How to get started as a business mum
A brilliant guest post by the fab Helen Lindop
Many mums are starting businesses so they can spend time with their children while they are little, but still have an income. That income could be anything from a few pounds to put towards the Christmas budget to a full-time income or more. But most choose to run a part-time business until their children start school, and sometimes longer.
For some mums, getting their business idea is easy. It’s what they have always wanted to do, a chance to turn their passion into a means of earning an income. But what if you’re stuck for ideas?
A good place to start is by thinking about what you can give to your business and what you want from it. How many hours a week can you spend on your business? And when will these hours be – weekends, evenings or when the children are at school? If you don’t have any time during office hours without children around, it would be difficult to run a business that needed you to spend time on the phone to clients, for example. How much money are you aiming to earn? With all this in mind, you’ll be able to drop the business ideas that sound great but that won’t work for you.
As you’re a mum you’ll probably be short of time, energy and business experience. This makes franchises, party plans and direct selling attractive options. These can work well, but they aren’t for everyone and you need to research them carefully before you part with your money and time. Direct selling schemes and party plans can give you useful skills and the confidence to move on to your own business later, though.
Do you have a skill that lends itself well to freelancing, such as web design, graphic design, marketing or writing? If so, you could offer your services to companies who need an extra pair of hands for a big project, or small companies that don’t need to employ someone with these skills on a permanent basis. If these appeal to you but you don’t have the right background, you could take a course and do some work free-of-charge to build up your skills and experience.
Still stuck? Look at your talents, skills, interests and passions. Look a little deeper, so instead of thinking ‘I’m good at cooking’, think about why you like cooking – is it because you like seeing people enjoying your food? Do you love to create something that looks and tastes wonderful? Is it because you like to explore other cultures through their food? Or are you good at cooking, but don’t enjoy it enough do it all day? All of these can give you useful clues. Don’t be afraid to discard ideas that would make a good business but that don’t grab you.
Now you know more about your talents and passions look around for opportunities to use them. Read magazines, newspapers and websites, listen to friends – what problems do people have that you can solve? You don’t have to invest lots of money in inventing an ingenious new product, sometimes all people want is someone to take care of their pets while they are on holiday!
If you decide what you want from a business, look at the talents and interests you have to offer, listen to what people want and then add a sprinkle of creativity, you’ll have a recipe for a great business.
Helen Lindop is the owner of www.businessplusbaby.com, a website dedicated to helping mums of babies and toddlers start their own businesses. Her book ‘Start a Family Friendly Business: 23 Brilliant Business Ideas for Mums’ (co-written with Antonia Chitty) is out on 15th September. On 15th September Helen and Antonia will be giving away useful bonuses for mums who are starting a business. To find out how to get hold of the bonuses, sign up to Helen’s newsletter.