It’s hard going back to the 9 to 5 once you have children. Even if your boss is understanding and your office hours flexible, working around school and nursery opening hours or dealing with the inevitable sicknesses that strike your little germ factories can be a nightmare. More and more mums are launching their own businesses to achieve more balance and flexibility in their lives – and we’re among that growing number. In this blog post, we’ll share some of our top tips for getting started – and pitfalls to avoid.
Think carefully about the pros and cons
We LOVE conceiving and marketing My Busy Bots bags. It’s been so exciting seeing our idea become a reality and be loved by other busy parents, and that feeling of fulfilment and doing something we’re passionate about means it doesn’t always feel like work. However, it is work – and lots of it! When you start out, it takes time to get any business off the ground. There are key questions to ask yourself:
- Can you cope without a steady – or indeed any – income, especially while you get started?
- Have you completely thought through what your business will offer, and checked out the competition?
- Can you motivate yourself?
What’s your ideal workspace?
We love the flexibility of working from home, but we have to be strict with ourselves to carve out time for work and not get distracted by the never-ending laundry. (Seriously: WHO is wearing all these clothes? And why are they SO filthy?) When we started My Busy Bots, our children were small and at home most of the time. It was lucky for us that our business is founded on creating ways to engage small children – we knew our bags worked, because we couldn’t have launched the business without them! Our testers give us EXTREMELY honest feedback, and we soon know if an activity hasn’t caught their imagination.
If you really can’t resist the siren call of the washing machine, think about alternative work spaces. Coffee shops and libraries are popular, or you could team up with a friend working from home. We take it in turns at each other’s houses so one of us isn’t always distracted by housework! In larger towns and cities you’ll be able to find lots of hot desking or coworking space options – Hubble HQ offer options in London and Manchester, for example, if you’re someone who needs to put distance between home and work life. We both have to confess to finding it hard to switch off even once the kids are in bed when our work stuff is winking at us from the kitchen table.
Be realistic – especially about time
Under promise and over deliver – even to yourself! One of the hardest skills to learn when working for yourself is exactly how long tasks really take – even if it’s something you often did in your career previously. Once upon a time, we could put in an extra hour or two in the office to finish something for a deadline, but now we have to down tools promptly to collect the kids and manage the bath and bed time chaos – so contingency time has to be built in.
We’ve found that working from home means that at least part of the day will get swallowed up with other chores and errands. Be realistic about how many hours you’ll actually get to spend at your desk if the vet appointments / dry cleaning / picking up parcels / grocery shopping has to be factored in as well.
Planning and lists
Attempt nothing without the lists! Yes, we put things on our lists that we’ve already done just to cross them off again, who wouldn’t give themselves that gift? Work out what needs to be done and in what order so you don’t waste precious time, especially if you’re new to working for yourself.
Find your tribe
It can be lonely without the camaraderie of office colleagues to chew over the latest Netflix sensation with. Network as much as you can – on and offline – with people working in the same or similar areas and freelancers and entrepreneurs in your area. The support and knowledge we have received from other busy working mums has been invaluable on every practical and emotional level, and we couldn’t have launched My Busy Bots without it.
… and go for it!