Many people who know me understand that my passion over the past 16 yrs. has been for single parents. In every area, they are my heartbeat and they fuel my passion to succeed not only financially, but in every aspect of my life. This quest is so that I may lead, guide and direct the masses of single parents in their greatest areas of needs.
Being a business owner, I of course speak to many single parents that want to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in our current economy. I applaud them for recognizing the importance of changing their perspective rather than practicing the scarcity mentality. Paradigm shifts are scary at first, but once done, they can be addictive!
The focus on this blog today is centered around two types of people.
- Business owners that want to entice single parents into their biz
- Single parents that haven’t taken advantage of the greatest time in our history to secure their financial independence
While I am nowhere near a genius or sought after guru, I am a single parent. This entitles me to speak from experience on many levels. Please allow me to explain! When single parents are approached, the most important thing to convey is community. When they look at the business world in general, they primarily see it as a “couples thing”. When you express to them they are in biz for themselves, but never by themselves, all sorts of objections can be alleviated up front. Be prepared to share examples of other successful singles in your biz. They also need to know they can trust you! Edify, encourage and promote their strengths, help them overcome the weaknesses & you will be blessed to have them on your team!
If you run frequent promotions, please take under consideration that single parents view themselves as having to do double the amount of work as couples and unless they are very aggressive, will not even entertain the promotion. Without lowering the bar of excellence or expectations, tweaking them for single biz owners would encourage participation. Remember….once accomplished, it is addictive!
In my experience, having mentors that recognize challenges single parents encounter, has been critical. Often times, single parents are coming from a one income household. Babysitting challenges are huge, but not impossible. Perhaps a co-op between families can be established to embrace this. It is totally win-win! Simple thoughts such as carpooling to events, sharing rooms, even splitting meals can be a huge factor. After all…single parents do this in their “community” on a daily basis. It is not the fact that they aren’t as aggressive as yourself, just that “life” happens & they are responsible for making all the decisions. While you have a spouse to vent the happenings of your day with, all they have is the family dog! You can determine the monthly activities and exchange priorities with between each other, they are just one person juggling school, church, family, job, etc. On a very personal note….please learn the names of their kids and perhaps invite them to dinner with your family on occasion. More than I would like to recall, I have prayed for someone to offer this to my son and I. More than I would like to recall, it never happened. Was this wanted out of pity? Nope, not at all, rather just looking to be accepted.
Again, while these things may sound petty to you, you may not recognize that the diamond in the rough you have in your team just needs some time to shine. The results are worth the investment!
First of all, I congratulate you for getting new information. You are obviously curious about how to get control of either your time, finances or both and this is the right place to start.
Listen objectively to what the person sharing with you has to say. They were probably in a similar situation as yourself and found the right vehicle. They know how you feel as in wanting to change your current situation, but facing the unknown. They felt the same way, with the same doubt & skepticism. What they have found is the rules have changed & there is nothing better! No way are they turning back! Again, please listen to their advice. Define your lifestyle, learn from those that have what you want and are living that lifestyle, and do what they did to accomplish their freedom. This is completely opposite to what you have been taught, but…..obviously that hasn’t worked, thus the reason you’re looking for a better solution. Kudos!
The single greatest piece of advise I can offer is to submit to a mentor. Allow them to offer suggestions from their experience along the way, will help you succeed. Experience is the best teacher…..someone else’s experience that is! They have done the heavy lifting for you. They have made the mistakes, counseled with their mentor, and learned how to not repeat those same mistakes. This is valuable in that it will literally save you years in accomplishing your goals.
There are some other areas I would like you to consider. As a single parent, you have lived in a “survival” mode. You are not alone as I too was in what I believe to have been survivor mode for years. I was proud of it! It got me through some really tough times. I would suggest using that same tenacity and switch to “thriving.” I realize this will challenge your thinking, which is imperative, but trust me….once adapted, you will never see yourself as just surviving ever again. Not only that, but you will discern it in others and feel compelled to teach them the difference. You will have the experience they will learn from!
More than likely you have not thought past tomorrow for many years, much less focused on dreams & goals. Your thoughts and energy is focused entirely on kids, school lunches, uniforms, vehicles, transportation, sports, health, academics,weekend visits, holidays, etc. While you are considering something new, please sit down and write out some goals you would like to accomplish. Take it a step even further and journal some dreams that may have been dormant for years. Discuss these with your mentor and determine what you need to do to make them happen. Then….Just Do It! You may start small, but once accomplished….it’s addictive. Please include your children in this activity. Remember…..they are facing some of the same challenges you face. They see parents come together to school plays, they hear their friends discuss weekends spent camping as a family. They witness the pain of being torn between the two people they love the most and having to separate everything. They deserve to be included. While you are including them, discuss what areas they are willing to sacrifice to accomplish those goals. Many times, we as parents, act out of guilt and over compensate for our children. This not only paints a very skewed picture of what we are truly facing, adds stress to all involved on a daily level, but never prepares them for life. Here are some examples:
- Sports–giving up a couple of seasons so that you can focus on building a biz. The results are worth the investment when you will be the parent attending every sport event b/c you no longer have a J.O.B.
- Clothing–participate in seasonal clothes swaps instead of having to have everything new. Find a great thrift store, re-label it as vintage, and enjoy the savings. It is so worth planning a trip to New York, Los Angeles, or some other fun fashion place as a reward just because you can!
- Entertainment–Look around at your home. Is there digital cable in every room or satellite? Do you find yourself talking to the back of a computer screen, DS, or other piece of technology, instead of looking into your childs eyes? How many books have your kids read this week? How many family games have you played together? My solution is simple. Cut it out! All of it. It will be painful to them at first, but when they realize they can explore far away lands, meet heroes from history, walk in places none of their friends have walked b/c they are now reading the classics instead of being numbed by media, they will thank you. Have “date” nights with each of your kids and offer to do their area of interest. What will this do? You would not believe the change you will encounter and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
- Food–Yes I am going to address this issue! This will be in two categories. ( 1) Eating out—My son’s girlfriend has been in India on a missions trip. He is 21 and has been almost completely self-sufficient for several years now. I purchase the groceries for the house, but if he wants to eat out, usually he pays for it. Well….I have offered to pick food up for him twice & take him out to eat once this past week as an attempt to spend some time with him during her absence. Now I see why I have that rule! Eating out is not only completely unhealthy, but it is extremely costly! I am used to being able to eat healthy for $2-$4 off any fast food menu to finding myself wanting to splurge. I know I said healthy & fast food in the same sentence, which is almost an oxy-moron! Stop the madness!! Do this……keep a notebook in your vehicle and write down each time you eat out and how much it costs. Keep this notebook for one month, sit down, add it up and try not to scream! The gas station cokes, snacks, etc. as well should be added. Take control and just say “No”. Try this is a tiny adjustment, stop buying cokes, colas, sodas, pop or whatever terms of endearment you attach to them when you eat out and just see how that adds up. Water does a body good and the wallet too! (2) Groceries–There are fantastic ways to save money in this area. First…make a list of what you normally purchase. Take an inventory of what you already have in your pantry/fridge. Take said list grocery shopping with you. Don’t buy impulsively! Search for a local Angel Food Ministry program in your area and participate. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but I know this is a huge “hog” area in the family budget. What results will return from this investment? How about a personal chef that will do the cooking for you?
In your adjustment of thriving instead of merely surviving, I want you to realize you have a lot to offer. These changes do not represent poverty mentality, rather a ways to enjoy abundanat wealth by making slight edge adjustments. Let’s face it, you have lived as a one income household, and possibly have skills in this area worth sharing. What is happening in our economy right now? People that used to have 6-7 figure incomes are now unemployed. Families are devastated and some don’t even know where to start. You have the cookie! How many people do you think you can not only share some of your tremendous ideas with, but offer them a biz opportunity of a lifetime? The coin is flipped! I believe this is your moment to shine. You have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Take that position and run with it. How many objections can you handle just because you have made the sacrifices necessary to live on one income? You are invaluable! Do you see why making the slight edge adjustments listed above can be the ripple effect for millions? Short term sacrifices for long-term gain is indescribable, not only for you, but for generations to come.
In summary….you my friends, should seize the single greatest season of your life! Glean from a mentor, make the necessary adjustments, set the goal for your family and run toward it. If your kids are grown like mine, what a season this is! Who do you answer to? NO ONE!! When do you have to be home? ANY TIME YOU WANT!! This is not a bad thing! Take advantage of the season you are in to build your business. What a treasure you will be to a future mate! Who will need the pre-nups then? YOU!! Do you see how your entire view of yourself just changed? COMPLETELY!! It is awesome, trust me! You will move from being “needy” to supplying the needs of many. Your expectations for a mate just changed and values escalated! Savor the moment and let your imagination run WILD!!
You are fabulous! Biz partners will look to you in admiration & respect, (some with envy!!) and this will be your greatest asset.
Enjoy the season!