Quitting your 9-5 job isn't an easy decision.
These are some of the questions many moms face when they want to start their entrepreneurship journey or side hustle.
On this episode of ExpertsConnect, Serial Mom Entrepreneur, at The Sleepy Cub, RecruitGyan, Creative Arc, and Triad Partners. Mrs Neha Naik shares her passion for entrepreneurship and reveals what she loves about being a mom boss. Later, Neha discusses her perspective on work-family balance and explains the challenges one can face on the female entrepreneurship journey. Finally, Neha reveals her viewpoints on the key elements that make a business successful.
How did you decide to become an entrepreneur? [1:13] | Neha states the following. My entrepreneurship journey started because I was stuck in a job where it was politically like a toxic environment, unfortunately. And I knew I was good at what I do. I was working with a recruiting agency. And the culture was just not what I wanted, right. And without saying anything bad about anybody, it's just I was very unhappy. I was dreading Sunday nights, because I was like, Oh, my gosh, I have to go to work tomorrow. It was also like an hour and 10-minute commute each way. That didn't help. My husband and I were going to start, you know, having a family. And so we were starting to plan. And I was like, I don't want to be miserable when I'm pregnant. I don't want to be like, in hell, you know, so I just decided to one day walk in and give my two-week notice. And I came home and I told my husband, I'm like, I'm not doing this anymore. And he was like, I'm glad you did that. Like, I'm glad you decided that. And I just started an LLC that night. So my first company is a recruiting agency. And what I specialise in is helping startups scale. So I get a lot of companies from California, New York, Austin, even, and they're like, oh, we're looking for, you know, like to scale our startup and, you know, increase people in our company. So that's kind of where I started.
What's your motivation to start all four companies? [2:37] | Neha mentions the following. Yes, so the recruiting company was because I was really passionate about helping companies grow. And I didn't want to work with big companies, because there's a lot of red tape and bureaucracy and startups are where we're heading right now. Right. So I really wanted to focus on that. The second company I started was the sleep consulting company, which is a paediatric sleep consultancy. And what I do is help parents around the globe to instil healthy sleep hygiene in their kids. Because, obviously, as a mom and a working mom, I know how important it is to get a good night's rest. And so my goal is to shatter that taboo of Oh when you're a mom everything comes second and your child comes first. Where a lot of the cultures, unfortunately, believe that once you have the baby who cares about the mom, it's all about the baby, where I always say self-care for moms is really important. Regardless of if you're working or not, just because you're a stay at home mom doesn't mean that you don't need sleep at night. So I really want to shatter those norms that may exist in some cultures, and just say no, we need to instil healthy sleep hygiene in kids. And it's not just about the moms, it also helps kids with boundaries, setting boundaries for them. My four-year-old and my 15-month-old, go to bed at seven 7:30. And they don't wake up till the next morning. And they've done that since they were five months old. So I've never had an issue, I am able to connect with my husband, we watch movies, on the weekends, we can have date nights. So it's nice to have that Me Time, and you know, you're not just a mom, but you're also a woman, wife, friend, and daughter. And sometimes we get really sucked into being a mom, where we just forget these other roles. And then you start seeing these other relationships falling apart, which I don't want that to happen, right. So I started that. And then I started triad partners, which is a data analytics company. And what we do is we help companies kind of envision their data dashboards, right. So streamlining processes, streamlining the revenues. We want to see like where are you wasting money? Where can you save money and put together that data for them? Right, so as a data analytics company, we just do a lot of stuff with data dashboards, Power BI, Power Apps, and all that stuff. And then the fourth company or started his creative arc, which is a marketing agency. And I work specifically with physicians and private practices. And I help them with their operations and also their marketing needs. So one thing I know about doctors is as hard of a profession it is and as respectful of our profession it is very time-consuming with all the paperwork. And I feel like a lot of doctors need help with like marketing, you know, and so that's where I come in kind of solving that problem. And then this isn't a company. But I have a course for moms who want to start their entrepreneurship journey. And, you know, moms, we don't need encouragement, we don't need the hoopla, we just need an actual step by step process on how to do it. So my goal is to if you are unhappy, like I was at my nine to five, that hopefully, by doing this course, you can leave your nine to five and sign on a client in 12 weeks or less.
What do you love about being a mom boss? [6:06] | Yes, I love that I divide my own hours. I love that I have an amazing team of other moms that have hired for the companies that basically help me stay on top of things. So I obviously couldn't do this all by myself, like you definitely need a good team of people when you are in such diverse areas and diverse niches right. And I also love that when my kid is sick, I can just say my son is sick, I'm not going to be online for two days and take care of my son or daughter. Or if there's a Thanksgiving play, I don't have to ask anybody's permission, I just say, hey, my son's performing at a Thanksgiving play. I'm gone from 11 to 1, like, I'll talk to you guys later. So I'm really happy that I get to set my work hours. And I'm really also happy that my kids see me as somebody who's defining a kind of the future for them. So I definitely want my son and my daughter to know that anything is possible. And you can be a mom and you can do these other things. Because I don't ever want them to grow up thinking any less of women, and just to respect women in general. So I'm a big believer in that. And so the fact that I can be that role model for them, it's really important to me.
How you're able to manage your life around your family? [7:28] | Yes, I have a very fun day. Probably not the right word. So I'm a big believer in time management and priorities, right. And really kind of figuring out what's a top priority and what's low priority. And what's going to have the biggest impact on my business, right? So I always My day starts at 4:30 am. In the morning, I go to the gym from Monday to Friday, from five to six in the morning. Because again, self-care is important. Being healthy is important if you have all the money in the world, but you're stuck to the hospital bed, and none of it matters, right. So I do the gym, I come home, I get my kids' breakfast ready, they usually wake up at 6:30-6:45 am. I get them ready for you know, daycare, and then they usually leave the house by 815-830. And then I really focus on like, okay, what are the top three things I need to do for each company that are going to have the biggest impact for each of those companies. Whether it's getting out a client proposal, whether it's getting out an invoice, whether it's planning for what you know, q2 looks like. And that's where I'm doing this week is like q2 was right around the corner here. So just really planning with my team on what q2 initiatives look like, Where can we change things, right? I'm a big believer in always changing things up as things move. So because the minute you're static as an entrepreneur, you're not going to be successful. So just always doing market research, always figuring out like, what is what else can I do to add value to my customer, right? And that's really important to me. So I really focus on those three things. And then it's some of the stuff like oh, I need to get this email out, or I need to send this you know, leave a voicemail, or Oh, there's a birthday party this weekend, I need to order a gift for the birthday party that I'm going to. And then I usually take a 30 to 45-minute lunch break, where I spend time with my daughter, she's home, we have a nanny for her. And then again, from 12 to 4, again, going back to like whatever is left, talking to my team, getting things ready for the next day. I'm also a big believer in project management tools like Asana, and that keeps me on top of everything because then I know like if I give myself a deadline, I'm more likely to hold myself accountable for it and get it done. So I'm a really big believer in that. But I think ultimately, right, what it really boils down to is time management. So I hear a lot of people say well, how do you have time? How do you have time for this? Right? Well, it's about making time for what's important in your life. So to me, that's obviously my family and my business. So then four o'clock, my son comes home, and then from 4:00 to 7:30, my husband and I, no laptops, no phones, it's all about the kids until they go to bed. And then we usually eat dinner. And then we like to watch a movie, or we talk. And then sometimes, like, for 30 or 45 minutes at night, if I'm like, Oh, I was supposed to send this email out, I'll just drop it and get it ready for next day. So I start, you know, and then I go to sleep pretty early, because I wake up early, so I need to sleep.
Do you believe that work life balance exists? Is it a myth is a reality? What's your position on this? [10:50] | Neha shares her position here. So it exists if you want it to exist. If you make it a priority to have a work-life balance, then you can make it happen, right. So like, we have some rules, as a couple, as parents that we don't break, like weekends are all about the kids. And if we have to work on weekends, then we at least make sure like for example, we do it when they go to sleep or during their nap time or when they're at a playdate or something like that, right. So we, again, when they're with us on weekends, it's our time with them. So it's all about quality time. So you really have to define what a happy work-life balance looks, looks like to you. And everybody's in different situations, right. So I know people who have to work a lot to make ends meet. Unfortunately, I know people who don't have to work a lot, but they still do, because that's just their personality, right? If you're happy with your defined work-life balance that that's great, right? There's no right or wrong it nor there's a manual that says you have to spend X number of hours, you know, with your kids, right? But it's really to me about the quality of time that you spend with them over the quantity, right? So as long as you say, from four to seven every day, I'm not going to touch my laptop or touch my phone, and it's all going to be about the kids. I think to me, to me and my family that works, right? where somebody else could say, well, I only need an hour with my kids. And that's okay. It again really depends. I will say though, in the society, we take pride in, oh, I worked so late, and I woke up so early to work and, and I think some of those things do need to be broken. And I think it is important to say no, there's self-care, there's exercise, there is family. And so no matter how much time you allocate to those each day, you have to allocate some time to them.
How are you helping them to gain this confidence to start their own business? [16:21] | Neha states the following. So I, you know, if somebody would have told me seven, eight years ago, I would be here, I would have laughed at you, I would have been like, absolutely not going to be an entrepreneur. So I think everybody starts off with low confidence. Everybody starts off with self-doubt. It's, it's, it protects us, right? Because it prevents us from jumping off a cliff, right. And that's kind of innate to our human psyche. But at the same time, what I did is take it one day at a time. To define what you want to do, who your client is. And the way I help women specifically, is I have a Facebook group, a community, it's called successful CEO, moms where I provide actual guidance, actual tips, like, I'll tell you, oh, my gosh, I had the worst plan call 30 minutes ago, and here's what happened. And my goal is to like, teach you my failures and mistakes. So when you watch it, you're inspired to say, Oh, she has four businesses. But look, she had a really crappy client call, or she had a horrible day, you know because as much as I'm a CEO of four companies, I'm a human. And I'm a mother first. And that what that is really what defines me, right? All these other things is something that I had to work hard on, those weren't given to me at birth. So if you really focus on how you connect with your ideal client, and how you connect with, you know, other women entrepreneurs and build community, that is what's going to be really, really important here, and not so much the other frivolous parts. So that's the first way is that community. And the second way is the course that I just launched, right? So it has four modules. And it's called, from day job to successful CEO dream life. And so basically, we're just, you know, helping women build their dream businesses from their kitchen table because it's possible. And I've seen it happen, not only to myself but other women. So that's kind of where I come in.
What are some of the other lessons you've learned on your mom boss journey? [21:17] | Neha states the following. Don't fear failure, failure will actually make you really strong as an entrepreneur. So really welcome it. I used to be really scared of failure. And it would kind of make me self-doubt, right. And I realised like, no, it's totally okay to fail, right, you're gonna make mistakes, you're gonna fail. Don't be afraid of it, just take it as a learning experience. And then number two just start, like whether you have an idea that's really raw. And I think a lot of women or moms, you know, have an idea they want to do so much. But for some reason, there's a disconnect between having an idea and doing something about it. And so I always tell people, like, just start, start something simply, take a piece of paper, write down what your logo should look like, write down what the name of your company looks like, write down what your ideal client looks like, just start you know, once you start having those thoughts, and they start, you know, getting it in your brain when you're sleeping at night, or when you're driving to pick up your kids. That's really what's going to give you momentum, right. And it doesn't have to be a really long time, it can just be like, maybe 10 or 15 minutes each day, or something like that. But really, those 10 or 15 minutes each day over the course of a month or two add up, right? And so now you have like an actual idea that you can execute on. So I always say just start and don't think like, Oh, well, I'll do it later. Or I'll do it when my kids are this years old. And we always get into that trap. Because we're like, oh, we'll do it when they're older. We'll do it. And it's like, no, like, you can always start very small scale, you don't even have to like have 100 clients, but just start getting out there, start having those networking calls, start putting your ideas on paper, and then you know, just start executing them.
How can women overcome their limiting beliefs? [23:05] | Neha states the following. So I'm a really big believer in every time you have a limiting belief, like defining why you have that belief, right. So every time we have a thought, there's a reason for that thought, whether it's you wanting ice cream, and you're craving sugar, or whatever it is, there's always a reason behind your thoughts. So every time you have a limiting belief, think about why you're having it. So if you're having self-doubt, is it because you failed in the past and like the idea of failure scares you? And then once you define the reason behind it, also define what it will take to overcome it. Like, do you need to talk to a business coach? Who you need to be with, you know, networking with people who are in the same niche as you and just learn from them maybe or get a certification or anything like that, right. Sharpen up your skills, once you define the reason behind those limiting beliefs. That's really when you start to see the big three, right? So limiting beliefs is one thing, but if you don't know why you're having them and do like a little self-discovery and self-research or you're never going to get over them. Because we just usually just say, oh, like I can't. But it's like, well, why not? You know? And so I always drill that with, you know, women entrepreneurs. I talked to them and I am like, why can't you like, why is it like, well, I don't have the resources. Okay, what resources do you need? Let's write them down, right. Well, these three things are not expensive. This is something you can do for free. And they're like, Oh, yeah, I didn't think about it that way. And then it's like, oh, we've just changed the train track path now, right to go from something very linear to like, I can do it and I will do it and whatever beliefs I was having, I was likely overthinking them. So a lot of it's defining what your limiting belief is, and then just figuring out how to address it.
What are the key elements for a business to become successful? [24:49] | Neha shares the following. I would say market research is number one. Always figure out what your competitors are doing. I used to shy away from competition because, to me, it was like, Oh my gosh, their website's fantastic. And their Facebook's fantastic and mine sucks. But I learned so much from my competition, I'm even friends with some of my competitors because we always bounce ideas off of each other. And I take it in a very kind of a learning manner and not so much like, oh, we're competitors, right. Yes, we're competitors. But we can learn from each other. And it's good to have competition, it basically means that there's a need for the service or product that you're offering, right. Start with that element like dot linking, right? So market research, competitor research, getting to know your competitors in the field. The other thing I would say is like being able to define your goals on a short term basis. So like, I always define my goals on a monthly basis. I'm moving more towards the quarterly basis now because you know, as things stabilise, you can start forecasting, but really figure out like, Okay, what expenses look like? What is the cash flow look like? And also like, what clients, how many clients? Do you want to close? Like, what is your vision, start visualising having successful conversations with clients. I'm a big believer in visualisation, because then if you kind of suppress your negative thoughts when you visualise things, right, so start envisioning things like that. And then once you start having those goals, and you write them down, then you're like, Oh, I want to sign up 10 clients next month, what can I do to make it happen? Right? defining again, I mean, writing down a goal is great, but you have to define it because you can't just like write it on a sheet of paper. It's not like 10 clients, I'm going to magically knock on my doorstep tomorrow, like, what can I do to make it happen? What is another problem that I'm not solving? Or what is something else that I can provide? Right, that's a value to them. So really defining that right. And I think that's really important. And the third thing is to always delegate. So if you ever want to grow your business, and you're at a point where you're overwhelmed, as I talked about, get a virtual assistant, get an online business manager, get somebody who understands you who can work with you and streamline things for you.
How do you define the unique value of your business? [26:50] | Neha states the following. Yes, of not just the unique value, but the purpose and their why. So Simon Sinek, obviously, we all know about him. He's done multiple TED Talks, he has a book on defining your why. And I'm really a big believer in if you don't know your why, which is your service, and you know, your how, which is how you're going to deliver it. But if you don't know your why, you're never going to be able to connect with your ideal client. So every time I have a call with the client, whichever field whichever company, I always ask them what their problem is, or issue is that I can help with. And then I always say, Well, here's how I can help you. And here's why I can help you, right. Because I've been there I've seen the struggles of parents or recruiting and companies like whatever is right, change the scenario up. But the thing is, unless you know your why, and you define it, you're not going to be able to solve people's problems. So it's extremely important to know that. And then of course, when you have your why then you kind of figure out your mission, your vision, and then your values, right. And what are the values you stand by, then again, it's good to write them down, but you have to live them. Like if you believe in integrity, please live them. If you believe in punctuality, please don't show up. 10 minutes late, and we scheduled like meetings, like walk the walk and talk the talk because otherwise your values mean nothing.
Notable Quotes from Neha Naik - Serial Entrepreneur
"[…] So it's nice to have that Me Time, and you know, you're not just a mom, but you're also a woman, wife, friend, and daughter. And sometimes we get really sucked into being a mom, where we just forget these other roles. And then you start seeing these other relationships falling apart, which I don't want that to happen." [4:12]
“[…] I definitely want my son and my daughter to know that anything is possible. And you can be a mom and you can do these other things. Because I don't ever want them to grow up thinking any less of women, and just to respect women in general.” [7:01]
“Don't fear failure, failure will actually make you really strong as an entrepreneur.” [21:24]
“[…] every time you have a limiting belief, think about why you're having it. So if you're having self-doubt, is it because you failed in the past and like the idea of failure scares you? And then once you define the reason behind it, also define what it will take to overcome it.” [23:29]
“[…] unless you know your why, and you define it, you're not going to be able to solve people's problems. So it's extremely important to know that. And then of course, when you have your why then you kind of figure out your mission, your vision, and then your values, right. And what are the values you stand by, then again, it's good to write them down, but you have to live them. Like if you believe in integrity, please live them. If you believe in punctuality, please don't show up. 10 minutes late, and we scheduled like meetings, like walk the walk and talk the talk because otherwise, your values mean nothing." [27:39]
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