One of the biggest misconceptions that parents who want to quit their job make is in the financial preparations. If it takes at least a year to build a business from home, then logically that would mean you would need to save at least your full annual income to live off of in that year, right? WRONG.
No wonder so many people think it is impossible and remain STUCK in a less than desirable situation.
The good news is that you are NOT STUCK.
The bad news? There are still sacrifices to be made.
Before losing all hope, create a financial spreadsheet. Cut out all of the expenses that go along with working outside of the home, such as daycare expenses, house cleaning, commuting, etc. With your spouse’s income, you should only be in the negative $200-$500 a month. If you are higher than that, go back to the drawing board and see if you can’t cut something else out. Sacrifices will need to be made for a short time.
Once you have gotten your expenses down to no more than -$500, multiply THAT amount by 12 months.
For example: 500 x 12 = $6,000
Now isn’t that a more logical annual goal to save before you quit your job? $6,000 is much more attainable to have saved than $60,000, and should minimize the fear of jumping without that safety net.
Furthermore, this now gives you a new income goal as a first time business owner.
You have enough of a safety net for a year… and that is more than enough time to get your small business up and running. Remember, you don’t have to REPLACE your monthly income. The goal now is to earn $500/ month. Sure, it may take you a few months to get there, but when you do, you won’t have to dip into your safety net anymore… or if you have a down month, your safety net should still be there for you.
Don’t look now, but you are self-employed.
Before you know it, you’ll be thriving as a self-employed career parent. You may even get used to the less expensive way of life. Once business picks up, you’ll need to think about how to scale it up, hire some outsourcing support, or even scale it back for busier times of the year. You got this!
If you are a work-at-home mom like me, then your days are jam packed with a full itinerary, and you have to schedule time to pee. Each day is an exercise in extreme flexibility and if you get anything done as expected it is counted as bonus. As immersed as I am, I know that this very well may be the most exciting time of my life, and I don’t want to miss it. I’ve made it a point to schedule in little bits of time for myself that are JUST MINE. It’s important that we take time to enjoy it all, even in the midst of carpooling with blue tooth conference calls, blogging during nap-time and podcasting while folding laundry. It’s not easy- but it is crucial. To keep a healthy pace and stay in tip-top shape, we must keep organized and commit to giving ourselves “happy time”.
With an overcrowded schedule, you may need to multi-task your happy time just like everything else. Here is a quick list of ways to incorporate some rose smelling among your daily chores:
Make a schedule. As organized as I try to be, I never feel organized enough. I can’t believe there is one mom in the world who feels her life is completely put in order every day, and if there is, I’d like to meet her and tell her I am sure that she is lying. However, you must never underestimate the power of making lists. If you can find 5 minutes at the beginning of each day, jot down the things you hope to accomplish, and make sure you add some time for yourself to decompress. I have found that just making the list is a moment that I can claim as mine. It helps me to feel more in control of my day and ready to take on whatever disasters may be awaiting my arrival. Plus, is there anything more satisfying than being able to cross off a completed task?
Listen to Music. I recently made a CD called “Hey, I LOVE this song”. Which is a compilation of songs exactly like the title of the CD. These are songs that when are heard, I usually gasp and say, “Oh my god I love this one…” You know what I am talking about. It probably wouldn’t take you long to create your own list given 20 minutes. I play these songs at the gym, when I doing house chores, and in the car. My kids have learned to love these songs as well because when these special songs fill the air, they see their mommy at her happiest. Never feel too silly to dance with your kids or shake some booty while stirring the vegis. Happy music = a happy house. (for a list of my personal “LOVE this song” or “guilty pleasure” songs, visit here– and I make no apologies).
Get some exercise. Believe me, I know that finding time to work out is as difficult as finding time to sleep on most weeks. In fact, when I was working in the corporate world, finding time to work out was literally impossible. I don’t mind saying I took real offense at people who said I needed to make it a priority- especially because I barely had time to eat, sleep, or spend time with my new baby boy. But if you are a stay-at-home parent, you have more control of your schedule than ever before- as packed as it may be. In the corporate world, I was PAID to sit on my tush all day- not exercise. But now that I am my own boss, I have realized that the gym is a wonderful place to get some “me time,” not to mention a long shower…and nothing beats the productivity that comes from that time. I get my best ideas on the treadmill!
Laugh. Laugh with your kids, laugh with your spouse, laugh with other grownups you see at the grocery store, at your kids school and sports practices, and laugh with yourself. Life is full of hilarity, and if you are not laughing on a daily basis, it means you are moving too fast to notice it. Your kids will never be this age again. Instead of being one of those parents who are constantly murmuring, “I hate this age, I wish they’d grow out of this annoying phase soon, “ be the parent that relishes each moment, makes mistakes and cracks themselves up. You’ll be surprised at how much your kids will admire you and grow to be adults that are celebrating their lives at the envy of others.
Create a grateful list. This always, always, always improves my spirits 200%. I highly recommend that you do this at least once a month. The list should be of things that you know you are privileged to have in your life. It may start out with obvious entries such as, “I am grateful that I have a roof over my head. I am grateful for the food in my fridge.” but eventually you’ll feel more genuine about your gratitude. You should make certain to also include things that you WANT to be grateful for as if they are already in place. “I am grateful that my 4 year old is well behaved and doesn’t pick on his younger brother. I am grateful that the baby is finally sleeping through the night.” Don’t underestimate the power of wishful thinking. It’s funny, this is the one task that people seems to balk at when I make the suggestion, but once they do it, they are always amazed at how worth their time it was.
Ally Loprete is a stay-at-home mother of 2 boys, a former television, theatre and film actress, singer, performer, storyteller, and teacher. An advocate of parents, Ally founded OurMilkMoney.com, an online business directory of self-employed parents and an organization dedicated to helping parents find financial opportunities and support. She is also the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home weekly radio show available on Toginet.com, and the playwright & performer for her one-woman show about the journey of dealing with unexpected drama in life, Chasing Ally.
Happy New Year! I haven’t spoken to you since the calendar reset so I can still say that. Don’t you hate when people are still saying Happy New Year in March though? It’s like come on, dude. We’re 1/3 in already. Anyway I hope your year has gotten off to a successful start. You gotta love January. Not so much for the weather but more for the fact that everybody heads into the year with the best intentions. On 1/1 everyone gets a chance for a new beginning and a fresh start. Well let me tell you about a new beginning that we can all get excited about.
Our Milk Money is heading into its 3rd year and I’ve never been more excited about the future of this site. I have watched OMM grow from a germ of an idea in November of ’07 to the full launch in March of ’08 and the movement it’s helped to create since then. And from being on the inside, I can honestly say that there are things in the works that will make OMM members thrilled and make non OMM members join up. Amongst these things are an updated site, a staff of volunteers, and more publicity for your business. Don’t believe me? the site is getting its own Internet radio show for God’s sake. Seriously. Stay tuned for details but it’s coming in February and you’ll probably all be on it at some point as a guest plugging your business. By the way, just cause I was there doesn’t mean I did any work. I didn’t. For those that pay attention you may have noticed that my last name is the same as the owner and founder of this site. Or rather her last name is the same as mine. That’s no coincidence. I am lucky enough to have been married to Ally for the last 7 1/2 years. She on the other hand is probably ready to chew her leg off and get out of this trap, but she grits her teeth and endures the pain. I do not exaggerate one iota when I say I have never seen anyone put as much passion and hard work into a project as I’ve seen Ally put into OMM. Blood, sweat, and tear 24/7 for the last three years. It has not always been easy. In fact let me amend that. It has NEVER been easy. This thing drove her crazy at times. Un…yeeeaaaah. I mean that literally by the way. Ask here where she spent the first weekend of June ’08. She has never strayed from her original vision or purpose and is constantly looking for ways to improve and grow this site as well as your business. She is also a fantastic mother to 2 extremely demanding little boys and a wonderful wife to a grumpy third child. So believe me when I say that you are in good hands and can trust that Ally is determined to grow not only your business, but the stay at home business network until it is its own little community with a working, breathing economy. She talks about it much better than I do by the way. I just write stupid stories about Jedi shows. Anyway this year resolve to do two things. First turn to your spouse and thank them for all the hard work they do whether it’s head to an office for a job or stay at home and raise a family while growing a home business. The 2nd thing? Get excited about OMM 2010. Jump on board and enjoy the ride!