(This post was last updated on 9 June 2011 – see note at the bottom)
I’m writing articles (like this one) that aim to give you a snapshot of a business idea. This is exactly what I wanted when I was on my first maternity leave, but couldn’t find. I had an idea that I could run a business around my family, but no idea what I could actually do or how it might work.
This is going to take me a while to complete, so in the meantime I thought a list of businesses that you could run as a mum would be useful. I’ll link each idea to the posts as I write them.
Bookkeeper – In the book Start a Family Friendly Business
Graphic Designer – In the book Start a Family Friendly Business
Running a Pre-School Group
Running Children’s Parties
Running an Information Website (blogging, directory, membership site, information products)
Running an Online Shop
Journalist – In the book Start a Family Friendly Business
Ironing, Dog walking, Cleaning, Gardening, Pet Sitting, services around the home
Equipment Hire (buggies, baby equipment that parents can hire when they arrive at their destination)
Running a Community Magazine
Direct Selling and Party Plans
Selling on eBay
Developing and Selling a New Product – In the book Start a Family Friendly Business
Making and selling crafts etc – see Turn your creative skill into a business
Holistic/Complementary or Sport Therapist
Antenatal teacher or therapist (also Doula)
Update: 9 June 2011
This post was the seed that grew into the book Start a Family Friendly Business! Some of these posts became part of the book and my co-author Antonia Chitty added many more of her own. I’ve also added links to articles that were posted here on Business Plus Baby after the book was published.
I’ve been feeling a little uninspired lately and struggling to write posts for this blog. Nothing serious, just a side effect of being at the beck and call of two tiny children and the inevitable sleep deprivation that comes with it.
So when I saw the quote “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still” it struck a chord with me. The quote came from @Homebiz_Mag, otherwise known as Mag Furness and I’d never heard of her until last night. I liked the quote so much that I retweeted it (copied it so that my followers could read it).
It must have struck a chord with @mumstheboss (otherwise known as Sam Pearce and Helen Woodham, who I’ve actually met face-to-face a good few times) because they retweeted the quote too.
Now I know that Sam was suffering from bloggers block yesterday – you guessed it, because she tweeted about it. So this morning I was delighted to find “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still” had inspired Sam to write this blog post. Brilliant!
Yes, Twitter suffers from a lot of hype and spam, and it’s the best way of wasting time that I know. But what a fantastic way of connecting with people and passing on ideas.
Tell me more… Online shops are a popular choice for mums who want to run their own business. Alternatively, you could create a website that provides information. This might be…
- A listings website showing what’s on in your local area
- A blog – blogs (‘weblogs’) are websites which started out as online diaries, but many have now developed into websites that provide information, news and opinion on a specific subject or to a particular community.
- A social network or membership site where members pay a monthly fee to receive information, training or coaching on a particular subject. This could be as a video, podcast, e-book or e-course.
- A website selling an information product such as e-books and e-courses.
You can earn money from an information site by…
- Selling advertising space, much like a magazine
- For a directory site, you could charge people to list their business or sell advertising space (or both).
- Google Adsense – Google will pay you when a visitor to your site clicks on an advertiser’s link (there are other similar programmes too).
- Affiliate links – you are paid commission when visitors to your site buy from a site you are affiliated to.
- Selling an e-book, e-course or other information product on your website.
- Becoming an expert in your subject could lead to delivering courses, selling print books, coaching or being a consultant.
What are the benefits?
- You can work whenever and wherever you want
- It’s cheap and easy to get started
- You can write about a subject that you love and get paid for it.
Things to consider…
- It’s very easy to start a blog which means there are millions of blogs out there. Getting large numbers of people to visit your site will take a lot of work, including networking, driving web traffic to your site and writing lots of content plus some knowledge of search engine optimisation and social media. You’ll also need to write great content that will bring people back to your site again and again.
- Getting people to spend money on your website will mean you need to convince them that what you have to sell is of value to them and that you’re an expert in your area. This can take a lot of trial and error to discover what works for your audience, as well as giving away lots of information for free.
- Examples of information websites run by mums:
Business Plus Baby – this site is a blog. Parent Pages is a website giving local information and things to do for parents. Become a Mumpreneur is a membership website.
You can start your own blog for free using WordPress or Blogger. To make money from blogging you’ll need to move on from a free blog, but this is a good way to see if blogging is for you. To learn about making money online, see Entrepreneur’s Journey and ProBlogger. For advice on writing content, see Copyblogger.
Not convinced that running an information website is for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.
Thinking of developing a new product? Startup Donut has fourteen short steps plus a list of dos and don’ts here…
Some business mums don’t like to be called ‘mumpreneur’ because it suggests a woman who has a little hobby business that fits in around her family. I don’t see it that way at all.
For me the word ‘mumpreneur’ represents freedom from a full-time career where we pay through the nose for our children to be care for by someone else. An alternative to part-time work that is often poorly paid and doesn’t make use of our talents. A chance to step outside traditional employment that doesn’t work for most mothers of young children and do it our own way.
Now I know we need to be careful that the labels we choose don’t limit us – that’s always a risk. But mums do have different challenges and needs to other business owners. Often, we’re drawn to business because other options for earning a living aren’t working, rather than for the love of business itself. And we’re drawn to business at a time when we’re short of cash, energy and time. So we need all the support we can get from each other. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t passionate and committed to what we do. For me it’s the opposite, any time I spend away from my children has to be time well-spent. I may work part-time hours, but those hours are more productive than when I was a childless full-time worker.
So why not see ourselves as business owners who just happen to have children? Having a term to describe ourselves that intrigues others and even promotes debate helps make us more visible. It helps to change the perception that just because we fit our work around children, we’re somehow less committed or reliable. The days when women in business felt they had to pretend they didn’t have young children are changing – we can’t get to breakfast networking groups easily, so we’re setting up daytime groups with creches.
If we can show other mums who are unhappily stuck in a job that isn’t working for them that there is another option, then having a label is fine with me. The word ‘mumpreneur’ need only limit us if we let it.
(Check out www.whosthemummy.co.uk for more on the mumpreneur discussion)