The Great Juggling Act
Since 1999, Jen Harwood has poured her boundless energy into a career as a speaker, writer and business coach, and nearly a year ago added baby Rose into the mix.
All three of Jen’s areas of business expertise are highly competitive, and adding her responsibilities as an adoring Mother has resulted in a schedule that requires planning and juggling, but seems to be working.
Jen says since meeting her husband, Simon, and becoming a mother, she is even more driven to see her business succeed and make a difference to small business owners in Australia and all over the world.
“Being a parent has deepened my appreciation for my clients (both men and women) who are building their business for their family and children's lives,” she says.
“Your business is your tool to create wealth, cash flow and lifestyle - you do this for your family. I understood this for all the years I was a single woman, and now that I am a parent, I totally 'get it' as I want that for my family too.”
Jen had two months off before Rose was born and then for the first six months she reduced her coaching to just one client.
“The client needed support and I told her upfront if she wanted me coaching her, she'd have to come to my house and be OK if I changed the coaching day/time at short notice, as I was breastfeeding a six week old baby,” Jen explains.
“She agreed. It was fun for both of us and what's even more awesome is that my client grew her business substantially!
“I guess I've weaved work into my/our life. In the first seven months I classed myself as a full time mother and casual speaker/writer/coach. Now I'm still full time mother and part-time speaker/writer/coach. I have a number of clients I take on each month and I've hired a team to take the rest of the load.”
Jen says that because she and Simon don’t want to have the baby in childcare or daycare, they tag team it with Rose.
“We align our Google calendars and it means I've got to be super organised. It wasn't easy at first for all. As a new mum, I didn’t know what I was doing, needed or wanted and Simon didn’t quite know how to help - other than obvious things,” says Jen.
“I'm very proud to say now at almost 11 months of being parents to Rose, we work well together. Simon has agreed I'm the prime carer and he'll follow the routines and systems I've put in place - because they work! AND I'm more than OK leaving him with the baby without getting into a flap!!!
“The other thing I've done is hired a wonderful Virtual Assistant - who gets to all the little things in the business that I just don’t get time for, which helps the business to keep moving and growing.”
Jen says that becoming a parent has definitely changed her as a business person and a business coach.
“I empathize more with parents’ challenges juggling children and work. I'm even more determined that small business is the future of our economy and I'm passionate about assisting small business owners get their business, their sales, marketing, people and wealth strategies right.”
Jen’s Top Tips
- Know where you want to take your business and get clear on what it's going to take from you to do it
- Know the numbers - sales targets, budgets, costs, break-even. Too many SMEs ignore the numbers at their peril.
- Accept help - from wherever it comes and be grateful you have the ability to create your success for your family and others.
- Get a coach that will make you work. You want results not a friend!!!