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Optimize Your Time and You Can Have It All

Can women have it all? I say yes. The question is, what all do you want?

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Are you one of the millions of women out there who are trying to do it all…pursuing a career, working long hours, raising children, taking care of friends and family, volunteering, and more?

According to a 2022 study done by Guidant, it appears that 22.4% of small business owners in the United States women. According to the survey, the motivation behind starting their own businesses varied - all in a pursuit to “have it all - with the top three reasons being:

  • Ready to be their own boss (58%)

  • Dissatisfaction with Corporate America (37%)

  • Wanting to pursue their own passion (30%)

women business owners

*Note: Women participating in the survey communicated more than one reason regarding their drive to start their own business.

It seems that what women really want today is time and flexibility… more than money.

But this begs the question: can women really it all? Can we have the career we desire with financial freedom and the family we cherish while taking care of our own well-being, health and sanity?

The short answer is yes; and in this blog, you’ll learn how.

All professions are not created equal

First, let’s get clear on how the different professions have different demands on women. Here are the top categories. Where do you fit in?

  1. The corporate woman with children

    I think mothers who want to advance in the corporate or business world struggle the most with the concept of “having it all.” It’s a tough gig. You are expected to put in long hours, attend corporate dinners, show up for early-morning conference calls, and more. If your boss needs you at 2:00 pm on a Saturday, it’s hard to say “No,” knowing that a promotion or raise (or even keeping your job) may depend on it.

    Yet, you don’t want to be a stranger to your children or be replaced by a nanny that they end up loving more than you. You want to spend time with your children, put them to bed at night and be there for all of those precious, once-in-a-lifetime-moments that come with being a mother. You want to be the successful businesswoman, the great mom and wife.

  2. The full-time employee with children

    This is the woman who works five or six days a week and is not striving for the corner office, becoming a partner in her firm or seeking an executive title. She’s doing work she enjoys (hopefully) and is content to bring home the paycheck and have a life outside of her job.

    She is not in control of her schedule while she is at her job. Her kids may go to school, daycare, or if she has the funds, be at home with a nanny. The conflict appears at those times when she wants to be with her kids but cannot because of her job. This is where the guilt kicks in. She is often the first one to leave the office at 5:00 pm to get home to her kids.

  3. The corporate woman or full-time employee with no children

    Not having control over your day-to-day schedule will always cause angst. Even if you don’t have children and work full-time, you still have obligations with friends and family and personal wants that often have to be put aside in the name of the job.

    Not having kids myself, I have to believe there is less conflict and guilt that go along with family and other life obligations (though you may feel some when you can’t spend enough time with your pet or spouse!), versus those of longing to spend more time with your kids.

  4. The career of mom

    If you know that you are meant to be a full-time mom and that is your profession, then the battle between work and family seems to almost disappear. The struggle to have it all may appear if you truly yearn to build a career along with being a mom and have put it on the back burner. Or, the struggle can show up later when your kids are grown and you now need to find a new purpose or profession in life. Up until that point, your kids were your purpose.

  5. The woman entrepreneur with children

    I believe you have more flexibility over your time than the woman employee, which is the key component. Although having your own business is no walk in the park — you will often put in more hours per week than the woman working for someone else. Yet, an entrepreneur makes her own rules and creates her own schedule, which allows her to optimize her time - a huge plus when wanting to have it all.

    An added bonus is that you can involve your kids in your business and give them an education they’ll never get in school. I know of several female business owners doing just that. One couple is teaching their two young boys to be entrepreneurs. The boys, ages 10 and 14, are now on their third business together in three years.

    Another mother includes her daughter in her retail business whenever possible. The girl loves greeting customers, ringing up sales and being with her mom at the same time.

    I like what this mother of one and a senior executive at a large beauty company said:

    “I was thinking that while traditional careers (government, finance, corporate jobs) are pretty inflexible, I’m always inspired by the mom-trepreneurs who basically blaze their own trails to make it work. Rather than waiting for the world to be accepting of what you want out of work/life balance, it’s awesome to see women take control into their own hands, found their own businesses, pursue their passions, and all while being great moms. It takes a lot of guts, creativity and often the luxury of not being the primary earner, to be able to create those businesses. But, in the end, those businesses can employ lots of other moms trying to balance.”

  6. The entrepreneur without children

    That would be me. Robert and I have no children by choice. That would be my friend Mona with a thriving PR and publishing company. That would be my friend Kathy with a lucrative marketing business.

If you don’t have kids in the equation, does this relieve some of the “having it all” pressure? No doubt about it (although, Robert can be a pretty big kid at times).

The journey to having it all

There was an article in The Atlantic written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, entitled,“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” She summed it by saying, “the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed.” Slaughter went on to say, “The minute I found myself in a job that is typical for the vast majority of working women (and men), working long hours on someone else’s schedule, I could no longer be both the parent and the professional I wanted to be… Having it all, at least for me, depended almost entirely on what type of job I had.”

Mary Matalin, who spent two years as an assistant to George W. Bush and the counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney before stepping down to spend more time with her daughters, stated in the same article, “Having control over your schedule is the only way that women who want to have a career and a family can make it work.”

Optimizing your time

Are you given the freedom to optimize your time, or is your schedule dictated by someone else?

In other words, are you in charge of your time, how it’s optimized and utilized… or not?

Who determines when you show up at work?

Who dictates when you can go home to your kids?

When weekend plans with the family have to be altered because of business… is that because YOU said so, or someone else did?

The real question is: Do you really need to sacrifice money for time?

It is possible to have flexibility AND wealth; the problem is that women tend to:

  1. Rely on others to handle their finances (based on what they were taught in school, learned from friends and family members or heard on television);

  2. Are afraid to make changes in their lives; or

  3. Simply just don't know what they need to do when it comes to building wealth.

Do any of these sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Embrace technology

One thing that is changing the traditional pattern of the working woman is technology and the ability, in many jobs, to work from anywhere — and that’s never been more true than right now, when so many jobs shifted to remote positions during the pandemic.

There is a popular magazine (I won’t reveal the name) that employed many female journalists. A number of these women worked from home and the majority had children. Working from home gave these women the flexibility to research and write at whatever hours they chose, which allowed them to be with their kids when needed.

They had control over their schedule, and were able to optimize their time as they saw best for their business. Then, the founder retired and appointed his son as president. The first change the son made was to demand that all employees work from the corporate office and not from home. Why? Who knows. Maybe he was a micromanager that wanted to prove himself to Daddy (just my opinion).

Here is one thing we know - when it comes to problem solving, us women will always create a solution that works best for us. So what happened? Almost every one of these female journalists chose the freedom to optimize their time over their paycheck, and they quit. These women felt that, in many cases, they did have it all and they were not willing to give that up for money.

Financial Education = Cash Flow

Another answer to true financial freedom is investing for cash flow. If your uninterested in starting your own business, get financially educated. By learning about investments that put money in your pocket (assets), rather than take it away from you (liabilities), you can have both money and flexibility with your time.

For example, once you learn how to invest in real estate, you can purchase rental properties. Then, each month, you have rental checks coming in – whether you get up and go to a job or not. The same goes for investing in commodities or paper assets. Once you learn what you need to do, you can work on these cash-flow investments when it's convenient for you.

Do you want it all?

So, can women have it all? I think so. The bigger question is… do you want it all?

Not every woman is meant to be an entrepreneur or business owner. It’s not in their natural DNA. So to say, “Quit your job and start your own business so you can be in control of your time and have it all,” would be naïve, and a bit idealistic.

There are women who thrive in the corporate environment. That is their arena and where they excel. Full-time moms play a key role in our world. You know if that’s the environment that suits you best.

The real question isn’t “Do you want to have it all?”, but instead, “What is it you want?” Ask yourself:

  • In what environment do you flourish?

  • Where do you find your passion?

  • What gives you meaning in life?

Once you discover this, then the rest falls into place.

At age 26, when I was working and struggling to pay the rent and car loan, I knew I wanted my own business (the fact that I’d been fired twice was an added incentive). I got a five-year taste of the corporate-employee-world working in advertising agencies and magazines in Honolulu. I knew early on that the corporate environment was not for me.

My goal was to have my own business by age 30, and I started my first business at 27. I also knew at age 27 that if I had a life partner, he would also be my business partner. And I knew that I wanted my work to have meaning for me. That was the “all” that I wanted. That was (and is) the right answer for me.

What’s the right answer for you?

Have whatever you want

Can women have it all? I believe women can have whatever they want — without the guilt. What makes your heart sing? Pursue that. If you have children and they see their mom passionate about her work and doing what she loves, then what an exceptional role model she is to those kids. And if she doesn’t have kids, what an incredible example she sets to those close to her and to other women around her.

I believe in seeking out or creating the environment that best fits you and will allow you to thrive. This sounds easy, and I know some women don’t feel they have that choice right now. They’re too busy taking care of their family’s basic needs. Understood.

But it’s certainly not too late for any one of us to start creating the life we want if we don’t have it right now. And it’s not too late to take one action, no matter how small or big, every day, starting today, to move you toward that desired life.

Maybe that means finding a side hustle job before you quit your day job to pursue it full time. Perhaps it means doing something you’ve always said you’ll do “someday” — such as getting started in real estate. Or maybe it means starting a bit more simply, by learning about which of the five asset classes is right for you or reading my book, “It’s Rising Time.”

Can women have it all? I say yes. The question is, what do you want?

To get help pursuing your dreams of financial freedom, please check out our free, financial education community here.

Original publish date: January 10, 2013

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