Mothers may encounter challenges striking a balance between a career and parenting. Most moms want as much one-on-one time with their children as they can get, and they also derive great satisfaction from being actively engaged in fulfilling work. The puzzle is how to do both successfully.
A new generation of moms are creating a new model for “doing both,” and they are doing so in record numbers. Originally focused primarily on unique gear for babies, these self-titled “mompreneurs” are creating companies that encompass athletic-wear, concierge services, organic hair care, organizational tools, scrapbooking services, as well as child-focused products, such as educational software, ethnically diverse dolls, hip diaper bags, organic baby food and stroller accessories. In fact, the downturn in the economy may have opened the gates to a new generation of mompreneurs who are tech savvy and innovative.
If you are a mother, or know one who is interested in launching or growing a small business, the following tips may be helpful:
Find solutions. Some of the best product ideas are sparked from looking at everyday problems that are lacking a solution. For example, a mompreneur who was plagued by dry, cracked hands from housework created the “One Minute Manicure” – products that nourish and condition the skin, nails, and cuticles with immediate results.
Adjust to odd hours. Many professionals today make themselves available 24/7 on their smartphones and mompreneurs are no exception. If you can start your day at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and get a few hours of work in before your kids wake up for school, you may find your whole day is more productive.
Research new ways of doing business. There are many new tools and services for marketing a home-based business. You can market test your business idea with potential customers through online survey companies like Zoomerang and Survey Monkey. There are companies that will help entrepreneurs bring products to market in exchange for a small percentage of the royalties. Further, social networking presents opportunities to spread the word about quirky, home-based businesses quickly and at low costs.
Learn a new word – “No.” Running a small business and managing a family requires you to cultivate the ability to prioritize and say “no.” In your personal life, you cannot do everything, so you have to decide what you are willing to give up, (i.e. dinners out, a perfectly clean house, watching television.) On the business end, do not schedule in-person meetings when the phone will do, do not commit to deadlines that cannot be met, and try to tackle complex tasks earlier in the day when you are fresher, saving more mundane tasks for the late evening.
Forget an old word – “Multi-tasking.” Many mothers are used to multitasking. However, if you want to grow your small business, you will have to learn to delegate some of your tasks. If you have the funds, consider hiring a part-time assistant to handle administrative duties while you focus on the company’s vision. As your business expands, keep your eyes open for a partnership with a like-minded mother turned small business owner.
The benefits of mom-run businesses radiate in all directions. Children get more time with their mothers. Families get the financial benefit of an additional income. These types of businesses can also help spur economic growth and niches can become filled with highly specialized products and services. And, if they don’t have to choose between family and career, mompreneurs themselves just might find their stress shrinking as their businesses grow.