Why Mumpreneurs Should Make a Decent Profit

mumpreneur profitI've been reading Mum Ultrapreneur, partly because I'm doing some business book reviews for Mums The Blog, but also because I just love a good how-to-start-your-own-business book.

(What did I think of the book? I'll let you know when Mums The Blog publish my post…)

As I was doing a final skim through Mum Ultrapreneur's interviews with business mums, I nearly choked on my biscuit when I read:

"…lots of business mums I've come across said their husbands aren't at all [supportive]. Which I think is something important to mention. I've found that a lot of husbands, because they're so money focused, find it difficult to understand what they're wives are doing because they're not bringing in that much money. Lots of mums in business are only doing it because they really enjoy it and it's creative"

Alli Price of www.motivatingmum.co.uk

Photo by showmeone

It wasn't the bit about the unsupportive husbands. Not everyone has an entrepreneurial streak, and if you don't have one yourself, coping with  one in your partner can be unnerving.

What made my crumbs fly was this –

"Lots of mums in business are only doing it because they really enjoy it and it's creative"

One huge advantage of running your own business is that you can do it your way. But surely making a decent profit has to be a central goal of any business? True, most of us mumpreneurs have two aims – to make money and to fit our work around our families. But I'd assumed that the making money part was a no-brainer. After all, a business that you enjoy, is creative but only makes peanuts isn't a business. It's a hobby.

Many businesses go through periods where they make no profit at all, especially at the beginning. But the aim to make a decent profit has to be there for it to be a bona fide business.

I wondered why I was so rattled by Alli's quotation and I've nailed it down to three things:

1. A creative, enjoyable business that makes very little money is a huge wasted opportunity.

If the business makes some money, there's every chance that with a few tweaks it could make a lot more. Perhaps it needs more of a focus,  a business plan or marketing plan, a review of pricing, more training or business advice.

2. What's really going on here? Are we selling ourselves short as business mums?

Many of us Brits still see money as a slightly grubby subject and I suspect British women are particularly affected by this.

The trouble is that this belief can lead to women not having the confidence to ask for what they are entitled. I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the jobs that are done by female workers are the lowest paid. That, in turn, lowers the status of work that women do. Perhaps lurking behind all this enjoyment and creativity is a woman afraid to ask for what she is really worth?

3. I don't want anyone to think of my new business as a little hobby to keep me busy while I care for my babies

I may work part time, but I take my business every bit a seriously as I took my previous career. In fact, the stakes are even higher now. I need the money to keep a roof over my family's head and I want to set a good example for my children. I aim to do work that I enjoy, but if it doesn't pay me what I'm worth I'll find another business idea.

None of this is meant as a criticism of Alli Price or Mum Ultrapreneur. Both are passionate about helping mums to start businesses exactly as I am. I hope the quotation has been just a starting point for my thoughts and that these help a mum somewhere to get a decent profit for all her hard work.

Because it's hard work even if you do enjoy it.

What are your thoughts? Please do drop me a comment below.

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Deciding What To Charge

Here’s a tricky question for all new business owners – how much should you charge?

If you pick a price that’s too high then you risk nobody buying, too low and you might not make a profit. Here are five mistakes to avoid when setting a price for your product or service.

1. Don’t add up your costs and then add a bit more on top

If you do this, you won’t take into account the value of your product or service to your customers, so you risk under-charging. Your product or service is worth what your customer is prepared to pay for it – find out what people are prepared to pay and use this to decide on your price.

2. Don’t look at what your competitors are charging and undercut them

You may be offering a better quality product, better customer service or offering a niche product that is different from your competitors. If so, you might be able to charge more than the competition.

Exceptions to this rule might be if you have a new way of delivering a service or manufacturing a product that means you  can sell it at a cheaper price than the competition and still make a decent profit. Or if you’re selling a product that’s identical to ones that people can buy elsewhere, like books and CDs.

3. Don’t charge by the hour

There are several reasons for this. First, your hourly rate should be quite high because you’ll need to pay your own salary, tax and national insurance as you would if you were employed. Then you’ll need to factor in all the costs that you can’t directly charge for such as planning, preparation, expenses, training, insurance and accountants fees. This will mean your hourly rate will be double or treble what it would be if you were employed by someone else.

Second, if you offer a package, you can throw in some bonuses that don’t cost you a great deal, but that offer great value to the customer, so making you look more attractive. This could be a CD of your own music if you’re a children’s party entertainer or an e-book if you’re a trainer.

Third, customers are happier knowing what the total cost will be. If a virtual assistant charges £20 per hour for writing a series of press releases, the client still doesn’t know what this will cost until the task is done. Instead, the virtual assistant and client could agree in advance that the whole job will cost, say, £100.

Some clients may insist that you charge by the hour, usually if you’re freelancing for another company. If not try charging for what you’ll actually deliver, rather than the time it will take you to do the work.

pound dice

4. Don’t charge what feels like a reasonable price.

This won’t take into account what it actually costs to provide that service or product.

Work out all your costs so that you know the minimum you need to charge to break even. Then you’ll know you must charge more than this to make a profit. Use this minimum value as a guide, rather than basing your charges on it otherwise you’ll be making mistake number one (above).

5. Don’t go too low

If you’re just starting out, it’s easy to charge too little then find it’s hard to raise your price later. It’s better to start with a price that’s slightly too high than one that’s too low. You can always offer a discount or special offer later if you find your price is a bit high.

6. (Free bonus point!) Don’t undervalue your own time

This is incredibly easy to do when you’re starting out. If you end up paying yourself  less than minimum wage you’d be better off getting a job than you would running your own business. Sometimes the worst boss in the world is yourself!

Be confident and charge what you’re worth.

Have you made any mistakes when deciding what to charge?