Mother’s Day is tomorrow, and it’s time to shower all the important moms out there with love and affection. It’s also a great time to recognize a specific kind of mother—the single moms who are running their own businesses—the “Single Momtrepreneurs.” According to fearless CEO and entrepreneur Gigi Stetler, it’s a challenging lifestyle, but all women can achieve their dreams—even if they are single mothers.
“Any woman can become unstoppable at work and start the business of their dreams,” says Stetler, author of Unstoppable…Surviving is Just the Beginning! “Entrepreneurship takes work, and for single mothers, it’s an uphill battle. But don’t let that scare you.”
I had a chance to interview her to learn more.
It’s not easy. When I first stepped into RV sales in the 1980s, I was with a bunch of older, fat-cat, cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking good ol’ boys who were not open to fresh ideas. I remember suggesting they change the hours of operation to better accommodate customers. That’s when the men in charge told me “to go home and bake cookies.” Instead, I went home and made millions. I have been knocked off my horse more times than I can remember. The only thing separating success from failure, as I see it, is the ability to maintain your dream and to stay motivated. I made a promise to myself a very long time ago that I would be a millionaire. That inner hunger helped me carve a path to success in a man’s industry that conspired to keep me out.
2) Gender bias can be a very real thing. How can women take advantage of that?
There is a difference between playing the “Victim Card” and using it to your advantage. Look at the (assumed) upcoming presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump claims that a major part of Clinton’s success is her ability to play the “Woman card,” and he may be right. Appealing to other women to gain support, can help bolster your cause—whether it is a political campaign on a business venture. This can only work, however, if you continue to outperform your male counterparts.
3) How can women avoid playing the victim?
Playing the victim card is a total waste of time. When you are able to understand that, it will be much easier to deal with difficult situations. The reason it is a waste of time is because no one really cares what you are going through. The cold, hard truth is that people only care about one thing: what you are going to do. So, stop complaining, and do it!
4) How do you manage the work-life balance of taking care of children while running a business?
I am a single woman, and I have been since my son was 2 years old. While I raised him with the assistance of a nanny, I was fortunate enough to be able to bring my son and our nanny to work with me every day. The trick to balance is to love what you do—both personally and professionally. That mean, there is no need to balance. I have been involved many personal relationships, and I have discovered that attaining that balance is the most difficult when you have little in common with your significant other. When you can’t share your daily experiences with your other half, you are forced to split yourself, constantly teetering between two important aspects of your life. My advice is to find a relationship in which you totally understand one another. It’s also important that both of you have your own lives, so it’s not all one-sided.
5) What's your biggest piece of advice for all working mothers?
The biggest piece of advice I have is to try to find a career that makes you happy. Work will take over much of your time, and it’s hard enough to spend time away from your kids. If you don’t enjoy your job, you will have even more regret in the future. Understand that dedication to your career is not only for yourself—it’s for your children. You are becoming a role model to them, and creating a life that provides comfort and love. Good for you!
Gigi Stetler is the author of Unstoppable! Surviving is Just the Beginning. As accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur, she is the owner of RV Sales of Broward in south Florida. Connect with her at www.gigistetler.com.