I thought it would be easy, I mumble to myself, as one baby (aged 2) sits to my right on the couch and the other (aged 3) leans in from the left to kiss my cheek. It's fun definitely! But it is not easy to start up a business while being a stay at home mum (I'm not... I intend to be. This was an experiment on a Saturday morning).
So while I deliberately tune out their chatter about TV characters and toys, I sometimes unintentionally tune in at the most hilarious moments... Fade in... "Mummy said she wants to be a baby again", this of course sends me off on yet another tangent and fortunately or unfortunately for you dear reader; you get yet another random blog.
So contrary to popular belief, not all people that take the leap and leave a cushy corporate job with medical benefits and retirement funding, are footloose and fancy free. Some have bills and kids and a zillion other responsibilities.
Granted, being footloose doesn't make walking away any less scary, but it does make one think doesn't it? If it is so scary, should it be done? In a world where unemployment and poverty are not just words, where everybody knows somebody that is not employed, should one simply throw in the towel and go off into the world to make one's own way... Potentially to the detriment of one's family?
We all know that research says that kids that grow up in a home where at least one parent is present are more well balanced. I am by no means negating this argument/fact/research, call it what you will. What I am stressing is that we all know this to be true and if we need convincing a simple Google search will produce as much evidence as we need.
Do I want to be a stay at home mum however? That alone has a million responsibilities and I have help... Which I intend to retain once I am no longer a corporate drone (wishful thinking?). The alternative which is the direction I am leading toward is to work from home... While researching how I would go about taking the leap here are some solid pieces of advice and adaptations of advice I got from friends, colleagues and freelancers.
Have a plan for day 1
How will you generate income on day one while still finding your feet? Do you intend to sleep late for a month (as I do?) or hit the ground running on day one? Even if a month off is the plan, you still need to generate an income... How exactly do you plan to make the small pockets of money required to run a household while your business is finding its feet?
What I have realised from these very varied stints is that the way you are perceived has a lot to do with how you portray yourself.
Have a small emergency fund
The key to using this successfully is not to use it. As in do not touch that money unless it is a starvation or eviction situation.
Be a multitasker
Do the admin and set up while you are still employed. The website, business cards, laptop and additional equipment that you require costs money, not to mention the marketing!
If you are earning, you are more likely to go with quality since you can probably afford to purchase equipment, set up your website and secure service providers in bits and pieces near payday. If you leave your company registrations and basic setup to day 1, you will probably feel quite lost and overwhelmed.
Bite sized chunks
Feeding off the momentum from the above step, it is still quite easy to feel overwhelmed if you try to make all your arrangements over one month. I learned that if I do one small thing everyday, everything gets done. For instance I registered my company with the companies and intellectual property commission (CIPC) and registered the related domain name on one day.
The next day I set up my mailboxes and hosting agreement with the domain registrar. And so it went on and on until a year later, here I am ready to go.
Marketing is key
I have put in my 10 years of corporate. I know what it's like from a variety of angles since I have worked in switchboard, reception, government, executive management, legal, corporate governance and finally marketing and communication. Over the last 10 years... In 2 different corporates. Maybe I have some perspective? Or maybe not. Time will tell.
What I have realised from these very varied stints is that the way you are perceived has a lot to do with how you portray yourself. Translate that into marketing and it simply means that you need to provide a quality service or product and advertise, punt and sell it to the marketplace really, really well. We are fortunate to be born into a time when marketing and advertising can be done relatively cheaply or pretty much free. Theres a tip trick and hack for everything and info can be updated at the touch of a screen.
Breaking the seal
The first ching that hits your bank account will get your heart racing and your facial muscles spreading in earnest. It's just an amazing feeling... Even if it is under a hundred rands. If handled right that single transaction will eventually translate into a thriving enterprise that is yours, all yours. Don't drain your accounts to fund your lifestyle. Cut down on your lifestyle to suit your lack of funds. You have chosen to throw the corporate career away. Yay you! Doesn't mean you have to stop being an adult, if anything you need to be world's more responsible. Can you do it? Are you ready? As for me... Here goes!