Thursday, July 5, 2012

Be a Mom CEO. Just do it!

That's me in the small photo!

Check out the July issue of Chicago Parent magazine for a great article by Kiran Ansari titled "Mom CEO." It has some great inspiration for mom's thinking about taking the plunge into starting your own business from home.

This is the third season of my landscape design business, and I absolutely love what I do. Being able to stay home with my little ones is very important to me, but so is having a career. Owning my business gives me the best of both worlds - lots of time to be with the kids, and challenging, creative work where I meet lots of great people to balance it out. For me, this often means working lots of late nights, but the work is fun, the amount of work I take on is mine to control, and the commute to my home office couldn't be better.

If you're a stay at home mom and have an idea for a business, I say "Just do it." Start with something that you can do in your spare time (what's that?) and for a low initial investment. I did return to school for a horticulture degree at my local community college, and between tuition, books, and a nanny, it was a big investment. But starting the business itself has been relatively inexpensive.

Also, consider a partner. Do you have a friend that you think you'd work well with? That could help take the pressure off getting all aspects of the business up and running yourself. I like this advice, which was given in the Chicago Parent article, "If you choose to work with a partner, try to find someone that complements what you do. It is easier to divide and conquer than to argue over every issue because you're good at the same thing." Within the next few years, I'd love to expand my business with a partner who is a plant geek like me, but would oversee small scale landscape installations and help with marketing. We'd both have two different areas of the business to run, but would be working toward the same goals. I've just got to find that right person.

So, take the plunge! Don't wait until all the conditions are right (ie., when the kids are in school all day). Work the business into your life on a small scale, and plan to grow from there. Good luck!

Pick up your issue of Chicago Parent magazine - it's free and available at most train stations, libraries, and places families hang out. Or you can read the article online here.

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