UPDATE, Feb 2013: I wrote this post as part of the launch for my Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur e-course in May 2011. The course is no longer available, but this post has some fab advice, so enjoy!
Being a mumpreneur is tough. You’ve got all the usual business balls to juggle, but you have to fit them around toddler tantrums, sick children, broken sleep, piles of laundry and everything else a mums does. Mums in business are often motivated by needing family-friendly work rather than an entrepreneurial urge and our learning curve is a steep one.
With the business and your clients, partner, friends and children all demanding attention it’s easy for the money-making to slip down your to-do list.
I’ve asked successful business mums and small business experts for their top advice for earning what you deserve.
Here’s what they said..
Focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. Surround yourself with a network of peers and partners who can take on the tasks you don’t want to do. This could be anything from admin to accounts, sales or technology but handing it to the experts will help you grow whilst keeping overheads low.
Emma Jones, founder of small business support company, Enterprise Nation www.enterprisenation.com
Whatever business you decide to set up, make sure it makes you HAPPY!
Adriana Lokman, Director of Enterprise Start-Up & Development Association (www.esuda.co.uk)
One of the reasons why I see mumpreneurs not making enough money from their home business is that they are not presenting a professional business to customers, and not yet behaving like the boss of a professional business (which they now are) To be taken seriously by prospective customers and the wider business community I believe that us mums running businesses from home have to set a high standard, invest in ourselves and show everyone that we can make ‘home made profits’! No more dabbling…for serious results take your business seriously.
Mel McGee, founder of www.supermummy.com – online community for business mums and author of ‘Millionaire Mumpreneurs’ For FREE membership visit supermummy.com
My tip is to value yourself and what you offer. Too many mums in business pitch their products and services at the cheaper end of the market. Do your sums properly to work out the costs of running and promoting your business. Listen to the thanks and compliments you get from clients or customers. Truly value what you do, set your prices accordingly, and you’ll find others value what you offer too.
Author and award winning entrepreneur Antonia helps mums get into business at Become a Mumpreneur.
Planning is a key part of any business especially when you are combining it with a family & marriage. Ensure you plan your work time and play time that way everyone knows what is happening and when but also plan for the future for your business – unless you know where you are going how will you know how to get there? Set yourself goals/targets for 3/6/12/24 months and keep reviewing them remember to include within this your marketing plan otherwise you will be aggressively waiting for the phone to ring rather than being proactive.
Invest in a good email marketing system and offer a newsletter or opt-in report. The better relationship you build with potentially interested customers, the easier it will be to earn their trust … and their custom!
Karen Skidmore, marketing mentor at CanDoCanBe and creator of the Web Tech Club, the marketing club for technophobic business owners
Stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur. The average hourly rate for everyone else may be £10 an hour, but you’re not everyone else. When you’re the boss you decide what to charge and how much you want to earn, it’s a perk of the job! I like to work backwards from my goals. I figure out how much I need to realise my goals and then how much I need to earn per month/per week. I create and sell products that help me achieve that income and in turn my life goals. In short where you can, stop selling time for money and where you can’t ensure that you’re selling it at a rate that makes it worthwhile. Time is the scarcest commodity we have, treat is as such.
Erica Douglas, ACE Inspire, winner of Best Start Up 2010 at the Mumsclub Business Awards
When you create a new business, look carefully at what’s already out there. Copying someone else’s idea only works if you know you can do it bigger, better and (ideally) cheaper. It’s far better to try and carve out your own niche and identify a brand new opportunity if you can – and the chances are you’ll feel far more passionate about it.
Sally Whittle, Founder, Tots100
we need to remember that pricing is part of our brand. our price sends a message to the world about the value of our products & services. we must value our own expertise, talent and experience if we expect others to, and we must price our work so that it matches our brand message & the values of our ‘ideal clients’.
“They say that 80% of your productivity comes from just 20% of the work you do, so for every ten items on your do to list, just cross of the eight least important! You’ll be amazed how it focusses your mind…”
Jo Middleton, freelance journalist and writer of the award-winning blog Slummy single mummy.
Work out what makes you special and then tell everyone about it. Don’t be shy – you are capable of much more than you think.
Amy Taylor, Founder of Amy Taylor Accountancy, specialising in accounts and tax services for Mums in Business. www.tayloraccountancy.net
Don’t hide your face behind your business. People buy People so let your customers know who you are
We often don’t recognise our skills as valuable. Because we may find something easy to do – it’s hard for us to believe that someone else will pay us to do it for them. If you want to put a real value on your time, start by working out what it would actually cost to replace you in the home. It’s quite an eye-opener.
Heather Bestel – Award Winning Business Mentor for Mumpreneurs, www.mumsgotabusiness.com
Be open to doing things that don’t seem to have an instant payoff. Twitter is a lot of work, but it’s brought me one big client and several smaller ones. I never know it would be so lucrative for me! So don’t dismiss things just because you don’t know or understand them.
Liz Weston, providing Marketing, Comms and PR solutions through Weston Communications, www.westoncommunications.org.uk
Force yourself to stay focussed on profits at all times – it is easy to get caught up in exciting ideas, but if they won’t show a return on investment that is really worth the time and effort you put in, they are not good business sense.
Polly Marsh, Director of Cuddledry, makers of the award-winning Cuddledry apron towel
Be bold in making changes – don’t hang onto a product, service or idea just because you like it or ‘it’s always been there’ – if it doesn’t make money, you have to ditch it.
Helen Wooldridge, Director of Cuddledry, makers of the award-winning Cuddledry apron towel
Don’t be afraid to use a lifeline and call a friend or email another Mumpreneur and ask for help or advice. I found being brave and connecting with like minded business women has really helped my confidence and direction with my businesses.
Celebrate all your accomplishments and achievements – no matter how small they may seem, this could be a vital turning point for your business and believe in yourself and your product as if you don’t, no one else will!
Don’t be afraid of technology. Even if it seems daunting, it CAN help. It’s worth getting up to speed with what’s out there, especially what’s available using ‘the cloud’ (i.e. web based!). Using specific tools and apps (often free) really can help you work smarter. Do invest a little time up front to find what could help you in the long term. It’s also great for business continuity should something unexpected happen!
Choose a business that suits your personality and passions. DO you like to work indoors or out? Do you like to work on your own or with a team. DO you like to meet lots of people. Do you like set, regular hours and tasks or a varied, flexible life. Is there anything in the world that you really love doing, and anything that you really really hate? Write down your answers to all these questions and any more you can think of then compare them to how you would need to work in the business you are thinking of starting – does it work for you?
Debbie O’Connor, Motivating Mum UK
Pitch yourself as an expert in your genre, write a blog giving some tips away for free and charging for your ‘expertise’ … this will help with PR, marketing for your business and not cost you anything. I now have local radio stations call me all the time about mum/business related topics
Joanne Dewberry Dorset Business Mum of the Year – www.joannedewberry.co.uk