Bring home the bacon…or play “this little piggy”? Work outside the home and feel perpetually guilty and exhausted…or quit your job and feel perpetually broke (and exhausted)? For years, these were the tough choices mothers faced. Maybe we could do both—work and parent—but could we do both well? we wondered. It’s a question that, these days, seems positively antiquated.
Thanks to the Internet and to the skills we women have developed from our years in the workforce, we have more options than ever before. More and more moms are crafting lives that have ample time for both work and family—and we’re doing it well.
As a mother, I found myself online looking for answers to the questions I had and I also found myself looking to connect with other women and mothers like me. But I failed to find one place that encompassed all the things that I was looking for. So I decided to create it.
As a licensed therapist, I knew that I had something to offer. And as a social media-savvy woman, I knew that I had the tools necessary to connect with people. And for me, the opportunity that working in a digital world has created has given me the chance to live the life I want. I have the family time I desire and the career I always dreamed of. And the world is there for every mom’s taking right now. You just have to know how to go out there and take it.
Read on for ten tips that will get you started on the path to your own dream job:
Find a need to fill. To get started, you’re going to want to make sure that your venture fills a need out in the existing market. Is it something that is different from what is out there already? Is it better, faster, bigger, more innovative? Consider these questions as you weigh the pros and cons of going out on your own. When I started out, I saw a niche that needed filling—solid parenting advice in one, convenient place—that I was more than qualified to fill. Everyone has his or her own expertise, interests, or an eye for where something is missing. Tap into that to create your own success.
Test market your idea before you take the plunge. Before you drop everything (your steady paycheck included) and start your new venture, it’s a good idea to “test market” your idea. You would start out doing this work on the side before you resign. Get your first customer or at least some healthy interest before you take the full-time plunge.
Pay attention to your gut instincts. Some of the most successful businesses got their big break because they were on the cutting edge of a new trend. When I first started my online venture, social media, like Twitter, wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. And yet, that’s become one of my biggest outlets for making connections in the online community to drive traffic to her sites. At the time, it may have seemed to some that the time I devoted to Twitter was a waste of time, but I knew I was investing in something important. And today, that has paid off.
Figure out how to transfer your workplace skills to your new venture. Whether it’s people skills you’ve picked up in dealing with clients, marketing know-how, or even just your admirable work ethic, tap into that skill set and transfer it to your new venture.
Assemble a top-notch team. Approach your new business venture just like you would anything at your old job. As you are getting started, understand that you’ll have to serve as your own team for a while, but down the line expects to do some hiring (and have a plan in place for it). During your early days as a one-man show, make sure you are always on the lookout for talent so that when you are ready to expand, you can hire the right team. Having the right team has been paramount to the success of my latest venture, MommyToMommy.TV.
Stay connected and engage your audience at all times. Social media is making it easier and more convenient than ever for mompreneurs to stay connected. Twitter and Facebook can keep you connected no matter where you are. You can blog and comment during naptime, or introduce a new product while you wait in the pick-up line at school. While staying connected is great, it often isn’t enough to take you to that next level. Go the extra step and engage in conversation with those you are connected with. That’s where the true rewards lie.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all have our strengths when it comes to business. But that also means we all have our weaknesses as well. When it comes to the areas that are outside of your expertise, don’t hesitate to ask someone to help you. I surrounded myself with mentors and contacts for the areas of business that were not my strong suit, and called on them when necessary.