By Anneke Burns, Co-Founder and Publicist, Premier Media & Events
There’s no textbook that can teach you how to handle the risk and responsibility of being a mother who is in business, but shared experience does light the way.
Failure forced me, a new mother, into action. Having lost everything in a failed business venture, I was faced with the prospect of being unable to provide for my baby. This was all the motivation I needed to dust myself off and keep going.
One day, while holding my baby in my arms, the realisation dawned on me that if I didn’t take action, we would be destitute. We had all but run out of money and our income was dwindling. That was the moment that pushed me to shake off my past failure and get moving. So I got up and hit the phone. That day, I started calling every suitable prospect that I could think of. I pitched my PR services to get my first client and it worked.
We landed our first client and it grew, slowly and consistently from there. Today we have four clients that work with us and we are now looking at ways to manage our business growth. My husband, Richard Burns, and I run our PR, design, digital marketing, and events business from home. So that we can care for our son while serving our clients, but it isn’t without its challenges.
I count it as a blessing to be able to work from home, however as the pandemic has taught many working parents; remote work isn’t always easier.
We are grateful to work for ourselves and to work from home but it is hard to find that balance. Children need all of you, and business always needs more of you too, be it because of the growing scope of work, or your growing number of clients.
Having landed our fourth client in under a year, the growth is as encouraging as it is stressful. To manage, I’ve identified three key strategies that I use daily: prioritising family, getting support, and laser-like focus.
Everything I do must serve the office that I’ve been called by God to fill: wife and mother. My business brings value to the marketplace and that allows me to serve my larger goals of caring for my family, building a legacy, and living out of my faith. These values drive me to nurture my role as a giver in family and business and I see my relationships as the bedrock of success in these areas.
There’s only so much that a hardworking entrepreneur can do in a day. To expand your reach, I recommend getting help. Whether that means a nanny, a virtual assistant, permanent employees, or all three.
I would not be able to meet the demands on my time, and deliver the value that I do if I didn’t have someone assisting me. In my case, that consists of a nanny to assist me with duties around the house, as well as a freelance Account Executive, who helps deliver content for our clients. Trying to do everything yourself will only frustrate you and cause you to burn out. That means you’ll likely not be the mom or the client service professional that you’d like to be.
Have laser-like focus
There’s no shortage of things calling for our attention these days. We have entertainment, finances, friends, and family, that all want to be our main focus. Unfortunately, there’s an opportunity cost attached to this, so giving your attention to one thing means denying it to another. I’ve simplified my list of things to focus on, including my faith, my family, and my business. That way I can avoid distractions like on-demand entertainment for example.
Starting a business and having a family is much the same. Each has its demands and requires a lot of attention, focus, and giving. It means digging deep and choosing to live a life of service to others, which is the greatest gift to your family, your clients, and yourself.
Anneke Burns, is co-founder and publicist at Premier Media & Events, a PR, events and digital marketing consultancy. A graduate from the University of Stellenbosch, her background includes political communications, corporate PR and entrepreneurship. Today, she is driven to bring value to her field and to leave a legacy for the next generation.
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