Starting a business when you have a baby or little kids that need a lot of care may sound risky and a bad idea, but as more parents realize, the timing is actually ideal. The first years of parenthood is often a period when moms and dads rethink the work situations they’ve always known and looked for jobs that give more flexibility. Sometimes, having a baby can help spark the next big business idea, as many baby products have been born out of a parent’s desperation.
Being a mom in itself can take up a lot of time and energy, and it makes it harder for those moms who wish to start up their own businesses. But it’s not at all impossible! Of course, there are risks involved, but it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself (and your family) into before taking the leap. Also, it takes a lot of strategies. It is entirely possible to be a mom boss – things may not unfold the way you expect.
If you want to be a new business owner while juggling the demands of home and family, here are a few tips to remember:
Do your market research.
While you think the product or service you want to offer is amazing, others may disagree. The key is to find this out before you throw all your time, money, and energy into your idea. Before starting a business, determine if there is a need for the product or service you want to offer. The best place to start doing so is to do market research, first in your own community or neighborhood.
Researching your target market and making sure that the product or service you want to provide is important steps in starting a successful business. Ask around the neighborhood and get their feedback. It helps to listen to the marketplace via the Internet and social media. Join online discussion groups and follow any hashtags related to your idea. But be careful not to get bogged down by researching too much for too long. As long as you got what you need, you can start your business right away.
Prepare your funding.
One of the biggest hurdles to starting a business as a busy mom is sourcing the funding you need, especially if your business is primarily online and relies on tech. Many choose to bootstrap their business using personal savings or to borrow money from friends and family to get things off the ground.
But since that isn’t something that can work for everyone, those short on time may prefer to seek help from a peer lending company. You can go and get bank funding, but if you can’t, you can also try a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your business is to do your best to plan ahead for the number of tasks you have and the time you have to do them. It can be tough to do when you’re working from home since you’re not following a set amount of hours, so use to-do lists and project planning to keep you organized. It also helps ensure that all elements of your tasks come together properly and actually get done.
Apply the Pareto principle.
To succeed in setting up your business, you will need to direct your time to the tasks that will garner the most results. The Pareto principle focuses on the 20% of tasks that give the majority of results that are in line with your goals, while the rest of the 80% gets worked on little by little. Using this rule allows you to focus on the most important tasks and prioritize them first.
Applying the Pareto principle means streamlining your duties much more efficiently to get more done that actually counts in a shorter period of time. It’s also something you can do to avoid that creeping mom guilt when the house isn’t clean, though we’ve kept the little human alive and happy and had a productive day at work.
Remember that passion can trump expertise.
You don’t need to have a business background to start a successful business, so don’t second-guess yourself if you don’t have a business degree. The key is to be 100% in whatever you’re doing. Passion can be the key to a great business. You don’t need to be an expert – your passion will push you and lead you to endure and succeed.
Plan for childcare.
If your purpose in setting up a business at home is to spend more time with your child, think again. Actually, your business becomes your other baby. You need to know what’s going in, and it needs as much attention as your actual children. While you may be working at home, you won’t necessarily be able to spend much time with your kids because you will need to stay focused on your business tasks for the day.
This means that sometimes, you need help from a nanny or a babysitter for at least the most intense period, such as the startup process. You will also need to factor in this cost unless it’s a family member or a friend who’s willing to do it for free.
Go slow and steady.
It takes time for businesses to be successful, baby or without baby, and it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re starting up. Don’t expect a huge payout when you’re just starting – remember that slow and steady wins the race. If you believe in your idea, profit will happen.
Know your limits and ask for help.
Moms are masters in multitasking, but trying to parent and build a business simultaneously is a recipe for disaster. Separating your career from kids is a constant battle that working moms fight, and it’s more apparent when you’re launching your business from home, and work and life balance is easily blurred.
Also, running a successful business is rarely a solo project. You will need support in many forms: a supportive spouse, trusted mentors, family, friends, attorneys, accountants, etc. Don’t push yourself to your limits too much that there’s no energy left for you and your family. Consider tasks and jobs that you can outsource. Maybe you can get a housekeeper or a cleaning service to deep clean the house and do your laundry to help you free up time for family while you’re running your business. You can hire a landscaping service to take care of your yard. Perhaps you can benefit from having a virtual assistant – someone you can delegate some tasks to – so you can focus on the more crucial parts of the business?
As a business owner, you need to choose your priorities. You can have it all, but not all at the same time. Sometimes, there will be situations when your business will have to go first, and other times when your children will.
Get as much work done as possible when you’re pregnant.
If you had your idea while you’re pregnant, work as much as you can. Once the baby enters the picture, you will have much less time. Newborns do not nap all day – it’s the other way around! It’s harder to get things done when you have a baby and while you’re still recovering from childbirth. While you are pregnant, seize the time that you have to work on important things.
One of the simplest ways to focus and make sure you’re productive is to put down your phone and keep it away, especially when you tend to be tempted to check on it every so often. Whether it’s when you’re with your kids or working on a business task, smartphones have a way of seeping into your life. Make sure that you are fully present for every task, especially when you’re with your kids.
Social media and accessibility are essential elements to any growing business, so you don’t need to neglect your phone altogether. Simply designate a time or several times throughout the day that you intentionally check it and catch up. This way, it won’t distract you when you’re trying to get work done.
Schedule family time on your calendar.
Running and managing a business can easily consume every hour of your day if you let it. While it’s expected that you’re going to put a lot of time and effort into it, make sure you are also carving out some time for your family.
Scheduling family time ahead will help you ensure that it’s going to happen. If you go on for days and weeks thinking you’ll find the time at some point, you’ll find that it won’t happen that easily, and something may always come up. Later on, your children may grow apart from you. Treat your family time as an important appointment, like any business transaction or client meeting. If you have scheduled time for your family and something business-related comes up, you can say no and have them move it for another time.
Some moms carve out an hour or two every evening away from work to spend time with their children, while others take half a day once a week. Find out what works for you, and make it a priority. After all, any business success won’t give you complete happiness if your children and spouse are not celebrating with you.
Take care of yourself as well.
It sounds cliché, but it’s important when you run a business and take care of a household at the same time. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll experience burnout, and you’ll less likely handle your family and business well.
Make sure to eat well and incorporate exercises (even short walks and stretching will be okay) throughout the day. Build up your immune system, so you won’t get vulnerable to diseases and viruses that go around. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep at night, and if you have to, take a nap in your day to catch up. Carve some time to meditate and let your mind rest.
And once in a while, treat yourself for a job well done. Take yourself to your favorite café or restaurant and enjoy. Go shopping and enjoy some of your hard-earned money. Go to a spa and relax. It’s not wrong to prioritize self-care once in a while so you can be refreshed and energized to continue on with life.