BIRTHFIT Podcast Episode 81: Female Business Owners
Vol. 6 of the BIRTHFIT Summit 2017
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Hello, BIRTHFIT community. This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder. Just like last week, we have a special episode from the BIRTHFIT Summit. This week we explore the topic of being a female business owner. So many of our regional directors are either chiropractors or coaches or nutritional therapists or acupuncturists that own their own business in their city, state, wherever they live. And that's tough. That's tough being a female business owner. It's tough being a mom. It's tough being a woman. You literally have to wear a million different hats, multitask, and plan your life.
In this episode, we ask a ton of women on our tribe basically to share some insight as to how they do this. For those of you listening, I hope you gain at least one thing you can take away and integrate into your life this week. In this episode, you will hear Tracey of BIRTHFIT Lincoln, you will hear Molly of BIRTHFIT Fox Valley, you will hear Nast of BIRTHFIT Hawthorne, you will hear Josiah of BIRTHFIT Oklahoma City, you will hear Candace from BIRTHFIT Cleveland, Elise from BIRTHFIT Puget Sound, Abi from BIRTHFIT Atlanta, Chelsea from BIRTHFIT Kansas City, and Autumn from BIRTHFIT Hampton Roads. I hope you enjoy the episode.
You get the question: I'm not pregnant but I'm preparing my life to be pregnant. You know that you own a business or you own a gym or you own a practice. How do you start preparing for that, both business and lifestyle?
Female:I'll start. My big sister, Erica Boland, I've talked to her a little bit about this just knowing that something probably within, I would say, three years I hope to have a family. I think the biggest thing is time and how valuable that is and making sure that even now I have a plan set in place for I don't need to be in the office killing myself 40 hours a week. I want to spend time with my kids. I want to watch them grow. So that would be the biggest thing, figuring out how I'm going to do that with my business.
I plan on writing out a plan for that but right now just kind of figuring that out for myself. But beyond that, I would say the biggest prep for me has just been these four pillars, kind of what we talked about last time. I think they can be incorporated with anybody, pregnant or not, female or not. I've just been trying to work on all of these as best as I can before I have a family someday.
Female:I'm going to use the word delegate. There's an article that's been making the rounds recently on Facebook about sort of the hidden workload for women, that we tend to be the ones that track what everybody needs or that the gym needs toilet paper, whatever it might be. We can be really good at that. And I know personally I think sometimes it's my super power. I know what people need and I keep track it.
But I also need to be aware of it because if those are the things that I'm constantly working on then I'm not necessarily working on the things that I want to work on. So, being aware of what your highest goals are and making sure that you're having time for those things whether it's to grow your business or to make sure that you have good coaches that can take your place while you're gone or growing classes versus is there a toilet paper in the gym? Delegate.
Female:Can I say something? I think to go off of that, I think it's important to -- You have to value your time and what you do but one of the ways to do that is to get organized. I think I mentioned something about SOPs, standard operating procedures, and just having that written out. I remember my husband asking me to write out what is your role? What is it that you do? And I said, "Well, I think that's a waste of time." And so I didn't do it.
He's really smart. Until the time came and where that actually did happen. We also at the same time had a family emergency and I couldn't be at the gym but I needed someone else to step into my shoes. Can you X yourself out of the equation and have somebody else do what you do? Especially running a business, does the whole business shut down when you leave? Can it continue to go?
So if you have something written out with what are your roles or who can I delegate the roles to if I'm not there, I think that's really important. Does it take some time? Yes, time that you probably don't have. But just getting a little bit more organized is insurance for you, your business and your family.
Female:Yeah, I'll just build off of -- Is this turned on? Just building off of that, organization and also just planning ahead. Usually we have nine, ten months to figure it out. What we did was figure out what's my schedule going to look like after the baby comes. Like what Nast said is huge. What do I do in the day to day that we don't even think about because I just do it? But then if I'm not there who's going to do it?
And so really just planning that out and knowing ahead of time and then being really realistic in your plan and very intentional and prioritizing and knowing, okay, I do want to come back to work but it's not going to be exactly like it was before but just with a baby on my hip. Knowing that, okay, when I came back, I had to build time into my schedule for whatever baby wants to do.
I'm there this many hours but about halfway through we have Josiah's not available time and that's when I go back and I feed her or we just have time together or whatever she needs. And we have that flexibility. And I'm very fortunate in our practice that she had pinkeye the other day and so I was like, I'm here but, no, I'm not because she needs me and so I just left. I just closed my door and Daniel picked up the slack and everyone was okay.
It's important to have those plans in place, like what's going to happen in this situation and just to be prepared for it and know that it's not going to be what you envision in your head, that strap your baby on your back and just do whatever you were doing before. Not that you can't return to those things. That's why I love being a chiropractor and having my own practice because in school I knew I want my own practice because I want to set my hours because I want my family to be here together. I have that flexibility. But also there's a lot of give and take with that. A lot of planning and just being realistic about what the future is going to look like.
Female:For me, I'm a chiropractor and I decided to open my own practice after school for this reason. I run a boutique sale office. I do everything. I had a plan, a five-year plan, just with making sure to save enough money, hire associate, and then when that time came, get ready to start a family, take some time off, have maternity coverage, all of that. Three months ago, I found out I was pregnant, which is very exciting but that kind of changes the plan entirely.
Really, I think, my biggest thing is just to -- Because I think the biggest struggle that we are dealing with is just like the finances of my business not necessarily personal life but just making sure that all of that is put in order to be able to when I come back I want to stay at home more, to be able to keep the business going at whatever pace I want without being in the office as much. That's all for me.
Female:I'm going to say something just a little bit different. I think where I started was visualizing what success meant to me as a woman and as a business owner. I call myself a one-woman show. It's just me. I do all the front desk and everything. And I like it that way. It's fun and crazy chaos but it's what I do. There are a lot of chiropractic coaches out there that tell you how to run a business, tell you how to make a million dollars, and a lot of them are dudes. I feel like they don't understand from a mom point of view that when your kid has pinkeye, you got to go. From the very beginning my goal was what does success look like to me?
For me it's I work two and a half hours and then I go home. And so I built that into my practice being pregnant. I spent a lot more time there, like hours when I was pregnant because I had the time but I let my practice know sort of what was coming and I built the hours around what I wanted. I thought mornings are easy, I'll work a couple of hours in the morning, and then I'll have the afternoon to spend time with my kids and do things, spend the time with them that I want to do.
And everybody's version of success is different whether it's how much money you make, how many clients you're helping or those sorts of things. But just really having a good viewpoint of what success means and if that feels right in your heart then build your plan around that, I think is where I started.
Lindsay:Awesome. I like that question. What does success look like for you? And I'll give an example. I've played this game with myself and my version of success is where I can spend the money to fly all of my dysfunctional family out for Thanksgiving and pay for each one of them to have their own hotel room. Because they're not staying with me. And then for all of them to come to a dinner where I don't have to cook. I can pay somebody else to cook. And then they can all go back to their hotel room. That's when I know I've made it. We can't do that until then. So, what does success look like for each of you or maybe people in the audience too start thinking about that? Anybody want to share?
Female:Just based on your experience, I have a very similar experience. I'm one of those people that if I don't see it or if I don't see it coming to fruition, sometimes I got a little downhearted specially just from a mindset standpoint, is what I do on a daily basis just to feel like I'm getting towards that goal. I found a bunch of pictures. I am originally from Boston. I live in New Jersey now. I'm a big Red Sox fan. Any Red Sox fans? One. Yeah, thank you, Nicky.
Lindsey:She's so excited.
Female:She was. And it's not even, honestly, like I couldn't even tell you who the second baseman is right now. It's just the idea -- Actually, I could. The idea of, same thing, flying out my family. I'm one of four children. There's six of us total. For us to go out anywhere is just a lot. It was always a lot of money. It has a financial goal to it as well. But being able to fly my family back to Boston and all go to a Red Sox game and sit in some of the best seats and exactly what you said, everyone has their own hotel room. That to me is success.
It involves my family and my closest friends and just keeping that vision out in front of me constantly. I have to talk about it. I have to put it out there and I have to do it, replay it in my head over and over again, kind of like visualization if you've ever played sports. I had to envision myself succeeding. It's strange to take that from an athletic world and apply that into life. That's that mindset practice that I also need a lot of practice but I'm excited that I get to do it daily.
Female:So, I think, success for me would probably be a day full, and by day I mean like probably four or five hours that like a solid work day, full of my ideal clientele or patient base versus people that maybe aren't valuing your time as much as you value it. I think that's what I would say.
Female:I'm going to go a little less big picture. For me, success is like at the end of the day I got to do what I love. I was adjusting people for a few hours, I was spending time with my baby, I was spending time with my husband. Life is good.
Lindsey:Life is good.
Female:I guess, for me, I'm in a slightly different stage of life because my kids are older. I have one that's almost 18 and a 14-year old and an 11-year old.
First of all, right now, my family is the most important thing. When I look at my time, I want to be sure that I'm spending the most amount of time with my family. But the business is part of what makes that happen and I love my business as well. For me, a successful life would be my kids go off to college, they're happy, and then I have freedom to travel and go see them wherever they are and that the business supports that.
Female:Success for me, I think, is kind of what Mumma said earlier today about feeling financially free and not feeling burdened anymore. I grew up with parents that always fought about money. I get emotional. I don't want that for myself in my relationship. So, I would say that success would be to feel not burdened by money and just be able to enjoy life and be comfortable in that life and have an argument be about a spoon left out instead of finances because that's tough. Sorry for crying.
Lindsey:Anybody from the audience want to share? Chelsea? Chelsea's like, "Got it."
Female:So, the way I show my love is by feeding people and organic food cost a lot of money so success to me buying all the organic crazy supplement weird shit and thinking like, "Here's $4,000. I got it. Done." And just like sharing it with anybody who I possibly can. That's success.
Female:Laura, I'm going to steal something you told me earlier. After Mumma shared about financial freedom you said you wanted to have time freedom. Basically, being able to control when you have to show up where and not have someone else telling you, "You will show up at this time and you will do such and such." Which is not to say that you don't have time to have be somewhere. If you own a gym and you don't open the gym for a class, that's going to be a problem.
I had been a public school teacher, taught high school, and having to show up and be in my classroom at 6:30 in the morning because class started at 7:00, the time freedom was obviously not there. But, I think, the bigger struggle for me was not being able to be authentic about what I really cared about. I'm going to start crying now. I couldn't tell people about BIRTHFIT because I didn't want to be seen as not dedicated to teaching.
If I'm going to get paid crap anyway, I want to be doing something that I love because I don't think any of us are here for the money dollars. Financially, I would love to be debt free, Mumma, but the first thing that I have control over is time freedom. I'm giving not teaching a try.
Female:I thrive off of connection and I think, for me, being here and being connected to people I've never met before. Connection with my family, that's a given, but I love seeing other people be connected to something as big as this or whether it's in the gym. I love it when somebody -- People come into my gym and they're working out and they figure out just through talking to each other that they have something in common and then they instantly create a bond. Just like we all came here, maybe some of us didn't know each other, but we're instantly connected and we have this bond and we're going to leave here feeling ultimate love and trust with each other. We've never each other before. For me, success is in every part of my life like how can I grow that connection, how can I spread this, the feeling that I have when I'm here or in my gym or with my family, how I can help other people feel that way.
Lindsey:Somebody behind me. Mel?
Female:Okay. I love what Abi was talking about with time freedom. That's huge. I currently have a job in the Air Force that demands a lot of time, a shit ton. I'm a captain in the Air Force. And it's crazy to try and balance that and then the BIRTHFIT Colorado and then just being a wife and mom. One of the things that's really helped me is to create what I call Einstein time which is cultivating presence to help time dilate.
So, my husband told me this back in college. He was like freaking genius. He doesn't even remember telling me but it stuck with me for a long time. He said be 100% where you are. And no matter whether that's at work, as mom, and as business owners and as professionals, you go to the job and you're like, "Damn, I'm not with my kids. I should be doing this." And then you're like a lesser professional during that time.
And then you go home and you're like, "Man, I dragged ass at work today." But if we could just settle into the being 100% where you are, like be the best professional at work, go home be the best mom, leave work at work, that's really helped me to find that balance and to help cultivate that time freedom.
Female:I'll just add to what everybody said and what I said before. I think it's interesting because everybody kind of thinks success comes with money and we all talk about finances all the freaking time. But you know the richest people in the world are often very unhappy, I think.
Female:I'd like to think they are.
Female:Those buy good coffee, so.
Female:But if we're going to talk about being rich in the sense of having just like a super kickass family that follows all these pillars as best as we can, we're under a roof where there's ton of love and we spread all that love, we get connected like you were saying, I don't think there's any dollar amount that can buy that. I think maybe that was the missing part growing up was just that feeling of love. It was a lot of crap. Yeah, I would say beyond dollar amount. That's the goal end of success, I think.
Lindsey:Awesome. Each of you don't have to answer this one but what do you think the hardest thing is for a female business owner? Gina knows.
Female:This is something that was such a huge personal issue with me and then upon talking to other friends and colleagues who had a baby, maybe a little bit after me and they would call on me, there'd be lots of tears, lots of phone tears. How did you do it? How are you at work still when you have a baby and how is this not happening? I just felt terrible and how can do you it? Apparently, I put on a really excellent facade about handling all because I was like, "What are you talking about? The shit is in the fan all the time. I'm always late for this and I'm not home for this and the baby's crying for this and I didn't turn this and I didn't even write a note for a week and a half." Which is not okay. After you see your patients you have to write your note. That's a big deal.
And so then the more this went on and the more off label counseling I did for peers, the more I was like, this is a major issue. This is a huge thing that nobody talks. All I know is chiropractic in terms of professional, but what I do know is that in our business classes in school they are predominantly run by men whose wives sometimes took a maternity leave and life carried on. Our input is you make your business and you can be an associate or you can own your own business and have a nice life and good luck. And then we get out there and you're like, holy crap, if I had a baby I have to leave or close the office or find somebody and then I still have to pay lease and I still have to, money still has to go out but I can't bring it in and that's a major breakdown.
When I developed the women's health series, which is a whole post grad thing, that was one of the first things we did was try to help women just address what are you going to do? I think one of the biggest lines that came out of it, which I did not make up and I will not take credit for but it is so spot on, is that it is far more common that women are asked to sequence their lives and it is more common that men are not asked to do that.
You have to think where is my business in line with my family, in line with my house, in line with my payments? Did I take the kids to the pool enough and did I get my work done? And a lot of times it's like the guys are more expected to go to work and come home when they're done and the kids see you on the weekend, that's normal, because he had to go to work. Whereas we're supposed to be in all those shoes all the time 100%. It's the sequencing of our lives, I think, that is very hard.
Female:I think, adding on to that, is just this is what I've been struggling with a lot lately, just thinking about expectations. I have a lot of expectations around myself and, I think, my husband has expectations of me whether he does or doesn't. So, just really trying to navigate what our real expectations and what are just in my head floating around dictating my day to day life. Thinking about that and then -- I just lost my train of thought.
I think trying to manage that is a lot. Going back to like how we grew up, because, I mean, I grew up in Illinois and it was very much like our mom stayed home, our dad went to work. I don't want that. I want to be home with my son definitely the majority of the time but I also want him to see that I have goals and that I'm accomplishing things and I love the work that I do. Trying to figure out how to balance that and where I came from and how does that shape where I am now and how I think about things, I guess.
Yeah, I think I'm just navigating all that but, I think, a lot of women go through that. When you see your mom home all day, that's what I think a good mom is. When it all comes down to it, I know that's not true. I know I'm a good mom for working. But at my core I feel like a good mom stays at home because that's all I saw.
Female:Can I add on to that?
Lindsey:Yeah, I was just going to ask you.
Female:Yes. I feel like whether you work 40 hours a week or eight, whatever you do, once you have kids you're a full time mom and if you're a business owner, you're a full time business person. There's no part time work ever. And then you just add more kids and it gets crazier. I think what my biggest challenge was, I was always like, oh my gosh, I'm just being pulled in all of these different directions. And like you said, the expectation is here you got to keep people alive and you've got -- It's probably in all of us that we care about other people. Otherwise, we would not be here. It's innate in all of us that we're giving people.
One of the biggest challenges for me that I've recently found is that I have to give to myself in a real way. And when I give to myself in a way that matters more than just getting my toenails painted then I actually can give to other people and feel so good about it, I feel that I've met that expectation. I also ask my husband to do the dishes and the laundry sometimes. We all help.
Lindsey:What are some ways that some of you give back to yourself? You don't?
Female:No. I was just saying I say no. I have to say no and just -- Exactly what you all are saying and just even, I think Mumma mentioned it earlier too, sometimes you have to be selfish and just put your foot down and say, "No, I cannot do that. You do it." Or it will get done. It will figure itself out. Just trusting that everything's going to be okay. It's going to be fine. That word no, I've struggled with it because I used to say yes to everybody and everything because I felt like I had to be all things to all people. But it's amazing when I stop showing up to things or I said no to going to different events, we actually had more success. It's almost like people valued my time even more so. And then they would actually show up to things. That was a big light bulb for me. Because I valued my time, as Mumma said. Yeah, for sure.
Lindsey:Awesome. Anybody else have questions, comments, concerns about boss ladies? Mumma has got one.
Female:So, a couple of you got to meet my friend Roslyn Ross yesterday. She's an author and she wrote the book Raising Children as an Act of Philosophy. She was a very transformational influence on my life because she had this idea that you can actually take your kids to life with you.
I think that was one of the very freeing things for me as a mom-business owner. My first son would never take a bottle. Never did. I was kind of freaking out a little bit because I had planned this huge six-week maternity leave after he was born. I did longer with the second one. You live and learn. Growth mindset. So, I was like, "Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?"
And my nanny, who we had hired, said, "Well, we can just come to the office and I can be with him there." I was like, "Yeah. I own the place. I can do whatever I want." I started that and then I came across Roslyn's stuff and her approach to child rearing that is very respectful of meeting everyone's needs and so making sure that your needs are being met as well as your child's and working together to find a way that is going to keep everyone's needs met, and bringing your children to life.
I'm more than happy to come and hang out with you if my kids are coming too because I'm not going to pay for a babysitter and leave my kids so I can go and do something that I'm not super excited about. But I love to hang out with you if my kids are coming too because they're part of my life now and I couldn't have known that before I had kids how much I wanted them to be part of my life, but I think I have now made it normal when the Mummas are coming to something, there are kids involved.
And I've set that standard that you just know it. The kids come because I want them to see our life and I want them to see the incorporation of the four pillar's entire life and I want them around for as much of that as they can be. I think, as moms, it's good to give yourself permission. Josiah has her daughter at the office and it's like, okay, I got to shut the door, I got to be with her and we're together. We're a package. We're a team. We're a unit.
Female:Can I add something?
Female:I like how you said that she's an author, she's a good friend of yours and you guys spend some quality time together. I think, for me personally, it's really important for me to see other female business owners, other successful female business owners for a while they were all across the country. I think Liz mentioned earlier that you feel alone a lot of the time. And I've been able to, speaking to my friend Kim, a lot of you don't know, she just sold her first business to a major company which is really cool, or even Jenny.
And just seeing what they do. And even seeing Erica. In my mind, I'm like she has four children. How the bleep does she do it? It's amazing to me. I know when I'm at a different season of my life, we would really like to have a family, I'm sure I'm going to have to call people and glean off of what do you do? How do you do this? And I use to feel like I had to be my own little island and have all of my stuff together by myself. But you don't have to do it alone. You are not alone. I think you have to set the standard wherever you are, a high standard, and that's going to feel lonely but just making sure that you reach out to other successful women. And not just anyone but women that have fruit on the tree, people whose life you want to emulate. I think that's something to keep in mind.
Lindsey:That's great, Nast. Thanks, you all. Sorry.
Female:Something that ties a lot of things I heard over this discussion together. I had a really hard time when I first -- I've had my business. It will be seven years in August. I had a really hard time in the beginning because I'm very forward thinking and I had eight things that I was going to accomplish always and it kept me out of the present and so the idea of starting a family was really daunting because I still had ten more things five steps ahead of me and I was never really present.
A really random thing that I learned was I was always like, "I'm going to be wonder woman, I'm going to be wonder woman." And I found out, random fact, that the guy who created wonder woman had three women in his life. He had a woman who helped him in business, random fact, a woman who helped raised their collective children, and a woman who was his mistress. Here's this person who is creating the standard for a feminine superhero that so many women today still love to look up to and he was leaning on three women to create this one person.
And so I spent my whole life trying to be all the things at the same time and the most valuable question I learned, and this kind of goes back to what Mel was saying, what do I actually want my day to look like? What is a successful singular day? How do I want to spend my specific time? I want to spend this much time doing what, this much time doing what?
Now, I can actually envision what it is to have kids because I know I want to be there when they go to bed. It's so specific that I now know what it means to be successful as a business owner, be present when I'm there, and then go home and shut that door and separate those things. It's like a really random revelation but, I don't know, [0:40:50] [Indiscernible] for me.
Lindsey:[0:40:56] [Indiscernible] talking today. Awesome. Let's give them a hand.
All right. If there's one takeaway, and it is a question and you've heard it already on this episode, I want you to all go and write down, journal, do whatever you got to do, but write down what does happiness look like to you? And then what does success look like to you? This will vary from person to person. And there's no right or wrong answer. This is for you. Once you figure out what happiness and success looks like for you then you can start planning and organizing your life, your business, and putting things into action to make this happen. So, homework, go journal. And we'll see you all next week for another discussion from the BIRTHFIT Summit.
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