Are You an Entrepreneur and Parent? This Is How to Balance
Do not let your parent status discourage you from becoming an entrepreneur. There is a growing number of mompreneurs and dadpreneurs entering the business world – and you could be one of them!
In this article, you will learn 1) an introduction to making entrepreneurship when being a parent, 2) consideration for becoming a great parentpreneur, 3) implementation of a business idea for parentpreneurs, 4) tips and tricks for balancing business and parenting smoothly, and 5) a conclusion.
In a 2009 report titled “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur”, 549 company founders were surveyed. The survey results disclosed that 59.7% respondents had at-least one child when they became entrepreneurs. 43.5% of the respondents had two or more children when they launched their business.
Just to name a few examples of mompreneurs, Angie Benton is a single mom who is the founder and CEO of NewME. She launched her business in 2011 and since then, she has helped over 300 start-up businesses raise more than $17 million venture capital.
Melissa Kieling launched her own business at a time when she had three school going children and no business knowledge or skills. She is now the owner of PackIt Personal Cooler, a lunch box with a freezable gel built in the box’s lining. Her business is now worth $14 million and has an international distribution.
The Office for National Statistics has disclosed that there has been a rise of over 9.6 percent in the number of female entrepreneurs over the period 2012-2013 as compared to an increase of 3.3 percent for men. Mompreneurs UK further revealed that approximately 300,000 women are mompreneurs who are running their own businesses and contributing £7.4bn to the economy each year.
These are very encouraging statistics for all the parents out there who want to pursue their dream of starting their own business.
As far as dads are concerned, since they have been the prime bread-earner for their homes since the beginning of time, it is common for them to miss out the milestones of their children’s lives. A survey of 1,000 UK based fathers conducted by NOTHS revealed that six out of ten fathers admitted that they got to spend quality time with their children on weekends only. This frustrating figure has encouraged more and more dads to become dadpreneurs so they can spend more time with their children.
The trick to making both important parts of your life progress smoothly is learning how to strike a perfect work-life balance. By knowing how to create this balance, you can be a tycoon entrepreneur without having to sacrifice quality time spent with family.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR BECOMING A GREAT PARENTPRENEUR
So you want to take on the challenge of juggling two of the life’s most important elements – children and work? Believe it or not, it is not an impossible feat and neither does it require you to sacrifice one element to become successful in the other.
What you need is passion, perseverance, determination, planning, and commitment. However, even before you have all of that, you need to have a good business idea. The business idea should be something, which is suitable for you and the market and also has an appeal to it.
Where Can You Get A Business Idea From?
You do not need to go to a special place for getting a business idea. In-fact you have sources all around you. Get inspiration from your job as a parent, think about the struggles you go through in your life and find out ways for making life easier – and that can be your business idea.
For example, moms Caroline Freedman & Lauren McCollough started NurturMe, a line of baby food in powder form, made from organic fruits and vegetables. They got the business idea by noting that the baby food available in the market is thick, boring, and full of preservatives. Similarly, Liz Lange of the Liz Lange Maternity became an entrepreneur by starting her own line of clothes for expecting moms. Her idea was so inspirational that she now designs maternity lines for Target and Nike in addition to her own!
Top Business Ideas for Parents
To get the ball rolling, here are some great business ideas for parents that can help them start their own business:
- Freelancing: Whatever you are good at, you can become a freelancer in that field. Becoming a freelancer is the best way to be your own boss, work flexibly, and manage your children to your heart’s content. As a parent, you can start your freelance consultancy or business of designing websites, managing events, writing content, baking sweet delights, photographing, and anything else at your convenience!
- Home-Based Franchising Business: Home-based franchises do not require a specific office building; you can run the business from your home. If you are good at exercising and love to dance, you can purchase the Jazzercise Inc. brand and become an instructor in jazz-based aerobics exercise.
- College Application/Financial Aid Planning Consultancy: There is always one person in the family who is good at filling forms or is a math pro. If you are great at filling out forms for your children or are the finance guru in your home, you can become a consultant and start your own business.
- Consignment Shop: Use your home’s hall or a guest room to let your neighbors place their items for sale. You can specialize in selling cheap or high end products and capture a niche market for your goods.
- Gardening Business: Are you a mom or dad with a green thumb? Why not use your skills and talent to offer gardening consultancy and services in your neighborhood? You can follow a flexible schedule, maybe pursue your gardening business primarily in the day when your children are in school and spend rest of the day with your family.
- Gift Basket Making: People love to add a personal touch, when giving a gift to their loved ones. If you have the creativity inside of you, you can start a business of gift basket making. You can even involve your kids since children love arts and crafts.
- Graphic Design: So many companies are looking for a good graphic designer for designing their logos, brochures, advertisement content, newsletters, reports, etc. You can start your own business and use software to come up with creative designs; all you need is a computer, software package and an office desk at home.
- Grant Writing: Every business requires financing, especially large-scale organizations. As more and more companies, including Government organizations seek funding, they require the services of a grant writer. If you have the acumen for it, you can start your own business of grant writing.
Other business ideas for becoming parentpreneurs include:
- Home Healthcare Agency
- House Cleaning
- Medical Billing
- Mobile Spa
- Medical Spa
- Music for Kids
- Paper Shredding & Recycling
- Personal Chef
- Pet Sitting
- Soap Making
- Website Consultancy
- Wedding Planning
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BUSINESS IDEA FOR PARENTPRENEURS
Have you been able to decide upon a business idea you want to pursue? If the above list has not been helpful, look around you. Think about what your passion is, do some research online, discuss with other entrepreneurs in your family/neighborhood. Whichever business idea you have, here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to evaluate its effectiveness and predict the chances of success for you:
- Do you have knowledge regarding the product or service you wish to introduce in the market?
- Is there a need for it in the market?
- Do you know your customers and are they approachable?
- Is there something unique about your business idea?
- What costs are involved in the implementation of your business idea?
If you are able to satisfactorily answer the above questions, you can proceed forward with your start-up.
Kick Starting Your Own Business Venture
Here are a few things that can help you kick-start your business venture:
- Upgrade your Tech Skills: Since you will be working from home, you need to become technology savvy. Learn how to use tablets, smartphones, fax machine, printer/photocopier, scanner, internet, etc.
- Strengthen your Network: Start networking & building your repute in the market – you will need to make relationships with people who can help you with your start-up. Your network can help you in various ways, including providing funds for your business, helping spread word of mouth regarding your business or even providing customers for your business.
- Explore: Research as much as you can. The more time you put into learning how other parents have successfully entered the market, the more you will learn about launching your own business.
- Plan your Business: Make a business plan so you can move ahead cautiously and with clarity. A business plan helps you ask and answer the tough questions, for example, when will your business start earning profit, what will be your marketing plan, what costs will be involved in setting up the business, etc.
- Start Small: Getting over enthusiastic may mean death for your business. For a successful kick-start, begin slowly and then grow as your business starts gaining stability.
Child Care for Managing the Kids
While you are pursuing business from home, you still need to divide the space between home and work so you get to maintain proper focus. For the hours you dedicate to pursuing your business activities, you can make arrangements for your child’s care. You have the option of arranging for a baby sitter, a nanny or dropping off your kid to a daycare for the number of hours you need to work at home.
The good thing is that the IRS is supportive of parents who arrange for childcare in order to work. When you are filing your tax return, you can show your income after deducting or excluding the expenses you pay for your child’s care. There is also a provision of getting a credit on your tax if your child is under the age of 13. This credit can be up to 35% of the expenses incurred on childcare.
Such plans can help you as a parent to arrange for childcare support at home so you can manage both your work and home at the same time and become a successful parentpreneur.
Striking a Work-Life Balance
In order to remain consistent with your career choice of becoming a parentpreneur and being able to enjoy the reasons of choosing to be a stay-at-home entrepreneur, you must strike a work-life balance. If by becoming a parentpreneur you are still sacrificing priorities at either work or home in order to manage one or the other, then you need to fix the situation. Otherwise, you will be living the same life that other ordinary entrepreneurs are already living.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR BALANCING BUSINESS & PARENTING SMOOTHLY
Here are a few tips and tricks for balancing business and parenting at the same time, ensuring that both aspects of life run smoothly:
- Quit Being a Perfectionist: Never aim for a perfect balance, because there never will be. You cannot do everything, every day and not every day will be the same. You just have to do the best you can and get the most important things done both at work and at home. As long as your prioritized and important tasks are taken care of, things will be just fine.
- Never Think of Giving Up on your Dream: There are going to be days when things are going to get so stressful that you will tell yourself “what was I thinking?” However, those are the days when you need to be more persistent. The more perils you survive, the stronger your business is going to be. So stay persistent!
- Establish a ‘No Work’ Zone at Home: Since you are at home while working, you may get fooled into thinking you are giving attention to your home even if you spend the entire day working. To strike a balance, set a scheduled time dedicated for family, with no interference from work related tasks. This helps ensure you spend quality time with family every day.
- Focus on Spending Quality Time with your Children: You became parentpreneur for a reason, for being able to be there for your kids. Make it a priority to attend school related activities and ask them about their day. You can manage to finish work activities by doing some of them after your kids fall asleep or before they wake up.
- Hire Help When you Need It: If an important meeting comes up or a client schedules an unplanned visit, do not stress out about what to do with your kids. Either call a child minder or a nanny, ask a family member to help or drop them to a child-care center. That way you will not be distracted at work, worrying about your children.
- Time Management is Essential: We all have the same hours in a day, it is about how well we utilize them, and as a parentpreneur, you need to become an expert at utilizing time effectively. Stay calm and stick to your schedules so you can give proper focus and attention to both home and work.
- Do not Underestimate the Benefits of Daycare: Since most of your business clients are going to be active during the day, it is best to take care of a large chunk of your work activities during business hours. By putting your kids in daycare, you can focus completely on the business tasks at the right time and free yourself for the rest of the day so you can spend time with your kids.
- Be Fully Engaged: Do not lose your focus and get distracted by work or home when pursuing the tasks of either one. Your dedicated hours should be spent completely engrossed in the task at hand, so you can get the best results.
- The Parentpreneur Calendar: Use a digital calendar or a dry-erase calendar to schedule your most important family and business commitments for the year. This means noting down the birthdays, anniversaries, summer and winter vacations, doctor’s appointments, and also important events in your business such as meetings, product launches, etc. Having a calendar allows you to have a yearly to-do list.
- Know When to Unplug: Although technology has helped us a lot, its use needs to be limited so you can spend some time interacting with each other. Shutdown your laptops, tabs and phones at a certain pre-decided time.
- Plan Your Mornings & Evenings to Minimize Chaos: Prepare for the morning the previous night so you minimize the chances of getting late. You can pack your kids’ bags and lunch boxes, lay out clothes for the day or clean-up the dishes in the night so your mornings and evenings are free for spending quality time at work or home, whatever you may have planned.
- Juggle Parenting Responsibilities with your Spouse: If you have a busy schedule on a particular day, request your spouse to drop off or pick up the kids from school or run home errands. You can do the same when your day is free and your spouse’s day is jam-packed.
- Take Help from Family when Needed: Delegate tasks to your family members so you can take care of the more important stuff. These tasks can be low priority tasks that are time consuming such as washing dishes, folding laundry, sealing envelopes, filing, etc.
- Make your Family your Number One Priority: The good thing about being your own boss is the freedom to schedule your work time. So when it comes to a family commitment, schedule your work in a way that you are able to be there for your family.
- Make Family Time Purposeful: The point is not just spending time with your children but the point is to spend quality time. To do this, you need to switch off your phone, stop checking emails, and just disconnect from your business world to completely connect with your kids. This way the time spent with them will be cherished by them and they will be more accommodating with your parentpreneur lifestyle.
Mompreneurs and dadpreneurs are doing a wonderful job of taking care of their business as well as their families. But what you must remember is that you need to take some time out for yourself too. This means exercising for at-least 30 minutes for five days, eating healthy meals, and spending some time pursuing an activity you like.
Take care of yourself so you can be re-energized for the next day’s activities and make your life as a parentpreneur successful!