Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes grit and determination, but it can be an enriching journey similar to birthing and raising a child. It starts with an idea and grows into something more than you could have imagined. Being a business owner has allowed me the freedom and flexibility to care for my family while finding a way to give back to my community and feel that I am serving a greater purpose.
We also often hear stats about businesses’ high rate of failure, which is daunting and turns away many people. So, how do you decide if you should start a business in 2024?
Embrace Fulfillment Beyond Motherhood: Becoming a mompreneur allows you to channel your talents into meaningful work, breaking free from the notion of being "just" a stay-at-home mom and finding purpose beyond caregiving.
Flexibility Unleashed: Entrepreneurship offers the freedom to create your schedule, providing a solution for moms torn between work and family life, and enabling a balance that traditional employment may not provide.
Critical Characteristics of Mompreneurs: To thrive as entrepreneurs, moms need a blend of resilience, self-starting motivation, a willingness to learn and adapt, and the ability to balance their roles with financial preparedness and clear boundaries.
Characteristics of a Mompreneur: Why you should start a business in 2024.
Want to use your talents and give back to the world
We know that being a mother is the most meaningful job we will ever have, but it is also a limited time when we have the kids at home. For some, this is the reason just to put themselves and their careers on hold. However, now that I am (almost) at the other end of this journey, I can tell you that the struggle of moms trying to return to the workplace when the kids are gone is real. Work brings us a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which makes us mentally and emotionally healthy.
I have heard countless moms say, “I am just a stay-at-home mom” (and I know I am guilty of this phrase as well). Any of us who have been there know that there is little truth in this expression.
Being a mom is exhausting and often thankless work, but when you do something to use your talents and give back to the world, you feel energized. If you are tired of saying you are just a mom and want to show the world that you have value outside of the care you provide for your family, and maybe you want also to show your children what else you are capable of so that they see what it means to give back to the world and develop talents, then entrepreneurship may be a good option for you.
When I started my first business, I was able to support other moms out of my own home. I left our session feeling energized and fulfilled as the other moms expressed their gratitude for the ways I was helping them. I can guarantee you I never got that gratitude for the work I was doing at home from my husband or children!
You want to spend more time at home and have a flexible schedule
On the flip side of the coin, some of you may be working full-time and feel that there is nothing left to give their families. You see your children growing up or feel unable to meet their needs. You feel constantly torn between work and family life - not giving either enough of your energy. Entrepreneurship may be just the solution.
When I left the workforce the second time, I found my home life was unraveling, and I was suffering from panic attacks from trying to care for my family and work full time. I tried one year of part-time work, and it was an improvement, but it meant less money and almost the same amount of work, and I still was missing the flexibility my family needed.
With entrepreneurship, you can probably take the skills and tasks you are most proficient with and turn them into a business on your own terms. You decide what you will do and when you will do it.
You have a tolerance for risk
Most people don’t start a business because they are afraid of failure. On the other hand, entrepreneurs who are willing to take too many risks can also fail. To start a business, you need to be willing to try things when you don’t know the result. However, being your own boss, you can decide how much risk you will take. Just a warning: if you aren’t willing to try new things, the chance of success is also very low. Therefore, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to take some calculated risks to try new things when you don’t know what the result will be. You will also have some of the characteristics below to help you moderate those risks.
You are a self-starter
You are motivated to work and can organize yourself to get stuff done. Most moms are used to managing multiple schedules and loads of tasks, but they often put themselves last. You can learn organizational and time-management skills, but you will have a head start if you have strong habits already. You will struggle if you need someone guiding you and telling you every step. However, business coaches and mentors can guide you, and if this is an area you struggle in, it becomes essential that you hire their help.
You can accept failure and rejection
It is guaranteed that not everything will go your way in business and that you won’t know how to do everything. You will struggle with your business if you beat yourself up and want to give up after one or multiple failures. Business owners need to be in it for the long haul, which means they are dedicated to sticking with it for even a year or two of poor returns (I don’t know where they get this information, but Fresh Books says the average small business takes 2-3 years to become profitable, and it seems to hold up with what I have heard many owners report).
If you accept failure as a natural part of life, you need also to be willing to learn and adjust to those failures as needed as doing the same things can lead to the same results. Having a coach or mentor can help you put these failures into perspective.
You are willing to learn new things
For your business to succeed, you want to be willing to learn new things and view challenges as opportunities to learn. Surround yourself with learning and improving business skills. Spend time each week (or even day) reading articles and books, listening to podcasts, taking courses, working with coaches, etc. Learn from those who have gone before you and learn from other industries. You want to learn about management, marketing, sales, technology, etc. Every day, you can learn something to help you boost your business.
Willingness to change
A successful entrepreneur is not only willing to learn but willing to change. If you stay stuck on specific ideas like, “We can only sell our widget this way”, your success will not be long-lasting. Even some of the biggest companies around, like Kodak and Blockbuster, failed because of unwillingness to change. All successful companies are constantly changing and growing to adapt to market and technology changes.
Considerations for Starting your Own Business as a mom
Considering the risks involved for the first 1-2 years, you would ideally have funding to support yourself for that time. That may be some sort of savings or maybe a second income. Many moms who are already relying on their spouse’s income and insurance do not ‘need’ the additional income for a business. Maybe you are provided with some funds from a divorce, a sale, an investment, a loan, or an inheritance. In any case, ideally, you will have some funds to put into the business, and you will not need income from the business for up to 2 years.
Since you want to start a business for the freedom and flexibility to care for your family, setting boundaries for your business is essential. Give yourself regular working hours and learn how to cut off from your business. Your own business can become all-consuming, and then it does you no good. By setting limited working hours, you will increase your efficiency when you work. You will also recognize that you are limited in how much you can get done and hopefully give yourself some grace to stop the rat race.
It is challenging to run a business and care for children at the same time. It will make a massive difference if your children are in someone else’s care for part of the week. Ideally, try to carve out at least 10 hours a week when someone else is caring for your children so you can focus on your business. This challenge is most pressing for homeschool moms. If you have younger ones, try enrolling them in some activities when you can work on your business - even if it is using the laptop in the parking lot. You may also find another mom to swap care with so you each get a break. If you have older ones, set times when you discuss schooling and when they know not to disturb you.
Ideally, you will start a business that you can run out of your home - fortunately, there are many options for that now. After considering how you will arrange time to work on your business, make sure you have a dedicated space. In any case, this helps with taxes when you can deduct that area as a business expense. Try to use that space for business only. My space is simply a 6X6 area with a desk and computer. When I am there, I am working.
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Starting your own business is fulfilling and can bring you the freedom and flexibility to care for your family while giving you a greater sense of purpose.
If you want help deciding if you are ready to start your own business, book a free call to talk about your dreams and struggles for starting a business, and together, we will develop your next steps if business ownership is right for you.
“How Long Does It Take a Business to Be Profitable? A Guide.” 2023. FreshBooks. April 27, 2023. https://www.freshbooks.com/hub/startup/how-long-does-it-take-business-to-be-profitable#:~:text=Creating a profitable business is,profitable in the first year..