27 September 2023

How you know motherhood has prepared you for entrepreneurship

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Jennifer Palumbo* discusses how motherhood perfectly positions women to run their own business.

Being a full-time mum is a lot of work — a lot more work than most people give you credit for.

But in reality, motherhood doesn’t just entail changing dirty diapers and ensuring the kids get enough to eat.

It can even prepare you for entrepreneurship.

Sometimes, a full-time mum becomes so prepared for entrepreneurship that she feels ready to launch a business, even while the kids are still in the house.

And even with the responsibilities and time constraints of being a mum, launching your own business can still be a real possibility.

Here’s how you can know when it’s time:

  1. You want to get back to work

Research indicates that roughly 90 per cent of women who leave their careers for motherhood or other reasons desire to return to work at some point in the future.

So, you’re hardly alone if you want to return to the working world.

This desire often indicates that launching your own business could be the right move for you.

Of course, certain circumstances could mean launching your own business is better than finding a new full-time or part-time job — and your desires certainly play a role.

But starting with that simple desire to return to work means a business launch is worth considering.

  1. You have passions that weren’t fulfilled in a previous career

One sign that launching a business is a better option than a full-time job? You have a business idea you’re truly passionate about — something you couldn’t do while working in your previous position.

As Ana McRae advises, “What do you spend your free time on? What do you love learning about? What kinds of books are you reading / courses are you taking / workshops you’re attending? What kinds of conversations do you get excited about having? […] Pay attention to what you enjoy learning about and get curious about how you can incorporate your various vague interests into a more exciting and fun job than the one you’re in now.”

  1. You want to maintain flexibility in your work life

One considerable advantage of launching your own business while a full-time mum is that you can maintain a much-needed level of flexibility.

“It always felt as if I had to choose between my career and being a mother,” business coach Leslie Levito reflects.

“It was frustrating and stressful.

But, when I left corporate to freelance and consult, everything changed.

I could replace my 6-figure executive income and only work 25 hours weekly.”

When you launch your own business, you get to control how many hours you put into it each day.

In addition, you can choose what time of day you devote to your business — no need to worry about following a typical 9 to 5 office lifestyle.

As Levito says, “I got to pick the days and hours that I worked, which gave me the ability to create a career that I love and be there for my kids.”

This level of flexibility can be a true lifesaver for a full-time mum.

You can fit your business activities around other necessary mum works like doctor’s visits and grocery store trips in whatever fits best with your schedule.

The ability to work as much or as little as you want (or need) each day also ensures that you have adequate time for your own self-care and engaging with your children.

You can follow a schedule that you are comfortable with.

  1. You’ve done your research

Of course, successfully launching a business doesn’t happen by accident.

It requires understanding your market, including gaps in your niche and knowledge of your target audience.

In addition, you need to understand the costs of launching and running your business and what will be required on a day-to-day basis to keep everything running smoothly.

For many full-time mums, returning to work is a gradual process — and this is also applicable when considering your business launch.

It’s better to take a measured approach and do your research rather than dive in headfirst with an idea that hasn’t been fully thought out yet.

If you’ve used your downtime to research a business idea that you are excited about and understand what would be required to make your products or services a success, as well as considered how to set appropriate boundaries between family time and work time, you will be well positioned to launch your own business from home.

  1. You want to set an example

Perhaps one of my favourite reasons to launch a business is to set a strong example for your children.

As social media coach Jennifer Kolbuc writes, “There’s no better way to instil a good work ethic in your children than by demonstrating it firsthand for them.

“When kids see their parents working hard to pursue their dreams, it encourages them to do the same.

“In addition, being a woman entrepreneur works to break down gender stereotypes and shows sons and daughters that both girls and boys can choose to have meaningful career paths and raise a family.”

As a mother, you provide countless teaching experiences for your children.

Launching your own business can be a powerful lesson in and of itself.

Ready to launch

Regardless of your business plan, remember that motherhood isn’t an impediment to fulfilling your dreams.

On the contrary, being a full-time mum becomes an advantage in many ways because it teaches you to work smarter and make the most of your available time.

By setting appropriate goals and boundaries for your business idea, you can make entrepreneurship and motherhood work hand in hand.

*Jennifer Palumbo, CEO of Wonder Woman Writer & Mum to two boys, one with autism.

This article first appeared at forbes.com

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