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Business Lessons From Mom

When I hear comments that people make about their mothers being both great at raising children and terrific at running small businesses, etc. it always get me to thinking. Although my sweet mom isn’t with us anymore, I learned plenty of business lessons from my mom, and mom’s business lessons live with me still. And my sweet wife, the great mom to my kids, not only teaches our kids some great life lessons too, but along the way, a few even sink into the thick noggin of good ‘ol Steve.

And not a few of these mom life lessons turn out to be mom business lessons too.

Eat your vegetables? Isn’t she really saying that we should be well-rounded and be healthy? That, I think we can all agree, is good lesson for life AND business.

Isn’t that what moms do? They teach and help and share and give. If you think about it, I bet your mom’s advice might also apply to your business.

Taking a Second Look at Mom’s Wisdom

“Look both ways before crossing the street”: What is she really saying? What mom means is that it is a dangerous world out there and you have to careful.

That is certainly true in business, is it not? Before doing a deal with someone new, before taking out that line of credit, before opening that second location, look both ways before crossing the street. It might just save your business life.

“Play nice”: In business, this sage piece of advice could have many meanings:

  • It could mean: be kind to your employees and be a good boss
  • It might mean: in a negotiation, think win-win
  • Maybe it means: remember that business is about more than just the bottom line

However you want to interpret it, playing nice usually means your freelance business will be more fun and more fulfilling than it will be if you don’t play nice.

“Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do”: This is something my mom used to tell me (like maybe when I knew my Aunt Rhoda, bless her heart, was going to place a big lipstick kiss on my cheek.) It is advice that has always served me well, in life and in business.

In business, sometimes you do indeed have to do things you don’t want to do: Let someone go, pay a bill for services poorly rendered, do your taxes, that sort of thing.

The good news: Doing the unwelcome thing means that you can then go back to the fun things.

More Lessons From Mom: Doing Business Wisely

“There’s always a solution”: This is something my wife always reminds my kids. It’s good to learn, and true. No, the solution is not always easy or simple, but guess what? Sometimes it is, you just have to look harder. The important thing is to remember that solutions are out there.

“Eat your vegetables”: Really Steve, this has to do with business, really? Yes, I think it does. What is the underlying point of ‘eat your vegetables’? Isn’t it, be well-rounded, be healthy? That, I think we can all agree, is in fact good business.

“Have fun!”: Good moms are not just about teaching life lessons, they also want their kids to enjoy themselves ( safely, of course). Well, this certainly is some great business advice. You have to keep things fun, especially in this economy.

Whether that means being a good boss and giving yourself Wednesday afternoons off to golf, or whether it means keeping things light and playful around the office is up to you. Just be sure to have some fun.

“Because I said so”: It used to drive me nuts when my mom said this, but needless to say, now that I am a parent, it is a sage saying. Sure, it is good to listen, but the bottom line is that you are the boss of your freelance business.

“Clean your room”: Mom knows that it is hard to work in a messy place. She also knows that impressions count, and the cleanliness of your room (or office) matters.

“Actions speak louder than words”: How many people have you met in business who talk a great game but can’t seem to deliver when push comes to shove? Many, I bet. We don’t want to be that guy. In the world of small freelance businesses especially, your word is your bond, or it should be.

“Remember to say please and thank you”: I am amazed how often people with whom I do business forget their manners. Please and thank you are basic, essential, and make a difference.

Moms: What would we do without them? To my mom, and the mother of my kids, and to all the moms out there – thanks for everything!

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About Steve Strauss

Senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible, Steve is your host here at TheSelfEmployed.com.


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