As a working mom, I have always tried my best to give my kids a lot of time while still putting my heart into my small business. As a full-time professional voice over actor and coach, even when I’m not “working,” I do talk about my business and my business ideas a lot with my family, and have for many years. Well, I am now realizing what a huge impact that has had. This week we had amazing news. My daughter was accepted to her dream college: a six year doctoral program in Occupational Therapy at Elizabethtown College. Besides celebrating this glorius achievement, Emma has countless ideas about how she intends to use her degree. She keeps coming into the kitchen and saying, “Mom, I was thinking…” and then shares her latest vision for a potential future career path. This is not just exciting, this is the result of a being surrounded by women chatting about goals, brain storming, and planning for how small businesses grow.
The Precedent We Set
As mothers and working women, our children hear and see the examples we set. For years, my children have either been in the room or been in the room adjacent to my accountability group meetings. They understand the importance of setting goals as a small business owner, having a plan, and follow-through. They not only hear me talking, they have heard my industry friends (well, more like voice over family) for years. They have been exposed to what it takes to grow and maintain a small business. They understand that hard work and perseverance are essential, and that follow-through is everything. They have always been around my meetings, and I have always discussed ideas with them. My children watched me build my business from the ground up. The result is that they not only see what is possible, they actually understand how it is done.
Getting Your Kids Involved
As solopreneurs, we actually have the luxury of getting our kids involved and having them take an active role in our business. Many voice actors have their children actually doing voice over work. Last summer, my son Jack had a recurring gig as an eLearning narrator. This was extremely fulfilling to him. Not only did he learn about how to interact with clients and gain greater insight into the industry, but he learned about taking direction and leaving his emotions outside of the booth.
Another great way to get your kids involved is to hire them as assistants or interns when they are old enough. Last summer, both of my twins worked for me. I had my son doing research for direct marketing and sending cold emails. He learned so much about the process and follow through. I had my daughter doing all of my social media, with a focus on my instagram and instagram stories. She actually organically doubled my following. They did an outstanding job and were delightful. We used a google spreadsheet to coordinate our tasks and stay on the same page. They learned about team work, collaboration, and the ins and outs of my voiceover business.
What Values You Want to Instill
When I think about why I work so hard as a voice actor, I want my children to understand so much. Beyond the income I generate that our family depends on, I want them to see that voice over is a unique industry because we are a group of people who come together to lift each other up. I also want me kids to see that if you work hard all day, every day, you can have great success. I want my twins to see that you can make your dreams happen. And if my voice over business has showed them anything, it’s that you never wait for someone else to bring you happiness and your happiness is not dependent on others. In order to succeed in voice over and in many other industries, you have to have thick skin and listen to your gut. You must be able to tune out all the negativity and you have to be very selective about who you accept guidance from. My prayer for my children is that they have been surrounded by strong women and all of this has been planted deep within them. As a working mom, I hope that their internal compass is so strong, nothing can sway them from their path.
My Emma has so many ideas already. I hope that as her years in her program go on, her ideas become more defined, and her dreams are well-within her grasp. I can’t wait to see What Emma does with her degree!
So, when I ask the question, as a working mom, what does it really mean? It means that if I can not only pay the bills, but follow my passions, AND teach my kids by doing to follow theirs, and in doing so instill a set of core values, I believe it is a worth while endeavor indeed.