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Friday, 1 February 2013

Juggling motherhood and business

In every economic downturn, the stories that dominate the headlines are always the negative ones – take HMV and Jessops in this year alone – and although a shrinking economy is never a good thing, under-performing economies can often be a breeding ground for hugely successful start-ups; one section of society that to my mind always seems to pop-up in the - albeit short - good news section of financial newspapers is mothers, or ‘mumtreprenuers’.

Being a mother appears to foster a creative streak that is probably borne of necessity on the one hand, and also an empathy with a huge section of society, i.e. other mothers. Motherhood inevitably brings problems as well as happiness, and these problems are great for inventive minds to solve, but how easy is it to get these ideas off the ground, and for those mothers who haven’t had that bright spark, how easy is it to find practical and worthwhile ‘from home’ work? 

The web is full of examples of start-ups founded by stay at home mums; Enterpreneur.com for example regularly features successful start-ups from enterprising mothers, and similar business sites are awash with these success stories. 

After having that initial idea, the next thing to do is put together a solid business plan. Every possibility should be accounted and planned for, but don’t let yourself bogged down in the planning – there will come a time when it’s time to stop talking and start doing. If you absolutely must have an amount of cash to get the idea off the ground that you just can’t raise yourself, then consider enquiring with local government bodies about funding - 18-30 year-olds for example are eligible for low-interest start-up loans from the government, and there are others available. The benefit with these government backed loans is that they often come with free business mentoring to help get your idea started. 

What about other work from home opportunities for when you’re not ready to make that jump into self-employment proper, or don’t want the responsibility of a business just yet? Unfortunately ‘work from home’ seems to be one phrase that doesn’t tend to instil much trust in people today, and this is all down to the internet jobs market (jobs advertised as ‘work from home’ are usually bogus or very heavily commission-based). There are however other more tangible options when I comes to working from home. 

Freelance work is one of these options, and sites like.elance.com and peopleperhour.com can help freelance workers find jobs online. Be warned however, competition for jobs is fierce, so be prepared to justify why you are the best person for that particular job. Another option is online marketplaces like eBay, where for relatively little effort an eBay shop can let you sell a huge variety of goods with no start-up costs. 

[This is a guest post written by Daniel N who is a UK-based blogger who writes on a wide-variety of topics including business and marketing.  He is currently working on behalf of Rajapack, a packaging company that supplies businesses of all sizes.]

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