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Not taking the easy road.

This week, we had the opportunity to interview Heidi Bartolotta, the founder of Moms Making Six Figures. Heidi is a fantastic mentor and friend, but most importantly, she is a wonderful mother to her beautiful daughters! Heidi has been very successful as an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy road for her. Read on to learn more about her journey!

Why did you start Moms Making Six Figures?

If I’m being honest, my initial motivation was completely selfish; I just wanted to create a corporate level income without the pressure, time commitment and rigid structure of a corporate work environment.  What I found, however, was that my purpose evolved very quickly into a desire to help other women achieve the financial success that I was achieving. I have a deep passion to assist women in figuring out the unique challenges each one of us faces as we strive to create businesses that impact the futures of our respective families in powerful, long-lasting ways.  Every time I see photos of one our “Moms” with her child at a mid-morning school event or early afternoon sporting event, knowing that that photo wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t worked together building her business to “get her home,” I feel an amazing sense of pride and accomplishment!  To help women bridge a financial gap at home or help them be more present in the lives of their loved ones, that is for me, why I continue to push in and enjoy this business.

What was it like to make that leap from corporate life to be an entrepreneur?

It was definitely a struggle at first, and I had doubts as to whether I could really be successful.  Questions like “do I have what it takes,” “can I persevere,” “will people I know think I’m crazy,” “what if I fail;” they all popped into my head on almost a daily basis.  One bad interaction with someone could erase the confidence I had been feeling earlier in the day when several other people had seen the opportunity the way I saw (and still see) it.  Focusing on the positive and pushing out the negative was a skill that took a good bit of time to develop, and it was something that in the beginning had to be a very conscious, intentional, daily practice.  The importance of good time management and organization also increased dramatically in importance.  Just because I could now attend every school or extracurricular activity of my girls didn’t mean I should if I was going to build my business into what I needed it to be.  The difference was that when I worked instead of attending a soccer practice, it was my choice and I did it for the long-term well-being of my family; not because my time belonged to a company.

What are the three most important habits in your life that you can attribute to your success?

In no particular order:

Time management.  This is a discipline that has been critical in building my business.  When I look at it, my calendar “doesn’t lie;” meaning that if I haven’t done the work I know it takes to build my business, it’s right there in black and white (yes, I still like paper, though I’m transitioning to full digital!).  As I mentioned above, we women have so many things in our lives outside of our careers pulling at us from all directions for chunks of our precious time.  Being honest with myself and scheduling my work hours and following through on what I committed to do for my business (sometimes even in the face of missing something I would much rather do or see) is vitally important.  There is just a huge difference between knowing what I need to do and doing what I need to do, and time management is what holds me accountable to myself.

Long-term vision and Grit.  These two are so intertwined with each other that I will talk about them together.  Focusing on my long-term goals has helped me tremendously with regard to not getting knocked off course by short-term setbacks and outright failures.  My success in this business was not a slow, steady climb.  Even when I did everything I was supposed to be doing, following all the training I’d received, putting in the work, developing systems for my team and focusing on the positive, the journey was very akin to a roller-coaster.  In those moments when I would look around and think, “what am I doing wrong, why isn’t this working the way it’s supposed to,” it was my long-term vision that kept me in the game.  The ability to look beyond the obstacle right in front of me and see the financial life I want for me and my family in the distance, reminding myself that this is worth it, has proven invaluable.  And the practical side of the equation; the will to win, to not quit, to not let distractions and short-term desires get in the way of accomplishing my long-term goal, that’s what I mean when I say “grit.”  It’s perseverance, will, “stick-to-it-iveness,” and determination all rolled into one.  Combined with long-term vision, there is very little one can’t accomplish.  Now don’t think I always do what I should and don’t get discouraged from time-to-time, because I absolutely do; but these two traits have helped me consistently stay the course and do what I need to do, which has resulted in a great deal of success.

What has been the greatest reward for you since embarking on this journey?

The financial rewards are great, but they aren’t the greatest.  Building a team of women committed to themselves and each other, helping other women achieve their goals and knowing that the more I do that, the more I help my own business, what a blessing!  Knowing that if I make sure the focus of what I do each day is on helping others is the very thing I need to do to achieve my own success is incredible; no stepping on others to climb some corporate ladder, no glass ceiling, no total sacrifice of all I hold dear to achieve financial success and security.  What a paradigm shift this has been for me, and I am just so grateful that I took that first step to build this business.

 

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Putting the “We” in Team: The Value of Teamwork

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is in the team.” – Phil Jackson

You’ve heard it before, no (wo)man is an island. From the workplace to life in general, the truth is that if you have an “only I can fix it” attitude, you’re just making life more difficult for yourself.

When it comes to solving life’s problems, we as moms may sometimes (ok, most of the time) feel like we can solve everything, but we can solve our problems more quickly and with less stress when we accept others’ help. As hard as it may be to give up total control, you and everyone else around you will be better off if you work as a team.

So, if you have a partner (in business or in life), then you have someone on your team. While building a team may be easy, maintaining it is a whole other story. Here are some skills that are key to putting the “we” in team.

The 3 Cs: Skills for Successful Teamwork

1. Communication

Since you’ll be working together—at work, in business, or in your household—effective communication is the most important skill to master for successful teamwork. Listening to each other helps show support and lets everyone know what page you’re on (hopefully the same one!).

For example, if your husband has an important meeting the following morning, pay attention to his request for help and come up with a solution together. You may have to drop the kids off in the morning, but perhaps your partner can pick them up in the afternoon. If one team member doesn’t listen to the other, there will likely be serious miscommunication, which can lead to unintended mistakes (like leaving the kids stranded at school!).

How you communicate matters just as much. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, how we communicate is the most important factor in determining team success. So, be aware not just of the words you’re using, but also of your body language and the tone of your speech when you’re communicating.

2. Compromise

As long as more than one person is involved in problem-solving, there are bound to be a few conflicts along the way. Compromise in most situations isn’t a bad thing, it’s a necessity—it demonstrates that you’re putting the good of the team ahead of your own wants. So, how do you compromise?

Start by understanding what the other person is trying to say. Put yourself in their shoes and make an effort to understand their point of view. Oftentimes we are simply listening to answer—impatient to get our point across—rather than listening to understand.

For example, when hunting for a new office location, your business partner may want to stay closer to the highway because it’s more convenient for her drive from home; in contrast, you may want your office to be located in the heart of downtown because it’s closer to the business district and better for client meetings. Although there are obvious benefits to both locations, the compromise here could be to choose an office location somewhere that’s not too far of a drive from each of your homes but remains convenient for most of your clients.

3. Cooperation

Don’t you just hate it when you’re in a team at work and there’s that one person who doesn’t pull their weight? Don’t be that person—even with your spouse at home! Actively participate in decision-making and performing tasks, even if it’s just deciding who will take out the trash or run to pick-up the pizza for dinner (yes, we all occasionally revert to pizza night when life is hectic!). This makes you a more valuable team member and earns your partner’s respect.

Even when you’re super busy with work, don’t use it as an excuse to completely tune out at home. Letting your spouse do all the “heavy lifting” at home will only result in resentment, and we all know it’s pretty much downhill from there!

Cooperation may also mean taking turns. For example, you may decide to work full-time while your significant other pursues their education, and then switch when it’s your turn. This way, everyone feels respected.

The Value of Teamwork: Succeed Together

Teamwork is about problem-solving together for the benefit of the team. No one has to lose in order for each individual to win. So, rather than shutting out or excluding other people’s ideas or opinions, be open to other ways of doing things. Try to think positive: Being part of a team means more great ideas, which equal more solutions!

With these 3 skills, you and your team will be well on your way to success together—whatever that looks like for you.