As a busy mother of two who not only balances the demands of being a mom but also her own business, Jennifer Wilson of VONBON has had to ace figuring out how to make it all work.
VONBON is a conscious clothing line for infants and children that has been in business now for four years based out of British Columbia. What started as a little hobby project and turned into a full-time business, Jennifer still can’t believe she quit her full-time job and took the leap into self-employment in an industry she had no experience or training in.
When Jennifer first started VONBON, she didn’t have kids yet. However, she was certain that continuing a career as a dental hygienist was not going to be the best choice for her future family given the tension headaches and lingering arthritis she was starting to get. With the support of her husband and the flexibility to take the risk of leaving her full-time job, Jennifer had the hopes of creating a role that would give her the flexibility to do something she loved while also raising a family.
So now that Jennifer is a busy mom and entrepreneur, how does she make it all work? “Does anyone really make it all work?,” she laughed. “It may look like that from a social media standpoint but that’s not always the case. I try and be as genuine and realistic about my day-to-day lifestyle as possible, but some days are harder than others.” However, Jennifer has quickly learned a few things about “trying” to make it all work:
1) Ask for help and ask often. This may mean asking a friend or family member to watch the kids while you put in a couple hours of work, or deciding to add a new employee to your team. We can’t do it all on our own, and the minute we realize that, embrace it and ask for help, we are setting ourselves up for future success.
2) Prioritize. As a business owner there are always a million things on our to-do lists. It seems to take even longer to accomplish with kids at our feet. Chose one or two priorities and do your best to cross those off your list each day. I found I would often feel discouraged if I had hoped to get more than one or two done each day and it didn’t happen.
3) Celebrate every little victory. You don’t have to wait to pop the bubbly until you hit 100K in sales, or celebrate your five year business anniversary. Take the time to acknowledge and celebrate all the little wins in between. Running a business is often a rollercoaster of a ride, and can feel like you’re dealing with one problem after another. Staying positive and inspired to move forward is key, and acknowledging each little victory can help you to stay on track and keep your team spirit alive.
Removing the word “balance” from your vocabulary is also a tip that Jennifer suggests. “It’s much too tiring trying to maintain some sort of balance and many think even, impossible,” she shares. Instead she suggests that you get comfortable with the fact that you can’t do it all, all the time. “Some days you may be an amazing business owner and some days you won’t. Some days you’ll be amazing parents, and some days you won’t.” The moment Jennifer came to terms with this and was okay with it, she felt so much better about both of those roles.
To leave other busy parents/business owners with one last piece of advice, Jennifer shared this: “When I first started my company, I would eat, sleep and breathe VONBON, to the point of where it was starting to affect my personal relationships and marriage. When it’s your passion, it’s easy to let business bleed into every aspect of your life. When I moved my studio outside of my home, it really helped me to create a clear working boundary. For the most part, I was able to leave work at work. It also allowed me to be able to be more productive and present while I was in my studio, without the interruptions of being at home. In return, I was able to focus on being a better wife and mother when I was at home and with my family. Entrepreneurs wear many different hats, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear all of them at once. Chose to focus on one thing at one time and be fully present and dedicated while you are there.”
Written by: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada