When I first set up my side hustle business, I was searching for tips on how to start a business while working full time as a mum, and I couldn’t find much out there.
The limited information is mostly geared towards single or people without children, which is very different to my situation.
Am I the only unicorn / crazy mum out there?…
Can You Start a Business While Working Full Time [and being a mum]?
The answer is yes.
As it turns out…
- 1 in 3 women entrepreneurs is a mum.
- Mumpreneurs (with children under 18) generated £7.2 billion for the UK economy between 2017-2019 and it is growing in an unprecedented rate. [Source]
- 25% of people in the UK have a side hustle. By 2030, it’s anticipated to increase to 50% of the UK Population [Source] )
- According to a survey from Henley Business School, 69% people with side hustles say they feel more positive about life for having their two roles.
While I have to piece some information together, what is clear to me is that –
I am not alone!
And for mums who are already juggling many things in life but can’t ignore that entrepreneurial desire inside, I want to dedicate this post to you.
By sharing my personal experience, tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way from my fellow mumpreneurs, you can have the best chance in starting your business while working full time.
So without further ado, here are my 11 BEST Tips on How to Start a Business While Working Full Time [for Mums].
#1. Timing is Everything
I want to be completely honest with you here… There are the right time and the wrong time to start your business.
Life is busy enough during this phase of your life – being a parent, working a 9 to 5 job, perhaps you have older parents to look after too. As much as you want to start your business, if you already feel there isn’t enough time in the day, it might not be the right time
Money is also another pre-requisition. You don’t have to be loaded, but starting a business requires some investment. Certain ones require much less start-up cost than others, but if you are absolutely penny pitching to get by, this might be another sign that you should wait to start your business after you can save some money on the side.
So be honest with yourself on where you are at with TIME and MONEY at this stage of life, before you jump into mumpreneurship.
If you can pass that honest assessment and the fire to start your own business is still burning strong, then let’s get to the next tip.
#2. Know Your “WHY”
The 2nd tip on how to start a business while working full time, is to know your “WHY”.
You have to need this bad enough.
The “WHY” is the deep reason behind you wanting to start a business. It’s the ignitor of that fire.
For me, my “WHY” is to be able to afford a great house in the school area where my children can go to an excellent secondary school.
Yes, that’s it.
To me, this feels more real and tangible than “living my dream life” kind of shit. I can feel it and smell it. Seeing my children, reminds me everyday what I’m working so hard for.
So get a cuppa, and start asking yourself, what is your “WHY”?
#3. Set a SMART Goal
Setting a SMART goal is the 3rd tip on how to start a business while working full time for you crazy Mamas (and Dads).
But what is a SMART goal? well, it actually stands for:
- Specific: Be specific with your goal. What do you want the business to accomplish?
- Measurable: How much do you want to make?
- Attainable: Is the goal achievable considering your personal situation?
- Relevant/Realistic: [This is a big one] Is it the right time? How realistic is your goal?
- Time bound: by when you would like to achieve the goal?
Pretty smart right =)?
By creating a SMART goal for your new business, it will provide you with clarity, direction and actionable steps to move forward.
#4. Set Money Aside for the Business
If you think you can start a business with zero investment, think again…
The truth is, starting a business will require SOME level of start up cost, plus the ongoing investment, which bring to my tip #4 on how to start a business while working full time.
Regardless of the type of business you want to start, set aside a budget for it and treat it as a business investment instead of your everyday expense. This will create a different mindset when it comes to decision making.
Unless you are 100% sure a physical product-based business, I highly recommend business options that require the minimum amount of upfront cost. This is much less risky, and less pressure on cash flow.
#5. Make It a Priority
So now you have a clear WHY, a SMART goal, and some money set a side, to get your business started on the right foot, you need to make it a priority.
Make this commitment to yourself.
This may mean, you will be working on your side business instead of watching TV at night, or spend less time hanging out with your friends and family.
I know for many mums (myself included), it was waking up at crack of dawn before your children to get a few hours in.
It is also important to share the goal and get support from your partner. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to do this without my husband who has assumed the primary responsibility with our girls bedtime routine (and many other things around the house). I am forever grateful!
But just know, the sacrifices are temporary, it will be worth it in the long run.
Ever in doubt, remind yourself with your WHY.
#6. Create a Routine
This is an execution tip when it comes to starting a business while working full time.
Create a routine that works for you.
Having a routine means that you can focus your energy on what’s actually important (ie your business) while being on autopilot on the day-to-day stuff.
I love my morning routine, which consists of waking up, having a cup of coffee while I journal and plan the day, followed by a 30min. of writing.
Routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Whatever it is, it needs to work for you and you can stick with it.
#7 Plan Ahead
While it’s important to have a daily routine, it’s just as important to plan your month, your week and day.
Use the SMART goal method to set your business goal for the year, then break it down to smaller goals for each month and each week.
At the beginning of each week, list out what you need to do to achieve the weekly goals. Then make your daily plan the night before and make sure that you include everything needs doing outside of the business, so you can straight a balance.
#8. Keep a Low Profile at Work
I get it, you are ambitious and have been climbing on that corporate ladder for years. You are constantly putting yourself out there for the next stretch assignment, more responsibility…
Remember that saying “you can have everything, just not at the same time”?
So if you have made a decision to start a business and made that a priority, this means you need to change the strategy on how you approach your 9 to 5 job.
Keep a low profile at work while doing a great job is the new way forward. This means producing high quality work within your responsibility without going above and beyond what was asked.
Laser focused on value added work vs. non-value added work. You will be surprised how much more efficient you can be. All the time you saved, you can spend working on your own business.
This mindset change was one of the hardest for me. Especially when I had to stop putting my name forward for a bigger role. Even worse, seeing someone less qualified getting ahead of me on that corporate ladder.
Whenever I struggle with that, I remind myself the “WHY” that I started my side business at the first place.
#9. Run Your Own Race
As an entrepreneur, it is so easy to get caught up on comparing with others’ progress.
The truth is, if you are starting a business on top of being a busy mum (or dad) and a full time job, you naturally have LESS time than others. As a result, your progress is likely to be slower.
So take that pressure off and give yourself the permission to run your own race and enjoy the progress.
By celebrating the small wins will motivate and propel you forward on your entrepreneur journey.
#10. Avoid Burnout
Starting a business is hard enough, let alone you are also a mum (or a dad) with a demanding 9 to 5 job. All the early mornings and late nights, plus working over weekends can easy lead to burnout.
Keep in mind that having your business is a marathon not a sprint. Therefore, having a stress relief mechanism is essential to recharge and rejuvenate.
This can be taking a walk or run, doing yoga, or simply taking some time off, as long as it’s something that you enjoy. The key is to plan these activities in before you get to the point of burnout.
#11. Hold On To Your 9 to 5 Job as Long As You Can…
I am sure you have a family to feed, mortgage to pay and the comfortable lifestyle that you’ve worked so hard to establish to date, which brings me to the last tip on how to start a business while working full time…
Hold on to your 9 to 5 job for as long as you can.
Having a 9 to 5 job means that you still have a consistent and reliable income while you are building your side business. This will also take the pressure off of you financially.
I know this makes perfect sense at the beginning, but when your business starts to make some traction, you will naturally want to devote more time to it.
So at what point you can walk away from the day job?
The least risky option is when your side business is consistently making enough to replace your living expense.
So here you have it, my 11 Tips on How to Start a Business While Working Full Time [for Mums].
Remember, starting a side business is HARD but also FULFILLING too.
Only YOU can determine when it is the right time for you to start. When you want something bad enough, you will reprioritise your life to make it happen.
I’d Love to Hear From You…
For all the mumpreneurs-wanna-be out there, what’s stopping you from starting your side business?
I’d love to hear from you from the comment below.