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4 Things Learned as a Stay-at-Home Mom That Are Invaluable to Running a Business

Using any or all of these skills will help any pet business owner.

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This article originally appeared online on Nov. 7, 2018.

THERE ARE four major skills I learned as a stay-at-home mom that have been invaluable to me as the owner of a pet business.

1. Expect the unexpected.

Having four children taught me that every day is different. Some days went smoothly, and I was able to adhere to whatever plan I had set for the day. Other days — actually most days — nothing went according to what I had planned. Toddlers would decide to use permanent markers to “decorate” themselves, and a sibling. A preschooler would have a setback in their potty training. A 6-year-old would suddenly decide that he absolutely hated peanut butter. Which leads to my second invaluable skill:

2. Learn to be calm in the midst of chaos.

When it seemed like everything around me was in total disarray, I learned to take a breath or step away and take a break. If I didn’t, I easily added to the craziness and just made everything worse. If I remained calm, at least on the exterior, then it helped everyone else in my family to calm down as well.

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3. Build individual relationships.

At some point, just about every parent with multiple children has been asked. “Which child do you love the most?” My truth is that I love all my children equally but in different ways. I learned to see what made each one of them unique and did my best to meet their individual needs, develop their distinct strengths as well as celebrate their special triumphs.

4. Forgive myself for those “bad mommy” moments.

I loved being a stay-at-home mom. I read books on parenting and had older moms as mentors. I was diligent in my duties, knowing that these young lives depended on me for their safety and well-being. Nevertheless, there were a few times that I completely dropped the ball. The incident that sticks out in my mind was the time I forgot to strap my 2-year-old into his stroller. The traffic light was about to change and I was trying to hurry across the street. As we stepped off the curb, I tilted the stroller and my son went sprawling out of his seat onto the asphalt. Aside from a scraped chin, he was fine, but it took me a while to forgive myself for the oversight that could have cost him his life.

Using any or all of these skills will help any pet business owner. Be aware that things won’t always go according to plans. A/C units will stop working during a heat wave, employees will quit during a very busy season, or a dog will decide your most expensive display is the one they want to mark. Staying calm helps you figure out how to solve a problem rather than perpetuate it.

Instead of seeing your customers as numbers, learn to relate to them as individuals. Find a way to connect with them. In the pet business, that can be an easy task: Just ask about their four-legged friend! People do business with people they like, and you become more likeable when you take genuine interest in their lives.

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Finally, learn to forgive yourself when you make a mistake. While some mistakes are easily correctable, some can have a very negative impact on you, your business or your community. Regardless of the magnitude of the error, forgive yourself and be willing to ask forgiveness of others when your mistake affects them. Figure out what you need to do to avoid repeating the mistake, then move on and continue to grow your business.

Wendy Megyese owns Muttigans, a pet boutique and coffee bar, in Emerald Isle, NC. Contact her at wmegyese@gmail.com

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