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There’s a lot that goes into starting an online business as a mom and if you’ve spent any time reading all the information (and there is A LOT) on the Interwebs you’re probably feeling overwhelmed.
That’s why I’m putting together the ultimate guide to starting an online business for moms – everything you need in one place because you’re busy and there’s no time to waste!
Let’s start at the beginning and look at what you have to gain by starting an online business:
➝ Flexible hours.
➝ Working from home.
➝ Being around for your kids.
➝ Having something creative for yourself.
➝ Helping people.
➝ Unlimited income potential.
➝ Being pretty badass for balancing it all.
Just to mention just a few. 🙂
With so much to gain, it’s no wonder 1 in 3 women-owned businesses are run by moms (source).
(Have an online business started but not sure why you’re spinning your wheels? Read The Ultimate Guide to Mentally Starting an Online Business as a Mom).
No matter your reason for starting an online business you need to take certain steps to lay the foundation for success.
By the end of this post, you’ll understand the qualities you need to tap into as a mom entrepreneur, whether starting an online business is truly right for you, how much money you can expect to invest in your business, awesome online business ideas, and how to get things set up properly.
Phew! It’s a lot to cover so if there’s something you need to know now don’t hesitate to use the quick navigation menu found just below. 🙂
Qualities You Need to Become an Online Mom Entrepreneur
There are a lot of varying qualities that mom entrepreneur moms have but there are a few key ones – the top ones if you will.
All of the qualities found below are important to your success.
Spoiler: As a mom, I can guarantee you have ALL of them but let’s look at what they are, why they’re important to your success online, and how to tap into them for your business growth.
A Lot of Patience
As moms, we tolerate a lot, don’t we?
Goodness knows our kids can test our patience levels numerous times a day and yet we’re able to keep pushing forward.
(If you’re reading this and just had a baby you are still in the everything is cute phase but don’t worry when you became a mom you were given extra patience during birth 🙂 )
It’s that patience and ability to keep moving forward despite things not happening as you envisioned that will be important as you start and grow an online business.
It’s one thing to start an online business and another to see it through the growth phase.
You’ll want results yesterday but they can take time.
So you will need to tap into your patience often and keep your end goal in mind.
Perseverance to Keep Going
Perseverance – “Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” (source)
I have never used a word that so perfectly describes what growing an online business can be like.
You might be thinking I’m trying to stop you from starting your online business by warning you about how hard it can be but that would mean you’re taking what I’m saying in the wrong way.
Starting and growing an online business is so completely worth it but my job as your guide is to let you know that everything might not be roses along the way (despite what you’ve read in other places) and you’ll need to push through those times.
But I know you can do it because as a mom, you show up every day despite how hard things might get.
Use that quality to persevere and you’ll be just fine.
While most of us realize that starting an online business will require good time management skills, it’s not just within your business.
We juggle a lot as moms and that means a lot of our time gets zapped by things that aren’t useful to our goals.
Add mom entrepreneur to the list means you need to take a hard look at how you spend your time so that you can free some up to work on your dreams.
Here are some things to consider to get you started:
How much time do you spend watching TV in the evenings?
Could you get up earlier?
Read: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Time To Grow an Online Business as a Mom
A Willingness to Evolve
Remember I mentioned that it’s going to take time to grow your online business?
It’s likely that things in the online business world will change during that time so you’re going to have to adapt and evolve to keep moving forward.
Depending on what kind of business you’re starting, tactics or platforms to drive traffic, or anything else can disappear or change how they do things.
It’s outside of your control but what you can manage is your reaction to it all.
And, then use your perseverance to keep pushing forward.
A Love for Learning New Things
So now that we know we’re going to have to evolve as things change online, it’s a not a far leap to having the love of learning new things.
If you love learning to do new things and then put your knowledge into practice starting an growing an online business will do just that.
Which brings me to the final mom entrepreneur quality…
Be an Action Taker
There’s a lot to learn and put into practice so you’ll need to be an action taker because it’s the only way you’re going to see results.
Even when you’re tired.
Even when you’re overwhelmed.
Don’t worry I know you can, after all, you have this whole mom thing semi figured out, right?
Is Starting an Online Business Right for You?
Let’s determine if starting an online business is right for you.
We’ll start with the cons and then move into the pros. 🙂
Working for Free
Something I think a lot of moms don’t realize when starting an online business is that you essentially work for free for an undefined amount of time.
I can’t tell you how long because it really depends on what kind of online business you start and your level of dedication to doing the work.
It’ll also depend on how talented you are at not getting distracted.
Which brings me to…
Shiny Object Syndrome
You’re probably wondering what the heck Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) is because it does sound a little weird but it exists among online entrepreneurs and is something that needs managing.
SOS means to get distracted and chase the next ‘shiny object’ in the hopes it might be the answer to something you’re trying to achieve within your business.
What inevitably happens is that you’re lead down a rabbit hole, distracted completely, waste time (in most cases), meaning your business goals will take longer to achieve.
Think about one of your kids trying to chase bubbles when they were little – once the bubbles went away, they needed more and more to be satisfied.
The trouble is, they can never really catch the bubbles, can they?
They either fly away or pop when the child touches them.
SOS has the same effect.
You might chase down a business promise or a tactic, convinced it’ll be a homerun but it really isn’t and to keep following the path can derail your end goals.
The key is to be mindful of the distractions by taking the time to do research about what you’re considering before jumping in and being prepared to follow through on the project so that a result is achieved.
After that, you can adjust your sail and keep moving forward.
Probably the biggest investment you’ll make in your business is your time.
When starting out, you’ll need to dedicate as much time as possible to laying your foundation and then doing the growth steps.
The fact you may not see many results even though you’re working several hours can be disheartening, so you’ll need to have a strong why and keep your end goals in mind.
I worked for well over a year before I started to see things start moving well in my business.
Some Competition Will Make You Stronger
I put competition under the cons for starting an online business because it can be viewed as a negative but I don’t think it should deter you from pursuing your business idea.
If you think about it, no matter what kind of business you start there will always be some form of competition.
In the online business world, there seems to be more competition because, well, if you an internet connection you can start a business.
Instead of looking at this as a bad thing, take the time to learn about your competition – what you like and dislike about them – and then make plans to do things better than them – or, really, how you will be different than them.
Low Investment at First
Online businesses have some of the lowest start-up costs which makes them a great option for moms who are on a budget.
That said, as your business grows you can expect to invest more funds to fuel the success of your business.
RELATED: X Low-Cost Online Business Ideas for Moms
Unlimited Earning Potential
Within online business, there are numerous business models that can be branched out to and grown alongside the business you initially start with.
I’m really hoping that makes sense.
Let me give you an example just in case you’re scratching your head.
Say you start a business as a virtual assistant – you gain clients and things are going well.
Then you realize the method you use to find and secure clients works like a charm so you decide to share that information with others building a VA business in the form of a paid ebook or course.
So, now you have a VA business AND an online course.
The online course is a branch of your initial business.
This is just one example – there are several other ways to branch out and grow in the online world.
Basically, this is the long way of saying that starting an online business gives you the unique ability to earn an unlimited income.
You only need to get creative.
The first two pros in this list are pretty attractive but being able to run your business from wherever you are is quite unique.
As long as you have a good Internet connection you can conduct business!
Flexibility to Work When You Want
Closely related to location freedom is the ability to work when you want.
Only have time in the early morning to get business done?
Perfect, with an online business that isn’t a problem.
Want to take a Wednesday off to spend time with the family.
Awesome, with an online business you have that freedom.
No matter your situation, you can set your working hours to work for you instead of having to work at a set time. 🙂
Having Something Creative for Yourself
Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is AH-mazing but you’re still your own person too.
(Even if you haven’t been to the bathroom by yourself in over two years 😉 )
Having something that is creative and all your own is good for the soul.
You need to live your life to the fullest and if starting an online business as a mom makes sense get ready to reap the benefits of doing so!
And not just in your neck of the woods – starting an online business means you can connect to people on the other side of the world.
Investing In Your Online Business
The next step to starting an online business is reviewing how much money you have to work with to get things moving.
Your budget might even determine what kind of online business you start.
I can reassure you that most online businesses don’t require a large investment to start.
Here are some things that most online business will need to get going:
➝ A good internet service
➝ A business website
Yes, that’s really all you need to get things started.
Other expenses will start to come up as you grow so it’s a good idea to take a look at your current budget to see how much money you have to work with.
Other potential expenses that come after starting:
*this is not an ultimate list; expenses will be dependent on what type of online business you start – the goal here is to inform you about the potential future expenses that will occur soon after starting.
➝ Software and other platforms such as accounting and client relationship systems.
➝ A paid website theme.
➝ Website development and maintenance fees.
➝ Stock images to use throughout your content.
➝ Tools that make your life easier such as a social media scheduler.
➝ Courses to help shorten the learning curve.
➝ Hired help to tasks off your to-do list.
You can get a clearer idea of potential expenses when you write your online business plan which we’ll talk about a little later in this post.
What Kind of Online Business to Start as a Mom
Not sure what kind of online business you want to start?
There are many types of online business models so let’s take a look at how to narrow things down and find the perfect business idea that works for you.
What Are You Good At?
Starting with what you’re good at or an expert in is the best place to start.
What do your friends and family ask you about because they know you have the answers?
What skillset do you have either through a previous job or education?
Write down everything that comes to mind.
There are no bad or unimportant answers.
Brainstorming is the only way to get the creative juices flowing enough to discover the perfect online business idea.
Need an example?
A person who has worked in an office for a long time has numerous admin (and other) skills.
Say this person is also very organized and goes out of their way to help others.
From this, I can see that a person with these assets would make an excellent virtual assistant.
Starting a VA business is a lucrative idea because so many entrepreneurs are looking to take small (or large) admin tasks off their plates.
Viola, an online business idea!
What Fits Your Mom Life?
Some advice that I don’t see a lot of people give mom entrepreneurs is that you should start an online business that fits in your mom life.
If you have a limited amount of time, it wouldn’t make sense to start a more labor-intensive online business such as a blog.
Doing a time audit to see how much you have is so important so make sure you’ve done it before choosing an online business idea.
Another way to make sure your business will fit your mom life is how much income you want to make.
The more money you want to make, the more you’ll have to work, the more your stress level can go up.
Are you looking to earn a full or part-time income?
You need to ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want as you embark on becoming a mompreneur.
Get Clear About Who You Want to Serve
You absolutely need to become clear about who you want to serve so that you can tailor your products or services but you also need to know so that you will enjoy growing your online business.
For example, I want to help mom entrepreneurs with their online business not brick and mortar businesses, so I know that all of my content needs to address the concerns moms would have about starting and growing an online business exclusively.
I love helping moms overcome the struggles of growing an online business. I absolutely love it and because of that, it’s much easier to do the work to grow my business.
(Both sides of my business help mom entrepreneurs which is another great example of branching out in my online business to increase my earning potential – see the pros and cons of starting an online business section if you missed that nugget 😉 )
To start, create your avatar or ideal customer and then outline how you can best serve them.
Will you offer services?
Will you create a product that helps them achieve a goal?
Will you enjoy growing a business around the concept?
Here are some questions to think about:
What gender are they?
Are you going to help them achieve a goal?
What are you helping them do?
How can you get them from point A to point B?
After you have a good idea about who you want to serve, start hanging out in forums, social media groups, and networks.
What are they talking about?
It’s also a good idea to Google search ideas and questions around what your business to get a better understanding of what is being said so that you can see how to better serve the audience.
3 Online Business Ideas for Moms
We’re going to dive into 3 totally awesome online business ideas for moms just in case you’re not sure what you’d like to start.
There are numerous online business ideas so we can’t cover them all.
Just read the related post below for more ideas. 🙂
By the way, there are SO many great online business ideas so I chose 3 that I believe are perfect for moms.
Starting a VA business has got to be one of my favorite online ventures for moms.
Being a VA means you’re helping entrepreneurs tackle their overwhelming to do list (because we ALL have one!).
Most moms have a list of skills they can offer and get paid for knowing.
Even if it seems like a simple task, business owners are willing to pay someone else to do it because they don’t enjoy doing the work or their time can be better spent on something else.
Services can include (and aren’t limited to) email management, travel plans, data entry, social media, report writing, and the list can go on and on.
Jot down your skills and make sure to include everything because people will pay for your experience!
Getting started is fairly easy – here is a list of things to check off your to-do list if starting a virtual assistant business has caught your eye.
➝ Choose a business name
➝ Buy the domain (get the .com)
➝ Decide how much to charge per hour.
➝ Create service packages keeping your hourly rate in mind.
➝ Get your website up.
That is enough to get the ball rolling!
Check out this course if you want to shorten your learning curve. 🙂
PS. the initial steps I shared to get your online business rolling work for all of the ideas I’m listing here.
If you’re organized, love numbers and want a great online business idea that is pretty flexible consider starting a virtual bookkeeping business.
Entrepreneurs typically aren’t the greatest at keeping their books organized and that’s where you come in!
Not only are you helping business owners take back their time, you’re also keeping them more organized which is a great feeling!
Read this article for more details about starting an online bookkeeping business.
Product Based Business
Have a product you love to make?
Or maybe you’re interested in connecting a certain audience to a product they need.
Starting an online product-based business is perfect for moms who don’t love the idea of a service-based business.
You can set up a Shopify or Etsy shop to showcase your products and get them out to the world.
Read this article to dive more into the world of product-based online businesses.
I decided to share 3 awesome online business ideas as a way to spark your creative juices.
There are SO many more business ideas to choose from – make sure to read Online Business Ideas for Moms for a complete list of ideas.
Setting Up Your Online Business Properly
How to Pick a Name for Your Business
Choosing a business name can be overwhelming, am I right?
This is how your business will be known so the pressure is on to think of the perfect name.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – there really isn’t a PERFECT name and, after all, it IS just a name.
What is more important is what you do to brand the name.
You’re probably thinking great, sure I’ll take your word for it but HOW do you come up with a good business name?
Figure out the answer to the following:
What does your business do?
How do you want to make your customers/clients feel?
Can you build a brand around the name?
Will people understand what your business is about when they hear it?
Jot down your ideas.
Visit the Thesaurus to change out words to ones you may not be thinking about.
Don’t be afraid to be creative but not too crazy okay?
And if you find you’re spending more than an hour on this task pick one and move on!
You can also narrow down choices on whether or not the domain is available because you want it to match your business name! 🙂
Register Your Business
It’s a good idea to see how to register a business depending on where you live.
Different states (or provinces) have various rules so do your research.
When starting out, you can operate as a sole proprietor which means you’re running the business as yourself.
Even if you register a business name, the business will still be considered you operating as your business name.
Once you’ve grown the business to a certain level you will consider whether to incorporate and/or structure your company.
I always suggest at least registering your business name to start so that it’s yours. 🙂
Build a Website
No matter what kind of online business you decide to start, you’ll need to get a website up fairly quickly so that you have a place to hold your content and send potential clients/customers.
Make sure to choose something where you can register the .com.
Here are the resources I recommend for building a good website:
➝ Go with a self-hosted WordPress website – doing so gives you complete control over your website.
➝ Register your domain using NameSilo.com – they’re the cheapest and also throw in your first year of privacy for FREE.
➝ Go with SiteGround for hosting – they are one of the most reliable hosting companies and their customer service rocks!
➝ Choose a good theme – you can start with a free theme but investing in a paid one is essential as you grow so choosing one from the start makes sense – all of my websites are built using the Extra Theme from Elegant Themes – I LOVE them! 🙂
➝ Do you plan to take your own photos? If not getting a stock photo membership makes sense – here’s my favorite feminine photo website to check out.
Not sure how to launch your online business website?
Read the ultimate guide to creating your online business website for moms.
Grab the Social Media Handles
Don’t worry about mastering all of the media platforms when you’re getting started but definitely secure your business name handles on each so that you can expand later. 🙂
Work on Your Business Plan
Great! You’ve laid your foundation and now it’s time to start writing your online business plan.
Include the following in your plan:
➝ The purpose of your business.
➝ Who you’re going to serve.
➝ What content you need to create.
➝ Any business goals
➝ How you will market the business.
➝ The financial picture of your business (meaning how much capital you have to work with to start).
Having a business plan will help you start and grow your online business properly – it can also help avoid distractions.
Your plans will evolve as your business grows and you scale but having one from the start is a great way to be organized.
How to Start Getting Your Online Business Out There
You’ve done the work to get your online business set up but how do you start letting people know about it?
Sure you can share your business on social media but what other ways can you use to get the word out?
Details are below 🙂
The Power of Networking
There is so much power in both online and in-person networking.
When I first started my online business I couldn’t wrap my head around why I would need to attend networking events.
Wasn’t my business online?
No matter what your online business model might be, talking to people in the flesh has many benefits:
➝ Connects you to potential clients/customers.
➝ Form relationships with likeminded individuals.
➝ Secure partnerships.
➝ Creates a wider network through word of mouth.
Research networking events, print a few business cards, and get out there!
(PS. In-person networking was a game-changer for me – I found 3 new clients that allowed me to start scaling my business).
If you don’t love the idea of meeting people in person then make sure to network online to get your feet wet.
The best way to do this is to join Facebook Groups that are in your industry.
You can’t openly promote in most groups but you can join the conversation and share your business if allowed.
Just simply answering questions and participating can have positive effects on your new business!
Here’s a growth hack – consider starting your own Facebook group!
If your budget allows, using online advertising to promote your business is a great way to start getting the word out.
You may want to wait until you’re generating a bit of revenue before considering but don’t wait too long.
Online advertising is a great way to get started…
Email List Building
If you’ve done any reading about starting an online business most advice will tell you to start growing an email list asap.
Think of your email list as an asset that you can send deals or offers or whatever is going on in your business to a group of people who want to hear from you.
So, yes mama, start that email list as soon as you can.
MailerLite is a great platform to get started on – your first 1000 subscribers are FREE.
Support Options for Mompreneurs
Moms are real-life superheroes but even Batman had a sidekick so make sure you figure out what kind of support you need and get it in place.
Feeling supported in your efforts will help with your overall business mindset and also give you the courage to keep pushing through the tough stuff.
Connecting with Other Online Mom Entrepreneurs
I often hear that becoming an online mompreneur is lonely.
I can’t say I disagree but there are several ways you can change that.
Look to see if there are any mom entrepreneur (or female) groups near where you live and join them.
They often have meetups or an online community where there’s a lot of chatter – make sure to join the conversation!
Another great way to make sure you don’t get lonely is by joining a social group of some kind
For example, I take part in a weekly art class that makes me leave the house.
Sure, it’s not business-related but it’s good for my mindset and making sure I don’t become a complete homebody!
Hiring Help for Your Business
Don’t be scared to hire help for your business as soon as you can.
A lot of mom entrepreneurs are concerned about the budget (understandably!) but if you’re generating a bit of revenue, invest it back into the business to free up your time to do other business growth activities.
It might be small but wait until you see the positive effects hiring help can do!
Business growth hack – as moms we feel we need to do it all even at the expense of our own self-care so if you aren’t sure you need to hire help for the business why not consider hiring a cleaner to take household maintenance off your plate?
It’ll still free up your time and make you feel better because your house isn’t slowly becoming a disaster. 🙂
Another outside of the box idea would be to hire a babysitter to mind the kids for 2 hours a couple of times a week.
Think about what you can get done with more time! 🙂
Support from Your Friends and Family
The most important form of support for your business will actually come from your family and friends.
Your spouse can be your sounding board, advisor, friend, and greatest advocate.
(If they aren’t you need to have an open conversation to get on the same page!).
Friends can be potential investors, employees, and help get the word out.
Although it may feel scary, let your family and friends know about your new online business venture and when they offer their support, take it!
You now know exactly how to start an online business as a mom and now it’s time to take action!
What can you get done today?
It might be choosing your business name or shortening the list of business ideas to one. 🙂
You also know what kind of mindset, qualities, and habits you’ll need to adopt to be successful.
Starting an online business takes a lot of patience and work but it’ll pay off.
You’ll be able to work with a flexible schedule, help people, have unlimited income potential, and so much more.
Isn’t that what you’re dreaming about?
Need a little motivation to take action on what you’ve just learned?
Keep your children in mind – how proud will they be of you and what you’re going to accomplish?
If you’re stuck or have any questions please comment below – I love to help moms grow businesses! 🙂