A creative producer by day, entrepreneur by night, and a new mother every hour in between — this is my reality. It’s not easy and sometimes feels impossible, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband and I share a vision of building a dream life for ourselves and it comes with many challenges that we navigate day by day.
Some days don’t seem like they have enough hours to accomplish everything I need to do. Most nights are interrupted by either a crying baby or a fleeting thought that requires me to grab the phone to jot down some notes — sometimes both at the same time.
While this sounds daunting, I’m constantly inspired by others who live this exact reality. After all, being an entrepreneur shouldn’t be exclusive to those who are privileged with time and funding. In fact, more often than not, the most inspiring entrepreneurs I’ve met come from anything but!
Whether you’re working a full time job or are a mother (or both!), entrepreneurs share a similar drive to want to tackle it all.
While juggling these roles require mental and physical endurance, I’ve been fortunate enough to learn some tricks of the trade as a full time producer to find order and efficiency in how I get things done. Juggling moving parts is quite literally my full time day job so it only makes sense that I find ways to apply my learnings at a greater scale. Here, I discuss some practical ways I’ve made things work…
1 | Project manage EVERYTHING —
Basecamp, Smartsheet, Wrike… project management tools are your best friend! The common misconception is that project management tools are just meant for developers and product managers, but I’ve found that keeping my thoughts as organized as possible is key. Even the most mundane of tasks, such as “pick up laundry” is detailed in my tool of choice. The benefit of this process is that it keeps your energy more action-focused rather than thought focused. Nothing creates stress like floating thoughts — but if you translate those floating thoughts into an actionable list, its helps greatly reduce those overwhelming stressful moments.
2 | Over-communicate —
Lack of communication with the people in your life causes ambiguity, ambiguity causes uncertainty, and uncertainty causes worry and stress. I’ve found one of the most important aspects of running a business is ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page and aligned on goals. Email, text, and phone calls are your best friends!
3 | Find your support system —
Finding your support system isn’t so much about manpower, but more about emotional support. I believe the hardest part about entrepreneurship and motherhood aren’t the physical challenges, but rather the emotional. Surround yourself with a community of similar women who are working through the same challenges. (There are many of us, so don’t be afraid to reach out!) Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram exist for a reason and are full of those eager to share their experiences and how they have overcome their challenges. Having a great support system to help encourage you to push through those hard days makes life infinitely easier!
4 | Embrace even the smallest of moments for yourself —
Let’s be real. We’re all human. We all need a little time for ourselves no matter how busy our days may feel. Even on the most chaotic of days, I’ve found that prioritizing just 15 minutes for a short yoga or meditation session helps reset the brain. Those 15 minutes can sometimes be hard to find — especially with a baby — but a face mask and breathing exercise can go a long way in starting your mornings right!
5 | Remind yourself that not everything is going to be perfect —
Matters in business, career, and parenthood can go infinitely wrong… and that’s okay! I’ve made plenty of mistakes that feel overwhelmingly difficult to overcome (and continue to do so, often) — but it’s not about avoiding mistakes, it’s about rebounding from them and taking the learnings you’ve gleaned to heart. I’ve found that, no matter what, as long as I can take a deep breath and focus on the next steps to course-correct, I’ll be okay.
All that being said, I truly believe that the most difficult, overwhelming days are there to keep us humble and motivated. Most things worthwhile don’t come easy, and at the end of the day I’ve chosen to pursue the life that I live. Being a mother is an absolute blessing that I wouldn’t trade for the world. But equally, having a career that I enjoy while building a business driven by my own passion and dream is also a blessing. My love for my child and my passion for my business mutually feed off each other and continue to motivate and push me forward even on those hard days.
In the grand scheme of things, being able to pursue even the most difficult of challenges and the pursuit of a dream life is a great privilege in itself. With a little support from family, friends, and various methods to keep my mind clear and stress low, no challenge seems too difficult to overcome. And with that mentality in mind, these full time jobs don’t seem so crazy.
Jina Kim is a mother and co-founder and creative director of Circumference, a beauty brand that aims to bridge towards a bigger conversation and do right by our skin, our fellow humans, and our environment.