When I first decided to leave the workforce, I was a little intimidated. I was raising a family, but I also had an entrepreneurial spirit and no desire to completely leave my profession behind. It was rough, but I got through it and so can you. Here are my secrets (brought to you by the great people at Moms Exchange).
The sooner you establish your brand, the more you’ll be recognized.
Your brand is essential when you work for yourself. It’s like your name among your friends, how people recognize you from afar. A good logo will be easily translated across print and the web, and it will accurately reflect what you do in a single glance.
Learn everything you can about payroll if you have employees.
If you have any employees, then it’s important to understand what goes into payroll. I didn’t have much experience with payroll, so I spent time learning what I could to ensure I had all the bases covered. Thanks to some online guides and tutorials, I picked up on the basics of the process. However, it’s understandable if this is outside of your wheelhouse. I recommend looking into payroll related services that can help you automate much of your payroll.
You have to have great equipment to be efficient.
The first three months in business, I was still working off an old laptop that loaded at the speed of dripping honey. It was awful. Because I am stubborn, I thought it would be fine. It was not. When I finally broke down and bought a new computer (I ordered directly from the manufacturer because it was cheaper), I realized just how much my technology had been holding me back.
I also bought a new desk and ergonomic work chair. My sciatic pain was very distracting, and the chair really helped.
Adapting to your family schedule is your only hope.
Not gonna lie — running a home-based business with a family is a ton of work. I finally got into the groove by getting out of the mindset that I had to work eight hours each day all at once. I used my kids’ school and nap times to work. I also found that I could check emails from my phone and participate in conference calls once my husband could take over.
New customers don’t have to come all at once.
Like my kids, my business was growing. I learned the hard way not to take on too much at once. There is no shame in saying no to a new project if it will reduce your ability to effectively complete what you already have on your plate.
Co-working spaces are a lifesaver.
When I did agree to take on new business, I thought I only had two options: meet my clients out for lunch or allow them to come to my home office. Neither was viable all the time. Restaurants weren’t private, and my children were never going to let me get through an entire meeting in peace.
Enter my local co-working space. When I needed to meet face-to-face, I simply spent $30 to rent the conference room for a couple of hours — snacks and coffee were included, which was a huge plus.
Your friends and family want to help, let them.
The hardest and most valuable lesson that I learned was that I didn’t really have to do it all alone. Listen to your friends and family. They are likely begging to help. If grandma wants to take the kids to the bounce house, let her. If you don’t have a strong network, don’t be ashamed to pay someone to clean the house or prepare meals. Time is your most viable resource — use it wisely.
It’s been years since I started working for myself. The kids are teenagers, and now my biggest problem with productivity is running out of coffee. But the early days are still fresh in my mind, and my hope is that my experiences can help the next generation of entrepreneurs find their fast-track to success outside of the office.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.
Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.