Do you dream of starting a business?
Six years ago I was the mom of a toddler and an infant dreaming of starting my own business. It seemed impossible to me as I struggled through my days in a fog of sleep deprivation and overwhelm. But a diagnosis of Postpartum depression made me realize that I needed to have something in my life just for me.
As I struggled out of depression with the help of a support group and medication, my aunt encouraged me to get my home kitchen certified so I could bake gluten free goodies for her cafe. I loved baking and it seemed like a good fit for a job I could do from home.
The kitchen certification was a pretty easy process and soon I was baking a variety of cookies and brownies for the cafe. Next, I added baking for our local Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. I could bring the baby with me, he hung out on a blanket or nursed and took a nap. (see him in the background?)
The granola I made became my most popular item and soon I couldn’t keep up with orders in my home kitchen. After some searching I found a commercial kitchen that I could rent by the hour. This also gave me the ability to get a commercial kitchen license so that I could sell my granola in stores.
Why I gave it all up
Business was growing fast but I was spending two or three nights a week at the kitchen and almost every weekend at events and markets. With two small kids at home it felt like I was missing too much.
One of my mistakes was not imagining what would happen if my business were to grow. I didn’t look ahead at how I could expand while still being at home with the kids.
I explored many options, from building a commercial kitchen at home, to licensing my recipe to producer who would make the product under my name. Eventually it became clear that the best option was to put the business up for sale.
Luckily, I found a great buyer who is still selling granola today. She re-branded with a new name but kept the recipes and hopefully most of the customers!
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How to choose what kind of business to start
Owning a business is a great way to afford to stay at home with young children. As a small business owner you have some control over your time and your resources.
There are tons of scams on the internet of “Great Work at Home Business Opportunities!” and “Make Tons of Money in 15 Minutes a Day!” Don’t get sucked in to paying someone to get you started in business. If you can raise kids, you can start a business!
First Steps to Starting a Work at Home Business
The first question that you have to ask yourself is “What do I like to do?”
If you are going to be spending time on something you have to enjoy it or you won’t put in the time required. Think about what you enjoy doing that other people either don’t know how to do or don’t like to do, then you will have something that others will pay you to do for them. Make a list, write down at least five things that you like to do and could make into a business.
Work at Home Ideas:
- dog walking or pet sitting
- art/crafts such as sewing, painting, crocheting…
- website design
- data entry
RELATED POST: Work at Home Ideas
When will you do it?
Now that you have some ideas of what you will do you need to think about when you will be able to work. If you kids are small and still home with you it can be hard to work during the day.
You might need to pick something you can do after they go to bed, or during nap time, or on the weekends when your partner is home. If you kids are a little older and can entertain themselves for a while you might be able to do some work during the day.
RELATED POST: 3 Ways to Keep Your Toddler Busy so You Can Work
It is important to pick a business that will fit in with your family life. There is nothing worse than getting started and realizing that although you are getting work it just doesn’t fit your lifestyle.
Really think about what time you have each day to spend on a business. Can you stay up late to work? Or get up early before your kids? Maybe you will only work on the weekend when you have childcare?
Once you have figured out when you will work take another look at your list of possible businesses and choose two that you are interested in and will work with your family life.
Is there one that would work better?
Or one you are more interested in?
Choose that one! If not, make a list of pros and cons to help you choose just one.
Need more brainstorming help?
Take my FREE class, “Finding Your Passion“
Learning about your chosen business
Don’t be afraid to choose something you are not an expert in, but make sure it is something you have passion about. If you are going to be bootstrapping a new business you are going to have to be excited about it or you will never put in the work. And it will be a lot of work, don’t think you are going to skate by on a hour a week, but if you have the passion you will also have fun!
There are many ways to learn more about your business, check out the local branch of the Small Business Association or community college for business classes. CreativeLive has amazing online classes in a wide variety of subjects, from hand lettering to online marketing.
Check your local library for resources too. Our library will let us check out ebooks and audio books, plus they have memberships to online resources.
Now go get busy!
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and start making a list of your skills and passions. Figure out your daily schedule and where you can work around your family’s schedule. Be realistic and take your time. You don’t have to figure this out today, let your brain percolate this information.
Find someone to bounce ideas off of if you get stuck. It can help to talk about this process out loud, even just to your toddler. I find that things that seem crazy in my head can sometimes start to make sense if I say them out loud.
Need more help? Leave a comment below and I will be happy to help!