Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Let's keep this real, starting a business as a parent is going to be challenging! However it is doable, just focus on taking the first steps and before you know it, you it will be up and running and loving your new life as an entrepreneur.
This article will help you with 10 steps to achieving success.
First things first, just being a parent is challenging! You probably think you have no free time, or head space to take on another job and where on earth would you even start? Remember, by already being a parent, you have proven that you are responsible, able to juggle many jobs, a demanding little 'boss' and able perform all of this with less than optimal sleep. So just think, if you can do all of that, with a little direction and a good plan in place, you can absolutely start a business too.
A) Become part of an entrepreneurs network.
By surrounding yourself with like minded people, positive people, they will enhance your drive for success, share knowledge, empower you and ultimately push you forward with your project.
B) Be inspired.
Look at the companies, people and brands that inspire you. The lessons they learnt along the way and see how you can take shortcuts and avoid pitfalls.
Entrepreneur networks like ACE, are an invaluable group to be part of. ACE only just launched this year, so just think of all the other entrepreneurs that came before that - often working alone, without support, or lessons from peers from a similar demographic. They made it through, but it was an uphill and often lonely struggle.
Being part of the right group, you can receive help you with training, networking, masterclasses, tips and tricks to make your business grow a little easier. Let your peers inspire you. It is often even more powerful, when the example of greatness in business are more like you, than you ever would have thought.
There are several key milestones to get you from initial ideation to business launch, including:
Idea Validation - checking that your business idea is viable and has a gap in the market.
Competitive Review - who are your competitors, how can you differentiate from them.
USP - deciding your unique selling point.
Sourcing - creating content, services, finding / creating products, creating a website.
Branding - deciding on the theme of your brand, colours, typeface, logo, tone of voice.
Costing - creating a document with production costs vs selling costs, sales and profit.
Finance - opening a business account, find a small business accountant.
Launch - how, when, where.
The key to success, is to take one step at a time, working toward smaller goals which lead up to each bigger milestone. It is easy to become overwhelmed when you look at this list, but keep going, until you are ready to launch. Imagine you are building a wall and just focus on laying each brick perfectly, one at a time. There is no time limit - this is your business.
This is the important bit - for you sanity! Getting a work schedule in place.
I have a 3 year old, so I know that if I do not stick to my work schedule it can be detrimental to the harmony of the household and my productivity will diminish!
So for parents I recommend my "Trinity Method", which is equivalent to just over 1 day of work a week; setting a great pace to get you to launch. This includes:
Sprint - 30 mins - 4 x per week
Power Hour - 1 hour - 3 x per week
Golden Hours - 2 hours 2 x per week
As I am currently working from home, my hours of work are: 'Sprint' - 30mins after breakfast,
'Power Hour' - during nap times and 'Golden Hours' in the evenings after bedtime.
Let's have a look at how to use the 'Trinity Method' below:
'Sprint' - Try to do a quick task, 4 times a week for 30 mins. This needs to be tasks that you can get done swiftly and can still be done if you get distracted. Tasks such as; doing a competitive review, choosing website themes or sourcing a logo, making a phone call, completing a purchase etc.
'Power Hour' - 1 hour uninterrupted slot, 3 times a week. Set out your task beforehand, which must be achieved in this time. There should be NO distractions, such as TV, phone or people. Set your timer and put it to the side. This is great for jobs that require heavy concentration and attention to detail such as photographing your products, have a zoom meeting etc
Finally the 'Golden Hours', this is when you have at last 2 hours of solid work, twice a week. Evenings are best after your little angel is sleeping, (as long as you are not too tired). Use this time for the big tasks - such as building parts of your website, creating detailed documents, opening business accounts, working on your launch strategy or setting up social media etc.
Work towards completing 1 big or 2 smaller tasks within this 2 hour deadline. It is so easy just to keep going all night by trying to do too much, but you will be exhausted in the morning, less happy and productive as a result.
Quick Task : Find 3 points in the day and week, where you can get 30 mins, 1 hour and 2 hours of work done.
Once you know when you will have time to work, you can plan each week out, become very organised, efficient and still maintain a good work / life balance. Then you can repeat this planning every Sunday before 9pm, by writing down your work to-do list, assigning days and times to complete each task for the week ahead.
Please note, it is OK if you cannot commit to this exact work schedule at first. Instead try reducing work times by 50%, then work your way back up to this full schedule as soon as possible.
5. Smart Resources
The internet is your friend, use it to help you find templates to complete some tasks quicker. You can find so many templates for free online, such as costing documents and website terms and conditions. Allocate time just for the task of finding these resources, then create a document with all of these links; which you can later go back and use during a Power Hour work slot.
A website is a must, even if you decide to have such as Instagram or Facebook as your main page for customers, you should still consider having a website with at least one page. Remember, that social media platforms are owned and controlled by someone else. If they go down or you are locked out of your page, then you will still have your website as a back up.
There are many free websites out there, such as Wordpress, which can serve as a business base. By having a website, your business will look more professional too. Also there are quite a few perks to having a website for example; Wix has premium website plans which includes free images, graphics, logos, marketing tools and often these plans come with a free domain for 1 year. Research domain providers, to get as much as you can for free or with a discount.
Remember, it is not essential to have a bespoke website built for you initially, there can be heavy costs involved and it is better to see how your business is going first, before you invest here. Utilise free or cheaper options first - just remember to keep it looking professional.
It is so important to get your finances in order from the start. Using your personal account in the beginning, will create an accounting headache later on.
Remember to keep a log of everything you spend on the business, have a budget and stick to it. Then, open a business account, which usually free for the first year. It is easier to stick with your personal bank, but only if they are providing a good service and have a business account available.
You will need to find a good small business accountant. Use social groups and your network to find one that is recommended. Make sure they have experience with small businesses, so they can guide you well and be on top of your new tax deadlines.
Finally, always keep a record of your expenses, ideally pay everything digitally, or by card, keep all of your receipts and a log of your finances.
8. Focus Keeping focused is the key to success, although we live in a world of many distractions including TV, social media and children. Everyday there will be a new and more important thing, ready to distract you.
You may want to push starting a task back... just a little. Dont. You have to keep focused on the task, every single time and make you your deadlines. You may suddenly become hungry or thirsty when you are supposed to be working. Instead you can give yourself that snack as a reward when you are finished and that craving might just help you work faster. The trick is to grab a big glass of water before you start - quelling both hunger and thirst during your work. Its is actually your brain just tricking you into doing something easier and more instantly satisfying. Ask any high achiever and they will tell you one of the secrets to success is being focused. Think of how many times Serena Williams practised her serve, until she reached perfection. Keeping laser focused, is the only way to complete the task ahead. Remember, this is still a proper job, except you are working for yourself. So you would not be on instagram, watching Netflix or answering a random call during work. Treat you business as well as you would an external employer.
9. Work/Life Balance Keep work and everything else a little separate. They will cross over if you are working from home, or with a child in tow, however try your best to stick to your work times. Enjoy yourself thoroughly when you are not at work. Play with your children, watch TV, recline on the sofa, take a walk to the local park, exercise - whatever you like to do in your free time. (This is separate from your homelife chores). Give your brain a proper rest in between working. This actually improves the way you work, when you get back to your next task.
10. The Start.. Now, just start. Grab a pen and paper and write down on paper the following:
Business name (you can change this later if you like)
Business purpose (one sentence)
What the business will do (one sentence)
Launch date (be realistic, around 3 months)
How will launching a business make you feel (3 seperate words)
Stick this piece of paper on the fridge, at eye level and read it every day. You can absolutely start a business if you really want to. If you decide to go ahead, avoid thinking about it too much. Just start or you may never do it. I hope you found this useful, I am always keen to hear feedback, so comment, like, share and feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help getting started.