Behind the 'Mompreneur' Myth
We've all heard the stories: A mom has a big idea, such as inventing a device to prevent toddlers from unrolling an entire roll of toilet paper, and overnight she becomes a millionaire. It sounds easy -- but is it?
The truth is that starting your own business can take much more time and money than an office job, and many people lose money before making any, if they make any at all.
But that doesn't mean starting your own business is impossible, even in this economy. You just have to know what you're up against. After all, businesses owned by women contribute an estimated
The goal is to become a millionaire. Reality: Not only is this goal unrealistic, but it's unnecessary, says Monosoff. "Some people just want to match their current income, or earn an extra
Your day job will soon be a distant memory. Consider holding onto that steady paycheck for a bit, which makes it easier to take risks with your new venture, says
One of the first steps is to raise money. Before asking anyone to lend or give you money, Ulrich recommends some introspection. Ask yourself: Are you in love with what you're looking to do as a business? What makes you unique to the market? Can you commit to the hours that are required? How are you at networking? As a business owner, you have to be the office manager, sales person, market, developer, and accountant.
Once you're ready to move forward, think about how to fund your business. If you borrow from a bank or official lender, seek out the best terms and lowest interest rates. If you ask friends, draft up an official agreement to avoid misunderstandings. Angel investors, who invest between
You'll soon be your own boss -- which means you only report to yourself. Everyone has a boss, even those who are self-employed. When you run a small business, the boss is the customer. "Regardless of the type of business you choose, you need to be committed to serving others -- customers, clients, employees, community, and investors," says Monosoff.
You need a brand new idea. Monosoff says there are three different approaches to creating a business, and two of them don't require brand new ideas: First, you can build on a skill you already have. For example, if you're a hairdresser at a salon, perhaps you'll want to start your own shop. If you design websites for a major company, maybe you'd prefer to drum up your own clients. The second approach is to copy what someone else already does, but to do it better. If you like a dim sum restaurant but think you could improve upon it, this method might work for you, says Monosoff.
Franchises also fall into this category. The third approach is to solve a problem or find a niche in the market, as Monosoff did with her TP Saver device. While that last category involves a new concept, the first two involve variations on existing ones -- so you don't need to search for an idea that no one's thought of before.
Soon you'll be kicking back, watching the dollars roll in. You might eventually get to do this, but expect a lot of work in the short-term, even after your business launches. Many people struggle with building a customer base, says Monosoff, and that's why she recommends plugging into social networking sites, including
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