I’ve been playing around with the idea of becoming a Mompreneur and starting my own business more than usual lately. Whenever I’m with my varsity friends, as I was this weekend, they’ll always remind me of how I was working 2 jobs and running a business from my first year. I have always been a busy body and I enjoy having several things going on at the same time.
My first business was a promotions and marketing agency, which I started in 2007, and then I moved onto a production and events company with a friend in 2011, which I ended up taking over by myself a few years later. As I climbed up the corporate ladder and my career became more demanding, I kind of gave up on business and only got involved in some NGO work and eventually blogging. I’ve had many interests and projects going and I’m finding myself itching to get back into it again.
At the moment, I’ve still got one-too-many ideas floating around in my head and I’m working on really identifying and refining which one/s I should focus on next. But, in the meantime, I thought I’d jot down the business tips that might be helpful if you’re thinking of taking the plunge of working for yourself and running your mom-life at the same time.
Oh, you might also find my post on six ways to earn an extra income helpful
Identify your passion:
We all know that saying “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. Get pen and paper and start jotting down all those creative ideas that are floating around in your head. Be crystal clear in your mind about what it is you want to do.
The word “passion” is often used loosely but how do you identify it? By really spending the time getting to know yourself better and asking yourself some (personal) questions:
What are you both skilled and interested in?
If you won a prize in a talent show, what would it be for? What are you naturally good at?
Where are you currently adding the most value and what is energizes you in your current occupation?
What would you do if you weren’t scared? Or if money wasn’t an issue?
Business is tough and you’re going to need a whole lot of passion to drive and keep you going when the chips are down.
Have a plan
It’s all good and well to know what you would love to do; but is it sustainable? Is there a market for your goods/services? Does it make business sense? Would it work around your family life?
I am currently reading a book titled “The Rules of Life” and in one of the chapters, the author, Richard Templar, says “if you don’t plan your plan, it will remain a dream”.
Most entrepreneurs will openly tell you how hard it is and we best take them seriously! Start-up businesses are infamous for fail within the first two years. To avoid this, create a through plan and feasibility assessment.
Use business-planning templates that are freely available online. Your business plan will be your basic tool, which will guide you and help determine the steps you need to follow to get started.
- What will set you apart?
- Who’s currently operating in your market?
- What are the gaps?
- How are you going to finance your venture
- Which organisations do you need to register with? Which laws and regulations will you need to comply with?
- What are your own limitations, potential challenges, and strengths?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Build your network:
Part of doing your homework will include meeting other business people and building a network of mentors, suppliers, potential clients (and baby sisters who can lend you a hand when you need to attend to opportunities).
Start attending relevant industry events, asking friends to connect and building a social media presence. The other day, I decided to work from a co-working space instead of home, because Khumo was around, and I met so many interesting entrepreneurs and creatives. It’s all about getting yourself out there and creating those new connections.
Register your domain, get an email address and print temporary business cards. When the opportunity comes, you want to be ready.
No one is going to coming looking for you. Let that sink in! You need to be brave and go out there. And yes, stop ignoring the other parents at your children’s school functions!
Another thing, I think it is so important to support other entrepreneurs and small businesses as well; one day you will need that very same support.
Put in the time
Now, obviously you have kids and a family to take care of, so extra time is NOT really a thing in your life, but you’re going to have to FIND/MAKE the extra time to work on your business. If you’re already working full time for instance, you’ll have to find ways to navigate around the time issue. It may even mean going to bed later or waking up earlier every day, to put in the hours.
How are you spending your so-called downtime… scrolling through social media?! uh-huh! You’ll be amazed at how much you can do while your kids are napping, visiting Gogo or watching a DVD.
Create a space in your home where you can work and channel your creativity, or find an inspiring coffee shop. Keep a list of all the to-do’s and stick to it!
- Wake up 30 minutes before you start your morning routine with your children and use it to brainstorm, research suppliers and respond to emails.
- Use the notes on your phone to start recording thoughts/ideas/to-do lists while you are in long queues
Believe in yourself
I feel like this should have been the first point. Feed and surround yourself with positivity. The world of entrepreneurship is very intimidating, but you have to see that vision coming to life BEFORE it actually does. You will notice that some people will start discouraging you, learn to ignore negativity, but remain open to constructive feedback.
“Believe you deserve it and the universe will serve it”
Please look out for the new series I’ll be starting on the blog, showcasing various Momprenuers.
Modern Zulu Mom