major city across the country. With my excel spreadsheet in hand perhaps I’d even rule the world.
That was until I realized ruling the world or launching fashion trucks across the country was not what I wanted to do. Unfortunately no equation accounts for matters of the heart, or matters of the mom should I say. When it comes to the life of a mompreneur there is a more complicated conflict that no formula can solve with one neat answer. It is unpredictable and even the best estimates aren’t quite precise enough.
At some point in the life cycle of a business mompreneurs face a true dilemma: To Grow Or Not To Grow? This dilemma raises conflicting questions about the role of a mother and the many hats we wear. From caretaker & homemaker in the house to founder & CEO on the work-front, I was forced to ask myself: Can I play all of these roles simultaneously and successfully? There is certainly not one correct answer, but I can guarantee every working mom has asked the question at one point or another.
There is an expectation that every successful business must get bigger to be better. However, as of late I have been wondering, does being bigger make me better?
If I entered my daily routine into a mathematical equation these would be the variables: Make kids breakfast, drive kids to school, tidy house, quick workout, reply to emails, meetings, conference call, style clients, fulfill online orders, attend business event, update website details, merchandise & plan inventory, post on instagram, write a blog, reply to more emails, attend photo shoot, pick up kids from school, cook dinner, carpool to after school activities, feed kids dinner, shower kids, homework & eventually crash for bedtime. Actually, I left out time for my husband, fold laundry, and shower because sometimes we make do without those. The result of this complicated formula is always overloaded.
"It's not difficult to take care of a child; it's difficult to do anything else while taking care of a child." — Julianne Moore
I’ve read that there is no such thing as work-life balance for a mom, but instead work-life integration. Over the course of the last five years as a mompreneur I have learned important lessons. I’ve learned to say no. It’s important to filter through offers, events, and meetings that may tip the work-life scale. I’ve learned to be flexible and follow what comes organically even if it wasn’t planned. Most importantly, I’ve learned my children are being given a true gift watching their mom carefully integrate motherhood and career, even when I’m not graceful. We are all human, even mom.
Through triumphs, mistakes and trial & error, I have developed an answer to my original question – to grow or not to grow? One that is not black or white. One that doesn’t fit neatly into an excel spreadsheet and leaves me asking more questions.
There are methods to grow a business that don’t fit into the traditional and expected plans. Like an octopus, a business has many tentacles waiting to be discovered. Today, I have expanded by investing in a team that can grow instead of a fleet of trucks. Today, I have expanded through thoughtful collaborations in my local market & virtually instead of traveling away from home. Today, I have expanded by using my skill set in fashion to consult for other brands. My new business plan is the blueprint for my future growth strategy.
My formula may not involve a global fashion truck takeover, but it allows me to be home during dinner arguing with my children over eating their kale chips. My formula allows me to cheer on my children in the sports arenas when they score a goal, and I’ve clearly embarrassed them by doing so. My formula allows me to be present in a way that makes me happy. No excel spreadsheet calculates happiness and peace. No formula explains how to live my life in a way that makes me fulfilled both personally and professionally. No formula predicts for scraped knees, sick days, midnight nightmares, or the bully on the playground.
Today my business plan forecasts growth with fewer formulas and equations, inputs & outputs but is crafted with more heart and soul, passion and dedication in all areas of my life.
Penny Goffman is the founder of fashion & lifestyle brands Jolie Gotique & That Penny Life. She is also a mama to two spunky children and resides in Greenwich, CT with her family. When she’s not busy with her own boutique she can be found hosting or styling big-brand events for Alice & Olivia, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales. Penny is also the local community manager for the Westchester/CT region of HeyMama. Plus she always fits in a great workout on her downtime! Above all, she is most passionate about empowering women to feel beautiful & powerful both inside and out.