Starting a Home Business: What Do You Really Need?

It’s never been easier or cheaper to start a business from home. But you still need a phone, a computer, insurance, to register as self-employed, a mailing address, business cards, a bank account and more.  You can do all of this quickly and cheaply, but it takes a long time and a lot of browsing around the internet to find out how. Then there’s that nagging feeling that you’ve missed something important!

That’s why I put together my e-book, Start a Home Business on A Shoestring . I’ve done the searching so you don’t have to! And you can use it as a checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything. You can download the e-book for free when you sign up for my Start Up Tips Newsletter.

How Do You Get Work Done If You’ve Got Kids At Home?

Answer – Get a childminder!

But what if you can't afford one or don't want to use childcare? Is it really possible to run a business with babies or toddlers in the house?

I thought I was pretty good at managing my time before I had my daughter. It's  far harder now with tiny children demanding my attention. All the time. (Stressed? Who me?). The normal time management rules just don't apply any more.

So I was delighted to find not just one, but four articles on working around small children this week. All written by mums who have been there, done it and got the (carrot puree splattered) t-shirt.

The first three are from Natalie Lue at Self Employed Mum:

And the fourth is from Lexi Rodrigo of Freelance Folder:

These articles are packed with useful advice, but the most important message for me is to "have realistic expectations". How about you?

Business Ideas for Mums – Life and Business Coaching

Tell me more…

A coach listens intently to understand what is important to her client and what may be holding her back. The coach helps the client to define her goals, then works with the client to make sure she takes the steps to achieve those goals.

What are the benefits?

  • You can choose how many hours you work
  • You can work from home by phone
  • You can branch out into other areas such as writing and running workshops

Things to consider…

  • Coaching is a difficult service to sell, especially if you have no experience in marketing. It's not easy to describe what the client will get or what the end result will be. If you decide to begin a coaching business, allow for a lot (often more than 50%) of your time to be spent on marketing in the first few years.
  • The good news is that you can work over the phone from anywhere. The bad news is that you're competing with every other coach in the world who can do the same! It's highly unlikely that you'll be able to build a business as a general coach – you will need to specialise. When choosing your specialism, make sure you pick one with clients that can afford to pay for your services.  For example, people who have just lost their jobs may need your services, but they probably won't have the money to pay for you.
  • You are much more likely to succeed in business coaching if you already have a background in business. Some coaches argue that the core of coaching is the listening, and that you don't need business experience to do this. However, experience in your specialist area will give you credibility in the eyes of your clients and make it easier for you to understand them.
  • Before paying for a coach training course, investigate the training provider and course thoroughly.  While many are  reputable, there is nothing to stop anyone starting a coach training company, so it pays to do your homework. Courses come in a variety of lengths and prices, so weigh up exactly what you want from a course and if you're getting value for money. Ask to speak to recent students who have succesful coaching businesses.

Further information

  • Examples of coaches who have specialisms (relationship coaching) – (marketing coaching for small business owners).

  • Some coach training organisations (there are others)

Noble Manhattan

The Coaching Academy

Coach Training Institute

Coach U (I trained with Coach U)

  • Coaching information and resources

Coachville – resources for coaches, some free.

Lifecoach Directory – aimed at people looking for a life coach, but check out the FAQ page for helpful description of what coaches do, plus the  experience and qualifications they need.

New Coach Connection – a Yahoo group supporting new coaches.


Not convinced that life or business coaching is for you? Take a look at other business ideas for mums.


It’s Here! The First Business Mums’ Blog Carnival

Here it is, the first Business Mums’ Blog Carnival! And what an amazing response! Thanks to everyone who contributed and everyone who has offered to be future hosts.

(If you want to know more about the blog carnival and how to join in, all the details are here: Introducing the Business Mums’ Blog Carnival.)

I’ve had a few tricky decisions to make this week. Such as should I include posts with reviews? What do our readers actually want to read? After a bit of a think, I decided to keep the rules down to a minimum and just go with the flow – well, for this month at least.

Lots of fabulous posts came in giving advice on running a better business. First up we have Karen Sher, founder of Musical Minis, who shares her tips for mums who have their own business. Karen’s been in business for twenty years, so I could certainly learn a thing or two from her!  Iveta Tancheva of Mums Like You has a useful post if you’re thinking of getting revenue from online advertising.

Antonia Chitty of Family Friendly Working talks about how being a single mum can actually make women more enterprising.  Very inspiring.  Ovcr at Hire My Parents you’ll find a post explaining how to get your blog posts to work harder for you. Sam and Helen at Mums The Boss give some handy tips on PR and Sam Thewlis of Mumazing give us her business writing tips.

There’s huge variety in the businesses that mums run. Claire Willis of SnugBaby tells us about baby wearing and Toniann Harwood talks about the history behind Knot Just Jig‘s toy Noah’s Arks. Meanwhile Independant midwife Valerie Gommon tells us about the challenges of doing her job in the snow. And for something completely different, you can read why Tracey-Jane Hughes  is inspired by cake (she’s in the bra business!).

Some of us contributed posts with a focus on family. Andrea Daly of the Accidental Business Mum relaxes with her Wii after a tough week.  I’ve listed my top eight tips for saving time on household tasks (it would have been ten, but I had to clean the kitchen!). Becky Goddard-Hill, author of ‘How To Afford Time Off With Your Baby‘ has some brillient tips for saving money and Maggy Woodley of Red Ted Art shares her tips for potty training.

Finally, Emma Warren of Portfolio Directors reminds us to take some time to look around us.

Next month…

Next month’s carnival will be over at Family Friendly Working. Email posts to antonia (at)  familyfriendlyworking (dot) by Monday 19th February and the carnival will be posted on the 25th February.

Introducing The Business Mums’ Blog Carnival

So what's it all about?

Each month, a different business mum blogger will be hosting the blog carnival, listing the best business mum blog posts that month. If you're a business mum with a blog, you can submit your own favourite post of that month to the carnival.

Why? Well, it creates traffic,  links and comments for your blog as well as sharing expertise around the business mum community. We're looking for posts that add value in some way, so maybe they inspire, inform or make us smile. It's OK to talk a little about what you do (we're all in business after all) but a post that's just a sales pitch isn't going to be much of a read.

And if you fancy being a host, please send an email to helen (at) business plus baby (dot) com.

*Update* I'm allocating hosts to months on a first-come-first-served basis so apologies if you've offered to host and I've not got back to you yet.

I'm getting a lot of offers from people who want to host and I don't really want to start allocating hosts beyond the end of 2010 just yet! Feel free to offer to be a host anyway as I'll keep a reserve list if I get more hosts than there are months left in the year.

How do I join in?

Email a link to your post to the carnival host for that month – see the list below…

Don't forget to read other people's posts and comments when the carnival is published. The more comments our blogs get, the more popular our blogs look to new readers!


January 2010 –

Email posts to helen (at) business plus baby (dot) com by the end of Friday 22nd Jan and the carnival will be posted on Mon 25th Jan


Email posts to antonia (at)  familyfriendlyworking (dot) by Monday 19th February and the carnival will be posted on the 25th February.


Email posts to info (at) mumstheboss (dot) by 13th March and the carnival will be posted on the 15th March.


Email posts to contact AT by 15th April and the carnival will be posted on 19th April.


Email posts to heather AT by 24th May and the carnival will be posted on 30th May.


Email posts to sarah AT by 18 June and the carnival will be published on 22nd June.


(email and dates to follow)

August 2010 –

(email and dates to follow)

September2010 –

(email and dates to follow)

October 2010 –

Email posts to info (at) sizzlingscience (dot) by end of Monday 11th October and the carnival will be posted on Monday 18th October

November 2010

(email and dates to follow)


Email posts to maggy (At) familywoodley (dot) com by the end of Friday 24th Dec and Carnival will be posted by Friday 31st Dec.

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