Can you start a business with a young baby?
My 5 top tips . . .
These are the things that I wish I had known and implemented straight away all those years ago when my baby was 3 months old. Instead I learnt the hard way and I am hoping that I can help you in your pursuit of a successful business and prevent you from making the same mistakes that I did. Lots of people are there giving out good advice, take it all and use what works for you.
Find a saying that resonates with you and read it every day without fail
Put it in front of you almost like a vision board. The saying ‘If you can dream it you can achieve it’ is absolutely true and the one that I used you can get through every trauma that was sent to me. My husband left me when I was six months pregnant and to say that my heart was shattered is a pretty good description of how I felt. I was a self employed Singing Teacher in many schools across the North West and as no maternity pay was going to come my way I had to keep the wolf from the door and the roof over our heads. This meant working up until the day before I was induced (I was 14 days late) and going back to work days after my beautiful daughter was born. The loneliness, devastation and journey I went on following his affair and the birth of our child was immense. It was when she was 3 months old that I developed the idea of my business around a coffee table with a friend and we set up Little Voices a month later.
Learn the art of delegation sooner rather than later
You do not have to do everything and this is true in your business, your home and your family life. There are others that will do it better than you and this will relieve your time. Time is one thing that we all have the same amount of – it is how we spend it that varies so vastly from one person to the other. It is really important that you recognise what you can outsource and delegate from the beginning. Get a cleaner, ironer, gardener and bookkeeper as a must. Realise what role is important for you to be doing – MARKETING the business. Please remember this piece of advice and absolutely every day try and do something that gets a new customer into your business or nurtures business out of a current customer. If that is the only thing that you do in the day that is good enough.
Use a virtual telephone number and do not have emails coming to your phone
Having emails and phone calls coming to your phone will destroy your family life and your time with your baby. Ensure that you schedule a time to make all of your calls according to your agenda not when someone else has decided to ring you. Your baby comes first and that time with your baby is so precious and goes so quickly. Make the business fit around you not the other way round. Emails coming to your phone are destructive and again schedule time just for emailing and responding to everyone that works with your agenda. A virtual number will enable you to easily remove yourself from the answering of all calls when your business reaches that point – it is much easier than training them all to no longer ring your home landline or mobile!
Put your baby first and set your working hours around him/her not the other way round. It is tremendously difficult but be strict with yourself.
Have an outstanding support network around you
I couldn’t have done this journey of being an entrepreneur without my mum, my dad, my sisters and extended family. I now have a wonderfully supportive partner too but I didn’t have him for the first 5 years of my business journey as I was nursing a broken heart and huge trust issues.
You need a support network around you. Those that will help you with childcare especially in emergency times and listen to your tough days. There are a lot of them but ultimately you push through and the good far outweigh the bad.
Know how to work your numbers
Ensure that you are very clear on your numbers in your business. Turnover is all well and good but profit is what you need to keep an eye on. You need to be absolutely aware of your expenses and be living frugally, personally. Keeping your business frugal too do not purchase anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Think PROFIT. Learn about your numbers.
One of the best books that I have ever read is ‘Profit First’ and I highly recommend it. It helps you to review your personal expenses as well as your business ones. The best business people in the world often speak about looking at the numbers on a daily basis and I wholeheartedly agree. Have your finger on the pulse! However that doesn’t mean that you have to be the person in your business that physically sends out the Invoices and collects the money in, it’s just about being in control of what you are spending and also what you are bringing in.
One of the things that is really important is that you stick to the financial part of your business plan and making it a working plan month by month and quarter by quarter. Ensuring that you have really thought through how much working capital you need to get established and how much you will need to live is so important. Money will provide you with so much worry if you haven’t got it all in order.
I had no other income to rely on when I had my baby and the mortgage didn’t get paid if I didn’t pay it. That meant working several jobs to keep income coming in and working in the night to ensure the business got off the ground. It is hard work do not let anyone tell you any different. Keep those dreams and visions in your mind’s eye at all times.