Balancing small business ownership with motherhood has become even more of an issue with COVID-19 keeping many mothers at home. Discover 4 tips to help re-balance life!
There are a number of different ways to view the COVID-19 pandemic. Some might view it in a purely negative lens, and understandably so at first. The pandemic has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs and reevaluate not only their careers but the basis through which their family’s financial support system is structured. But after taking some time to let their new realities sink in, these people might find that there are new opportunities available for them. Many Americans find that in response to COVID-19, businesses are shifting online. While brick and mortar stores are increasingly difficult to operate, people are now ordering more and more items online — not just luxuries and gifts, but groceries and other necessities as well. This means that many people who previously were unable to work as much as they wanted to, let alone run a business, are now considering working online or latching on to other areas of opportunity. Of course, this has resulted in a lot of moms considering opening up new businesses with the changing economy.
Now might seem like an odd time to open up a new business. But as more traditional businesses fail, doors inevitably open for alternatives. Mothers naturally have a lot of qualities that small business ownership requires: responsibility, drive, and energy, to name a few. They also have the motivation of needing to support a family, whether they are single mothers or live with partners. Yet a lot of mothers weren’t able to work, at least not full time, in the previous economy. This was due to the responsibilities owed to their families, including taking children to school, taking care of them after they returned home from school, etcetera. Even mothers who worked full time rarely were able to work full time at starting a new business.
As families now have fundamentally fewer commitments in light of the pandemic, mothers have more time and even more motivation to focus on a new business. While starting a new business is risky, it’s not without major benefits for those that succeed. Right now, there are about 582 million entrepreneurs worldwide, and though the competition is fierce those that create successful businesses stand to gain quite a bit. With that being said, below are several tips for mothers to consider when starting a new business, both during the pandemic and in the future as the United States adjusts to a post-pandemic world.
4 Tips for Balancing Small Business Ownership with Motherhood
1. Don’t Work With Friends
It’s tempting for mothers to rely upon others when starting a new business. With family commitments to consider, a lot of mothers reach out to others to create professional partnerships in the early days of their businesses. This can make a lot of sense in theory, but it’s important for all business owners to keep those partnerships purely professional. This is my number tip for balancing small business ownership with motherhood.
There are a variety of different types of business partnerships. Some require both partners to be involved on an equal level, working creatively and intellectually on the business and pouring equal amounts of money into the project. Others are purely financial, with one partner essentially being an investor and the other working on the business in a hands-on manner. No matter what, those that include friends in their business partnerships often stand to regret it. An estimated 70% of all business partnerships fail, and it’s devastating to work on a business with your friend and then eventually not only lose your friendship but part of the business as well.
2. Outsource What You Don’t Know
A lot of mothers might find it difficult to balance the budgets of their new businesses in the beginning. It might be tempting to spend in some areas and save money by taking on parts of the business that you’re not an expert in. However, this tends to catch up to any business owner down the road. a business must be handled correctly on a legal and financial level. New business owners should be prepared to hire attorneys, as well as accountants for specific tasks. Juggling this type of technical subject matter can be difficult for those who aren’t experts in what they’re dealing with, and there are consequences in the long term; if a business’s taxes aren’t handled correctly, those consequences can be severe. The IRS is able to audit a business’s tax return within three years of filing, and furthermore can collect back taxes owed for up to a decade. Of course, mothers may also want to consider outsourcing other considerations as well, such as childcare and housework on particularly busy days.
3. Cut Down On Distractions
One issue that mothers have when starting new businesses is the sense that they are being torn in different directions. Mothers often feel as if they’re not prioritizing their families when starting a new business, and can be crippled by guilt. The best way for them to deal with this is to simply cut down on distractions, especially when they are with family. Rather than watching television or playing on their phones, they might want to play games with their families or use icebreakers to start engaging conversations at the dinner table. A lot of mothers also make a point to schedule family time, so they don’t become overly consumed by their businesses.
4. Don’t Jump The Gun
Don’t jump the gun when balancing a small business with motherhood. A lot of women are shocked by how quickly their businesses can grow. Particularly in the wake a major economic change like that which the United States is facing today, a lot of businesses may grow surprisingly quickly. While this is a great thing, many small business owners, not just mothers, make the mistake of attempting to grow too quickly rather than scaling out their business’s growth. They dedicate funds to hiring new employees and equipment, rather than saving money. Simply because a business is growing doesn’t mean that a small business owner has to reinvest everything that they make immediately, and doing so without caution can cause a business to collapse before it truly solidifies.
Clearly, there is a great risk to starting a small business. But with great risk comes great reward, and mothers in particular stand to gain a lot from balancing small business ownership with motherhood.