By Holly Reisem Hanna
In collaboration with cabi and in honor of International Women's Day, a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide — I wanted to share some of the benefits and challenges I've faced as a mompreneur.
I had never considered becoming an entrepreneur until the birth of my daughter. The thought of going out on my own seemed way too risky and what type of business could I run anyway? But once my daughter was born, I knew the traditional jobs I had worked in the past weren't going to cut it.
For months, I searched online for a career that I could do from home — but nothing met all of the requirements that I needed. It was at this point that I decided to venture out on my own. What did I have to lose? I had already quit my full-time nursing job to become a full-time stay-at-home mom. If it didn't work out, I could always reenter the traditional workforce later on.
Dipping my toes in the mompreneur waters was one of the best decisions I've ever made and here's why:
Probably the number one reason why most people go into business for themselves is the flexibility. When you run the show, you get to choose when to work, the location you do you work, and how many hours you work. Being your own boss allows you to prioritize your life in a much more meaningful way.
- Want to volunteer at school?
- Take a morning yoga class?
- Attend an aging parent's medical appointment?
- Or work late at night when you're most productive?
Being a mompreneur gives you the power and flexibility to live life on your terms.
A Career You LOVE:
When I went into nursing, I had a romanticized notion of how my career was going to be. And while I enjoyed certain aspects of my nursing career, I wasn't ready for was the incredible stress that nurses face. Staffing shortages, having to work weekends, nights, holidays, and extra long shifts and let's not forget the pressure of having patients' lives in your hands. To say I was unhappy in my career is an understatement.
Today I have a career that I LOVE!
I never dread going to work on a Monday morning. When you have your own business, you choose your niche, the products and services you want to offer, and your marketing strategies. If there is something you don't enjoy doing in your business, you can choose to change it, delegate it, or try something new.
It's this flexibility that allows you to tailor your business to your personality and lifestyle.
Unlimited Earning Potential:
When you run your own business, you're no longer held down by someone else's budget and timetable. You can choose who to work with, what your rates are going to be, and how you'll make your money. Since becoming a mompreneur, I have surpassed my full-time nursing income, but now, I work fewer hours and I absolutely love what I do!
I've always enjoyed helping others; it's why I went into nursing. But now I get to help women in a whole new way through education, inspiration, and encouragement. But I also get to support other mompreneurs by hiring and purchasing goods and services from other small business owners.
Being a mompreneur is pretty awesome! But there is a downside. When you're self-employed you encounter a unique set of challenges that needs careful consideration before you make the leap.
Income Peaks and Valleys:
One thing you don’t have when you’re self-employed is a consistent paycheck. One month you'll have more business than you know what to do with and the next you’re dry as a bone. There are many reasons why entrepreneurs’ incomes fluctuate from losing clients, unexpected setbacks, the seasonality of the sales cycle, to bad PR, and inconsistent marketing efforts.
Solution: Inconsistent income is easy to overcome if you diversify your income streams (don’t put all of your eggs in one basket). Another way to decrease income peaks and valleys is to be consistent with your marketing efforts, so that you always have leads in the funnel. Lastly, make sure to keep on top of your bookkeeping — which includes being aware of unpaid invoices, bank balances, and bills due.
I'll admit it — I struggle with this every day. When you have a traditional 9 to 5 job and it’s quitting time — you close your laptop, shut the office door, and forget about work until the next day. Not true when you run your own business, especially if you work from home. Chances are you’ll be responding to emails 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And there’s always more you can do when you run your own business — so working late nights, early mornings, and weekends may become routine.
Solution: Always keep in mind that time is more valuable than money. You can always make more money, but you can never get back time. To make the most of your daily 24 hours you need to work smarter, not harder. Email is one area that can easily suck up your whole day — make your email work for you by creating email templates for those frequently asked questions and queries. Having an FAQ section on your website can also decrease the number of emails you receive by giving potential customers a clear explanation or your processes, terms, and policies.
One thing I miss about the traditional jobs I worked in the past is the benefits. When you're the boss you're responsible for your own healthcare coverage, short term disability, life insurance, and retirement contributions. And let's not forget about paid holidays, sick days, and vacation days.
Solution: Before you launch your business these aspects must be planned out for before you make the leap. If your significant other has medical benefits through their company — there is a good possibility that you'll be able to attain healthcare coverage through your spouse's plan. If that's not the case, you will need to find your own coverage through a broker or via the healthcare.gov website.
Forgoing healthcare coverage is not only an unwise decision, but it can result in costly fines if you can afford coverage and choose not to purchase it. Luckily, you're able to deduct your premiums on medical insurance, dental insurance, and qualified long-term care insurance for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. The same holds true for self-employed 401k plans and self-employed IRAs.
Like everything else in life, entrepreneurship has both it's pros and cons, however I'd argue that the pros far outweigh the cons.
I invite you to celebrate International Women's Day which is on March 8th. Make sure to check out their website and take the #PledgeForParity. You can also find out more about cabi and how they're supporting women entrepreneurs through the W.E. are cabi program.