Saturday, June 22, 2013

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Successful Moms: Own Your Skills


This article was brought to you by Sam Peters.

I was thinking lately about an article I'd read describing how the most successful businesswomen are the ones who own their skills.

Well, a home is a business too, right? A successful home shares many qualities of a successful business:
  • It brings people together to work and collaborate as a team
  • Its members work together to achieve shared goals
  • It follows a code of behavior and ethics, providing disciplinary measures as appropriate
  • It needs to earn more money than it spends
This means that you, as combination CEO/CFO/Mom, need to own your skills and put them into practice. Here are some of the key skills for successful moms to own:

Maximizing profits
A successful business focuses on bringing in money, and a successful mom/provider does too. Every little bit helps, whether it's asking for a raise, training for a better-paying job or even putting ads on your website to bring in a few extra dollars.

Even though it seems mercenary to focus on money, you need to own this skill because it benefits your entire family. The more profit you bring in, the better you can prepare for college educations and retirements. Having a healthy emergency fund is also an important part of running a successful "family business."

Minimizing expenses
You are probably already highly-skilled at differentiating between wants and needs, but there are other ways to minimize monthly expenses. Don't let your hard-earned profits slip away on items like credit card debt or unnecessary bills.

For credit cards, seek out credit card offers with balance transfer promotions, switch your cards to a zero-balance offer, claim the promotional rewards and PAY OFF YOUR DEBT!

Then call up your utility companies and negotiate lower monthly bills. For example, you can save up to $54/month by switching to a cheaper wireless plan. It's frustrating to have to call customer service, but own your negotiation skills and work to cut at least $100 out of your monthly utility budget.

Communicating goals
Teamwork only happens when each member of the team knows what the goals are and how to achieve them. If you want a clean house every week, every person on the team needs to know how to define "clean," which actions achieve "clean" and when they need to complete those actions. Otherwise you end up with someone who thinks they've cleaned the bathroom but hasn't yet swept the floors.

More importantly, you need to own the skills of talking to your family about larger-scale goals. Everything you value, from education to sibling harmony, is actually a goal. If you never talk to your children about how to treat each other, or why homework is important, they'll never understand why the family goals are worth achieving.

Providing feedback
Lastly, you need to own the skill of providing feedback. Sometimes a short conversation is enough; other times you need to take disciplinary action. Just like a real business, make sure disciplinary measures are stated in advance and applied fairly and consistently; this is the best way to teach children that actions have appropriate consequences.

You need to provide appropriate feedback to your partner as well as your children. If your partner fails one part of the family goals, like regularly arriving late to family dinner or speaking disrespectfully about you or the kids, it's time to have a talk. Owning your skills means not letting anger and resentments linger.


Do you have other "family business" tips or ideas for additional skills? Let us know in the comments.