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!
The goal of any business is to make money. To that end, many businesses should be focusing on a multi-billion dollar market: moms. Marketing to moms is the wave of the future…and the wave of now! Why are moms so important?
Moms are enterprising. According to BSM Media, Inc., the amount of money spent by moms is already over the trillion dollar mark. That’s more than the budget of some third world countries!
Also according to BSM Media, Inc., almost ninety percent of moms consider themselves the financial head of the home. The husband may be the one in many cases that brings home most or all of the money, but moms are usually the ones that make the ‘how-to-spend-the-money’ decisions. Moms shop for everything that is related to the household: clothes for the kids, appliances, electronics, outdoor furniture, accessories and home improvement items.
The majority of husbands who shop for these items will consult their wives before buying them. Why do they do this? It is because the wives tend to do most of the research into the products to find the best one on the market for them. Moms influence as much as eighty-five percent of the purchases for their homes. That’s a huge number of moms! Over seventy million!
Take a moment and think about all of the tasks that moms handle in a day. The tasks can include housework, driving kids to and from school and activities, cooking meals and managing finances. They need to keep all of these things straight…and to that they usually employ a wide variety of technology. It is quite common these days to see a mom sitting at a park, watching her kids playing while browsing/working on an iPad, iPhone, or other such mobile device.
Moms are typically quite savvy on the internet. For many years, the trend has been for moms, and women about to become moms, to come out of the ‘9-5’ workplace and come home to start their own business so they can be home with their children. To that end, moms have developed a network of blogs, websites and forums designed to teach moms everthing from designing websites, starting businesses online, marketing to other moms, all while managing their homes. With all of this additional knowledge, moms’ buying power has increased exponentially. Marketing Mistake?
Traditionally, the only products marketed towards women were household and cooking products. This goes back to the old thought that a woman’s place was in the home. Many companies are now seeing what a huge detriment that approach has been to them.
Women and moms have made a huge imprint in what was traditionally a man’s world. Women are not limited to office jobs. They are CEOs and CFOs. Women don’t just ‘surf the internet’, they are becoming entrepreneurs with increasing influence over internet marketing. These days, having moms shun your product because you are not marketing to them means that they are spreading the word via the internet and in their own communities. The Future
Moms are influenced by other moms. Several generations of moms are coming together to influence spending habits of major corporations. In the future, you can expect this trend to continue. As moms become more ‘connected’ in the world, their influence over spending will increase [as their circles of influce do]. Gain the support of savvy moms with your products/services and your business will reap the benefits. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.
Organization can be a great challenge for some work at home moms (WAHMs). For others, it comes naturally. Still others wish they could be more organized but don’t know where to begin. Regardless, getting organized can really help you run an effective business from home. Here are some tips. The Calendar.
Your calendar can be a simple notebook, an online calendar, or a business day planner from an office supply store. Some WAHMs like a big desk calendar; others prefer an hourly rather than a daily or weekly approach. Choose what works for you – if you have trouble organizing yourself, a more hourly approach may help in the beginning. If you are naturally task oriented and ordered, a weekly calendar might work better for you.
The calendar is where you divvy up your time. It’s where you prioritize the urgent tasks and separate them from the less urgent ones. Your calendar is also where you note the time it takes for repeated tasks – making meals, running errands, doing laundry, bedtime routine with the kids, etc. It can really help to go ahead and write those things in just so you can realistically see how many hours you have to devote to work. Quick Meals.
Meal preparation can take some time, especially if you are concerned about your family eating fresh, whole foods made from scratch. However, you can cut corners on time and not necessarily on health. Here are some ideas for taking a load off of meal prep:
Have someone in the family go to the store for you. Keep your list specific and easy to read.
Divide up meal preparation among family members (this depends on the age and number of people in your family, of course, and does not apply to everyone). Let everyone in the family choose a day when he or she makes dinner, or helps make dinner.
Delegate clean-up to other family members as well.
Food does not have to be elaborate to be healthy. Pasta tossed with steamed veggies is quick and healthy, and lean meats like turkey can be popped in the oven and baked while you work. Save the gourmet experiments for the weekends.
Work at home moms like to share tips and tricks for helping each other succeed. There is no perfect formula or guarantee of a huge income while you do nothing (and anything that promises that is likely a scam), but those who have succeeded or know others who have succeeded have some good ideas. In fact, it is this networking and sharing that is success tip number one. Social Networking.
Join groups with similar interests. There are entire online communities dedicated to supporting the work at home mom (WAHM). Some of the online communities are free to join, some provide space for you to advertise for a small fee and some sites require a fee to join. As noted above, moms who work at home usually enjoy sharing success tips, and having a support community can really help when you have questions. You can also share your own tips and successful ‘moments’.
Another word on social networking – sites like Facebook are becoming increasingly popular among small home businesses. The Latest Technology.
Don’t be afraid of things like Twitter and online advertising. Success is more likely to come your way if you are connected and available. You might consider a mobile device so you can update people as to the latest information on your business, and so you can respond to clients and prospective clients right away. Love What You Do.
It’s hard to be successful doing something you dislike. You are likely to lose motivation if you don’t like the product you’re selling, the information you are writing about and so forth. Your passions and interests may not be conducive to a work at home business, but if you are really honest with yourself you can probably find something that interests you that would make a fulfilling business venture. Be Decisive.
One of the pitfalls that can happen with WAHMs is distraction. Another pitfall is uncertainty. If you aren’t sure that you want to do this particular business or even whether or not you want to work from home, then decide before venturing into business. You can research and ask before deciding, but it can be a mistake to do things halfway (such as starting a website but having no idea how to promote it or update it). Keep it Personal.
One of the things that business customers sometimes complain about is that they can’t seem to talk to a ‘live human’ in customer service. If you are courteous and take the time to answer people’s concerns, it ups your chances for success. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.
This is one of those questions that work at home moms (WAHMs) often ask themselves – in fact, it’s often something potential WAHMs ask before they even begin working from home: how are you going to balance work, home and family? No one is perfect at this, and no one has the perfect formula. But, there are some good tips out there on how to balance these important elements of your life. Here are some of those tips. Organize Your Time.
As a mom, it can sometimes seem like everyone wants a piece of your time and attention every minute. It helps to look at time as a big pie – if you take out a piece now, that’s one less piece that you’ll have later. So, divide up the pie.
You can make a pie chart of your day if you want to, but a day planner or online calendar will work just fine. This might work best if you do it weekly rather than daily. And it does not have to be done in this order – just because business tasks are listed first here does not mean they are the most important. If family time is a bigger priority for you, then list it first.
First, list everything you need to do for your business that week, dividing it up into urgent priorities and not-so-urgent ones. Then estimate the hours that the urgent ones will take, and plug those hours into your work week. Those are the non-optional work hours. Then, plug in the less-urgent business activities – maybe using a different color – so you know those are not absolutely vital.
After that, make a list of household chores for that week – laundry, meals, errands, etc. Divide those up among the non-work hours. Take into consideration thinkgs like weekly events (religious activities, soccer games, etc.) that will require more laundry. If possible, set this weekly household task list up to repeat each week so these things will be on autopilot and won’t require re-scheduling each week. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel every week!
Make another list of family time. Do your kids go to school? Do you homeschool? What about family dinners and game nights together? What about a date with your spouse, or if your single, a date with a friend? Schedule in these social things into your calendar too, and rearrange accordingly. Maybe a non-vital business task can be set aside to spend some extra time with your kids this week. Give yourself time off.
People who work in an office get weekends off. While you may not be able to spare two whole days every week, set aside time one day a week where you can rest and spend time with family. Organizing your time is fine, but a little down time can be therapeutic…even if you have to schedule it in! Consider a mother’s helper.
Mother’s helpers can be such a help for busy WAHMs. Mother’s helpers come to your house rather than you having to drop your kids off with them. They are cheaper than a babysitter, and your kids still stay at home with you present. The mother’s helper can help out around the house, entertain the kids or even run a short errand. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.