Starting up your own business whilst holding down your other full time job as busy mum extraordinaire can be a tricky juggling act but something that can be done – just make sure you don’t make these common start up mistakes!
1. Waiting for everything to be perfect before starting up: As you will be starting your business part time to fit around your family, it is very tempting to wait for everything to be perfect before launching. You may think that everything has to be ready, in place and perfect before sharing with the world but this is the number one mistake to avoid because otherwise you would never launch. The good thing about starting your own business is that you are now in charge so you can always change things and make improvements later – just get launched and earning money first!
2. Doing everything yourself: When you start your business, there are now a lot more roles you have to perform in addition to being a busy mum and running the family household. These include: administration, marketing, IT helpdesk, finance, PR, website, technical help, etc. By doing everything yourself, you will soon get fed up and want to give up. To build and grow you business, you need to learn to delegate some of the routine tasks so you can focus on the business building tasks you need to do. This means that you need to develop a support team of people and suppliers you can delegate some of your daily activities, both business and personal.
Virtual Assistant: Outsource your administration, customer support and website maintenance
Cleaner: Get regular help with your housework, so that you do not have to worry about it
Childcare: Working around children can be difficult, so arrange some childcare
3. Thinking you are alone: When you first start your business, there will be so much that you have to do that it is very tempting to isolate yourself and spend all your free time (without children) working on your business. This is a slippery slope to burnout that you don’t want to take. Network with other mumpreneurs and business mums, either face to face or online, as they will know exactly what you are going through and can offer support so that you are not alone. There are a number of online forums you can join, conferences you can go to and there are lots of mumpreneurs and business mums who use Twitter and Facebook to network.
4. Over complicating things: We have a tendency to over complicate things when we start our business, thinking it can’t be that easy otherwise everyone would be doing it. The key is to keep things as simple as possible for the highest chance of success. This relates to everything from your internal systems to your product / service offerings and website navigation. If you or your prospective customers are confused, it won’t work – keep it simple!
5. Not setting up business systems: When you start your business, it is really important that you set up a number of internal systems before you start working with customers or selling your products. This is essential for your business to thrive by building a solid foundation now.
Customer orders: How will customers buy from you? How will you deliver products or services?
Finance: How will you monitor sales and purchases, budget for the future?
Marketing: What activities will you use to promote your business?
Customer service: How will you respond to enquiries and complaints?
6. Pricing yourself too low: When you first start your business, it is very tempting to decide on your product / service pricing by looking at your competitors and making sure that you charge less than them because you have less experience as a business owner. This is a big mistake! You have a lot of experience to bring to your business and you must make sure that you cover all your business costs. By all means, research what the going rate is for your particular product or service but then make sure that what you offer is different from the competition so that price is not the main factor for the prospective customers.
7. Not utilising technology: Your time is precious as a new mumpreneur and business mum as you have a lot of things to do so make sure that you make use of some of the technology available to make your life easier. There are a number of fantastic tools that you can utilise to make use of your valuable time and grow your business. Many of these tools are free, so you can improve your customer service and attract new clients for little to no cost.
List manager: Keeping in touch with prospects and customers can be easy by using autoresponders, newsletters etc
Blogging software: Blogs are a great marketing tool and there are a number of free products available
Mobile phone: Modern mobile phones have many useful extra functions – make use of these