Onto the second of three interviews in the Mom Boss Miniseries – I hope you’re enjoying reading these as much as I did. So excited to share with you my interview with Carrie Hane, Founder and Owner of Tanzen, a content and digital strategy consultancy.
Were you a parent when you started your company?
Was the decision to start your company based in any part on wanting to be with your family more?
It was part of my decision, but my kids were pre-teens when I started my company. I was able to freelance when they were infants and toddlers as well. At the time, I was told I’d need to be around for them as teenagers too. And that has proven true. Not only do they have after-school schedules that almost require a parent be at home to get them where they need to be, they tend to be lazy and sneaky and need some sort of adult supervision to keep them on track and out of trouble.
What has owning your own company allowed for you in terms of flexibility in raising your children, or spending more time with them?
It means that I have am able to choose when to be present for them and to have fun with them. I’ve learned that it’s not the amount of time you spend in the presence of your children that matters, but the amount of time you are present with them. Fifteen minutes of one-on-one time with a 13 year-old is much more valuable than being home together for four hours.
Do you face any struggles with being a business owner that you believe are different from if you worked in-house?
As a business owner, personal and business are not separate. While I can put away work for a time to be with my family, I’m always aware of what I’m not doing. If something comes up and I can’t attend to business, it could mean less income. It means that when times are lean or stressful at work, I often transfer or project that anxiety to my kids. With no consistent income, we have to be more thoughtful about our budget, even when times are financially good.
What advice would you give other women looking to start a business and a family?
Don’t do both at the same time! There is a big adjustment when you have a child, whether it’s your first, second, third, or beyond. You need to be able to take a step back and focus on being a mother for awhile and get used to the idea that you are responsible for another human being. And just because your first child had a set schedule and slept through the night after a few months doesn’t mean the next one will be so easy.
If you have a business and want to start a family, talk to your partner (or main support person if you are going it alone) about expectations and changes that will occur. If you decide to step back from the business for a year, then you have to adjust your income/spending expectations. If you are going to continue to go all out on the business, some things at home need to change – whether that’s hiring a cleaning service, lawn service, nanny, or changing the division of duties. Decide what contributions are fair – not equal. Fair and equal are not the same.
Have day care if your partner is also working. Do not ever think you can work at home and attend to a child on a regular basis. This is the biggest fallacy out there.
No matter what stage of business development your company is in, Tanzen offers several workshops to help you and your team. Learn more here, and find Carrie on Twitter