Maybe you have heard that starting a business so you can work from home provides freedom to spend more time with your kids? Or, maybe you are tired of the daily commute.
There are many reasons why busy moms may consider starting a business from home, in hopes of either going back to work after being a stay-at-home mom, or to ditch their 9-5 for an entrepreneurial lifestyle.
When I started my blog, Millenial Mom in 2021, I was looking for a way to be able to work from home permanently.
I had read on Pinterest that blogging was the way to go, and that you can make $10K per month after 6 months of work.
Of course, it is rarely that simple.
If you were looking for an easy way to get out of working a day job, and only have to work 4 hours a day, then spend the rest of the day on the beach looking gorgeous, then it is important to realize all those Instagram influencers portraying that kind of life have taken years to get where they are.
You are not going to be an overnight success.
I built my first business to make a living and initially worked in my bar and at another job to sustain it. Today I tailored and created my job because I love to help people and it suited my knowledge base from College but I am still far away from sitting at the beach.
Most businesses don't make money for the first 5 years.
But, if you are in an online business instead of an in-person business, you can accelerate this since you don't have to pay so much overhead.
Starting a business is an investment.
When you first start, you are going to put in extra time, effort and money to get your new endeavor off the ground. This is what I think of as frontloading - you do a lot of work up front so that things will go more smoothly later.
You are going to need money to start your business, but since most businesses don't make it to becoming profitable, you will want to make sure you don't put your whole life savings into your work and risk all your savings.
It really is a lot of work to become successful. That is why most new businesses fail within the first 3 years. Most new bloggers quit within the first 6 months. It can be a great life, but it isn't easy, and it isn't an instant success.
How do I know all this? Well, this isn't my first rodeo. I owned a bar back in 2008, so I have started a business from scratch before and made it successful. I know it can be done, but I also know what goes into it.
Does all that sound horrible? Have I scared you out of wanting to be a mompreneur?
If not, and you are still motivated to make your business goals a reality, keep reading for step by step instructions.
Before you decide to start your mompreneur business, there is a lot to consider.
First of all, what kind of business do you want to start? There are all different options. When you start a business, it should either be something you are very good at, or something you are really passionate about.
There are two main types of businesses. You can either do a product-based business (think like me with the bar, or having an Etsy shop) or a service-based business (coaching, writing, etc.). The steps will be slightly different for each of these, so it is important to do your research up front.
Once you have decided what kind of business you want to start, then you will start writing a Business Plan. This lays out in detail how you want your business to run.
In addition to laying out your goals and how you will accomplish them, your business plan should also include all of the start-up costs that will be needed.
For example, with the bar, we had to include things like legal fees, permit fees, and start-up inventory and furniture for our location. We had about $60K to invest in the start-up of our business.
When I started MillenialMom on the other hand, all I had to pay was $150 for my web hosting, although I did invest throughout the first year on other software for automations, so keep in mind that there may be additional costs that you did not anticipate, and set money aside just in case.
As you are starting your business, be aware that the costs along the way will vary, and will typically be higher for a product-based business, since you have to buy your inventory up front.
After you have your business plan in place, you will want to start doing some Market Research. This means, figuring out who you are going to be marketing your goods or services to.
You can google similar online businesses to yours, to see how they are doing their marketing, and how they have their business model set up. Make notes on what you want to do similarly or differently than these other businesses.
Market research also involves making sure that there is a demand for the product or service that you want to offer. This will help you to be sure that you are in the right location, where your customers go. (This can be a physical location or an online marketplace.)
Getting eyes on your product or service is critical, and it is all about location!
For example, I learned after several months of blogging that there are a lot of other writers on Twitter and Medium. If you are a beauty influencer, Instagram is the place to be. And, I understand that TikTok is great for getting coaching clients.
If you want to have an in-person business like a bar, daycare, nail salon or anything else that needs a storefront, you will want to research the demographics of the neighborhood where you are thinking about putting your storefront, to ensure that it matches up with the target demographics of your business.
When we opened the bar, we didn't do this in as much detail as we should have, since it was an established location. We just went in there with big ideas and expected them to fly. But we were trying to be too hip and young for our area, which had mostly 30-50 year old's coming in the bar. So, we had to do some major course-corrections with our events.
If we had researched better up front, we wouldn't have had events early on that flopped.
Doing your research before you start will allow you to be more successful more quickly, instead of just blindly flailing around through trial and error, as so many of us do.
There will still be course corrections along the way, because you can't predict everything, but hopefully they will be less major if you have made solid plans in the beginning.
Setting up your company
Once you have decided what you are going to do and where you are going to do it, then it is time to set up your company and get started.
Depending on what type of business you have chosen, you may need to incorporate your business. In the United States, typically if you are going to run a solo business, there are two types of businesses that you can choose. You can either be what is called a Sole Proprietor, or you can incorporate as an LLC (Limited Liability Company).
Which type of business you choose will depend in part on if you are offering goods or services, and if you are in a type of business that is high or low risk.
Incorporating your business as an LLC is more important if you are starting a type of business that is more likely to be sued. When I owned the bar, I had an LLC to protect my assets. Since bars are dealing with drunk people who have a tendency to be volatile at times, there is a greater risk of being sued than I have now with my blog. So, this time I've gone Sole Proprietor.
If you do decide to incorporate as an LLC, there will be additional requirements from the State or Province where you live. In this case, you may want to consult with a lawyer to assist with making sure the business is set up correctly. They can help you with your Articles of Incorporation, and any other documentation that is required.
If you decide to go Sole Proprietor, often there is no paperwork to set up at all. You can just start the business in your own name, and use your social security number for tax filing purposes at the end of the year.
It is always a good idea to check the legal requirements where you live to ensure that you are going through the process correctly. In the US, you will want to check with the Secretary of State for the state where you live for all the requirements regarding business licensing.
Additional Licensing Requirements
Depending on what kind of business you'll be starting, there may be additional licensing requirements that you'll need to meet prior to starting your business.
For example, if you're going to become a life coach, there are requirements to become certified, and classes that you need to take prior to getting started.
If you are going to be selling physical products, depending on where you live, you may need to get a sales tax license. This will apply if you have a physical shop, or if you are selling directly through your own website.
When I opened my bar, we needed to get a business license, sales tax license, and a liquor license. So, be aware depending on the specific type of business that you are opening, there may be additional types of licensing as well.
You can find this out online, or by consulting with a business lawyer.
However, if you sell your goods directly through Amazon KDP (where I sell my books) or another established retail site, they may deduct the sales tax on their end and then pay you a commission. This will eliminate the need to get a sales tax license.
Will you need employees?
Depending on the type of business that you'll be operating, you may be able to run it all by yourself (think blogging), or you may need to hire employees, like I did with the bar.
If you decide to hire employees, you'll need to develop an onboarding system, and write an employee handbook.
A standard training procedure allows you to get on the same page with your staff regarding job expectations right from the beginning.
When you hire employees, you'll also need to set up the corresponding tax information such as Workers Compensation and Payroll taxes. There may be State and Local taxes that you'll need to pay. It is important to be aware of this as well, and ensure that you are taking the proper steps to be compliant.
As you are hiring employees, it is a good idea to check their references, and in some instances also to do a background check, to ensure that you are hiring the best team possible. Remember, if you are going to run a background check, you need to inform potential hires up front.
If you don't need full time employees, you may consider working with consultants or freelancers as an alternative. This way, you won't need to worry about paying payroll taxes.
Opening your business
Once you have completed all the above steps, you'll be ready to launch your business! This can be a really exciting time, after you've invested the time into researching and getting your business ready to get off the ground.
The final stage of opening your business is basically opening the doors and hanging out your sign, so to speak.
All that is left is marketing your opening day!
How you market your launch will depend on what type of business that you're running. If it is in-person, you may consider putting ad's on television, radio or in your local newspaper, or handing out flyers in the local neighborhood.
If your business is online, you want to promote on social media, or take out ad's on Google, or with your social media channels. Most socials have targeted ad's that you can run as long as you have your social media account set up as a business account.
You'll also want to let your friends and family know about your launch, so that they can share the details through word of mouth.
The more people are aware of your opening day ahead of time, the more successful your launch will be.
Planning your launch can be a fun experience, and allows you to express your creativity and showcase all the positives about your new business! You can even hold a special launch event, or series of events.
This can be a physical event, or you can go live on social media channels throughout your launch process.
There are a lot of moving pieces that go into setting up your business to make sure that things will run smoothly.
If you make sure that you do all of the up-front work with proper attention to detail, you'll be well on your way to making your business a success from the beginning!
As a recap, here are all the steps you'll need to take to start your business:
Choose a type of business
Make a business plan
Incorporate your business
Advertise and Launch
Once you have taken all these steps, and made sure to do your homework properly along the way, you'll have a new business to call your own, and the tools that you need to make it successful.
If you have any questions, be sure to let me know in the comments!
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For additional tips, and inspiration from moms who have already started their own business, you can check out my Mompreneur Interview Series!