How does a business mum with a micro-business or big ideas take the next leap forward in boosting her income? Here are my top three ideas to get you started.
Manage your time.
Of course this is easier said than done, and I’ve heard it said that time is unmanageable, but with effective planning you can assess what you can realistically achieve in the time you have available.
Think about when you will work. Try drawing up a schedule of your week, and write down when you can fit work in. Consider how much childcare you have and whether you want to work evenings and weekends. Consider what your childcare costs will be and check the latest tax credits advice on www.directgov.uk You may be able to arrange childcare swaps with another local mum. I find it helps to even plan when I will fit in some housework time, relaxation time, and social time so that I can keep a good balance in all areas of my life.
Make a business plan.
This can sound daunting. Before I started a business I thought this was a long complicated document that you had to present to a bank manager, whilst wearing your smartest suit. However, after training with Ace Inspire I realised that you can start with a short written plan just for yourself, detailing what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. It will summarise your finances and how you are going to grow. When you consider that it’s the story of how your dream will play out it becomes quite exciting.
Add strings to your bow.
If you’re honest with yourself about where you’re aiming to get to you may identify areas of your business that you could improve on. You may need to outsource some tasks, or get extra training and knowledge so that you can take on extra elements of the business yourself. Consider things like bookkeeping, PR, social media and business blogging.
Earning a living around looking after your kids has never been easier.
It is many mums’ dream to earn a living whilst still enjoying time with their children as they grow up. Even being able to be there to do the school run can bring a lot of comfort for both you and your child.
There are a number of ways you can make your dream a reality.
The dream becomes more achievable when you break it down. Stop thinking of how to make all the money you need from just one thing. For example trying to make £1000 from one type of work is a big challenge, but earning £250 a month from four different income streams sounds instantly more achievable. Your target may not even be as much as £1000 per month, perhaps you only need an additional £400 a month to top up other incomes to the household. Well, now we only need four different income streams that earn £100 a month each. That sounds much easier doesn’t it?
So what can you start doing right now to earn your target income?
Grab a pen and paper and list *every* skill you have. Don’t be modest here: you need a good long list to work from.
You should include all the tasks you’ve learned in previous jobs, all the skills you’ve honed from being a parent and housekeeper. Think back to every time someone has praised you for a job well done, what were you doing? Are you well-known amongst friends for being particularly good at certain things?
If your list doesn’t have at least twenty-five things on it then you’re being too modest! Ask friends and family to suggest ideas to help.
Now, think about your passions, hobbies and new skills you’d like to learn. Add these in a separate section at the bottom of your list.
You should have at least thirty things on your list and these are the basis for your new future income streams!
For every idea on that list think of at least three ways you could make money from it and note them down. For example if you are great at making cupcakes your three ideas might be; baking and selling cupcakes, running small cupcake making workshops, starting a blog on how to make cupcakes and earning through taking advertising.
You will now be on your way to almost 100 ideas about how you can make money. Now it’s time to take action and start working on those ideas. Pick the easy ideas first. Try each idea until you can find a combination of three or four that get you to your target income. Some ideas may take longer to get going such as if you need to retrain. If you have one idea that really takes off, that’s excellent! Run with it!
As you work through your ideas think about how much each is earning and how much time each one takes. Focus on the income streams that generate the most money in the least amount of time. Don’t forget that one of your important goals is to spend quality time with your family.
Being a mum in business, not only do you have the usual battles of bed time, teeth brushing and eating your greens, you also have the battles with time, client demands and making sure your business is a success.
All of these stress can make it seem that you should give up and get a job, but in my recent post, Is being a WAHM affecting my kids, I shared the main reasons I want and need to be a wahm. Running your own business can and is difficult but not impossible.
Here are five ways to help you with your tug of war:
- Structure. Make sure that you have in place a structure for not just your business but also for your family. Create a timetable for each week, especially for when the kids return to school, so that you know exactly what is going on each week, when you need to be working and when you need to be there for your family. It will not only help you not to miss anything important but also let your family know when you are working.
- Understand Your Why. Why did you start your business in the first place? Was it to fulfill a lifelong ambition, provide an extra income or to be there for when your children need you? Mine is a mixture of these three but primarily to be there when my children need me. Try to remember your reason why and you will find it actually inspires you to work harder in your business but, if like me it is so you can be there when your children need you, remember this too and be there for them with feeling guilty (i know it’s hard)
- Prioritize. Once you have your structure in place, you need to prioritize your time and not got sidetracked by things that are not beneficial. It is easy to get caught up in something on social media or answer a call that ends up taking an hour, so try, where possible to limit these distractions. This is also important were your family is concerned, make sure you make their important activities or work a priority and factor them into your schedule. Homework, reading or concerts are all areas that you need to attend so don’t feel guilty for leaving work to watch your child, this is why you work from home in your own business.
- Your Business is Serving Your Family Too. If you find your children and/or partner are constantly moaning about you being distracted or working so much, help them understand that you are also helping them out too. Explain that if you had an employed job you wouldn’t be there for them when they really needed you and I’m sure they like the little extras your businesses income helps with.
- Remember You. I left this one till last as this is something we always do, as mums and business women. We are always the last person we think about but you need to remember to do something for you too. You are in the middle of this tug of war, taking all the strain and stress on your shoulders and there really is only so much you can take. So whilst you are setting up your schedule, ensure that you factor in some time for you. Be it a walk in the park, coffee with friends or a long soak in the bath, make sure it is something for you, to nourish you and your soul.
I love being a work at home mum, especially as the summer holidays where coming but I do often wonder if being a wahm really is the best decision I made and just how is it affecting my kids?
The main drawback of being a wahm, especially in the holidays, is that I still have work to do so I often find myself saying, “wait a minute”, “I need to just finish this” and “I’m working”. I also find myself wondering if I would actually be less stressed and more financially stable if I had an employed job that brought in a set wage.
But then the benefits of being a wahm pop into my head, the ones where it means I can attend school events at a drop of a hat, organise my work so we can go out and actually do things as a family during the holidays and not have to leave the children with others to look after them.
As I have thought more about this as a whole, I feel that although being a wahm does impact upon the children, it also has many benefits that my children would dearly miss if I stopped and went back to working for someone else.
The main point of this article is to show that there are both positives and negatives to being a wahm, but you need to work out what they are and ensure you balance them to try to limit the actual impact they are having on the children.
Yes you read that right, have you not yet thought that your children can actually get involved in helping you run your business?
What your children can actually do to help you in your business will of course depend on their age, but even preschoolers can help you by posting mail, collecting delivered mail and fetching items from around your office!
As your children get older, you may actually find that they really want to get involved in helping you with your business. It is a great way to show them what you do and encourage their entrepreneurial abilities for when they are older.
Set tasks that they can manage as if you set them something that they will struggle to do, they will get frustrated and this may put them off helping you in the future.This will also open up multiple opportunities to praise and encourage your children.
If you have school-aged children, great jobs you can get them to help with are stuffing envelopes, running small errands around the home and if you have a business aimed at children, they’d make great product testers too.
For the tweens to teens, answering the phone, filing and replying to non-important emails are all great jobs they’d love to help out with. Also if you have a business where you make things, add them as part of the production line! Through getting them involved, they will understand the amount of work it takes to run a business and why you cannot always help them at the drop of a hat.
So how could you get your kids involved in your business this summer?
Am I the only mum really excited that my three are going to be at home with me for the next 6 weeks? I can’t wait to no longer have to rush out the door following an hour of nagging and rushing around. No more having to rush back out at 3 to collect the kids then deliver and pick up from numerous after school activities and cooking tea at the same time!
I am really going to enjoy having time to do what we want to do and when we want to do it. This is all thanks to being a WAHM! Don’t get me wrong, I will be still working over the summer holidays but I can factor it in around days out, cinema trips, baking and hopefully a trip to the seaside.
I know that if I had a job, I would have a completely different mindset, worried about the juggle of childcare and feeling guilty, but thanks to working from home I can actually do both, without the guilt.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know full well there will be days this holidays where the kids are bored and I will have something that needs doing for my business, but these will be outweighed by the fact that if we want to go swimming one afternoon, I can make sure I get everything I need to do done to make time to do this.
So how will I cope with having the kids at home for 6 whole weeks as ell as running my business? Here are my top tips:
Making time for work
- Get up an hour before the kids
- Work during the evenings
- Make a deal, I try to work in the morning and go out in the afternoon.
- Visit play area’s with WiFi
- Invest in a smart phone.
- Involve the children
- Manage your time effectively, don’t waste time on Facebook instead of working!
- Schedule telephone calls when you know you are likely to be free and with no interruptions.
- If you are interrupted apologise, explain you are working from home and rearrange.
- If you are busy let it go to answer phone
Let your business run itself.
- Write down what you need to do in your business to keep it running through the summer.
- Automate as much as possible such as Facebook and Twitter
- Bulk schedule blog posts weeks in advance
- Outsource where ever you can.
These are my tips on working through the holidays, I’d love you to share any more you have. The most important thing you need to remember is the reason why you work from home, to be there for your family!
I have launched many businesses in my working life, the first when I was 18 and all have been fairly successful. Each time I have started a new business, new areas have challenged me, but with each challenge, I have learned and overcome it. So I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt since I started my first business many years ago!
- There is never a good time to launch. As with anything in life, there is never going to be a perfect time to launch a business. As long as you have the basics, a product/service, a way to deliver it and a basic website, you are ready. You can build on the basics as you go along and you will actually find that you save money doing it this way rather than having everything you think you need to start and find you don’t really need it after all.
- Perfection is overrated. Along the same lines as the last point, perfection will stall your business. Whatever isn’t just right, get over it and it will get there when it does. Perfection leads to procrastination which in turn will stop you getting on with your business. No one will know if it is not perfect other than you.
- The answers are out there. Can you believe that when I started my last beauty business in 2009 I had no idea what SEO was, or blogging let alone social media and yet here I am 6 years later able to help others in all of these areas. You do not need to know everything as there are many people out there who will help you. If you want to learn more about something you are struggling with, then Google it, search YouTube for a video tutorial or search on Pinterest. There is so much information available to us these days, ask and you will find!
- You need to find your niche. With so many people starting businesses, setting up websites and blogs, you need to find your niche and stick to it. You may think that narrowing down your target audience is like shooting yourself in the foot, but in actual fact it will help your business to grow and thrive. You will be more targeted and direct in your business approach, reaping the rewards and in time you can extend if you feel it is right.
- Don’t take things personally. This is one that I still struggle with. When it’s your business, your products or your work, it can be so hard to take a step back and not take things personally. But by taking comments to heart, you will not be able to take an objective view of what is being said which could in the long run help your business. As long as the comments are not a direct insult to you, listen, take them on board and work out how you can remedy the issue.