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.

How Long Until I Get Paid?

Photo: HowardLake

This is a sponsored post (what does this mean?)

Starting a business when you’re on maternity leave is tough on your finances. Your maternity pay is about to run out, your savings are a distant memory and your credit card is feeling the strain.

So when deciding on your business, it pays to think about how long it will take before you make some money. (By ‘make some money’ I mean your pay cheque.) Then you can start paying off that credit card bill!

Freelancing is generally the fastest way to get a pay cheque if you work for yourself. But there are a few ‘ifs’.

  • If you have a skill that’s in demand

The trick is to offer people a skill that they need now. Maybe they have a big project and need extra help. Perhaps you have a skill that they don’t. Freelancing isn’t going to be a fast earner if you go back to college for a couple of years to get the right skills.

  • If you market yourself

You’ll have to go and find the work because it won’t find you. (Unless you’re very lucky or already have a good network of contacts.)

  • If your clients pay up on time.

This one is difficult to control. The best you can do is to have a clear set of terms and conditions and make an educated guess about the reliability of your client.

Don’t be put off though, as you might already have a skill you can turn to freelancing.

The types of work that spring to mind when you think of the word ‘freelance’ may be web design, graphic design, writing, public relations and other skills you might offer to companies. But it could also include office admin, dog walking, alternative therapies and gardening. You could also help out your ex-employer with a project if they need an extra pair of hands.

The down side of freelancing is that you’re exchanging each hour of your time for a sum of money. There’s a limit to how much you can earn as there are only twenty-four hours in a day. The smart way around this is to build up a steady income (well, as steady as freelancing can ever be) then start another income stream that doesn’t involve a direct exchange of time for money.

At the other end of the ‘how long until I get paid?’ scale is inventing a new product.

Why? Well, you’ll need to have a good idea, do extensive market research, build a prototype and test it, possibly get a patent, get a loan or invest your own money (or both), research manufacturers and materials, get the product made, market it and sell enough of it to pay back your loan or investment. Then you can start to make a profit. You’d be lucky to see a pay cheque in less than a year.

The big advantage of the new product is that you’re not exchanging time for money, as you are with freelancing. So you could make a lot more money. But the risk is greater and you could lose money too.

Somewhere in between these extremes are the other business types.

So if you’ve got a great business idea, don’t forget to check if it’s a good match for your family finances. You don’t want to run out of money before you start to see an income from your business.