Embracing Parenting As A New Business Opportunity

Every parent can testify that having their first child opens the door to an entirely new lifestyle. When you become responsible for the survival, the well-being and the overall happiness of someone else, you need to develop brand-new skills.

While it might sound clichéd, it’s fair to say that nobody understands a baby’s mimics until they are in a position where they experience baby stuff daily. And nobody better than parents can understand the first sentences of a toddler. Similarly, only parents genuinely know how challenging it can be to raise a child while pursuing their career. As a result, many describe parenthood as a one-way door; once you go through, you can never go back, and everything is different.

With this in mind, parenting becomes a challenge that is shared by millions, from training to use your new skills in the workplace to finding a childcare solution.

Ultimately, you can’t adapt your parenting life to the business world. But you can use your experience to transform your career for the best.

There’s a caring personality in every parent

Parents are carers, by definition. You feed, bathe, dress, clean, look after a baby, expanding your skill set to keep your child healthy and happy as they grow. While you may not be a professionally trained carer, you share the same philosophy; namely responding to the needs of another person and ensuring they receive everything they need. Consequently, if the idea of going back to an office desk job doesn’t appeal after the birth of your baby, you should consider a career that lets you repurpose your caring mindset. You can even use your maternity leave to join an online MSW program which would allow you to work as a social worker to care for those who need help. If you want to focus your attention to children, child welfare and family services offer excellent social work careers. Alternatively, education is a great option if you want to be a positive influence on children.

How about turning your parental needs into a business?

The typical business life doesn’t suit parents anymore. Many struggle to maintain their work/life balance, and, consequently, it’s not uncommon for parents to consider launching their own business. if you too are in the process of looking for better options, you might want to dedicate your entrepreneurial mindset to creating a business model that supports parents. Indeed, you could establish nursery options that partner with companies to provide onsite childcare. As many parents struggle to find a nanny for their baby, this would be the ideal solution to maintain their career and their parental duties.

Helping parents with the first-baby crisis

New mothers lack guidance. Many don’t know how to position a baby to sleep or whether pacifiers are safe, while some are left clueless about vaccination or breastfeeding. Unfortunately, doctors are busy, and as a result, many are not always available to answer your queries. But there’s a business model idea that could sort out this situation. Why not create a subscription-based app that connects new mothers to experienced parents? Everyone needs a mentor!

Can you use your parenting skills and parental difficulties to pursue a more meaningful career after the birth of your child? The answer is yes! Whether you want to explore your caring side or you prefer to support new parents in their tasks, there are many untapped business opportunities for you.

Image: Pixabay

How to Pursue a Tech Career as a Busy Parent

Pursuing a career of your choice often consists of several steps in which twists and turns are included. It isn’t a straightforward path, especially for those who have growing children.

Parenting is a journey on its own, so coupling it with your career pursuits can be tough. Nevertheless, it’s a journey that you may find worthwhile when you think about the potential rewards at the end. If you’re a parent who is currently trying to start a life in the world of tech, then you should carry on reading. Here’s how you can pursue such a career as a busy parent.

1.) Create a Schedule

When it comes to pursuing a career while dedicating yourself to being a parent, time can be your biggest constraint. For this reason, it’s imperative that you organize the time you have in the best way possible to ensure maximum productivity. In case you need a few tips for creating a schedule, here are some you can try.

Analyze Your Day

To begin, you need to figure out what an average day for you looks like and where your time seems to be spent. For a few days, make notes of what you do from the time you wake up until you go to bed as you’ll use this information to improve your productivity.

Think of Solutions

After analyzing your day, identify areas that you think could be more efficient and brainstorm solutions. If, for instance, you find you and the kids are always rushing to eat breakfast and leave home, you may need to start the day earlier or do more prep the night before.

Create a Routine

Once you’ve done all of your investigative work and brainstorming, it’s time to actually create your schedule. Aim to devise something that’s realistic and everyone will be able to stick with on most days. Break your days into time slots and ensure you include practical time frames. Also, leave room for absolutely nothing working according to schedule on some days.

Sync Everything

The reality is that no matter how organized you try to be, sometimes you can’t remember everything. This is where syncing comes into play as it’s a way of using technology or other resources to stay on track. For instance, you could use time management apps and tools like Rescue Time and Remember the Milk to stay on top of tasks.

2.) Think About Online Schooling

Once you’ve got a schedule that works for you and your family in place, think about the first step you can take in getting closer to your dream of becoming a professional in the tech space. For most career paths, that step would be getting some kind of formal education.

Before you can do this, however, you need to know what area you want to specialize in or choose a niche. To make sure that you choose the best niche for you, do research and think about your strengths and interests. If you like the idea of designing circuits and parts of electronics using a computer, then becoming an electrical engineer is a good choice. In this case, you could look into enrolling in Michigan Tech’s online master of science in electrical engineering course as this should give you vast knowledge in that subject area.

3.) Study during Quiet Times

It can be tough to get a moment to think, especially when you have kids. However, if you want to see your dreams come true, you have to create the time and avoid making excuses. One idea is to study during the few moments a day that you have to yourself. Alternatively, purposely create activities that the kids can engage in for thirty minutes to an hour a day so that you get some time to study.

Aside from this, other opportunities you can make the most of are the school run, your commute to and from work as well as when the kids are snoozing. Another idea for squeezing in study time is to prioritize chores. This could mean leaving the laundry until Saturday instead of doing it during the week, so you free up your schedule a little bit.

4.) Choose a Flexible Job

When it’s finally time to choose a job after putting in all of the hard work, you want to think about flexibility. This is especially true if you happen to have small children who need a lot of your attention. These days, employers are trying to cut down on overhead costs and improve productivity, so they’re letting employees work from home on some if not all days.

To increase your chances of getting a more flexible working schedule, think about negotiating with employers as well. However, instead of leading with why you need certain days or hours off, let your employer know how granting your request will help their company. Think about the details of your proposed working arrangement beforehand and how you plan to get the job done. However, think about how cutting back hours could affect your pay or future prospects in the same respect.

If all else fails, explore the option of starting your own business or working as a self-employed contractor in your field. This way, you’ll have far more control over your time and can work around your family.

5.) Network Online

One of the ways to advance in your career is by networking. However, when you’re busy as a parent, this can be a tough task to get around to. Look for forums and groups via social media where people in your industry are likely to be and use such platforms to meet the right people. You should also try and create an online presence so that you’re able to attract prospective employers. A good platform for professionals is LinkedIn so open an account if you haven’t done so already. Seeing as you may not have the time to attend conferences and meet people face to face, make the best use of opportunities to do so online instead.

Image: Christina Morillo

How to Make Running a Business from Home Easier

If you happen to be an entrepreneur and a parent, then you know all too well how challenging this can be most days. Being an entrepreneur without kids already has its challenges, so throwing school runs, lunch, and homework in the mix can make it seem impossible on some days. In light of this, you may be thinking about how you can make day to day life easier for yourself so that you can fulfill both the roles of parent and entrepreneur the best that you can. Here’s how to make running a business from home easier.

Get Organized

If you want to win the battle of finding a balance between parenting and business, you’re going to have to master organization. This is so important as, without it, you’re likely to woefully fail. Here are a few ways that you can improve your organization skills.

Improve Productivity: Often, you will find that your days are so hectic because you aren’t being as productive as you’re capable of being. Assess your daily routine and see where most of your time is being wasted and how you can find a solution to that problem.

Stick to a Schedule: Some people detest schedules, but the truth is when you’re as busy a parent and entrepreneur combined, it will be your saving grace. Develop a relatively flexible schedule that maps out how you’re going to use each hour of the day or organize it into time blocks. To stick to your schedule, give each task your undivided attention and focus on the reasons you developed a schedule in the first place.

Use Software

If you have employees that are working remotely, you should encourage the use of tools and software. Not only can it help make tasks easier, but it could also enable you to collaborate effectively. If you have a design engineer, getting them to use design tools by Altium which should help streamline their workflow and improve their delivery time. Aside from this, there are other tools across HR, accounting, sales and marketing that could easily help boost efficiency.

Minimize Distractions

When you’re trying to get work done, distractions can be the enemy, especially when you work from home. You should, therefore, look for practical ways to get rid of regular and recurring distractions. Here are a few suggestions worth trying.

Get Rid of Gadgets: Phones and tablets can be major distractions when you’re trying to work. Unless you absolutely need them, try placing them in another room so you aren’t tempted to start chatting and browsing.

Create an Office Space: Creating your own office space at home could go a long way in helping you focus. It could be anything from an underutilised room to a corner in the house that you find comfortable. The main goal should be to make sure all the equipment you need is there and you have an ambience that helps you work.

Running a business from home isn’t the easiest task, but it can be done if you stay on top of things. As mentioned above, use the tools and resources around you to help you get to your destination.

Image: ernestoeslava

What to put in place for staff when expanding your home office team

If you have only just started a new business, you could be excused for making only tentative steps as you steer the company towards growth. To that end, you could endeavour to limit your corporate premises to a home office, at least for now, as part of bootstrapping.

Indeed, keeping the business home-bound allows you to “try it and see”, but you still need to be careful to have the following measures and amenities in place when you want to take on new staff.

Health and safety measures

Keeping your business within your home’s walls wouldn’t relieve you of your responsibility to carry out a health and safety risk assessment for the benefit and comfort of your staff. This is also good practice in anticipation of customers or contacts paying visits to the building.

The Health and Safety Executive can help you to conduct a health and safety check, says the GOV.UK website. Also, don’t overlook that protection for your own staff can include insurance…

Employer’s liability insurance

There are various categories of insurance which you ought to think about as you assemble all of the administrative infrastructure for your business. These insurances include public liability if clients often visit – but, for your workers, more relevant would be employer’s liability insurance.

This is applicable if you have any employees, and can help to cushion the impact on your business if any of your workers suffer an injury resulting from their employment.

Lightness – in both illumination and colours

It’s a good idea to dedicate a specific space of your home to work purposes. That would make it easier for you to mentally switch into “business mode” when required.

Allow natural light to enter the room in sufficient amounts to perk up your workers. Meanwhile, light colours on the walls will visually increase the space’s size and so could hold off feelings of claustrophobia among your personnel.

Hired office space for meetings with clients

One risk of holding off expanding out of the home office can be that of blighting your firm’s image. The Guardian highlights one example of a commodities research firm’s directors winning a crucial contract with an overseas client after meeting up with them in hired office space.

Were you to follow suit with hiring such space, clients who meet up with you there wouldn’t need to know that you work from home, as might be typical for a small, unprofessional business.

External working space as the firm grows

If you find yourself seeking to hire office space surprisingly regularly, it might be beneficial for you to take up something more permanent outside of the home. It wouldn’t have to mean entirely leaving the house behind, either; you could consider incubation centres and membership clubs.

As you move into new spaces, you could adjust your health and safety policies accordingly. As reported by the Daily Mail, you could allow vaping – for example – on the premises, and perhaps even supply your workers with vaping products like the Innokin Proton 235W mod.

Why you need customer management software

How do you manage your customer’s contact details and communications? Many small businesses do this using their email inbox and an Excel spreadsheet, but there are far more effective tools out there. These are known as customer management software or CRMs (customer relationship management tools).

Do you dig through your email inbox to remind yourself of what you need to do for your client next?  Customer management software will allow you to save your email and phone conversations, so all you need to do is search for the person’s name and you’ll have their entire history- both email and phone call conversations – right in front of you. That’s a huge time saver.

With a CRM you can schedule tasks to remind you when you’re due to follow up with a lead. This way you won’t forget to make those important calls that nudge your customers towards a purchase. Even better, you can set up your sales process or pipeline so you can track your progress towards the making a sale.

If you’re not sure what a sales process is, it’s the journey a customer takes that leads up to a sale. So they may become aware of you, contact you to arrange a call, go away and research alternatives, come back for a second call and finally buy. You can set up this journey in your customer management software and track your lead’s progress along it. You can also run reports that tell you how many leads each stage and your percentage close rate, which then tells you how many prospects you need at the beginning of the pipeline to give you the number of sales you want at the end.

If there are one or more people sharing the same customer data, such as you and a business partner or a virtual assistant, a CRM will allow you to store data in one place so you won’t have the errors associated with passing an Excel file between you, and you’ll reduce the number of emails in your inbox.

There is a huge range of CRM software to choose from, some even have a free plan such as Zoho CRM and Hubspot. So there’s no excuse not to give them a try! All of these can be used for any small business and Zoho in particular is very configurable to the needs of your individual business. But there are plenty that are designed for specific types of business including AccountancyManager for accountants and pest control software Pocomos. If there is a custom CRM available for your business, it’s well worth checking this first as it will save you a lot of configuration time. The specialist systems often go beyond the features of a CRM (ie mainly sales, marketing and sometimes customer service) and allow you to manage your entire business including billing and finance.

So if you’ve never considered going beyond an Excel spreadsheet for managing your customers, then give it a try because a whole new world awaits you!

Photo: JanBaby