Have you ever thought about starting your own business? You love being a mom, but maybe you’re looking for something a little more “adult-ish” to do? Or maybe you would like (or need) to bring in a little extra money for your family?
Perhaps this describes you, but you’re unsure where to start your business journey. Of all the possible home-based businesses out there, how do you pick one that fits who you are and the lifestyle you have? And then once you have your business idea pinned down, then what?
Enter this post: Five Things to Consider Before Starting Your Business
So let’s begin…
1. Decide the type of business you want to do. It seems like the sky is the limit with this one! Your unique experiences, passions and talents are key to figuring this out. Talk to your friends and family about it. Often times, they can be a great help in narrowing down the things you are good at and picking out what you can make a positive impact in. And do your research. The Internet is a great place to figure out all that’s entailed in any given business. You can also find someone who is already doing what you want to do and ask them the down and dirty questions. If you’re considering opening up a photography business, talk to me about it! I’m an open book and would love to share some of the joys and challenges of this creative career choice and the steps that I wish I knew when I was starting mine.
2. Define your target market. After figuring out the type of business you want to run, determining who your market is is next up on the list. This can often be a challenge, but the more you understand the type of person you are wanting to service, the more successful you’ll be in the future. Here are a few questions that will help get you thinking about your target market:
Who would pay (or has paid) for your product or service? How will you find your customers? Who are your competitors and how are they finding customers?
Depending on what your answers are to these questions, you’ll be better able to figure out how to best sell. Will you need a storefront? A website? Will you market locally? Nationally?
The important thing to remember here is to be specific. Saying your target market are stay-at-home moms is way too broad and will lead to confusion when determining just how to market your business. Rather, you’ll be more efficient and effective at marketing if you define your market to be stay-at-home moms who are in their late 20s/early 30s who are looking for ways to be more healthy through consistent exercise and proper nutrition who live in Gainesville, VA. Having figured that out, you’ll know that gyms in and around Gainesville, VA that offer mommy & baby exercise classes are a great place to start marketing! Make sense?
3. Determine your financial goals. How much money do you need to make? It’s been my experience that us Mompreneurs start our businesses because we either want to have the flexibility to be at home and raise our children or because we want to bring in a little extra side money (or both)! Figure our what number you want or need to bring in each week what you will have to do to reach that goal. Don’t forget to factor in your costs of doing business and setting aside money to pay for taxes (THIS is something I wish I knew from the start. It would have been so much easier had I known)!
An easy way to do this is to think of it in thirds. Lets say I want to bring in an extra $100 a week for fun family outings with my hand made cloth diapering business. Just to keep the numbers easy, lets say I have a shop on Etsy and sell each diaper for $50. So you’d initially think I’d need to sell two diapers a week to meet my goal, right? Wrong! We need to factor in the costs of doing business and taxes! So the rule of thirds means I triple what my goal number is. It was $100, but in order for me to be a profitable, law abiding business, I’d need to sell $300 worth (or 6) cloth diapers every week. Taxes vary from state to state so be sure to double check what the tax is on the small businesses in your state, but roughly speaking, the government gets 30% of what small business owners bring in so our $300 week, just became $200 (stinks, I know….I can think of other ways I’d rather spend that $100, but that’s the way it is). And the other third (or $100 in our example) is for our costs of keeping our businesses up and running (like materials to make the cloth diapers, shipping supplies, fees for accepting CC information online, etc). So basically, if we sell 6 diapers at $50 a pop every week, we make $300. $100 gets sets aside for taxes, another $100 is our costs of doing business and the remaining $100 is for our fun family outings. Math is definitely not my forte, but keeping this rule of thirds in mind has helped immensely when pricing my products and services. Of course, each business has different goals and costs involved so this formula will need to be tweaked, but it’s a good starting point 🙂
4. Discuss your business venture with your spouse. This is a biggie, but hopefully you’ve clued in your hubby with points 1-3. Starting and maintaining a business can take over your life, especially in the initial phases. And if it takes over your life, it will also take over a big chunk of your husband’s and kid’s lives. You will likely have to sacrifice time with them so you can work on your business. Are you OK with that? Are they OK with that? It is absolutely essential you, your hubby and your children (if they are old enough) sit down and have a heart to heart about the time committment involved. Lay everything out up front and make the decision together as a family.
I first started my photography business a few months after I had my baby. I was also working a 40 hour a week “day job” so time was already limited. Initially, my husband and I agreed that I’d have every Thursday afternoon and evening to work on growing my business outside of our home (where I wouldn’t be distracted by a pile of laundry and a crying baby). There were no surprises from week to week. He knew that Thursday was my day to get business stuff done and he knew on that day, he had to be the primary caretaker of our son. Scheduling that one set day every week made a huge difference in the first year I was in business. What was even more benefiting about it is that also allowed me to focus on my family the other six days of the week without worrying too much about the business things I needed to get done.
5. Do you have a passion for it? This is probably the most important question. Ask any successful small business owner and they will tell you that possessing passion is what keeps them going when the going gets tough. Your plate is already pretty full with being a wife and a mother (and perhaps you’re also working a “day job” too) so whatever business you decide to start, it needs to be something you love doing and are energized from it. So what’s the best way to find whether or not you have passion for it? It’s to get in there and actually do it. If your business brings you joy even after spending hours working on it, if you see every “problem” as an opportunity to figure out how to make your business work better, if you want to spend your free time working on your biz, than you found something you’re passionate about. It may take some time to figure out exactly where your passion lies and that’s OK. Be patient with yourself. Entrepreneurship is a journey and there’s no rush to get to the end. Just enjoy the journey.
Alright. So lets recap: Here is the cliffnotes version of things you should consider before starting your business:
1. Decide the type of business you want
2. Define your target market
3. Determine your financial goals
4. Discuss your business venture with your spouse/kids
5. Do what your passionate about
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