In this modern world where women crave for greater independence than their counterparts of years gone by, the prospect of having a family can spark fears of being tied to the home, a loss of career and a loss of independence. And, in some families, the loss of an income can lead to financial difficulties. These are sacrifices that many are willing to make for the sake of having children – but it doesn’t have to be this way, because after baby you can still run a business without compromising the job of being a mother.
Smart women aren’t having children
According to recent research headed by psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics, the more intelligent a woman is, the less likely she is to want children. He suggests that for every 15 point increase in IQ the desire for motherhood drops by 25%. Census data also shows that if a woman has an advanced degree she is less likely to have children.
But, irrespective of education, birth rates are falling as more couples choose not to have children. The reasons most commonly cited are: no wish to have children; work commitments make it undesirable to have a child; and, inability to give a child the life it deserves.
Women with children can still succeed
This research and census data might indicate that smarter women are shunning the prospect of having children, but there are plenty of examples of highly successful women who have combined careers with having families.
Take Canadian entrepreneur Victoria Sopik, who started her first business at the age of 17. This mother of eight spotted a niche in childcare and saw a need that she could fill. That foresight has developed into a nationwide childcare business, Kids & Company Ltd. And her recipe for success? Determine what parents need, open centres in the right places and employ the right staff.
Closer to home, entrepreneur and highly sought-after motivational speaker Deirdre Bounds saw an opportunity in the gap year sector, helping English-speaking students gain experience overseas through teaching English as a foreign language. She established i-to-i Gap Year Travel that, 11 years later, she had developed into the world’s largest gap year business and sold it on. She believes that women cannot have everything and when her children came along chose childcare instead of becoming a stay-at-home mum. Success has meant that she can now spend more time for her family but she remains ambitious.
Advertising executive Nicola Mendelsohn, however, built her career working part time so that she could be with her children. The mother of four proved that having children did not have to be a bar to success and is now Facebook Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, despite the fact that she works only four days a week.
You too can run a business
These women are high-flyers who, despite having children, have found their own ways of succeeding. Their stories are inspirational and though you may not reach the dizzy heights that they have achieved there is nothing to stop you developing your own career and raising a family at the same time. And, if you have a computer, the world is virtually your oyster.
With a computer and a little application you can run a business from home so that you can be with your children and contribute to the family finances at the same time. There are all sorts of businesses that you can start with minimal capital and either draw on skills you already have or new skills you can learn quickly. Just a few ideas for home-based businesses (some of which don’t need a computer) are:
- An online shop – you can sell almost anything online and, if you don’t have the funds or space to stock up on inventory, you can always use suppliers who run drop-shipping services.
- Freelancing – you can freelance in practically anything. Writing articles is a common way to start (though it is difficult to find good clients and the rewards are not high) but increasingly common is becoming a virtual assistant, which ranges from providing secretarial, actuarial and accounting services to other services for which the client requires help.
- Tutoring – if you have the appropriate skills you can become a private tutor, giving lessons online or from the comfort of your home.
- Photography – if you are a competent photographer you can sell your pictures online through stock photography sites or you could start or small business – portraits (people and pets), pictures for real estate firms and wedding photography are just some of the fields you could consider.
- Cleaning, ironing, shopping, gardening and pet sitting are other services that you can offer from home without taking you away from baby.
Make no mistake, however, making your business success will be tough and there are some basic rules you have to follow:
- Be prepared to work hard.
- Do your research. It’s no good having a great idea or offering a service that no one wants or if there is a lot of established competition. Check the market – look at demand, prices etc – and see if there is a niche that you can exploit.
- Have a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail. You need a plan so that your efforts are properly directed and that your goals are clear. You have to consider your market, advertising, costs, suppliers, competitors and so on.
The opportunities are there
The Internet has opened up opportunities for working from home that were unthinkable a few years ago but the news is not all good – more opportunity there might be, but there is also considerably more competition. Fortunately there is plenty of free advice available, so you do not have to go into a new venture blindfolded. And, if you need inspiration, you can always get along to listen to successful women like Deidre Bounds and HR expert Linda Moir who are both popular and entertaining speakers.
There are few barriers if you really want to start a business after having a baby. Find a niche that matches your interests, do your research and go for it; you might be surprised at how successful you become.