Posted on June 30, 2011
Debbie O’Connor runs Motivating Mum, a website that provides support and advice for current or would-be Businessmums (and dads). She is a self-professed computer and gadget geek and loves to help people get to grips with technology.
A New Beginning
So it’s over – the split is final and you are left with your half of what used to be your relationship. Now instead of two adults sharing the roles of childminder, homemaker and breadwinner there is just you to manage all of it. Not just that, but you may have lost your closest confidante (not in all cases I know) and you could also have lost a fair few of your other friends and contacts, especially if you have moved away from the old family home.
A chapter of your life has ended. For some people this could be seen as a daunting and depressing prospect, but for others it marks the beginning of something new, full of opportunity to get out into the world again and live life on your terms. You need to find something just for you – something that will give you passion and bring your sparkle back.
For many this new beginning comes in the form of a new business venture. Some people choose this option because they need to earn some money after a split, and some just because they want to have something to call their own, something to define themselves by, a reason to get up in the morning, and to go out and network with people again. In some cases full-time work is not possible because of childcare or other commitments, so a part time business, run from home is the only sensible option.
I attend a lot of mums’ networking meetings, and I am always amazed at the scope and variety of small business ventures. There really does seem to be a home based business to suit everyone, no matter what your skills, experience, time or available funds.
At one end of the scale you can buy into a party plan or distributorship business for a very small sum, and build your own business following an established template, with plenty of guidance and support. At the other end I have met mums who have invented products because they couldn’t buy them in the shops, and taken them to market single-handedly, making themselves a small fortune in the process. There are mums going freelance in the disciplines that they used to work in, and mums who have retrained in other skills. There are mums who make a living through blogging, and mums like me, who run a business training and counselling other mums about their career choices. Whatever you can think of, I bet there’s a mum doing it somewhere, and if not, then you could….
The benefits of working for yourself are immense:
- You can work around your children’s arrangements – hours to suit yourself
- You can take holidays, sick days etc. whenever you need to.
- You can get an enormous sense of pride and self esteem from starting and growing something yourself.
- You will discover skills and talents that you may not have realised you have
- You are forced to go out and connect with people
- You can earn some money for yourself and set your own terms and conditions.
- When somebody asks you “What do you do?” you can answer them with something positive
Of course I am not saying that running a home business is without risks and it is not for everyone. I fully appreciate that for some people it is necessary to work full-time and bring home a salary in order to balance the books. Many home businesses do not produce a full-time salary, especially at first, and many do not succeed. You need to set your expectations realistically, choose your business carefully, and be careful how much time and money you invest. But the benefits of being your own boss, are much more than financial, and if you have the possibility of exploring the options, you can find fulfilment and a new purpose to your life. I know I did…
If you are considering starting your own business following a divorce, I would recommend the following steps.
- Attend networking groups aimed at women in business. There are lots of these – you can often take your pre-school children, you can meet other business mums and get lots of advice and inspiration. If there isn’t a group where you live then start one.
- Get online and join some of the online business groups – talk to people online. Join facebook, twitter and linked in and run your ideas past some other people before you commit yourself. Get someone to show you how to do this if you don’t know already – computer skills are essential in today’s world
- Buy books and go on training courses – get yourself familiar with business in general and the specific business you fancy trying before you take the plunge and invest
- Talk over your ideas with a business mentor – get help and support and someone to bounce ideas off at every step along the way.
- If you do not have some business skills, accounting, marketing , IT – then hire yourself an expert to help you in those fields while you concentrate on your strengths
- Do not invest money in any business venture unless you can afford to lose that money. Start small if need be – do not stretch yourself at first.
Whatever you decide to do with the next chapter in your life, do it with your head held high, with passion and pride. I wish you the very best of luck in your journey and if I can help you along the way, then please call me.
Motivating Mum provides
- child-friendly business networking events and training workshops,
- affordable business mentoring with successful businessmums
- a business mums forum for asking questions and sharing ideas
- information and useful advice to get your business off to a flying start
- Books, Training and Resources
- a monthly newsletter and a Daily Dose of Motivation
In addition to that, Debbie is also available for one to one coaching or training of small groups. She will gladly help you decide which business would suit you, and will also assist with setting up your business, and training you in the areas of online marketing, social media such as Facebook or Twitter, blogging, or anything else business or technology-related. If she can’t help you she will find somebody that can. Contact Debbie to set up a chat or coaching session.
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