Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first few months of the baby’s life fine, and now you’re looking for something else to do. You might have considered starting your own business — and with 31% of American women at the helm of businesses, it’s certainly an achievable goal. But where do you start, and how can you juggle that mix?
Start at home
Starting your own work-from-home business is convenient. It allows you to get back to work, while also being there for your kids when they need you. You’ll enjoy more freedom with work, and at the same time, you’ll earn money. You can still be there when the kids wake in the morning, do the school run, and be there to pick them up in the afternoon. And in between, you can work to pay the bills. It’s a win-win. But it’s not easy to get started. Here are a few tips to help:
- Make a plan. A staggering 97% of businesses fail, with a major reason being that there’s no solid business plan in place. Anyone can have a business idea, but you want to be able to execute it. When writing your business plan, include the following:
- What will your product or service be?
- Who will be the target market?
- What’s your start-up budget?
- What price will you charge for your products or service?
- What structure will you have? Sole trader, company, trust?
- How will you market the business?
- Find space to work. Where are you going to work from? If you don’t have a home office set up, this should be your next step. Make sure you invest in ergonomic furniture. If you’re going to spend a good amount of time sitting at a desk during the day, you want to be comfortable. Plus, make sure your space is accessible for everyone (stakeholders, employees, clients, etc),
- Build your presence. Digital marketing is crucial to business success, particularly when 81% of consumers will search for products online before buying. It helps you to find customers you wouldn’t find otherwise, communicate your message to a broader range of customers, and personalize your brand so you’re targeting the right people, at the right time.
Schedules are important
Once you’ve got your business underway, it’s important you don’t go over the top. If your children never get to spend time with you because you’re always at your computer or checking your phone for messages, they’re going to start resenting you getting back to work. You need to make sure you schedule plenty of time for the kids as well.
Try to work more early mornings when they are still in bed, during school hours, or at night after they’ve gone to sleep. Keep weekends for family time as well. And schedules go for your clients as well – make sure they understand that you’re a mother and you have children at home to care for.
At the end of each working day, weekend, and any time you’re with your kids, it’s time to switch off and be present at the moment with them. Turn off your phone, emails, computers. Sit and listen to them, read with them, play games.
Switching off not only gives you more time to spend with the family, but it also gives you more time to focus on yourself. Other benefits of switching off include:
- Sleep better.
- Less anxiety.
- Increased happiness.
- Improved connections with other people.
- More “in the moment.”
Switching off also makes you more productive and allows you to make better decisions.
Don’t forget you
Between work and kids, it’s easy to get caught up in a hectic cycle, but it’s crucial that you remember to also take care of yourself. If you can manage it, always schedule a lunch break where you turn off your phone and emails and take the time that’s just for you.
If lunch isn’t an option, head to bed early at night and get half an hour to yourself. Take a bath, head to the gym or spa, go for a walk. It’s imperative that you look after yourself. That’s because if you start to crack, it won’t take long for the whole family (and your business) to crumble.
Leave the guilt
And finally, leave the guilt behind. Whether it’s work guilt because you have missed deadlines while you’re driving the kids around to after-school sports; or mum guilt because you have to work later one night to get a job finished.
Remember, the reason you’re working is so you can create a better life for your children. And your children will thoroughly enjoy that better life – provided they still get to enjoy time with mum as well. It may not be easy today, but it’ll all pay off in the end.