This is a guest post by Emily Graham, the original "mompreneur." You can reach her at mightymoms.net. Her email is emilygraham @mightymoms.net.
As a stay-at-home mom, you may find yourself wishing you had a hobby that wasn’t just enjoyable, but also lucrative and allowed for your continued full-time parenting. It can be done! Becoming a “mompreneur” (or a mom entrepreneur) is simpler than you may think. Here are a few tips on getting started and overcoming the obstacles of playing both mom and entrepreneur.
As a mother, you likely already have organization and planning down pat. These skills are vital when it comes to becoming a mompreneur.
---Get Excited! Network in your community or check online for inspiration from moms who have already found success with a home business. Get excited!
---Set Goals. They can be as small or large as you see fit but be realistic.
---Use a Monthly Planner. It helps you stay organized by providing a broad view of your goals. Search for something that can be customized: sticky notes, graphics, and videos are all helpful tools.
---Dress for Success. Many people consider it a dream to work in PJs, but according to one expert, “People feel more competent while wearing business clothes.” A full suit isn’t necessary, just throw on some jeans.
Creating a Business Model
Whether you’re starting a new hobby or choosing something new, it’s important to have a clear plan. This means having a strong business model to keep you focused and on-track.
---Work Your Passion. Decide what your business is going to be and give it some serious thought. Choose something you’re genuinely passionate about that also has real potential for monetization.
---Identify your customers. Who is your key demographic? Knowing your customer base is key.
---Reach Out. Once you know who your target audience is, it’s time to figure out the best way to reach them. Options include creating a new customer and/or refer-a-friend discount, fliers, and an effective website.
---Set a Good Foundation. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, when you’re ready to officially draw out your business model, you’ll need to choose between a traditional model and a lean startup. Lean startups are a simpler option that cover only a few topics like your infrastructure, finances, and customer information; this may be your best option in the startup phase of your business.
---Grow Yourself. Enhance your business acumen with an MBA degree. Enroll in an online program which allows you to learn at a pace that suits your schedule.
Working While Mom-ing
Family first; that goes without saying. Being a mother is a full-time job in itself, so it’s important to make time for all of your duties.
Family meetings are critical for getting and keeping all family members on board. Make your presentation and then switch to active listening to draw out any questions. Incorporate a large, dry erase monthly calendar that all can use to mark down all important events. Having your responsibilities written down in a single place can help keep everyone on-track. Family meetings work best on a weekly basis to update expectations and plans for the coming week.
Ask for help if you need it. If there’s a business task that can’t wait, ask your partner to watch the kids until you complete it. You may also want to consider hiring extra help. Learn how to delegate!
Concentrate on one task at a time. If you have a small child, for example, get as much work done as you can while they nap. Conversely, if your kids are dying for some mom playtime, set aside your work and focus on your family. Sometimes multitasking just isn’t realistic and everybody might lose. Everybody wins with empathy, active listening, and negotiation.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is something we should all strive for, especially when you’re a mompreneur. It’s important to not only schedule time with your family and business, but also for yourself.
Don’t let the idea of becoming a mompreneur intimidate you. With the right planning, creating your own business from scratch could be the best decision you ever make — for you and your family.