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Welcome to the essential guide that helps moms mentally start and grow the online business they’ve been daydreaming about.
Mentally preparing to start and grow an online business is just as (even more important) as starting it.
You’re here because you’re stalling or scared or overwhelmed.
Maybe you didn’t realize how much your mindset mattered and so you thought of the great business idea, got things moving only to freeze.
When you read all the ‘how to start an online business guides’ on the Interwebs most of them are filled with endless lists of business ideas or the steps to take to set things up but those really don’t start at the beginning.
I think we need to peel the onion back a little further before we get to all of that.
One of the hardest things budding mom entrepreneurs face is actually starting.
No one is talking about how to mentally start an online business as a mom.
We should learn and adopt the healthy thinking habits needed to actually grow a successful business online.
We need the right mindset so that we’re strong enough to kick fears to the curb, banish our cares about what others think, and raise our heads high when we feel less than confident.
Only then should we move into actually getting things started physically (or virtually in our case).
You’re here because you’ve identified that something is keeping you from growing your business.
The learning curve in online business is steep and the last thing you need is to make it longer by not adapting the correct mindset.
I assure you that once you’re mentally ready to grow an online business doing the work to set things up will happen easily.
Do you ever worry about one (or all) of the following?
➝ You’re not sure if you’re “ready” to get started.
➝ You’re unsure of where to start.
➝ You feel you don’t know enough to get started.
➝ You don’t have “what it takes” to start your own business.
➝ There’s too much competition.
➝ That people will judge you for starting something instead of just being a mom.
➝ That you won’t be able to figure out how to balance your responsibilities as a mom.
➝ Two words: Mom guilt.
➝ You don’t have money to invest in your online business.
➝ You won’t be able to find the time to grow your business.
➝ Your spouse probably (or doesn’t) support your business.
Whoa, that is one hefty list to work through, isn’t it?
It’s a good thing you’re here because working through those worries is exactly what we’re going to accomplish in this post.
We need to help you step out of your own way.
After we kick the natural worries about starting a business to the curb, we’ll move into:
➝ Adopting the right mindset for entrepreneurship.
➝ How to balance being a mom and entrepreneur at the same time.
➝ What to do if your spouse doesn’t seem supportive
➝ Take a brief look at my top 3 online business ideas you can start today.
Phew – we’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started.
(Want to skip to the content you need right now? Check out the Quick Navigation to jump to what you need!)
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Starting An Online Business While You’re Pregnant
Defining What a Mom Entrepreneur Is
Let’s start at the beginning and define what a mom entrepreneur is.
Once we know what we’re setting out to accomplish it’s much easier to dispell any fears and get into the right mindset to start an online business as a mom.
Mompreneur – “A woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children.” – Oxford Dictionary
Sounds pretty badass, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is – not only are moms pretty well superheroes but more of us are setting out to add “entrepreneur” to the resume.
This definition should show you it’s quite possible to start a business and juggle motherhood at the same time.
How to Face Your Fears About Becoming a Mompreneur
Let’s look at what is holding you back from starting an online business, shall we?
If you identified with the first few worries I mentioned at the top of the post, then what you need to work through is your fear entrepreneurship.
(Which is understandable but does need to be shown the door if you want to have the business of your dreams).
To recap the worries that are really FEAR disguised:
➝ Not sure if you’re “ready” to get started.
➝ Not knowing where to start.
➝ Not sure you know enough to get started.
➝ Not being sure you have what it takes to be a mom entrepreneur.
➝ That people will judge you for your choice to start an online business as a mom.
Let’s peel the onion back and take a look at each more closely.
Not Being Ready
Ask yourself are we ever really ready for anything in life?
Was your life in perfect order when you became a mom?
Were you ready to buy that house and take on that reno?
Now, think back to any large goals you’ve accomplished in life.
Were you planned and ready?
I’m willing to bet you just shook your head no.
My point is there will never come a minute in any day where everything will align and you’ll know that you’re ready to start your business.
Things won’t be perfect but if you take action in the face of fear, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
The idea to show this fear to the door is to take small steps at first.
Maybe that means researching the online business idea you’re most interested in.
Or it could mean checking to see if the business name you want is available as a domain.
Once you’re doing these small tasks you’ll soon realize you’re making progress and that will be so exciting that you’ll find yourself doing bigger tasks.
And, guess what that means?
You were ready to start your business the entire time. 🙂
Not Knowing Where to Start
Being unsure of where to start seems like a good reason to put things off but if you peel the onion back you’ll see you’re actually feeling overwhelmed.
Starting an online business of any kind is not easy.
There’s a lot to do and learn which means it’s SUPER easy to get overwhelmed.
Once you’re overwhelmed it’s hard to know where to start.
My advice is to just start somewhere.
In fact, here are my quick-start action steps that work for almost all online businesses:
This is the research and learn everything you can phase aka the business planning step.
Read blog posts, sign up for email lists of people who support the business you want to start, and look around for any courses you can take to shorten your learning curve.
Jot down your ideas and any action steps you can start doing.
Brainstorm your business name and check to see if the domain for it is available. (I register everything with NameSilo.com because they throw in privacy for FREE).
Read tutorials about how to get your website up and running.
This step depends on what type of online business you’re going to start and grow but this is when you outline and decide what services you’re going to offer.
Plan when you will work on your business and set up your workspace or home office.
Create the content you need for your website.
This could be portfolio items, service packages, blog posts, products you’re going to sell, etc.
Go ahead, mama – just start and keep taking action.
What small thing can you get done today?
Not Knowing Enough to Get Started
Feeling like you don’t know enough to get started is the “imposter syndrome” in disguise.
Imposter Syndrome is defined as, “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.” – (source)
We’ve all achieved something.
We all know something someone else doesn’t.
We all have knowledge that someone else would love to learn.
Basically, you know more than you think you do (or then you give yourself credit for).
Did you know most successful online business owners only knew a little bit more than the people they chose to serve?
That they share what they do know and learn what they need to keep growing?
Yup, it’s a true story.
So, the next time you get stuck at thinking you don’t know enough, remember that a lot of people you admire are probably only one step ahead of you.
There’s Way Too Much Competition
Ugh, this one is a tough one, isn’t it?
And, no matter how much you’ve read that there’s enough room for everyone, you’re just not convinced that you should make ALL the effort only to be defeated by the competition, am I right?
What’s really going on here is the dreadful game of…comparison.
Comparision to others doing similar (or exactly the same) things that you want to do.
And, if I’m being truthful, totally hard NOT to do.
So, knowing we’re all going to fall victim to comparison at times, what can we do to be productive instead?
That’s really the question to answer.
Here is my advice: Don’t scold yourself for playing the comparison game – if you really think about it, it’s almost a natural thing to do.
What you can do to make comparison productive is jotting down all of the things you love about what your competition is doing.
Then write down the things that you think they suck at (hey, everyone has room for improvement right?)
And, THEN jot down how YOU can do whatever it is BETTER.
How can you be different in a similar business?
What angle do they not cover that YOU can?
You get the picture.
And, by the way, there is room for you and your business idea even if it feels like there isn’t, okay?
When you hear that advice embrace it.
You live once which means you need to do what sets your soul on fire so WHO CARES about competition.
Not Having What It Takes
The fact you’ve had the niggling thought in the back of your mind to start an online business tells me you at least have some of what it takes to grow a successful business.
There’s no way to sugar coat things – starting an online business is one thing, sticking it out to grow it is another.
So, how do you really know if you have what it takes?
Do you feel you have any of the following traits?
➝ Problem Solver
I call these my big 6 indicators of whether a person will do the work beyond getting an online business started – aka actually do the work that grows businesses.
It’s one thing to have the intention but you really have to want it.
Here’s the thing – even if you don’t think you have all those traits you can LEARN them.
Yup, true story.
If you’re weak in one area that means it’s your task to improve and move on.
You can find more about this in the section about how to adapt a mom entrepreneur mindset.
Just know that if you have the desire and drive, you can learn and improve in the areas you’re weaker which means, yes, you do have what it takes, mama.
People Will Judge Your Decision to Start a Business
We’re living in a time when everyone and their aunt Alice has something to think and say about what other people are doing.
So, yes, you can expect to get some judgment for being a mom who wants to start an online business.
Some people just won’t get it.
Some people will think you might be selfish.
Some will wonder who is taking care of the kids.
And, the list can go on.
I’ve faced a lot of judgment since I started my online business in 2016 but it’s never bothered me.
Because I want my online business.
Because I want to live life on my terms.
Because I want my kids to go whoa my mom built that.
Because I didn’t want to miss their Christmas concerts.
Because I was tired of working for someone else.
Because I realized those people don’t get me and that’s okay.
I keep a focused eye on my end result and, when you do that, any of the judgment you hear goes out the door.
Mama – you live once so who cares what someone else thinks?
(Plus when a lot of times when someone is dishing out their opinion about what you should be doing it’s because they’re jealous. Just sayin’).
How to Adopt a Mom Entrepreneur Mindset
Remember when I spoke about the big 6?
They were being disciplined, self-starter, motivated, problem solver, productive, and organized.
These are the areas every mom entrepreneur must develop in order to be successful.
So, let’s take a closer look at each.
I know you’re starting an online business for a multitude of reasons but I’m willing to bet the biggest reason is that you KNOW you’re going to love what you’re starting.
I don’t mean to burst your bubble but I can tell you there will come a time when you’re going to have to do what you know you should do instead of what you want to do.
Should you master being a disciplined person before you start your online business?
You can learn as you go and develop good habits.
My goal here is to give you the heads up that you’re going to have to push through the stuff you don’t necessarily want to do.
Being a self-starter is almost like the cousin of being disciplined.
It takes a certain kind of strength to really go for it and grow your business – especially when the going gets tough – and it will.
Good news – you’re already a self-starter because you want to open your own business but, I have to tell you, you’ll need to keep being that motivated and show up every day until your business is where you want it to be.
And, some days, it will be hard.
Motivation is a self-starter’s best friend.
Being a self-starter gets you up and going and motivation gives you the desire to see your business to fruition.
This is where most advice will tell you to create your “why” for doing what you want to do – and you should.
When an issue arises you need to be able to find the right solution and keep moving forward.
In other words, you need to be decisive – the last thing you want is to get stuck.
You might be thinking that being productive is an obvious trait needed to grow a business but what if I told you a lot of entrepreneurs spend a lot of time on busy work that isn’t actually moving their efforts forward?
They’re not being productive.
You need to be able to look at tasks and determine what doing it will bring you in return.
If it isn’t moving your forward or strengthening your business in some way it’s not that productive.
Being organized is productivity’s main squeeze but the organization I’m talking about is so much more than making sure your computer files are in order.
Being organized means identifying systems within your business that get you the desired end result.
As you grow, you’ll start to see where you can organize your business and be more efficient.
Don’t fret if you feel you’re inadequate in some of these areas.
I’ve developed in all of the big 6 categories while I’ve grown my business.
So, in a nutshell, if you love what your business is about and you’re willing to learn and develop new habits, you’ll be just fine as a mom entrepreneur. 🙂
How to Balance Being a Mom and Entrepreneurship
Two words: Mom Guilt, am I right?
Mom guilt is a nasty thing that manifests in many ways throughout motherhood but one of the more serious forms I’ve seen (and experienced!) is feeling guilty about starting an online business instead of dedicating oneself solely to the well being of children.
As I love to say, if you peel the onion back on mom guilt and having your own business you’ll see that it can actually be the healthier choice.
I firmly believe I am a better mom because I have my own creative endeavor.
I’ve realized anyone who would guilt me into believing I’m not a good mom because I run a business is actually defining themselves much more than they are me.
Now, of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t days where I feel guilty because, well, I’m a mom who cares.
But, that’s the key part of it all – I’m a mom who really cares and because of that I make sure to:
➝ Be around for any big events that matter to my kids
➝ Have personal one on one time with each of them.
➝ Schedule my work around them.
And, the list goes on…
Instead of thinking about the negative possibilities running a business could bring, remember you’re actually freeing a lot of your time and building a life that means more inclusion of your kids.
And, that, mama is what you will tell yourself every single time you feel guilty.
So, we’ve covered mom guilt but what about…
Finding Time to Grow a Business and Mom
The next biggest issue I see mom entrepreneurs face is how the heck to balance growing a business and while being a mom.
I’m going to level with you – some days are hard and you’re not going to get as much done because, well, kids.
But while we’re getting really honest, there’s also a certain amount of sacrifice that needs to happen.
Us moms are pretty well superheroes but we still have 24 hours in a day so something truly has to give.
Here are some tips for freeing up time to work on your online business:
(These are tips that work, I’ve used them (and still do!) and I know many successful mom entrepreneurs who also use them).
➝ Start waking up early before your family is up.
➝ If you have young kids, work when they nap.
➝ Figure out where you waste time and eliminate the distraction (for example, I lose myself on Instagram and whoops there goes 20 minutes).
➝ Start saying no to social engagements that make no sense especially ones where you’ll be tired the next day or you’re going because you feel obligated.
➝ Turn off the TV.
➝ Put down your phone.
When you peel the onion back you’ll see that for a while your focus will be your family and business.
It won’t always be like that.
As your business grows a lot of the grunt work is done – it’s just time intensive at the start of a business.
What To Do If Your Spouse Doesn’t Support Your Business
It’s not a great feeling when your spouse doesn’t support your business idea.
It can stall you from starting that business or seriously put a damper on your will to share your plans.
But in my experience, having a spouse who seems unsupportive really just means there’s been a breakdown in communication somewhere.
Your job is to figure out where that breakdown is.
Most of the issues can be resolved by having an open and honest conversation.
Here’s what the conversation should cover:
➝ A detailed explanation of what your business plans are.
➝ How much money is needed to get the business off the ground (I’m willing to bet once THIS is understood, things will go much smoother).
➝ What your plans are for finding time to grow your business.
Where they fit into your plans (Will you have time for them? Do they matter? Will you change?).
It might be a good idea to head out to a coffee shop or other place where there are no distractions so you can both be open about what is on your mind.
And, honestly, if it’s a case that your husband just doesn’t support you doing anything that brings you joy, you need to reflect on why and how it makes you feel.
Since your spouses are the closest relationship to us, they really should support your goals.
3 Online Business Ideas for Moms to Consider Starting
We’ve worked through a lot of mindset and worries about starting a business as a mom (because learning how to start an online business is so much more than just having an idea!) and now it’s time to look at the top online business ideas that are ideal for moms to start.
This is to help you get your creative juices flowing.
All of the business ideas are flexible, don’t cost a ton of money to get going, and still give you the creativity you’re seeking.
These are the top three online business ideas that work well for moms.
I write more about online business ideas here: The Ultimate List of Online Business Ideas for Moms
1) Virtual Assistant
The online business idea I get most excited about (okay, I’m pretty excited about all of them, haha!) is becoming a virtual assistant.
Because most moms have skills they can offer that are already known – no need to learn a new skill set!
Look at your job experience and jot down all the tasks you handled or are an expert in.
Business owners will pay someone to do that work virtually and it’s usually on a contract basis which means it’s steady work.
Need an example? Data entry, email management, admin support, customer service, and the list can go on.
Starting a VA business is what I like to call the entrance to growing an online business.
It’s a great way to learn the ins and outs of online business and start working from home.
Now, that isn’t to say there isn’t work involved in getting a virtual assistant business off the ground, it’s just a wonderful way to get started.
Here are some resources to check out:
➝ 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success – yes, this is a course but if you’re interested, it’s smart to invest in something that is going to shorten the learning curve and get you set up quickly.
Maybe you’re really good at writing or you have another skill set like graphic design or something else and you like the idea of assisting and completing one-off tasks and/or jobs for business owners.
A freelance business would be a perfect fit.
Think designing business logos for owners – one small job and then you move on to your next project.
I love freelancing businesses because there is so much flexibility which is super important when you’re a mom.
Here are some resources to check out:
➝ Search through websites like Upwork to see what kind of jobs there are.
3) Product Based Online Business
Rounding out the top 3 online business ideas for moms is starting and growing a product-based business.
Think Etsy shop or Shopify website that features products made by you (or others).
This business idea is perfect for moms who crafting, designing or other creative venture.
You could sell your paintings or knit goods or the amazing product you’ve sourced that fill a specific need.
Here are some resources to check out:
Read online business ideas for moms on Shopify.
Read this article about selling your own products.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Get Your Online Business Started
If you’re still unsure about what direction you should take with your business, ask yourself some questions that will spark your creative juices.
Here are a few to get you started:
➝ What do I love doing daily?
➝ What skills do I have professionally?
➝ What would my family say I’m good at?
Make sure you read my list of online business ideas for moms too!
That wraps up the ultimate guide to mentally starting an online business as a mom!
My hope is that I’ve eliminated some of the worries you might have about starting and growing a business.
Or at least managed to reassure you that the mindset you need can be developed as you go.
That’s the key – you can learn and adapt as you go.
While running an online business isn’t easy and there are sure to be obstacles along the way, I promise you it’s worth it.
You’ll have the flexibility you want and not to mention something creative for yourself too.
The next step from here is taking the steps to start your online business.
You should read The Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Business as a Mom.
I love hearing from you! Share your thoughts and/or questions with me in the comments. 🙂