Ask any working mom about her daily punch list, and you’ll likely hear about activities ranging from the boardroom to the soccer field that start well before sunrise and end long after sundown.
Juggling the responsibilities of a career and family can be an incredible challenge. And while these pursuits can also be especially rewarding for moms taking the plunge into “mompreneurial” pursuits, balancing it all can become even more challenging.
According to the National Women’s Business Council, the District of Columbia and Maryland have the largest percentage of women-owned businesses in the nation. In Howard County, there’s no shortage of successful, women-owned businesses, with the latest Census data indicating that women run just over 30% of business in the area.
Yet the National Women’s Business Council also reports that while women start companies at a greater rate than men, the percentage of women who close the doors also outpaces men. As such, many female business owners are working overtime to keep their businesses and families afloat.
To make every minute count, mompreneurs often have to make tough choices to meet the rigid demands on their time.
Plugged In, Wirelessly
Mobility certainly plays a crucial role in achieving a work-life balance that’s manageable and efficient, whether it’s in the office, at home or somewhere in between.
Once considered a novelty, wireless devices have become a necessity for both businesses and consumers.
It’s difficult, or more likely impossible, to imagine getting through the day without accessing a wireless device. From making a call to accessing e-mails, GPS data, video files, address books, photos, calendars and browsing the web, much of what we do is accomplished in a wireless environment.
The latest statistics from industry research firm Gartner found that smartphone sales grew at nearly 43% in the second quarter of 2012, and according to new research by the Consumer Electronics Association, approximately one in three (29%) online U.S. consumers owns a tablet as of June 2012, a remarkable increase of 9 percentage points over tablet ownership rates reported in March.
As smartphone and tablet adoption continues to grow at this rapid pace, it’s important to be aware of technological innovations that can help working moms of all kinds make the most of their time — and their wireless devices.
Here are a few helpful ways to balance your act(s).
• Prioritize – Use smartphone to-do lists, scheduling and meeting planning capabilities to plan and manage responsibilities. Use reminders to help integrate work tasks and family needs and appointments.
Apps like Evernote help create punch lists, take notes and record voice reminders, while making these notes completely searchable, regardless of location. Toodledo allows users to create folders for work, home and family tasks and groups tasks by priority or due date.
• Organize – Deep-six mountains of paperwork. Tech-savvy businesswomen can manage and store important documents with cloud storage apps or transition to having clients fill out forms electronically on a tablet to limit in-office paper clutter.
Based on your practice area, look to the cloud to increase functionality, preserve data online and access information from any connected location. With apps like DropBox, files are accessible from any device and are synced with your computer.
Cloud-based services such as SalesForce can be helpful to managing client relationships, while marketing automation systems like Spark can help generate leads. And with the advent and proliferation of 4G LTE, there is new opportunity for mobile-based cloud computing, allowing blazing fast data transfers, reduced latency and increased speed and bandwidth.
• Monetize – Land sales on the go, whether it’s accepting credit card payments just about anywhere or turning a school fair into an opportunity to expand your customer base. Leveraging payment apps, such as Square Card Reader or Intuit GoPayment, on a 4G LTE-enabled tablet makes for an especially effective and efficient transaction.
Take advantage of free resources available to locate applications that support your business needs — from apps that allow you to remotely monitor your store’s security to those that help manage your employee time cards.
• Socialize and Build Your Base – With Facebook, Twitter and other social apps, moms can stay in touch with friends and family while connecting with customers and prospective clients. Videoconferencing from a smartphone or tablet through Google Talk and Oovoo can help mompreneurs hold face-to-face meetings even when family obligations make travel impossible.
With mobile hotspots, you can use multiple business and personal Wi-Fi-enabled devices at home on a single data plan, which keeps costs manageable. Plus, the hotspot can be used while on the road to power off-site client meetings or out-of-town business trips.
• Reenergize – Whether jogging to a favorite playlist on your smartphone or catching up on your favorite show on the Netflix tablet app, we all need to take a moment to recharge our batteries and gear up for the next item on the punch list with clarity.
Speaking of re-energizing, there are many great ways to use technology to manage wellness. With the help of a few tools and gadgets, such as Yoga apps, personal trainer apps and fitness apps such as Myfitnesspal, working mothers can make significant improvements to their nutrition, fitness and overall health (and even drop those last five pounds).
Whether building a successful company or keeping a family happy, leveraging wireless technology, including tablets and smartphones, is invaluable for moms looking for ways to keep it all going smoothly.
Melanie Ortel, currently a Verizon Wireless PR executive, is a former mompreneur and president of Ortel Associates, a regional marketing, public relations and business development firm. She can be reached at 240-568-1429 or email@example.com.