Starting your own business while your children are small will mean a lot of hard work and sacrifice (just like so many other things about being a parent!). But there are some very good reasons for choosing to be a mumpreneur when your children are tiny.
Why run your own business?
Firstly, there’s the flexibility; running a business where you can set your own hours can be an absolute godsend. Then you can create a business model that doesn’t involve you exchanging your time for money, meaning you’re not limited to earning whatever you can charge by the hour. By home-working, you can immediately cut out any commuting costs, not to mention all the time and stress you’ve saved yourself by not having to travel.
So what are you going to do?
Start by making a list:
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- What are your interests?
- Do you have any hobbies or passions?
- What are your skills?
Your list and answers should spark some business ideas. For instance, if you love writing, gardening and the countryside, you could write for gardening websites and magazines, or run an online gardening products shop, or write a gardening blog. Perhaps you could teach gardening, or make online tutorials on how to garden.
If you’ve never had your own business before, you might struggle with self-confidence and find it difficult to believe you can succeed. Have any of these thoughts occurred to you?
- I’m not an entrepreneur; I’m just an ordinary person
- What if I fail?
- I don’t have the experience or the money to start a business
Some self-doubt is normal – if you had none whatsoever, you wouldn’t be human! But there’s a point where self-doubt tips over into low self-esteem and that is something that you can do something about.
One of the best ways to build self-confidence is to achieve something. Start small – make a list of little things you can achieve today. I’m talking something as tiny as cleaning the kitchen sink. Tick that off the list once you’ve done it. Once you’ve achieved the little things, you can start to move onto bigger challenges as your confidence grows.
Unfortunately some people you know may be very threatened by your determination to make a better life for yourself. When you begin to test the boundaries of your comfort zone and move out into uncharted waters, this shines a light on other people’s inability to take control of their own lives – and this can be very uncomfortable for them. It’s hurtful, but try not to be affected by their negativity.
This is why building yourself a support network of people who do get it is so important. This might mean joining local networking groups where others are on the same journey as you and there are a number of sites aimed at mumpreneurs where you can get support. You could also try chatting in online forums in your niche, finding a mentor or a partner or paying for some business coaching.
How can you find the time to start a business?
Break your day down into half-hourly sections. You can then pick out activities that waste your time, or take up more time than they should. Cut back on your television viewing, or the hours you spend on Facebook, or try getting up an hour earlier, or going to bed an hour later.
What about the housework?
- You can streamline the process; spend a couple of hours cooking up a batch of food to freeze.
- You can drop your standards; vacuum once a week instead of twice.
- If you can afford it, you can outsource; hire a cleaner or a gardener. If you can’t afford it, can you bribe your partner or kids to take on some more domestic chores?
Setting up a home business – the basics
- Get yourself into the right mind-set for success: Get clear, specific goals and work on your self-belief.
- Business planning: Brainstorm business ideas and business models and write a business plan.
- Set up the basics: This means your business name, brand, website, logo, insurance, legal structure, equipment, hardware and software. Register as self-employed.
- Work out your finances: Work out your cash flow, get tax advice and a business bank account.
- Set up your online presence: Set up your domain name/s, website, blog and social media accounts. Sort out search engine optimisation.
- Marketing: Write and implement your marketing plan.
- Your working life: Set up appropriate childcare and organise a working timetable.
- And finally – launch the business!
How to work when you’ve got small children
- Use childcare! If you can arrange for a couple of hours of uninterrupted work time every day, or even every few days, that means the time you do spend with your kids is going to be much more precious.
- Assign non-time-sensitive tasks to the evenings when your children are asleep and work on things like marketing and social media updates then.
- Use a call answering service or a virtual assistant for day to day customer care and service.
- If you have very young babies, don’t try to do too much. You’ll be too exhausted and they grow so fast – make the most of this precious time together.
- Automate everything that you can, in your business and your domestic life.
Just remember that you can’t do everything at once. Your business might grow more slowly than you’d like but if you continue to put a little bit of time and effort into it, it will grow and as you begin to get more time to yourself, you can increase your efforts.
Celina Lucas is a fairly frazzled mum and step mum who attempts to combine writing, business and parenting whilst retaining a measure of sanity. She is an author of several books on working from home. She’d like to be a yummy mummy but falls at the first hurdle by not having her hair cut in an entire year.