Who would have thought that all the heart ache and sleepless nights over the last 15 years of running my own business, whilst being a Mum would inspire others? I certainly didn’t.

Yet it seems that what I do so naturally in supporting other business owners grow their business, and helping parents to start their own flexible business, has been recognised in a national award. Wow! I’ve been shortlisted for the Cheerleading category of the MPower Business Awards.

In some ways the title of this post is wrong. I haven’t turned myself from a juggling parent to a national business award finalist. To me, all I’ve done is been myself and grown my businesses in the right way for me over the years. Yet another business owner, one who I’ve supported over the last 10 years in many different ways, spent some of her valuable time to nominate me for this award. Her nomination included:

T-J is such a great cheerleader for people in business. I have seen her grow and sell a business and set up Manage Those Things, a business support service and a free online networking group “Business Cheerleaders.”

I’ve nominated T-J because of her generosity to others – she tirelessly promotes other people and does her best to help when they are stuck in a business rut. She’s a great networker too who loves to connect others – not because she can get something for herself, but because its the right thing to do.”

Thank you 🙂

Keep on keeping on being a juggling parent

Tracey-Jane Hughes juggling parent and business award finalistIs one of the biggest tips I give to other business owners. Yes, juggling the commitment of being a parent and running your own business is hard. For example, “What’s the priority today?” Look after my poorly child, or follow up that potential customer I promised I’d call?

Yes, I’ve been there, with all those different balls flying around my head, with some dropped to the floor too. OK, let’s be honest, many dropped to the floor!

Learning to find the right balance for you and your family can take time, lots more juggling, and amazing support from those around you. Including your children! I remember having boxes of bras in my lounge and getting the boys to sort them into size order to help me out. They didn’t learn much about bra fitting, but they learnt that 32 was smaller than 34, and D came after C though!

Like so many business owners and working parents, I’ve suffered from anxiety, fear, worry, and sleepless nights.

Learn how to juggle your family and your business carefully

It took me many years to find the right balance of family and business life, and even more years to find that I needed me-time too. But I’d say that this is the most important aspect of growing your business successfully around your growing family.

When I realised that I no longer enjoyed running an online shop, as I preferred direct contact with customers, a weight fell from my shoulders and I was able to hand that successful business to someone who it suited. I was then able to grow another business which fitted around my boys different after school and taxi service requirements, which meant I wasn’t constantly chasing my tail.

Be your own biggest cheerleader

Whilst I love cheering others on, (my boys are both very good sportsmen, so I get lots of opportunity to cheer them), you need to focus on yourself and give yourself a pat on the back. Every day.

Yes, everyday. Do you realise what you’re doing? You’re running a business and being a juggling parent supporting your family to grow. You’re nurturing both to grow up and become mature. Don’t you think you deserve cheering on? I do. You’re doing a fabulous job, even if you don’t think you are.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Life is hard, you don’t need to add to that with your own thoughts!

Lancashire Business Cheerleading Drop Ins

MPower business awards shortlisted business ownerIn celebration of being a finalist for the MPower Business Awards, I’m offering three free business cheerleading drop ins across Lancashire, where I live.

I will be available at these drop in sessions to spend time talking about your business, (or business idea), juggling parenting and business, at these times across the county, before the awards final on 23rd June. Who knows who else will be there at the same time as you? It could be the start of some new business collaborations!

All I asks is that you make a donation to the volunteer led Lancashire Listening Services, One2One Listening in Preston and Lancaster is Listening, which I’ve helped to set up, and continue to support voluntarily. It costs about £150 to train one volunteer listener, so any donations will be used to support local people have somewhere to be listened to properly.

Join me at these informal venues where I’ll be grabbing a table for our conversation:

Saturday 16th June 9.30 – 11.30 Holiday Inn Foyer Lancaster M6

Tuesday 19th June 9.30 – 11.30 Central Methodist Church, Lune Street, Preston (Listening room)

Friday 22nd June 10-12 Café Ambio, Astley Park, Chorley

If your further afield, you can book a free 20 minute Explore Call, or check out the support for your business growth

If I can turn being a juggling business parent into a national award finalist, so can you 🙂 I look forward to hearing your story soon.