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!
Meet Elysse Fleece. She is a military wife and a mom to her Little Monster as he is called. She started Kozzy Bottoms from a love of cloth diapering and her passion for crafts. Its been a great way to keep the family together and it’s soothing for her. She has always loved to craft and to be able to do this for others is amazing. She never would have thought this would be her! Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide. Kozzy Bottoms is a online children’s boutique. We carry many “green” products that are associated with cloth diapering and parenting. Along with the accessories and diapers we hand make hair accessories, tutus, clothing and more. It’s a great way to get all your shopping done at one place. www.kozzybottoms.com
What motivated you to start your business?
We started cloth diapers later in the game and loved it. We listened to everyone in the start how we would hate having cloth diapers and then when I actually saw a cloth diaper I was shocked! There are no pins to stab or boiling or trouble. You simply put them on just like a regular diaper and then wash it vs. trashing it. After doing cloth we found the advantages to be so amazing we wanted to help other families see this. The money you save, better for your baby and the environment and they potty train sooner. Its just a great thing to try, at least try. What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?
We cloth diapered our son and I remember vividly how intimidated I was when I bought my first used diaper. I was so scared and confused when I got it home. I wanted to help other from feeling that confusion and its harder to step in and try cloth diapers later. We cloth diapered my son before his first birthday so we have been there with the confusion and the frustration. What trends do you see in your current industry?
Cloth is becoming a huge baby product! Its so great to see how people adapt to it and want to try it. The stigma that was associated with it; the pins, and tucking, and folding and diaper services and the poop are all a distant memory now. You can find pretty much every style, color or print of diaper that you want so there is no excuse. They are a great investment and as people have to pinch money now they are seeing the value in cloth diapers. It is so great to see how people are wanting to do better for their babies and themselves and cloth is something that people should consider. What are the most demanding aspects about your business?
Time management. As a military wife I have to manage with a deployed spouse and the demands of his job, a very active toddler who is a boy (enough said right!) and still taking care of the family and house and create our products. Being able to give each thing the attention it deserves is something that I am still trying to figure out a year later. What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?
I love getting pictures of children in our products. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing a smiling child because they are so happy. Or a parent who was so confused about diapers and then just seeing that moment when it clicks. Being able to help someone is such a great honor.
Being able to be home with my son is another reward all on its own. I love that I have been here for all his firsts. As hard as it can be to manage everything seeing my son happy and getting involved too is so much fun. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?
Learn time management and do your research. It is so much harder to implement things then it seems. It all looks so easy on paper but to actually time things is so much harder. And ask for help, there is nothing wrong about asking for help. What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur?
That my son is able to see his mom take something she truly enjoys doing and create a business from it. It is a great thing for my son to see that he is not limited by dreams and that with hard work he can make it a reality. That my son is also following in my footsteps already! He actually makes a couple of our products which is fun to sit down and create together. It’s a great bonding and learning time and to be able to do that with my son and still make it a business is the best. How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family?
I still have the worst time with it. I find it makes for very very late nights where I am still trying to get things done but I am learning to ask for help or to just put things on the back burner. No everything needs to be completed right then and there; there is a time to do everything. Just make sure it’s on the calendar or I forget! I must have at least 6 calendars in my house just to keep track or orders, appointments, play dates and even when the garbage goes out. Its learning to find the balance that works for your and your family. What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?
Facebook and word of mouth. We try all avenues for getting our product out there and we have great friends who have helped us along the way. Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family?
The ability to one day take a family vacation! We want to be able to take our son to Disney and have a actual family vacation. There is always something preventing us from having a real family vacation and one day we hope to be able to turn off the phones, the computers, pack away the combat boots for a while and just enjoy time together as a family.
When I think back to before I came home to work and take care of my new son, I remember how “stuck” I felt. I envied other women and men who had their own businesses and I believed that the only reason that I didn’t have one was because I lacked the motivation.
No, actually that wasn’t the only reason. Now that I think about it, I had a whole list of why I couldn’t be my own boss: I didn’t think I could hold myself accountable if I didn’t have a boss, I was sure I’d never get out of my pajamas during the day, I was afraid I might blow off all the work I was supposed to do and I’d eventually run my business into the ground, this little business of mine would end up being a hobby of some sort ike a never ending project of scrapbooking, I didn’t know what the start-up costs were, I didn’t have the money, I didn’t have a unique idea or a business plan, I was sure that I lacked whatever skills I needed, I was certainly not organized, I didn’t know the first thing about becoming a business owner, or about financing, taxes, or even the slightest notion what I could actually DO. I’d also had way too many jobs (more than I care to share, actually) where bosses had convinced me that I was capable of very little. The sad thing is that I really believed them.
Now that I am self-employed, I look back and laugh at how absurd I was thinking that I couldn’t pull this off, and I wonder what took me so long to get here. I know that it was the fear of the unknown, but had I really grasped what it would be like to work for myself, I would have started 10 years earlier, and spared myself all of those confidence crashes, not to mention the most difficult year of my life while my infant son was in daycare.
The really crazy part is that I know how many others still feel stuck the way that I did, and are probably surfing all over the internet right now for the answer. I have no problem admitting that 90 percent of my corporate salary was spent surfing the internet for a way out. I found that to be so ironic when being a stay at home parent pays nothing and is literally one of the most difficult jobs there is.
If you are looking for a quick easy answer, sorry to tell you there isn’t one. I do not have a fool proof business to sell you, I personally don’t have a job to offer you, and I certainly don’t have any specific answers. But I promise you… you can do it, because anyone can. If you have a skill, you can work for yourself. So many people do not realize that they already have what it takes to become self-employed. The simplest question is this: What are you doing for someone else that you could be doing for yourself? Without making a single excuse, just answer the question. Make a list of your skills. Then, trust that you will figure out the rest. You’ll find ways to market, to connect with others, to tap into resources that will give you whatever information you are lacking. Trust that you will find the answers and that there will always be someone to help you.
The internet is an amazing thing and has given us unlimited resources as far as information is concerned. Plus, it connects us to just about everyone on the planet, so when you do decide to venture out on your own, you will have help and support. The possibilities are endless. All you have to do is ask. I had no idea a year ago that the internet community existed to support one another the way that it does. I have been blown away by the generosity of those that I’ve met in my first 2 years as an entrepreneur. I am astounded every day at the passion others have to see ME succeed. Why? Because my success means their success. I GET IT NOW.
So the reason I wanted to write this article is because it wasn’t out there when I was looking for it. I wish that back when I was feeling stuck, someone had invited me to THIS party, just for a moment. I needed to be taken by the hand and introduced to this encouraging world of self-employed parents. Perhaps I wouldn’t have quite realized the compassion and the support that it contained, even if it was staring me directly in the face, but I do know that it was something even greater than what I was searching for, and others need to know that it exists as well. So if this is you, then welcome to the party. You’ll love it here.
Self -employed Parent Enthusiast Ally Loprete is the Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, a nationwide online business directory of self-employed parents, and the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, on The Toginet.com Radio Groupwhich can be downloaded on iTunes.Ally is on a mission to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of leaving a full time job to start a new business, while running a full time household and raising kids. She is resolute about creating a haven in which parents across the nation will continue to thrive and obtain the support they need in their personal journeys. Visit more at www.ourmilkmoney.com. Private coaching is available at www.thislittleparent.info
Work at Home Moms (WAHMs) often begin their ventures with very little money to invest. There are specific business ideas that can be started on a shoestring budget. Here are some business ideas for moms who have few start up funds.
First, a Website…
Since you will probably be finding many of your clients online, you will need a website. This is generally considered to be step one for any work at home venture. It is a means by which you can promote yourself, and a place to refer people who want more information.
Prospective clients can visit your website to learn a bit about you before hiring you by email through your site. Thankfully, though, starting a website is not expensive. You can generally purchase a domain for less than $10, or you can start a blog for free and build that as your promotional online presence.
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is someone who does administrative or secretarial work remotely. VAs transcribe, translate, prepare mailings, and do other administrative duties. Virtual Assistants are not confined to secretarial work, however. Some VAs offer web design, marketing consultation, and even technical support to clients. Since VAs use the internet and telephone, they can garner clients around the world.
Some suggest taking a VA course online. Whether you take a course or not, success depends significantly on the hours you are willing to put in. Some VAs become so successful that they begin their own VA business, employing a staff of VAs who can serve their clients.
Teaching others something you know is a low cost work at home idea. Consulting can start with your own acquaintances and friends – spread the word that you have valuable knowledge and are going into business sharing this knowledge with others.
Some ideas for consultant businesses are in the fields of nutrition, natural lifestyles, green living and marketing. But in reality, there are so many possibilities in the consulting world that you can get unique and creative with your consulting business. Just make sure you are filling a real need before you venture out to sell your knowledge.
Someone needs to care for children while their parents are working – even working from home! Once you check with your local regulations and laws in this regard, running and in home daycare (or something less official, such as watching one family’s children) can be a lucrative at home business.
Writing Web Content
The internet is the place to go for information. This is why no one buys set of encyclopedias anymore! That information has to get out somehow, and writers of web content are often in demand. You can work for a publishing company that provides web content to its clients and write articles on various subjects. 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.
Today, there are many work at home options available. In order to stay motivated and succeed, you will want to choose something you are good at and enjoy.
Of course, there are scams out there that promise you thousands of dollars for doing nothing but what you want all day, and this simply isn’t realistic. Working from home is still work! It will be much easier, though, if you choose something that interests you and that you enjoy doing. Here are some options and how you can determine what works for you.
Be honest about how much time you have. If you have young children, you’ll need to arrange for childcare or work around their schedule. If you only have ten hours a week to put toward a work at home job, then it’s better to go ahead and admit that now rather than bite off more than you can chew.
List your skills.
Making lists is not always our first instinct, but it’s a good exercise for looking truthfully at your abilities, hopes, dreams, etc. Begin by making a list of your practical skills – these can run the gamut from meal planning to typing to teaching.
Then, make a list of all your income needs. How much money do you need to quit your day job, or to pay the mortgage? List all expenses from groceries to car payments.
Finally, make a list of your goals and dreams for your business. Where do you envision your business going? Are you content working for others or do you want to go into business for yourself? Include in this list your financial goals – maybe you’d like to afford a vacation, a new car, or just the utility bill.
Having these lists will help you determine if a work at home opportunity is a fit for you. If it doesn’t help you meet your goals, it probably isn’t right for you.
If you’re working from home, you have a computer and an internet connection, right? So, get online and research. If you are going to work at home for a company, research that company thoroughly.
Another online option is to join a work at home community where jobs are posted regularly.
How much money do you have to invest?
Some legitimate companies do require a cash outlay. If you are going into business for yourself, you will need to consider the cost of a website, possibly hiring a designer, marketing and advertising.
Next: Top Business Ideas for Work at Home Moms on a Shoestring 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.