Having children is life changing, whatever way you look at it. During pregnancy many women are convinced they will return to work as before after maternity leave, and many do, but after birth, many others realise returning to their normal job simply just doesn’t feel right.
Coming up with a business idea or a way of making money for home becomes a priority for many mums. For some it’s nothing more than a way of managing the feeling of dread that is present as the return to work looms whilst others are dedicated to genuinely finding a way to work from home.
Your maternity leave can be a productive time to create actionable plans and find a way to make working from home work for you. Below is a closer look at some ways you can start a business whilst on maternity leave and make it work.
Make your Choice
The most important thing, above everything else, is finding your idea – what you plan to do. Choosing to start a business on maternity leave isn’t an easy decision. Having high expectations of making a huge income very quickly will probably leave you disappointed and in many cases you may initially find yourself worse than before, but you are in charge of your own destiny.
Deciding what you want your business to be is your first decision and the more specific you can be the better. There are a wide range of opportunities out there from franchises to online shops or your own service business. The majority of self-employed mums and dads build their business from their experience in the workplace although others do go out on a limb and try something entirely new. You could consider working from home online or turning your hobby into a business.
Imagine and Target your Perfect Client
A lot of your time and energy will be spent on marketing and getting your business out there. It may also be something you invest in financially dependent on your business and so, to avoid wasting your efforts, it’s important to have your target client in mind. Imagine your perfect client, exactly who they are and how they’ll benefit from your product or service. Understanding all you can about your ideal client will help you tailor your marketing campaigns and focus your efforts in the right direction for the best chance of success.
Now you’ve got to know your ideal customer, or can at least envisage them, you need to craft your business’ voice. Your marketing message and all elements of your business from the website content to your social media posts should use a consistent tone of voice which speaks specifically to this ideal client.
The number of people choosing to become self-employed is rapidly increasing which means there might be ideas similar to yours on the market. You need to make sure your product or service is the one that people instantly opt for. Something needs to make you stand out from the crowd and this could be anything from your design and branding to your personality. Standing out from your competitors is essential to making a success of your business.
Practice Time Management
Starting a business whilst on maternity leave probably means you’re not planning on using childcare any time soon so you’ve got plenty of time to perfect the art of balancing your baby and your work. A schedule for your business as it develops will work wonders for ensuring you stay on track. Set aside specific time for work and time for family, where possible, and ensure you utilise all the help that’s available to you from partners, family and friends. Grabbing 20 minute slots to work on your website or check over your business plan will slowly build up over time and you’ll be surprised how far you get.
Aim Big but Keep it Real
Aiming big is great, it’s essential to stay motivated but remember, with every big aim you need a realistic timescale. Mapping out your business goals, from the very smallest to the ultimate dream will give you a timeline to work towards as your business grows. The more organised you can be the better, so even small weekly or monthly goals will help keep you on track.
If you start working on your business as soon as you’re ready during your maternity leave, you may find yourself in the position that you can say goodbye to your job much quicker than you thought.