Getting Started

In my last post, To Go Back or Not To Go Back, I had decided to put my career on pause and start a whole new life as a work at home mom. It was a scary decision, but now more than ever I realize that it was the right one.

Okay easy enough to say, but now what? I guess I have two options. I can either find an employer to work for from home OR I could work for myself and start my own business.

The idea of being my own boss and making my own hours is ideal. It would give me the flexibility to plan my days the way I wanted, scheduling my work hours around my mama duties.

But starting my own business? Really? This sounded next to impossible, especially with a little one at home.

First and foremost, I would need a business idea. Not just any idea, a GREAT idea. Something that would be helpful and useful for other parents. And it would have to be something that I really believed in. Something that I was passionate about. I would need to be in order to stick with it and, more importantly, enjoy the process.

When I became a mom, I was surprised at how difficult it was to find activities to do with my new baby. I wanted to meet other parents, get outside of the house, spend quality time with my son, introduce him to new things, and get back into shape, is that too much to ask? I eventually found classes, but it was all through word of mouth and I felt like I was missing out on some great activities that were being offered in my community. That’s when I realized I needed to do something about it. Hence, my business idea was born (another baby to take care of!).

I ran the idea by a handful of my family and friends to see what they thought. The response was encouraging. Everyone thought it was a great concept and that it was worth looking into.

While I was excited at the thought of being able to connect with other parents across the country, I couldn’t help but feel fear and anxiety. The concept was so foreign to me. My post-secondary education was not in business.

But I decided to embrace my fear and go for it. You only live once, and I knew I would regret it if I never tried, which would be harder to live with than failure. I was going to create my own business in something that I believed in – helping other moms. I made a promise to myself that this was not going to be a project that I worked on for a few months and then gave up on. I was going to stick with it, and create something. I started to really love this idea.

So for those of you who dream about owning your own business and jumping into the scary yet fulfilling world of entrepreneurship, I want to share with you my experience of starting my on business as a WAHM. And I will pre-empt this by saying I have zero business background. I am speaking strictly from my experiences only. You are free to take my advice or leave it. My hopes are that other WAHMs can learn from my mistakes and achievements throughout this journey.

First, create a business plan. All I did was google ‘Business Plan’, and chose an outline that seemed reasonable and straightforward enough.

This was an extremely valuable exercise. There were many times I wanted to stop and start doing the more exciting things, but I kept at it and in the end I’m glad I did. It forced me to think about things I never would have thought of and ultimately paved the way to how I wanted to set up and build my business.

If you have an idea and are thinking of starting your own business, here is a summary of what I found useful when creating my business plan.

  1. Business Strategy: What will be the main objectives of your business? What will you be able to offer your customers or users? Once my business strategy was clear, I found myself revisiting it to keep me on track and guide me through the rest of the plan.
  2. Legal Structure: Will your business be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or cooperative? This is important when you register your business and become official!
  3. Business Environment: Research the industry that you want to branch out into. This will allow you to learn how your product or service will fit. What is the current environment like? Is it a growing stable market?
  4. Competitive Edge: Why will your business stand out compared to other businesses in your industry? Why will your business model be effective?
  5. Marketing Plan: Focus on the 4 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. How will you get your product or service to your target audience?
  6. Budget: This is an important one. As much as you are passionate about your business idea, remortgaging your house or diving into your child’s education fund isn’t necessarily the best idea. Realistically think about what your startup expenses will be, and factor in your marketing and maintenance expenses. Keep in mind that it can take years for small businesses to see a revenue stream.
  7. SWOT Analysis: If you think your business will require investors to start up, think of your businesses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will show them you have done your homework.
  8. e-business: Now a days, a business website and social media platform are essential if you want to stay competitive. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are a good place to start, and there are many more platforms that are available. So be sure to claim your domain name for your company website as soon as you’ve come up with your business name. And the sooner you can start getting your name out there via Social media, the better.
  9. Financial Forecast: What are your sources of revenue/income? Where do you want your business to be financially in one, three, five and ten years?
  10. Define Your Success: Most importantly, define what ‘success’ means to you. This allows you to set your own goals for the business. Some people may define success as creating the next Facebook or Apple. For others, success may mean reaching your business objectives and seeing the project through, whether or not you make any money. Whatever success is to you, it’s important that you establish this before you start so you know when it’s time to celebrate!

When my business plan was completed, I read it through from start to finish. I felt proud that I had accomplished the first step, albeit a baby step. But it made me excited and motivated to get started.

Have you tried starting your own business? What were some of the challenges you faced? Feel free to post below or tweet me @busy_babies, I’d love to hear about them!

 

Getting Started Author Busy Babies

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