For many women, being a stay-at-home parent is the perfect time to set up a business. It is a time in life where being available to your family and having control over your time is more important than ever – and that is something that working for yourself can indeed deliver.
There are countless success stories of women who have built empires, that started off as a kitchen table business they set up around looking after young children. Mumsnet and Notonthehighstreet are two of the best known. And alongside these examples are thousands more women who preferred to make a living not a fortune. Whatever your aspirations are, it is entirely possible to build a successful business as a stay-at-home mum. Here are some tips to inspire you and help you to avoid some common mistakes.
You can’t run a business if you organise yourself poorly. Set a clear vision and goals. Create to-do lists so that you can stay on schedule and move swiftly from one task to the other. Avoid as many interruptions as you can. If you do get interrupted, you can refer back to your to-do list and pick up from where you left off.
Be productive in your business and as a parent
Focus is massively important, but your kids need you just as much as your business, so make the most of your flexibility as a stay-at-home mum to spend time with your children. Don’t feel bound by traditional ‘office hours’ unless you have to. If your working hours are flexible, then it could make sense to work when they are in bed, at school or nursery. The ability to manage your own time means that you have the opportunity to be fully present as a parent and run a business at the same time.
Have your own space
The kitchen might feel convenient at times, but it’s much better to have your own workspace. You need a private space to which you can escape so you can concentrate on your work. It also sets some boundaries. People will know not to disturb you while you’re in there.
Make sure you have a good internet connection
A reliable internet connection is crucial but starting a business does not mean that you need to look for a business broadband package. The fastest home broadband packages offer speeds north of 350mbps, which is more than enough to cover for all your broadband needs. That also accounts for those weird moments when the entire family might decide to stream 4k videos during your working hours. But don’t worry, most broadband deals have your need for speed entirely covered.
However, take into account that as a parent working from home, it is pretty likely that the space you designated to be your home office might not always be as quiet as you thought it would be. Moving around the house while multi-tasking and looking for the momentarily peace you might need is almost a guarantee. Look for wireless broadband providers offering the best technology for everyone in the house, without having to rely on a wired connection that would limit your movements and your ability to adapt to the ever-changing situations happening daily around your home.
Get help around the house
Despite the hustling, work-around-the-clock image of the entrepreneur, no entrepreneur truly does it alone, so accept help from others. The key is to focus your time on the tasks that only you can do. Try to outsource everything else. That includes domestic as well as business assistance. Get someone in to take care of chores such as cleaning or to look after the children while you work. Make a list of all the tasks you have to do in your business and see if you can outsource any. Hiring a virtual assistant would be helpful and could save you money when you compare the price of hiring them to the value of the hours you gain to do billable work.
Being a stay-at-home mum, while building a business may mean that your business will grow more gradually at first. Keeping your expectations realistic will allow you to work steadily towards your goals and enjoy the sweet taste of success as you accomplish them, rather than feeling frustrated and giving up halfway through the journey.