As the founder and majority owner of North East Atlantic Construction (NEAC), Nury Gomez knows a lot about the importance of building solid foundations. As she’s grown a successful business, she’s also learned that for women to balance the challenges of both motherhood and entrepreneurship, it’s essential to build solid foundations in their personal lives.
Taking the leap
Although she was formally educated as a journalist, Nury had long been interested in construction and design. A native of Columbia, she spent several years in Chile, where she renovated several homes and even built one from the ground up, learning how to do the work herself.
“I loved the challenges of construction and renovation work, including the opportunities to solve problems creatively,” says Nury. After moving to New York and meeting her husband, an architect, Nury noticed that there were few construction firms owned by Hispanic women.
She recognized a great opportunity to grow her passion and have an impact and decided to go into business for herself. She obtained numerous licenses and certifications in the field, as well as Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) certification, and opened for business in 2013.
While Nury studied the industry and built her business, she was also raising her two children, who were in junior and senior high school then. Here, she shares valuable insights and experiences she’s learned from running a small business and family.
Tip 1: Create non-negotiable priorities
Balance is key when it comes to motherhood and especially when it comes to being a momprenuer. The best way to achieve this balance is by prioritizing our responsibilities and making time for what’s truly important.
Even though her work typically requires her to be onsite in Connecticut, New Jersey and the New York metro area, Nury established a non-negotiable priority in regard to her family: To be home in Long Island from early evening on, spending dinner and family time with her children and husband.
“We did everything before six or seven at night,” Nury explains. By establishing this priority from the start, it’s something that stuck as her business took flight and her children grew up.
“I feel so fortunate because our family is so bonded,” she says. “Now I have a granddaughter and I see her every morning. And every week, we have a large dinner at our house with all of our extended family, so we’re all still close.”
Tip 2: Focus on quality time over quantity
When seeking a balance between work and family life, Nury encourages her fellow mompreneurs to be intentional with the time they spend with their children: think about quality over quantity.
“It’s really important to be fully present when you spend time with your family,” Nury advises. “If you’re checking your phone throughout dinner, then you’re not really engaging with the people you love. Most work stuff can wait an hour or two, or until the kids go to bed.”
She continues, “It’s a constant balancing act, but if you accept that it’s okay not to have a lot of time together and commit to making the best of the time you do have, you’ll have fulfilling and meaningful family time.”
Tip 3: Take advantage of resources
Nury was fortunate to have her parents with her when she moved to the United States and, eventually, her siblings, too. “I knew my kids were in great hands and that made a huge difference,” she admits.
For entrepreneurial mothers who don’t have family close by, Nury encourages them to form community groups to help balance childcare, chores and other responsibilities. She also encourages women to look to business resources that can help, because the rewards of a well-run business can take a lot of pressure off of the parenthood/business-owner balancing act.
“If you can afford to hire the right staff or go for larger projects, eventually, you can afford to take more time for your family, too,” Nury explains.
To that end, she considers Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) one of her important resources for business success.
“Working with the Excelsior Growth Fund team helped me grow my business which, in turn, has helped me support my family,” she says. “I had a great representative, Paola Garcia [EGF Vice President], who took the time to help me through the process.”
Nury’s using the loan funds to support new projects, purchase materials and equipment and cover payroll, as well as to refinance a previous loan.
Tip 4: Trust that your family supports you
While the reality of starting and growing a business while raising children is innately challenging, Nury believes that the rewards are worth the challenge.
“As entrepreneurial mothers, we lead by example and have great opportunities to teach our kids through our work ethic, our business success and our creativity and problem-solving skills,” Nury says. “And when we make it a priority to build close family ties, we teach them to relate to and engage with others in ways that create positive experiences.”
Tip 5: Use motherhood as an inspiration
As a final point of advice, Nury says, “When mothers take on leadership roles as business owners, we inspire our children, as well as other women and mothers, to take risks. Don’t overthink whether or not to do it. Instead, get yourself as prepared as possible by learning as much as you can. Then, if you have a great idea, get out of your comfort zone, take control and create the life you want to have. As mothers, the most important thing we can do is be great role models so that our kids take what they learn from us and continue to build positive legacies.”