From Entrepreneur to Mompreneur.
I’ve been there, done that, seen it, tried it–all of it–IYKMYK (if you know me you know). When I say everything, I mean everything, down to having an all-female team work straight through the eye of Hurricane Katrina for MTV (p.s. they did so voluntarily). Whether you’re a mom or soon-to-be, figuring it out as you go is part of the process. You have a birth plan but realize sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. Then come the sleepless nights, tears, and in some cases, sore nipples. Yet somehow, you make it through and I’m here to tell you running a small business is a piece of cake next to that. Your business plan will change, you’ll undoubtedly lose sleep, cry but will figure things out as you go. The most important thing when starting or growing a small business is believing in yourself. YOU GOT THIS!
Believe In Yourself, You Got This!
I was thrilled to touch on the topic of small business because I’ve been an independent female business owner for nearly 2 decades. Marketing is my passion so I made it my career right out of college. Let me start by saying this: starting a small business is hard, and growing a business is hard so whether you’ve been doing it for years or it’s your first time this pandemic proves we face unforeseen circumstances at any given moment. As a mom or a business owner, growing pains are a real thing. You just have to love what you do and believe.
If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out this mama’s post with tips on elevating your brand on social media.
Here are a few notes about starting (or growing) a small business:
You have an idea, now what?
You may think you need a logo, letterhead, website, and all that jazz immediately, but start small. If your idea is not solid in your mind it won’t be on paper. You need a clear direction and goal. The path to get there will change but the end result must remain constant. Start by asking yourself: would you buy what you’re selling?
Do the research!
Many new business owners, even seasoned ones, don’t do the legwork. The kind that gets dirt under your fingernails. It’s true, you learn as you go but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare.
- If you’re starting a business, learn what permits you’ll need, if any. Think about your audience. Who are they? What is your marketing strategy?
- If you’re trying to grow your business, think about the challenges you’ve faced to this point and how to tackle them. What opportunities have you missed? Do you have room for development?
You will lose sleep.
If you’re a new mama, you’ve learned about those sleepless nights. Embrace it, accept it. The sooner you do the easier this will go, just like a newborn. This business is now your other baby.
Find what inspires you.
Find your inspiration and let that drive you. Walt Disney serves as an inspiration for me. Yes, I love the parks and all things Disney, but it is the man behind it all that inspires me. You’ll find his quotes in my e-mail signatures and his books lining my shelf. Every time I visit the parks I am moved by how one man and one mouse created one of the most global brands in the world.
It’s easy to get distracted. Find a way to stay the course. As moms, we know there are times we are just trying to make it through the day. You will face the same as a small business owner. If it’s a walk at sunset, meditation, or even 5 minutes alone with a cup of coffee, find what clears your headspace and stay the course.
A few things you’ll want to have on a checklist:
Links you can reference and some basics to help
- Type of business. Decide whether you will be an LLC or Sole etc. (an accountant can help you with this). Do you have a business partner? How will you file taxes?
- Websites for reference.
- Check out Sunbiz.org to search registered names and register your company.
- Register to get your FEIN (Employer ID number) at IRS.gov. Additionally, you can check here for required state, county, and city licenses or permits you’ll need, if any.
- If you’d like to see if anyone currently uses your name, logo, or similar nationwide, head over to USPTO.gov
- Name/logo/brand design. This is your identity and I find you either know from day one or you decide as the last piece of the puzzle–kind of like choosing a name for your baby (we didn’t name our son until 3 hours before leaving the hospital). As for a logo, Etsy is a great place to find a designer. They’re usually very willing to work with you and moreover, are fairly priced. Not to mention, they’re small businesses too.
- Get organized. Make a business plan, no matter how intricate you decide to make it. There are lots of templates online you can start with. Alternatively, you can use a simple notebook and put pen to paper. You may not use the ideas nevertheless it is a reference point to keep your thoughts organized.
- Use your community. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, colleagues, and family. Join Facebook groups, search LinkedIn, read blogs. People are usually willing to connect and share. I’m here for it so if you have any ideas you need help with, please connect with me and ask.