Are you a potential mom-preneur? It’s a surprisingly friendly environment out there for women to get their businesses funded, but it takes some skill to juggle business ownership and Mom duties. Here’s what you need to think about ahead of time.
What’s Your Business?
The best business idea is one that combines your interests and your skills.
Following your interests only (and ignoring your skills) can lead to a steep learning curve that demands too much time before you can run your business efficiently and make a profit. However, choosing a business based only on your current skills, without thought to what you enjoy, could leave you bored and regretful very quickly.
Tip: List all your interests, from minor to “most obsessed.” Then make a list of your skills, including both hard skills, such as software expertise, and soft skills, such as public speaking and problem solving. Brainstorm business opportunities that combine items from both lists.
Where’s Your Support?
All smart business owners should plan to find help for the day-in, day-out demands of running a business and for emergency aid during those crisis moments. When you know you’ll be juggling your kids, your home, and your company, this is even more crucial.
Talk with your significant other about how you can help and encourage each other. Transitions are difficult. You can adjust as you go, but set the standard now for regular, kind, and honest communication.
Seek out business mentors, as well. A seasoned small business owner can give you plenty of nitty-gritty advice on how to handle customers, keep track of finances, and oversee employees. That wisdom can save you from many mistakes.
Tip: Look within your network for help and mentors, or contact a small business association or entrepreneurial resource center for help finding a mentor or coach.
How’s Your Financing?
The financing question, often the most daunting for new business owners, shouldn’t be an obstacle that stops you.
First, determine how much capital you’ll need to start your business. (Here’s a worksheet that will help.) Talk to your bank, then look into financing options beyond the bank, as well. A business line of credit or a small business loan from a small business lender may be more accessible than a traditional loan.
Tip: You may not need all your capital at once; think about your first year in phases, and talk to your lender about options for several smaller loans instead of a single larger one.
What’s Your Schedule?
Moms are known for multi-tasking, but it’s not a solid plan to juggle kids and clients simultaneously (even if it accidentally happens on occasion).
To pull off business ownership, you’ll need to dedicate regular hours and, as much as possible, separate work hours from family life. Certainly, you’ll have some overlap; the key is to keep your business from consuming your whole life. It’s equally important that you take your business seriously enough to put in the needed hours. Expect to adjust your schedule as you figure out exactly what works best for you, your business, and your family.
Tip: Don’t wing it on childcare, or expect friends and family to help you out for free. Agree on hours and availability with helpers, and include childcare and household help in your business budget.
Moms all over the world have long balanced work and family life; this global, digital economy has opened more doors and brought more tools to your disposal. Many parents have found that the demands of caring for children demands actually make them better, not worse, at their out-of-the-home work. Now is a great time to be a Mompreneur, and to let your kids see, first-hand, the demands and the great rewards of business ownership.