Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs out there, but it can also be one of the most challenging. This is especially true for moms who are passionate about working and want to keep thriving in their careers. While laws and company policies for working parents are getting better, we still have a long way to go, especially in the United States. That’s why many mothers become “mompreneurs,” starting their own businesses or working for themselves so they can focus on their families without abandoning their professional ambitions.
Stay-at-home-moms can also be stay-at-home-entrepreneurs, but it might be hard to figure out where to start and how to stay motivated. Here are 7 tips for the budding “mompreneur” that will keep you active, engaged and excited about work.
#1 Dust off your interviewing skills. If you want to start a service-related business, like organizing houses, pet sitting, nannying or tutoring, potential clients will want to interview you to see if you’re a good fit. Prepare and practice for each interview to make an amazing first impression. This includes looking up potential questions and knowing how you should respond, as well as having a list of references you can share.
#2 Manage that work/life balance. Working from home means there will often be some blurred lines between family responsibilities and work deadlines. Create a dedicated office space where you can create some distance between being a mom and running a business. But also make sure you have structure around when you’re working and when you’re not working. Have set office hours and be sure to really step away when it’s time to be with your family.
#3 Make your kids part of the team. When you work from home with kids, you may need to incentivize their cooperation. Try to make them feel like they are your partners in crime and that your success depends on them. When they are helpful, quiet and self-occupied, reward them for being an exceptional team player.
#4 Find a good idea you enjoy. Being a “mompreneur” means doing something you enjoy almost as much as a you enjoy being a mom. If you were once a rising star in the professional world, focus on becoming a consultant in your former field. For those who are creative or crafty, make and sell your specialty items on Etsy. And for those moms out there with specialized skills, like accountants or writers, take on a few clients and slowly work to build your base.
#5 Market yourself. It would be lovely if the movie cliche “If you build it they will come” would ring true for all “mompreneurs,” but the truth is there is a lot of competition out there. You have to show customers why you are a leader in your industry or stand out in your field. Create a YouTube channel giving advice. Start a website that showcases your products or services, and where people can sign up to get discounts and specials emailed right to their inbox. Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage.
#6 Dress the part. Even if you sit behind a computer, facing no one until your partner comes home at the end of the day, it’s still a good idea to get dressed like you’re going into the office. It sets a good tone for productivity and problem-solving when you dress professionally even in a home office.
#7 Plan ahead. The last thing you want—or need—is to find that last-minute meeting with a new client happens right when your youngest child should be standing on the ball field. “Mompreneurs” have to take their to-do lists to the next level. Organize your time by keeping track of what you need to do each day, during the whole week and throughout the entire month.
If you want to be a career-driven work-from-home mom, there is no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it, too—you just have to be smart and savvy about it. When all else fails, don’t be too prideful to ask for help. They say it takes a village to raise a child—take advantage of your network to help manage your career and time.