Monday, August 2, 2010

Are you a Mom on Maternity Leave? Thinking about Starting a Business ?

Guest Post by Tamara Hancock, author of “Confessions of A Stay At Home Mom”. Her website is geared toward work at home professionals who could use a little support in their business and personal selves.

Are you a Mom on Maternity Leave? Post Partum….boredom? Thinking about Starting a Business?

I was twenty-four years old, and on bed rest awaiting the birth of my second child Rebecca. I’d been on bed rest for approximately three weeks, and she wasn’t due for another two months. My first daughter Anastasia was in preschool for most of the day, and due to my bedrest her travel to and from school was pretty much taken care of my friends and family. My husband, well – he was working an internship in Arizona, and was only home on the weekends.
I was bored.

You see, outside in the “real” world, I was an executive. I was a high power, high dollar sales professional who went out into the world and kicked butt, and took names. Sitting at home twiddling my thumbs most DEFINITELY was not for me. I had two months to go, and then another six weeks before I could even consider returning to work. I was beside myself.

Internet businesses were still in their infancy (and those that were established were – lets just say ‘undesirable’), and working from home was a novelty for most. I wanted to find something that would contribute to my family income but mostly would contribute to my need to interact with the outside world. Living in Utah, there were literally hundreds of opportunities to start my own direct sales business – IE Pampered Chef, Avon, MaryKay, Gold Canyon Candles…but being on bed rest (and once my darling little baby arrived), I knew home parties were not going to be for me. I needed something I could do, that would have very flexible hours and didn’t require a lot of start up cash. I also wanted something that I wouldn’t have to learn many new skills for – because we all know that when you are a mother to a new infant – a fully functioning brain is not one of the first things to regain.

I started to take an inventory of all the things I knew. I was an excellent typist, very organized and efficient, personable with people, and superior time management skills. I then began to think about the job that I held within my company. What did I do at the office, that I couldn’t do from home? I picked up the phone and made a business proposition to my employer. Within a few hours, and two signed contracts later – I was now an independent contractor.

While I didn’t realize at the time that I was starting a new business, this is exactly what I did. Plus, becoming an independent contractor opened up the door for me to take on other clients. I became a virtual sales professional. A few months later I had a business license, several clients, a newborn baby – and something that not only passed my time, but made me feel more fulfilled as a mother, and as a person.

Many women look to start a business while they are on their maternity leave. Usually it’s brought on by feelings of regret for leaving their newborn with someone during the day. A business is definitely within reach for anyone who is serious about it. A few things to keep in mind:

1) Remember, you are the mother of an infant, or soon to be infant.

When looking to start a business keep it simple, business start up can be difficult, and you are going to be losing enough sleep as it is – business doesn’t need to be a worry on top of that.

2) Follow your passion.

Don’t take on a business opportunity just because it’s an opportunity. Make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy.

3) Do your research.

Don’t take the first thing that comes along that promises stress free living and freedom. Every business worth taking on is going to take some work and dedication. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

4) Don’t make a decision to work from home in desperation.

Being home with your children (especially if it’s your first) can be a highly emotional experience. Make sure the decision to start a business is made with a clear head and with support from your family.

5) Finally, don’t apologize.

You work from home, it’s your business, and it’s something that you are doing for you and your family. If you have a client that isn’t particularly happy about you working away from an office – or *gasp* with children at home – then it probably isn’t a client or account worth fighting for. Your family must come first.

Since the birth of my second daughter I have worked from home, and I have never looked back. Just remember that your family comes first, and that you need to take time out for yourself as well. Maternity leave is a time to bond with your family, not to get burned out and exhausted (for reasons other than midnight feedings).


Tamara Hancock is the author of “Confessions of A Stay At Home Mom”.

She is a Work At Home Professional Mom with five children under the age of ten.

Her website is geared toward work at home professionals who could use a little support in their business and personal selves.

Follow Tamara on Twitter

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