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Do you dream of earning money from home? With a home business you can do just that, even if you’re a busy mom. But, there are five things you must do before you start a home business. These tasks will help set you up for success. Keep reading to learn what they are.
Many home businesses fail.
In fact, 21.5% of businesses will fail within the first year, and fifty percent won’t make it past five years. (You can see these and other facts about business failures in this report.)
Knowing this, it’s essential that you do some prep work before you start. These tasks can help you beat the odds and grow a lasting home business.
Looking back over the past five years, I can see clearly how the five key steps I took before I took the plunge to start a home business helped.
Before you start a home business, here are five essential tasks:
- Build a Solid Foundation
- Decide on Your Why
- Consider Your Options
- Get Your Family Onboard
- Commit to Action
If you do these five things, you will be ready to build a solid business. Let’s look at each step a bit more closely.
1. Build a Solid Foundation
If you try to start a home business without first preparing your life for it, it’s like dropping a brick on a house made from toothpicks.
You will feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and behind. And your home business probably won’t succeed.
Instead, take time to build the life foundation you need to support your home business. Then when you launch, you will be prepared for the weight it drops into your life in terms of time.
Begin by thinking through your typical days. When do you see a business fitting in? If you don’t currently have any flexibility in your days, you may need to drop some things.
Now is the time for streamlining life. What can you do to free up time?
Here are some things that I did:
- Create an annual meal plan to reduce kitchen related time and stress
- Minimize my decisions by assigning my kids each a day
- Get my kids used to playing independently
- Establish sibling play time
- Assign annual chores to minimize the amount of time I spent cleaning
- Cut most non-essential commitments
When you minimize decisions and proactively carve out time for a home business, you will help free up brain power. And when you unleash the power of your brain you can do great things!
Make Changes Slowly
If you want to set your foundation up for long term success, don’t make all of the changes at once. You want to slowly implement the changes, adding new ones in once you’re used to the others.
Change is hard, and taking it slowly can help prevent you from reverting back to the old ways after just a few weeks.
Make a Plan
As you begin freeing up time in your day, make a plan for using it wisely. That way you don’t fill it up with other tasks that won’t help you start a home business.
This is the perfect time for:
- Researching laws for starting a business in your location
- Reading entrepreneur themed books
- Practicing essential skills
- Improving your typing speed
- Building relationships with others with a home business to begin networking
Your Days Will Never Be Perfect
As you begin making changes, it’s tempting to wait until everything is perfect before you start your home business.
But, your days will never be perfect. There will be interruptions. And distractions.
Life happens, and you have to be flexible to build a home business as a busy mom.
The goal here isn’t perfection. It’s to free up enough time in your day that you can successfully add a home business without going insane.
So keep that goal in mind as you prepare, and you will reach that point much sooner than you are thinking.
2. Decide on Your Why
Why do you want to start a home business in the first place?
Do you want:
- More money
- A flexible schedule
- To spend more time with your kids
- To get out of debt
- The ability to quit your 9-5
Or a combination of reasons? Or something else entirely?
There isn’t one “right” why. Everyone will have a slightly different one.
But, you MUST know what your why is. Otherwise when your business gets difficult (and it will) you will be tempted to quit.
So right now, before you start your business, take the time to write out your why.
Put it in your planner. Create a poster and hang it on the wall. Attach a sticky note to your computer.
Whatever works for you, to help you see this reason, do it.
And anytime you are tempted to quit, read your why. Your why must be powerful enough to motivate you during the tough times.
I know this step seems small, but I promise you it is essential. I’ve wanted to quit half a dozen times since I started. In many ways, it’d be so much easier to go back to the classroom.
3. Consider Your Options
What kind of home business are you going to start? The best one will be a business that merges your passions and your talents.
I started off as a freelance writer. Then I threw in some virtual assistant work. And then I decided to grow my own blog as well.
This combination works really well for me, as I tend to get bored doing the exact same work each day. By having multiple income streams, I can keep from burning myself out in any one area. It also helps keep my income diversified, which is a huge blessing.
But, not everyone is like me. Some focus in on only one thing and really love it.
So do you. I can’t tell you what kind of business to start. Only you can do that.
But, I can help point you in the direction of some flexible work from home business ideas that are perfect for busy moms.
I’ll be linking to some of my favorite resources in this section as well.
This is number one on my list of home businesses to start for a reason. Well, a couple of reasons actually. Freelance writing is when you create written content for others.
- Can be done anywhere, anytime as long as you meet your deadlines
- Allows you to work in chunks if you need to (outline, draft, edit, proof, final additions)
- Has good earning potential (once you get a solid portfolio)
- Isn’t usually paid per hour (my least favorite type of pay – you get dinged for being efficient!)
To succeed at freelance writing, you should be:
- A good writer
- Able to communicate effectively in the language you’re writing in
- Creative – you’ve got to brainstorm post ideas
- Able to research – but please don’t plagiarize!
- Committed to meet your deadlines
To learn more about starting a freelance writing business, here are some resources to check out:
How to Start a Freelance Writing Business When You’re Broke
30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success (the course I first invested in – it’s now part of Gina Horkey’s Fully Booked VA System – so it has a new name!)
If you enjoy helping other people succeed, you might make a great virtual assistant! As a virtual assistant, you might:
- Help with customer service
- Manage a client’s email inbox
- Organize digital files
- Schedule tasks
- Prepare blog posts for publication
- Do social media management
Or any number of other services. It really is a huge category, and no two virtual assistants will have the exact same client load or assignments.
If you like a bit of variety in your day, you might make a great virtual assistant. You also need to:
- Be dependable – your clients are counting on you to get the job done correctly
- Have great communication skills – you’ll need to keep your client in the loop
- Be teachable – many people have their own unique way of doing things and you may need to learn new skills or ways to get things done
- Want your client to succeed – if they don’t, neither do you…
- Be organized – you might have different tasks for different days, and you need a way to keep track of everything
If you think you’d make a great virtual assistant, here are some resources to help you get started:
- Jumpstart Your Virtual Assistant Business
- 10 Reasons Moms Make Great Virtual Assistants
- Breaking Into VA Work Webinar
You can also specialize as a virtual assistant. Here are some niche specific VA courses you can check out:
- Project Management for VAs
- Email Management for Virtual Assistants
- Real Estate for VAs
- VA Agency Course
- Pinterest VA
- Podcast VAs
There are so many options available! I really enjoy my work as a virtual assistant.
If you don’t mind waiting a bit to see the fruits of your labor, consider starting a blog. It’s a great long-term way to build an income from home.
But, it takes patience, perseverance, and consistency.
I have a step-by-step post to help you start a blog as as busy mom:
How to Start a Money Making Blog with Baby Steps
One way you can speed up your income generation is to pick a niche that’s profitable. You don’t have to write about blogging, but you do need to write about something that people are looking for and willing to spend money on.
Here’s a post I wrote diving into 6 Profitable Blogging Niches (That Aren’t About Blogging.)
Once you start a blog, you’ll need to grow your traffic. I highly recommend Elna Cain’s course to help with this!
You should also learn how to market with Pinterest. I now outsource this to Yolanda from Full Circle Digital, and she does an amazing job. But, before I could afford to do that, I learned a lot from the Pinterest Ninjas eBook.
Other Home Business Ideas for Busy Moms
Those three aren’t the only ways you can make money online. They’re just how I make most of mine. You can also:
- Join a direct sales company (it works best if it’s for a product you genuinely use and love – for me that’s Plexus.) It’s help me gain definite mental clarity and better gut health!
- Be a bookkeeper – use your love of numbers to help take this task off other entrepreneur’s plate
- Sell your crafts
- Write a book and become an author
- Do graphic design
- Create online courses
There are so many possibilities. So think through them. Try to imagine yourself doing a variety of things and see what feels best.
And the best news? You can pivot later if you decide you don’t like what you are doing. You can look for different clients, offer different services, or change directions completely. It’s up to you!
4. Get Your Family On Board
You cannot just start spending more time on your business without keeping your family in the loop. It will not end well. The kids may think you’re just wasting time on the computer to ignore them and they may sabotage your success.
It’s much better to be up front with everyone in the house.
If you’re married, talk to your spouse about your goals and vision. Share your why.
My husband helps me a lot, and makes my business possible. Here’s a post sharing five ways he helps.
If you’re a mom, you have to talk to your kids. Include them in your brainstorming and share your dreams with them. Talk about it in kid friendly terms so they can understand that there’s a purpose behind the new changes.
Your family can be your biggest cheerleaders, so let them be. Share your wins. Discuss problems. And celebrate the little things.
Find a new client? Go to the park and play to celebrate. Or cook a favorite meal for dinner.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate!
Let your kids help you how they can. This may be by taking up more chores or laundry around the house. Maybe your older kids can entertain the baby for 1/2 an hour each afternoon while you work.
Depending on your child’s skills and abilities, they may be a great helper for your business. Kids are so capable if we’re willing to teach them.
Here are 17 ways your kids can help with a freelance business.
For more help getting your family on board with your business, check out this post:
How to Get Your Family On Board with Your Business
5. Commit to Action
You will never start a successful home business if all you do is plan for one. You can take all the courses in the world, and read tons of books.
But, if you never implement what you learn, you won’t start a home business.
You must commit to taking action.
It will be hard. You will push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
But, it can be incredibly life changing.
You don’t want to jump in to a massive action frenzy and then burnout a couple of weeks later. It’s much better to take slow, intentional steps.
Sit down and map out your home business journey. When are you going to launch? What do you need to do to first?
Break down your tasks into baby steps. Then each day make progress.
Let’s say you’re starting a freelance writing business. Some of your baby steps might be:
- Apply for a business license
- File for an EIN
- Start a business bank account
- Pick a name for your business
- Purchase a domain and start a website
- Announce your business on your social platforms
- Look for clients
- Pitch new clients
- Take a course (break this one down by lessons so it isn’t overwhelming)
- Create samples for your portfolio
- Decide how to invoice clients
- Draft a contract
If you try to do these things all in one day, you can’t. Your business would quickly take over your life and you’d have no work life balance.
Instead, pick 2-4 times throughout the day when you are going to commit to taking action. Then, select something from your list each time and get it done.
Slowly, with baby steps, you really can grow a business.
But, if you stop taking steps, your business won’t succeed.
You can learn more about the baby steps method to growing a home business with this post:
100 Ways to Grow Your Business with Baby Steps
Successfully Start a Home Business
These five steps will definitely take time. But, they will help you to start a home business that can last.
And they’ll help you prepare your life for a business without being super stressed.
For more help building a solid foundation, check out my course Balancing Diapers and Deadlines.
Lisa Tanner loves helping busy moms find time to grow their own business. As a homeschooling mom to nine, she knows a thing or two about balancing diapers and deadlines.
This is all so true! Especially understanding that not everyday will be perfect or as productive as you wish it was. Definitely a learning curve but so rewarding
jenna recently posted…Dairy-Free and Egg-Free Brownies
There is definitely a learning curve when you start a home business Jenna. I compare it to the first day of a new semester in high school or college where you’re trying to figure out how in the world you will get it all done while looking at the papers and tests and everything else you have coming up. But slowly, course by course, day by day, it becomes a new normal and we adjust. It’s hard, but like you said definitely rewarding.
Becca @ The LDN Lifestyle says
These were great tips, and great ideas for jobs you can do from home! Realising your why is so important, I had a blog previously that I didn’t treat like a business, whereas with my new one I know what my goals are and why I’m doing it, has helped so much. Becca x
It’s awesome that you have a why and goals for your blog this time around Becca! Best wishes to you as you grow.
Excellent in depth post! Thanks for taking the time to write this. Great job and super useful!
So glad you found it useful Jennifer!
Hi Lisa, I love the points you have given here. I agree with everything. I am a mom and it is really a challenge building your own business and attending to the kids as well. My WHY is also the reason why I am destructed at times. As you have said, days will never be perfect because of course- kids and life happens. I have been reading articles on this as well to prepare the mindset of being an entrepreneur at home. If I can share it here >> https://www.leahcanseco.com/5-things-i-wish-i-knew-before-entrepreneurship/ Thanks for this and Cheers!
Benito Keh says
During this quarantine, I’ve been looking for the right business for me. I’ve read so many articles about home business that I can do. I’ve tried some, but it didn’t work out. Like, I’ve tried writing (but writing is not my passion). This is such a great read! Thanks for sharing this 🙂
I hope you’re able to come up with the perfect business for you!