Business and Babies: How to Thrive as a Parent and Entrepreneur

In this week's episode of Chill & Prosper, I'm talking about thriving in your business as a parent and as an entrepreneur. 

I’ve had three kids while I’ve been growing my business - so I know a bit about the struggle! 

If you don't have kids, still tune in! 

Because to be honest, having kids made me a really good CEO because I had to make some very smart decisions - that turned out to be profitable ones too.


I talk about ...

  • Real talk about business and babies
  • Getting help from your village
  • How to be more discerning with your time
  • Growth vs slowing down
  • Prepping for maternity leave


Hey, welcome to the podcast. A big shout out today to all the mamas who are listening, maybe with a baby in the backseat of your car sleeping, or maybe you are feeding at the moment and you're listening with one ear and keeping an ear out for your baby sleeping. So yeah, a big shout out because today, I'm actually going to be talking a little bit about business and babies and how can you thrive in both areas of your life. I actually haven't talked about this for a while and I think because I don't have a baby anymore. My youngest is a toddler now and pretty soon, all my kids will be at school. I'm the kind of person like, as I'm going through something, I'll talk about it and then I just totally forget this, even a thing for other people. Hopefully, we still have people listening who are either considering having kids or you're in it at the moment. Now, if you don't have kids, still listen. You might get something out of it.

Because to be honest, having kids made me a really good CEO, not because of having kids, it's just because I had to make some decisions about my business. So you can make those decisions without having kids, without having to go through that. You can just make the decision anyway. A question that I get asked all the time actually is like, "Will having a baby, will it change my ambition or will it change my ability to have a thriving business?" I know that that's not the case, but I had that actually exact fear. My ambition, I suppose my freedom, has always been incredibly important to me.

Mark and I got married when I was 29 and every special occasion, we'd have champagne and Mark would be like, "Oh, do you think you'd be ready to have kids soon?" And I just thought, "Hmm, no, because I haven't hit my business goals yet." I was really worried and stressed out about what having a baby would do to those business dreams. I thought I would be a different person. I thought I wouldn't have any ambition or creativity anymore. I didn't think that being a mom was compatible with what I wanted to do. So I wanted to have some really real honest talk about this, about making that decision was really great for me, as I said, as a CEO, but also some of the things I did to prepare my business that anyone can do. You don't have to be having kids for it. I knew that I didn't want to have a baby early in life. That was a really big thing for me.

My mom had me at 17. She was really young. She wasn't able to do a lot of things that she wants to do. She wasn't able to go to college or get a well-paid job because she was taking care of us. So even when I was in my early thirties, there was some part of me that's like, "I don't want to be a teen parent." I had my first baby at 33. When I told people I was pregnant, they were just like, "Oh yeah, that's pretty normal." For some reason, I thought they would be shocked. I'm like, "I'm still young." Anyway, I spent my whole first pregnancy in this exploration around how can I set up my business for success? How can I still make money even if on the other side of this, I'm not going to feel ambitious? I'm not going to be physically, mentally, energetically capable of running a business.

So there was a lot of mental stuff there around just challenging my assumptions around what that would be. I often talk about it on this podcast about curating your social media to see what you want to believe for yourself. Up until then, I wasn't following any mothers who had a thriving business because I didn't know of any. So if this is part of your journey, you start searching for people who you aspire to be like or who you think would have the goods and the tips around it. Because if I really sat down and thought about it, I was like, "But women become like super," I'm going to be honest, I was like, "become super frumpy. They're just not ambitious when they have kids and it's not their focus anymore. They lose all their creativity."

I had to work through all that stuff. But one of the ways I did that was to find examples of women who are rocking it and who could just talk to me about it. So go and seek out that that you want to see. That's the first thing, and really acknowledged some of those fears that you might have around, "I'll never be able to do X, Y, Z again." For you, it might be, "I'll never be able to travel again." For the short term, it will be a little bit harder, but you will. But it's really important to acknowledge some of those fears that come up around what you will or won't be able to do. I just didn't think I'd be a real entrepreneur anymore. I'll be like, "I'll be one of those moms that gets obsessed with mom stuff, and I'll be talking about diarrhoea with my friends at the mom park."

You know what? I do, but in between talking about money. I'll be like, "Hey, did you see this girl? She did this thing and her business is great. Oh, watch that. Yeah, my kid just pooed on the ground." You'll still be you and you'll make room for those things, but yeah, I didn't think like that. I just thought my whole personality was going to change. I also thought I wasn't going to be able to make money. That brought up a lot of stuff for me around being dependent on my partner and being dependent on Mark, because financial independence is one of my highest values. Here's the truth though. When I had my first baby, I doubled my business the first two years after her being born because I just got much better at being a business person. Then I had my next baby, I double that again. Then third baby, all sorts of other amazing gifts come in.

But I had to embrace some key concepts. This is for you if you're pregnant, if you're thinking about becoming pregnant, if you have kids. Here's a key concept that you might not agree or like to hear. You can't do everything yourself anymore. You can't do everything yourself anymore. You can do anything you want but you can't necessarily do everything yourself anymore. Lots of people kind of go crazy trying. They try to be super parent, supermom because they refuse to get any help and I was one of those people too. I did everything myself. For example, when I was pregnant, I'd said to my assistant, I was like, "Oh, when the baby comes, you're going to have to take over the newsletter." It got to like six months pregnant, eight months pregnant, she's like, "I'm ready to take over that newsletter," and I just wasn't willing to give it up, not because I even did that great a job at it.

I'm talking about the technical stuff of putting in the image, putting in the text, sending it to the right list and then just hitting send. It wasn't rocket science, but for some reason, I could not hand it over. She was like, "I've done this for lots of other clients. I'm ready to do it." But I was really stubborn and I held on to a few things like that way longer than I should have. It can create stress for yourself if you're growing a baby. What happens if your baby comes in? You're not well, the baby's not well. You have to plan for you, sounds morbid, not being around. Or plan for you not having any energy, or just not wanting to. How nice if you could just have, instead of a sabbatical, you have a sa-baby-cal. Really embrace that fourth trimester.

I actually didn't because I had little sacred projects I was working on, but I didn't have to do that newsletter. Oh my God, this is so embarrassing. I can't even remember that I did this, but apparently while I was in the hospital, I was doing paperwork. I did a speaking application in the hospital because I didn't know how to outsource that. Here's a funny story, actually. So I was like nine months pregnant and I was supposed to have an interview with someone that I was being an affiliate for. The call was scheduled for 6:30 in the morning. It was something I was really nervous about. It was a really big deal. It was a big personality in the entrepreneur world. At 11 o'clock at night, I was still nervous about it. I just thought, "I'll just go to bed and let's set my alarm for 6:00 and I'll be ready for the call.

I just laid down and my waters broke. I said to Mark, "Oh my God, my water just broke." He went, "Oh my God." I was like, "No, I've got a call in the morning, Mark. It's really important." He was like, "No, our baby's coming." I just went, "I think I can do both." He goes, "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, look. They say that babies take a long time to come, so I'll probably be in labor during the call, but I could just mute myself when I have a contraction. He was like, "Yeah, I guess" because neither of us knew, first baby, neither of us knew what was going to happen. We ended up going to the hospital like 3:00 AM and Mark, unbeknownst to me, sent the lady a message and said, "I don't think Denise is going to be on the call."

In my mind, I was like, "I can still make it." The baby was born like half an hour before. In my mind I was like, "I wonder if the Wi-Fi is okay at hospital. Maybe I could just jump on the call real quick." She's just been born. She's just going to sleep. But I just say that because she was born, I didn't magically change that part of me that still wanted to work and just be a weirdo about it. But it's really good to set things up so you don't have to do those things. Because I've heard this story so many times where people still had to do things in the hospital straight away after having the baby. They still have to do things in their business because they're not delegating. They're not setting their business up to support them. Or sometimes, people don't have the resources to do it. So you never know. You might get a little chill baby and everything might go well, but sometimes it doesn't.

So it's okay to have a lot of help. Here's the other mindset shift for me that really helped me in my business too, is just outsourcing as much stuff as possible at home. Now I don't consider myself a super busy person and a lot of that is because I'm really conscious about outsourcing things that stress me out. I have a full life for sure, but I just don't feel like I have to do everything myself. So if you have the resources, you can get help at home as much as possible and you can get help in your business. You're worth it. You don't have to do everything yourself and you don't have to try and save money if you can find it, and this includes your partner. Just because you're taking some time off doesn't mean you can't use your partner's money to help you out in your life, in business. It takes a village. It takes a village.

Here's another lesson that I learned about baby and business. I had to learn to be way more discerning with my time and get really clear on what was important to me. Now, of course, before I had kids, I do have a lot more time. Not saying everyone does who's child-free, but I just feel like, "Yeah, may as well. Oh yeah. Okay, I'll do that." I said yes to everything. Once I had a baby, I had way less time and I had to learn to be a better CEO. I had to force myself into that role and be way more discerning with my time, which meant just not automatically saying yes to everything. I had to start saying, "Maybe, let me think about it." I also had to start saying "No." I've got a lot more tips for you around this whole conversation of business and baby, but first, I'm going to take a quick break so I can have a little sip of my tea because having a baby has taught me I have to take care of my one and only body. All right, I'll see you in a sec.

Hi, everyone. Hi, Denise. My name is [Nathalie Cooper]. I'm a French ex-pat residing in Dubai. I joined Money Bootcamp in April 2019 and thought I could use the lessons and support from Denise and the Facebook community of Lucky Bs to get inspired and grow my business. Main aha moment for me has been know your worth. As a woman, I realized that we tend to undervalue ourselves over deliver and be too empathic. You just need to want to change and question your situation to get a different and better outcome.

Hi, my name's Dr. Nikki and I'm also known as the female money doctor. Now, when I first read, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch, I didn't actually have this business because I believe that as a doctor, I couldn't run a business because what did I know about business? But actually after reading her book, it really shifted my thinking into how else I could make money and improve the money coming into my life. And well, the rest is history. Four years on, I'm running my business, absolutely loving it, and I've learned so much.

Welcome back. We're talking about business and babies. My next lesson is it's okay to slow down. You don't have to do everything in your life and career right at this season of life. Is it so hard to admit that sometimes? Now one of my friends, Nikki Elledge Brown, she has an amazing podcast called the Naptime Empires. It's about how to build your business in those little snippets of time between nap times and breastfeeding time. I highly recommend if you know that this is an area that you're struggling with a little bit. Go and check out the Naptime Empires. She's got some lots of tips there as well. But basically, the message that Nikki taught me and others is that this is a season of your life, a season of your life. So just because maybe you can't travel as much as you want to, or maybe you can't do everything right now, it's not forever.

There are no rules about how to raise a family anymore. There are no rules about how to run a business anymore, right? I know people who travel all the time with their kids still. For me, I decided, no, thank you. I remember going on book tour when we had two kids and it was just a freaking nightmare. So now I'm like, I'll go away by myself for shorter period of time, but it will be so much easier. So here's the thing, it's okay to slow down and just give everything its own rhythm. You don't have to write all of the books of your career today, this year. Look at amazing women who had really amazing long careers like Louise Hay. She continued to tour, teach, write books well into her 80s, so why do you think you have to write all of your books right now? Why do you feel like you have to do that?

You don't. Do you have to go to every conference in the world right now? I know that's painful. When I had baby number three and I was feeding her, for some reason it looked like all of my friends who were in Paris or in the Greek islands. It seemed everyone was just going on these amazing holidays and I was just at home feeding a baby. It goes. It does go quick. It really does. I know people say it and it's just like, "Ugh," but there is time for you to create all the things and do all the things and go all the places. And it's okay for that not to be all now.

In terms of prepping your business to be able to make money before you go on maternity leave, there is a couple of tips of things that I did every time I was pregnant. I was really lucky I was not sick during pregnancy and I usually had quite a lot of energy in trimester two and three. So I was still doing speaking gigs. I usually did a ton of videos. So every Monday for most of my pregnancy when I was feeling okay, I would get my hair done at the hair salon. Then Monday and Tuesday, I would film as many videos as I could. Some days that was one and then I needed a nap. Some days I would get through five a day because I was batching up content for when I was taking a break. Now you don't have to do videos. You might batch some podcast stuff. You might batch social media content like memes or quotes. Again, you don't have to be pregnant to do any of this stuff, but there's something about having that deadline of a pregnancy that just makes things happen.

\If you have no intention to have kids, you could pretend you've got a nine-month deadline to write your book. Even babies aside, it seems to take me nine months to write each of my books. It's something about that timeframe. So batch up a lot of content, which again, I still do. I'm not even pregnant. I batch stuff up because it's smart to do that. My podcast studio at the moment that I hired and I'll do a million podcasts. It's really easy. So create that so you don't have to be on all the time. As I said, that's smart for everyone. Have consistency in your business even when you don't feel like it, even when life things happen. If not a baby, maybe something else in your life you've got to take care of. So that's a really, really big thing.

The second thing is use that time and that deadline to finish off income-producing assets, especially if they can be passive income assets. You might have a course that is almost ready today. Great. Do it now. Finish it now. Get those things off your computer and get them ready because it'll be so great when you don't have as much time to still be making money. That will give you confidence. It will give you financial independence. It will give you choices if you make money even when you're in a season of life of having kids and you're tired and all that kind of stuff.

I was really good at creating passive income during my pregnancies. Even though it can sometimes be painful pulling all the tech stuff together, and it's painful from a mindset perspective because you start to psych yourself out about it, or you worry that your clients want you. They don't want an e-course version of you. All of that stuff is irrelevant because you have a deadline and you're not going to have as much time and energy on the other side of it. Then you get to reap the rewards of building that business. So I started my first big coaching course. I started Money Bootcamp in 2012 and my first baby was born in 2014. I could sell that bootcamp as an Evergreen program. I could sell it as an e-course and I didn't have to jump back in to work if I didn't want to, if that makes sense. My first passive income course was a $50 course. It wasn't a big deal, but first, it made $1,200 a week. Then I had a manifesting course and that made about $25,000 a month.

I didn't have to go back to work. I didn't have to make choices about my business and about my body and about my energy. Then when things go to crap like they do sometimes, no one sleeps or you're up with gastro for three days, then you have choices. So if you can structure your business to have more passive income, then you can have the best of both worlds. You can have the business stuff and you can have your family time and you don't have to stress about every dollar and you don't have to feel pressured to make decisions when you're not ready to do it. Then you can reap the rewards of that forever. As I said, you don't have to be a mom. You don't have to be a parent to create this, but you can pretend that you have a deadline. That's something that's really cool.

So as I said, there's a time. This is a season of life. You don't have to give up your business dreams. You don't have to give up your dreams of doing nothing with your baby for a while. This is true. I should have said this right off the top. If you want to adopt kids, if you want to foster kids, this is just creating space for both of those parts of your life to compliment each other. Focus on those income-producing activities. Get rid of all the other stuff, this all focus-y like nothing else.

So to really bring it all home here, a baby doesn't have to ruin your business. It doesn't have to ruin your ambition. You can prep your business to succeed and to not be a stress, to compliment your life, to create choices and financial abundance and freedom for you and your family. It's really beautiful. I'll do a future episode about how I manage everything with kids now that they're a little bit older, but it's so cool. Even my youngest who's a toddler, she talks about business because she hears me say it. She's been in bookshops and I'm like, "Who's that?" She goes, "That's mom." "Yeah, that's mom's book." She's seen me on the cover of magazines. This is a two and a half year old but at the time of filming this, but that's imprinted on her from such a young age that you can do it, that you can have those choices and that financial freedom, and you can run your business and be creative and create amazing things.

So please don't beat yourself up. It's a time of life where you might not be able to do everything, but those dreams totally can co-exist. I would love to hear from you if you've got some thoughts around this or questions. My social media everywhere is at @denisedt, so make sure you're following me on Instagram especially, and reach out and let me know what you think about this. If you want me to cover any aspects of having kids and having a business. I'm not the expert, but I've got three of them now and two dogs, so I know some stuff. All right, gorgeous. We'll be right back after this break.

Hi, I'm [Jess Rollinson]. I'm a book coach and Resilience speaker based in Brisbane, Australia. I read Denise's book, Get Rich, Lucky Bitch two months ago after being recommended to it by a friend. I absolutely cannot believe the life-changing things that have happened in such a small space of time since reading it. I think one of the most memorable moments in the book is when Denise reminds us that it's actually okay for good things to happen to us everyday. After reading that section, I actually ran straight to my vision board and put that note on there and no joke, within an hour, I had an invitation to be featured in one of the biggest magazines in Australia.

A month later, I've just had a five-figure month and the blessings just keep on coming. I absolutely can't believe it. I am so grateful for reading this book. So thank you so much, Denise.

Hi, my name's [Jane Moss] and I'm a yoga teacher based in Sleaford in the UK. I listened to Get Rich, Lucky Bitch last summer on audio. I loved it because Denise's voice is like a gal pal having a chat with you over a glass of wine. What I really love, my big breakthrough was learning that I didn't have to be working really hard to earn really good money. That was a huge breakthrough for me. So Denise, thank you so much for that.

Hey and welcome back. Thanks for joining me today. Here is my final thought for today. You might've heard me talk about this affirmation like a bazillion times and it's "I serve, I deserve," but I just want to share some of the background behind this and also why it's so important. If you're an over-giver like I am, or you feel overly responsible for other people, sometimes you can just get into this feeling of it's never enough. It's never enough. But "I serve, I deserve" is also a really great pattern interrupter for so many things in your business. It could be if you're pricing something. You feel bad about pricing. You feel like you're overcharging or you just feel like it's going to be too expensive and you can just stop and go. No. "I serve, I deserve." It could be a pattern interrupter fee if you are taking on responsibility for other people and not allowing yourself to have good things in return.

I often say it to myself if I am with a practitioner as a client. So if I'm getting a massage or if I'm getting my head on or whatever, because I'm so used to being a coach holding the space for other people, I sometimes then try and solve other people's problems all the time. I never have that space for me to be vulnerable me to be the client. So I'll say that to myself, "No, I serve, I deserve." Maybe sometimes on weekends, you feel like you can't switch off. Or even when it comes to setting boundaries with your clients, if your clients are contacting you at all hours, it's like, "No, I serve, I deserve. I deserve to have time off." So it really is one of those all-purpose affirmations to remind yourself of your value, remind yourself that you are a good person. You deserve good things in return.

You've got to think of it. The energy of money, it has to be give and take. You can't just always give, give, give, and give. You have to allow yourself to receive in return. So yeah, I just love that one. I want to make sure that you've written it down somewhere where you can see it. Put it on a post-it note. Put it somewhere where it's an unexpected surprise. You could put a post-it note on the inside of your cabinet and your bathroom cabinet so you open up and you go, "Oh, I serve, I deserve."

It really does work for so many situations. I would love to hear from you if it's a new situation that it's really helped you. So I'm @denisedt all over the interweb. I always love to hear from you and how these things are helping. So try that one over the next couple of days and go forth, chill, and prosper. You deserve it. Peace out from me and I will see you on the next episode. Bye. Thanks for listening to Chill and Prosper. Tell your friends to chill and prosper. Review and subscribe. We hope you had a very good time.

About the Show

Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.

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