Tips and Resources for Parents (or Moms) Who Own Their Own Businesses
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It’s hard to sleep for seven straight hours as a parent, let alone run a business. But while the road ahead may be difficult, the rewards are great. Financial freedom, rewarding work, and the thrill of creating something from nothing.
You can absolutely start a business as a parent. In this article, we take a look at some tips that will make it a little easier to bring your dreams to life.
Define Your Goals
The first step for anyone who wants to get involved in entrepreneurship is to have a very clear idea of what their goals are and what steps they are willing and able to take to achieve them. Are you looking for a side hustle that helps you make ends meet, or something a little more substantial?
This question alone will have an enormous impact on how you proceed. If you start without goals and just feel things out as you go, you might do ok, but it’s easy to stagnate.
Instead, make a plan. Know what you want. Break the steps down into tangible milestones and go from there.
As you cross items off your goal list, you’ll add new ones. That’s called growth.
Even with good planning, running a business is hard work. Great ideas can take a long time to get off the ground. It may be years before your business is profitable. Longer before you are bringing in a decent livable salary.
That’s a tough road to take but it helps to begin the process with a realistic mindset. Understand that things will be tight in the beginning and use your business plan to help see you through the tough, lean periods.
Business challenges may tempt you into compromising on your goals. You are, after all, a parent. Aren’t there other things you could be doing with your time?
Resist this sort of thinking.
Your business isn’t selfish. It’s something you are doing for your entire family.
Be a Real Business
This sounds a little condescending, maybe, but there’s a lot of truth to it. These days it’s easy to slap together a side hustle and call it a “business.” That’s fine, but if you aren’t treating it like a real business, what you really have is a hobby.
Take it seriously. Focus on customer service. Get a website. Business cards. A logo. Legitimacy is self-appointed. If you look and act like a real business owner, you are one. It does take a little startup cash to set yourself up with this sort of infrastructure but shop around and you’ll find there are ways to do it affordably.
Mobile Technology is Your Friend
Most business technology has mobile cloud-based accessibility that allows you to take work with you wherever you go. For the business owner parent, this is an invaluable asset. Cloud-based mobile business technology allows you to work anywhere. In line at the grocery store, at your kid’s soccer game.
Naturally, you don’t want work to take over your life (we’ll get into that a little bit more in a second) but you do need to be flexible. A good tech stack gets you there.
You just said work in line at the grocery store! We did. And you might need to. There is, however, a big difference between working because you need to get something done and working because an important boundary has been compromised.
Naturally, you do what you have to do to stay in business. You will need to decide for yourself how much time you can devote to work. The key is to stick to that time frame once you’ve selected it.
For all the good cloud-based business tech does, it comes with issues as well. Namely? It’s too easy to work from home. Set boundaries for yourself. No work on weekends. No checking your email after dinner.
The specifics of the rules are less important than having them. Remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Make Space for Yourself
Virginia Woolf very famously claimed that a woman’s lack of personal space is what holds her back more than anything else professionally. How can one be a titan of industry when their “office” is a sink filled with dirty dishes, and their coworker is a soapy sponge?
Things have changed quite a bit from when Woolf gave her famous “Room of one’s own,” speech, but one thing hasn’t: having your own professional space is vital to success. Ideally, you’ll have a room —maybe something with a door that closes.
Of course, not everyone can swing that. If you can’t, at least make sure you have a spot where you can work uninterrupted for as long as you need to.
Be Prepared to Wear Many Hats
Chances are that your business started as a passion project. Something you care about. And yes, it’s turned into a business, but really, you’re more of a creative type. That’s fine, except that in the early stages of a business, you are going to need to wear many hats.
Learn a little bit about accounting, marketing, management, communications, etc. Eventually, if things go well, you may be able to hire new people. Until then, you’re going to need to be versatile.
Finally, you’re going to need some help with your kids. If you have a partner who is able to take on more responsibility, great. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family now and then. There is no shame in asking, and often people are happy to pitch in when they can.
To sweeten the pot a little, offer to compensate them for their time, and try not to ask the same person too many times in a row.
When your care options are limited, it may become necessary to find creative times to work. Late nights and early mornings. It’s hard, but the rewards will be worth it in the long run.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.