So you are toying with the idea of becoming a mom-preneur.
You have a great idea for a product to market or have valueable skills to share with others. Having kids gave you a new perspective on work and perhaps you are not quite ready to return to the job you did pre-baby.
Going out on your own is a good way to create flexibility for your family. You can call the shots on how much time you spend working and take the opportunity to have more years with your little ones. Launching your own business can bridge the gap between being 100% stay-at-home mom and re-entering the traditional workforce. You can contribute to household finances while also developing yourself professionally and following your heart. Sounds fabulous…but where do you start? As a mom-preneur myself, I know how overwhelming it is to launch a business. Here are my top tips for starting out and keeping your sanity!
Five Steps to Becoming a Mom-preneur:
Step 1: Do Your Research
Talk to everyone you know about your business idea. Do others “get it”? Is it viable in the market? Are people actually willing to purchase your product or service? How much will they pay? I did a number of online surveys through email and www.surveymonkey.com to gather this information.
It is critical to do heaps of research up front to understand the dollars and cents behind your business vision. How much money do you need to invest to get yourself up and running? How much money can you expect to contribute to your household finances through this business?
Pricing research is especially important so you know how much to charge for your product or service. Entrepreneurs often price too low. You need to charge as much as your competition or even slightly more. There is a value associated with pricing and if you aren’t charging enough, your customers may perceive you to be less professional. My pricing strategy changed as I investigated what my competitors were charging and started to internalize how valuable my service is to potential customers. Getting clear on the financials early on will give you a confidence boost to launch your business.
Step 2: Get Support
Your partner absolutely needs to be onboard. Ensure they fully understand your idea and the time/financial commitments involved in becoming a mom-preneur. There will definitely be changes at your house as you start up your business! You may require some additional help with childcare, household chores and food preparation. Your time will be divided in new ways as you start your business and it is manageable, as long as all the family stakeholders support you (by helping out more or by hiring someone to help!).
I struggled to find flexible, part-time childcare that gave me enough time to work without exceeding our budget (because I wasn’t yet earning enough money through my business). I also struggled emotionally with the concept of leaving my children with another caregiver. After staying home with my twins for 2.5 years it was difficult to ease feelings of guilt and anxiety as I transitioned their care to someone new.
Lock in with friends and family who will give you honest feedback, but will also be your biggest cheerleaders. Run your ideas by your group of “fans” and take them up on their offers to help. You can gain a lot of free expertise by tapping into the folks you already know – everything from marketing advice to proofing web content to childcare! Friends and family are often an entrepreneur’s first customers and they are happy to refer you, which means more sales.
You may also need financial support to launch your business. Will your family help you out with an investment? Can you approach your bank or credit union for a business loan or line of credit? Are there grants available through the government or any service organizations in your area? Talk to other women entrepreneurs to see how they funded their start-up.
Since my business is service based, I didn’t need any major initial investment to purchase inventory. I took about $2000.00 from savings to invest in my business for marketing – a website, graphic design services, business card and brochure printing, advertising and supplies. I also bartered services (personal training for business coaching) which is a great option when cashflow is a concern. Being a mom-preneur can mean home-based, low investment opportunities.
Step 3: Gain Confidence
It can be incredibly intimidating at first to talk to others about your business. For many moms, transitioning to entrepreneurship is way out of their comfort zone, especially if they are coming from a corporate environment. Accept from the start that you will make mistakes, but that you will learn from them, and be stronger for it.
The best way to gain confidence is to get yourself and your idea out there. Develop your “elevator speech” – a 30 second description of your business that you sums up what you offer and will draw others in to learn more. Mine is, “I motivate and support moms in getting their entire lives in shape through fitness and career coaching services such as personal training, fitness classes, resume writing and job search strategies.” As you start to nail it, you will sound more and more natural to others and your confidence will soar.
Step 4: Stop Selling – Start Helping
Helping is what moms do best! As soon as I removed the concept of selling to people, I felt way more confident in promoting my business. I don’t sell – I truly want to help others – lose weight, change careers and feel good about themselves. When you speak from the heart about what you do and how you can help, you are more genuine and attractive to potential customers.
Step 5: Start Small and Take Your Time
You are a busy parent balancing the needs of your family and trying to enjoy your children as they grow up. You can only do so much in a day and sometimes your schedule will be derailed by things outside of your control (like when the kids get sick). Have fun with your business and look at it as a way to self-improve, learn and stretch yourself in new ways. You may not become a millionaire overnight but you will have a richer life for following your dreams!