Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Starting your business as a mom seems like a daunting task, especially while you are taking care of and supporting your children. But if you do it right and have enough passion for what you do, your business is bound to be a success!
The story of how I became a small business owner is definitely unintentional. I am lover of sewing, beautiful fabric, and repurposing clothing into something new and exciting. I used to haul bags full of curtains and sheets to my tailor (who thought I was crazy) and have her stitch up my ideas and designs. After a year, she started giving out my name to her customers. My friends and sisters began modeling my clothing, and slowly I started throwing together complete looks and styling them in different ways.
I never could have imagined anyone wanting to buy what I created, much less that I could have designed it myself! And as a single mom of two kids, I never considered that my passion for designing and shopping on a budget could turn into a profitable business. Not to mention, kids are expensive! The current average cost of raising a child is roughly $234,000 until your child is 17 years-old, which is almost $14,000 annually. So how in the world are moms supposed to find the money to start a business on top of it all?!
My TOP TIPS for starting your own business as a mom:
1. First, decide if your business will be full-time or a side hustle. If you want to earn some extra cash, then that’s one thing, but to have a profitable business you must understand finances and cash flow. You’ll need a steady income to maintain the business if that’s the route you decide to go.
2. Decide how you want to structure your business. Is it worth filing a company or will a DBA do for the time-being? Depending on the route you want to go and the industry, this is an important question to answer for your business.
3. Invest in digital marketing. The internet has created an unlimited platform for small business owners. At the same time, it is making marketing a bit trickier as global competition has exploded. The easiest place to start is by creating your own website. You can purchase domains for a small cost and easily educate users about your brand. As you become more experienced and have a larger budget to pull from, learn basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or outsource it to increase your website’s traffic.
4. Use social media to your advantage. Whether you make or sell a product or service, it is free to promote your products on social media. I recommend Facebook and Instagram for all businesses, but you should carefully consider additional social media platforms that make sense for your business. For example, Pinterest is very helpful for my fashion business, but Twitter not so much! Regardless of what platform you choose, be sure to post consistently about your product and interact regularly with your followers. You never know, they could be a paying customer one day.
5. Highlight your strengths!
The focus of your business should be one of your main strengths, abilities, and/or passions. I have always been creative, so I naturally fell into projects and ventures that focused on these skills. I learned how to draw landscape designs as a kid and even taught myself to sew. Hence why I now own a clothing business!
6. Outsource what you aren’t good at. Don’t be afraid to ask for and look for help in the areas you need it. I am terrible at accounting. So I got an accountant! Do you need creative branding help? Hire a part-time employee or intern with some expertise in the subject.
7. Take your kids with you. I have strapped my infant to my chest while doing product shoots. Have a meeting? Bring the kids along, they will love learning about the business and every client I’ve worked with has been considerate and understanding.
8. Stick to your child’s schedule. Naps and bedtimes allow you to structure time to answer emails, ship product, or plan. If you have older children, schedule a time for them to help you with parts of the business they are interested in. My eldest loves helping out and learning about finances. It is a great way for them to learn hard work and entrepreneurship!
9. Put the work in. It will be worth it. You will bust your butt in the beginning, but the luxury of being your own boss and making your own schedule is totally worth it (especially with kids). I learned quickly that being an entrepreneur doesn’t have to be scary, as long as you put in the effort. Repeat it to yourself, over and over.
I hope this quick how-to has given you some insight into the ways to create and start up a business as a mother. Remember to start small and let it grow!
Want to talk more with a mom who has successfully started her own business? There are thousands of moms waiting on SocialMama to offer advice and mentorship! Download in the App Store today.
About the contributor:
Arrica Afton is a single mama of a 19 year-old daughter and a 5 year-old son. She is passionate about shining a light on what society says the “average Muslim women” should be, while living as holistic and green as possible (in style, of course). Arrica is also a MentorMama ambassador for SocialMama.