Being a mom is hard work, whether you stay at home or have a career along with it. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just out of my mind to work from home. But for the most part, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
Graphic design is one of the most flexible careers out there and when I started my business 4 years ago, I didn’t quite know just how flexible I would have to be once I started having kids. Enter my now 23 month old son. In order to work at home while taking care of him, I had to learn how to be patient. That doesn’t mean I mastered it, I lose my cool more often than I’d care to admit. But taking a deep breath and a lot of breaks will save your sanity.
To be a work at home mompreneur, you need to work around your child’s schedule. And it helps to be portable. I can’t tell you how much technology has helped with keeping me in touch with both my suppliers and my clients. The first two years (before my son), I insisted that I didn’t need any of the data plans for my cell phone and would be virtually chained to my computer all day. Now I’m free to run my errands with my son in tow and answer emails on the fly.
While I have a desktop, I made sure to buy a comparable laptop that I can work on while watching tv with my husband or having coffee on the deck while my son plays in the yard. These are big investments but they more than make up for it!
Another tip is to mention that you are a work at home mom to your clients. Many people might see this as a bad move, but in my experience (and in this economy), clients are super understanding and are willing to work with you if say, you insist on responding via email rather than returning their call. This WILL happen, babies and toddlers love to interrupt phone calls as many moms already know.
As for spreading the word about your company, I’ve found that networking with other moms and women in general is a great way to connect with potential clients. Social media has done wonders for my company and tech blog, you just have to be willing to use it often and put in the time. Making a big comeback (or has it never left?) is bartering. Barter, barter, barter. You will make new entrepreneur friends and learn from each other.
My biggest source of jobs is Google. Add your company to Google maps for a free and easy way for people to find you. Google AdWords is a cheap option as well. Google products have been life savers while building my company. I’ve taken my domain and opened a Google Apps account allowing me to use Gmail for my business email and Google Docs and Calendar as well. Utilizing a cloud service allows you to access everything from any computer or mobile device available.
With a child and a small business, you’ll be working around the clock. But working for yourself is extremely rewarding, I highly recommend giving it a try if you are thinking about it. Good luck to all present and future mompreneurs!