Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is Mom Entrepreneurship for You?

Since we started our personalized blanket company, Admiral Road Designs, we have been approached for advice by many moms wanting to start their own businesses. It’s no wonder – women entrepreneurs are one of the fastest growing segments of the Canadian economy. In fact, four out of five businesses are started by women these days.

Mom entrepreneurship, by definition, means you will juggle the (often competing) demands of career and motherhood. As such, the path of the mom entrepreneur is not a straightforward one. Just like with any other major undertaking, there is so much to think about before taking the plunge, both about what you want and can expect from your business, but also how you see your business meshing with the rest of your life. Before even thinking about what kind of entrepreneurial venture you’re going to take on, you need to first determine if you’re set up to launch.

A few examples of the kinds of questions you’ll need to ask yourself are:

Can I live without a paycheque?
You might need to forgo an income for a long time while you’re getting yourself established.

Do I have a good support system in place?
A husband, family members, friends and mentors are all-important because you’ll need help with your business, childcare or both.

What’s the family plan?
If you’re thinking about having more children, try to imagine how this will affect your business. Do you have help at home? Is your partner in a secure job?

What’s my tolerance for risk?
Think about how much money you’ll need to start up, and how you’d feel if you lost that money.

Am I suited to work on my own?
Imagine how you’ll feel without the camaraderie of water cooler banter and the socializing that goes along with working in an office.

These are just a few of the issues that you’ll need to consider off the bat. But what about your personality? Are you the ‘entrepreneurial type’? If you’re game, try this quiz. (Granted, it’s not tailored to the specifics of “mom” entrepreneurship, but it will give you some food for thought.) But don’t despair if you don’t have a stellar quiz score. You wouldn’t ditch your guy over a Cosmo quiz – and you shouldn’t give up your entrepreneurial dreams for a quiz either.

But here’s the good news: Choosing mom entrepreneurship does NOT mean that you need to have prior business experience. We know piles of moms who have achieved enormous success simply by working hard and learning as they went along. You don’t even have to have a great business idea yet. You just need to make sure that you’re in a position to take on something as consuming as starting a business.

In the months to come, we look forward to sharing with you tips and strategies to get your mom entrepreneur business off the ground as well as some tales from the trenches – the good, the bad and the sticky.

Further reading:

The Business Development Bank of Canada offers this self-assessment tool along with lots of other resources for the budding entrepreneur.

This Wall Street Journal article raises additional questions to ask yourself to see if you’re up for the challenge of entrepreneurship.

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