Antonia Chitty and I both started businesses after our eldest daughters were born. Even though we had our babies several years and many miles apart, we found ourselves with the same problem: our old jobs just didn’t fit with our new lives. If you’re in the same situation, here are our tips to help you get started:
- Decide what you want from a business. If you want the equivalent of a full time income you need to approach it differently from if you just need a hundred quid a month to top up the family budget. Using party plan as an example, you may be able to supplement the family income with a few parties a month, but in order to earn a full time income you might need to recruit and lead a team.
- Be clear about your financial needs from the start. Most mums with businesses are serious and committed, but don’t always find it easy to turn this commitment into big bucks. When Antonia runs courses , the majority of women attendees are in business to HELP in some way. You can only be truly effective as a helper if your business is strong, and making a profit will allow your business to grow and help more people. Many women need to change the way they think about money and how they feel asking for money. Research has shown that women are less comfortable to ‘name their price’ than men, and women in ‘helping’ professions are less comfortable than, say, women working in IT. Say how much you want for your service out loud: are you comfortable saying this or do you feel a bit apologetic? I know I do. In the Start A Family Friendly Business: 129 Brilliant Business Ideas for Mums there’s a whole section on selling which could help you.
- Look at your skills and experience and see if you can use them. I’ve spoken to several mums lately who went into direct selling or bought a franchise because they assumed they had to do something completely different from what they’d done before. In fact, using your existing skills can be the fastest way to start generating an income.
- Develop a Niche – be unique and different. Look at competing businesses and be clear about how your business is different. It might simply be that you are bringing something new and different to your area, or it may be the way in which you offer a service.
Look at the times you have available to work, your childcare and family situation. I considered running children’s parties, but realised that in the time I’d kept my kitchen clean enough to satisfy the local council’s environmental health team, I could have done a lot of work on an online business instead!
- Look at your business model – does it just depend on trading time for money. This can be a problem if you are a time-poor mum! If you have a skill that people will pay you for, that’s great, but look at ways of making it available that doesn’t just depend on you putting the hours in – think e-books, online courses, tip sheets, group teleclasses.
There are lots more tips on finding the right business idea for you in the Start a Family Friendly Business Book.
Helen Lindop is the founder of BusinessPlusBaby.com, a blog dedicated to helping mums of young children start their own businesses. She is also co-author of Start A Family Friendly Business: 129 Brilliant Business Ideas for Mums