There is a growing trend in small business start-ups.
Men who stay home to raise their children are starting enterprises.
One such “mompreneurs,” is business coach Sean C. Castrina,
He argues that launching a home-based business is more doable than would-be “monpreneurs” may think…. as long as they know the right steps to take.
“I believe without a doubt that a disciplined and motivated mother can start and operate a profitable business from home while raising children,” claims Castrina.
He is the author of 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Start-Up Success and says “it won’t happen overnight, but with planning and patience, you can lay a broad, solid foundation for long-term success as a self-employed businesswoman.”
Castrina speaks with the voice of experience. A stay-at-home dad for six years, he cared for his daughter while building several businesses, including a six-figure direct mail business that operated in 23 different cities.
“I made phone calls while my daughter was napping, and I did my paperwork and proposals during episodes of Barney or Mary-Kate & Ashley videos,” he recalls. “Yes, a big purple dinosaur was my personal assistant, but it worked! Since I was my own boss, I had a lot of flexibility, and soon I had a business that ran like a well-oiled machine.”
According to Castrina, it’s easier now than ever before to launch a home-based company. Thanks to Internet-based tools, you can reach a large number of potential customers without ever leaving your house—not to mention the 24/7 access to educational tools and the ability to instantly search for answers to your questions.
Here are Castrina’s top ten rules of business for stay-at-home parents:
Figure out your field:. However, it’s very possible that an individual isn’t sure which field to go into. In that case, Castrina recommends starting a service business (anything from home cleaning to tutoring to adult care) for the following reasons:
- They require minimal money to start.
- Many service businesses don’t require a prior work history or particular qualifications.
- In most cases, they can’t be outsourced or performed by computers so you’ll always have work.
- Since it is possible to hire others to perform the actual work while you handle the key behind-the-scenes management tasks (like hiring, supervising, taking client calls, marketing, etc.), service businesses are a great source of passive income.
Set aside a workspace. When working from home—a place that’s full of distractions ranging from laundry baskets to televisions—setting up a dedicated workspace is crucial for productivity.
Create a dream board. While still in the planning stages, set aside an hour to tap into the creative side. Envision goals for the business: what to make or sell, who customers will be, and—most importantly—how being an entrepreneur will positively impact the family and their future. Then glue images and words that are reminders of those things to a piece of cardboard or poster board, and make sure the dream board is visible in the workspace.
Get real about pricing. When just starting out, don’t be tempted to offer rock-bottom prices for the goods or services. Recouping only enough money to pay labor and operating costs, may be helping to feed your employee(s)’ family, but not your own.
Make room for a marketing budget. One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is not including a marketing budget in their operating costs. In a nutshell, this is the money invested every week or month to tell the community why they need the company’s product or service, and why it is the one they should choose.
Hire smart. If the business will need one or more employees other than the owner (this is especially likely if starting a service business), be aware that how and whom is hired will affect how successful the business is. “
Buy some online real estate. Many would-be small business owners (especially those who plan to do all of their business locally) figure that traditional print or radio advertising will be enough to spread the word about their companies. That’s archaic thinking, according to Castrina. Since most of your prospective customers—even those born during the heyday of newspaper and radio—are surfing the Internet, websites are no longer optional.
Focus on providing great service. After the business opens its doors, it will develop a reputation. Whether it’s a good or bad one is largely up to the leader. To make sure that customers hold the company in high esteem, focus on providing great service to each and every customer from day one. Word of mouth is important for the growth of any business.
Take advantage of cost-saving opportunities. Since the company will be using the home as its exclusive place of work, the owner can save a lot of money compared to entrepreneurs who are based in a more public space. Besides enjoying obvious money-savers like not needing to pay rent on and equip an office or shop space, purchase a professional wardrobe, or spend time and money on a commute, the owner can—and should—be proactive about using your business’s location to reduce operating costs.
Use your time wisely. Good time management is an important skill for any entrepreneur to have, but it’s especially crucial for stay-at-home moms, who are splitting their time between taking care of children and building a business. Wasted time has been the downfall of many mom-run businesses, because if forced to choose between spending a last hour on the children or the business, caring for children must come first.