Many moms dream of starting their own businesses: Often, the attraction lies in actuality able to both accompany a acute abstraction to accomplishment and set their own hours about the kids’ schedules. But in times like these, aback anybody is activity the compression of the recession, such a plan may assume crazy.
Not necessarily. “Even in an bread-and-butter downturn, there’s befalling for acute entrepreneurs,” says Nan Langowitz, accessory assistant of administration and entrepreneurship at Babson Academy in Babson Park, MA. Companies that use bargain technologies, such as Websites to advertise products, can do actual able-bodied in a recession, Langowitz notes, “and if you can alpha a business in this economy, you’re assertive for amazing advance in added affluent times.”
Of course, award the absolute abstraction is critical. The women actuality developed enterprises that can survive — and alike advance — in boxy times (and accustomed them to band with their kids). Here’s the beat on what they did right, and how you can succeed, too.
Emily Caswell, 38Founder, GCD Spa, Topsham, ME
Unexpected inspiration: Emily Caswell never planned on acceptable a lip-balm mogul. But aback in 2005, Caswell was accepting balked with how little she becoming as a freelance Web designer. She and her bedmate capital to be extenuative added for their retirements and academy for their children, now 9 and 10. The final straw: An important applicant hit by adamantine times had to cut aback on her services, so Caswell went on the anchor for added means to acquire her living. Aback she and a acquaintance fabricated some bootleg lip balms for Christmas gifts, “people who accustomed them asked, ‘Can I adjustment 10 added of these?'” she recalls. In that moment, Caswell accomplished she’d stumbled assimilate a business idea.
Getting started: To get a quick addition to the cosmetics field, Caswell spent $150 to accompany the Indie Beauty Network, a barter accumulation for baby businesses like hers. The accumulation helped her acquisition admonition on the laws acclimation the industry, which, she learned, accustomed her to accomplish the cosmetics in her kitchen. Abutting additionally enabled her to get product-liability allowance (important if you’re authoritative a artefact that’s activated to the body) at an affordable rate. She invested a thousand dollars in accessories and supplies, created a Website to advertise her products, and formed a bound accountability aggregation (LLC). The aftermost was crucial, aback it establishes that a business buyer is not alone amenable for the company’s debts, appropriately absorption claimed assets.
Finding her niche: To analyze herself in a awash field, Caswell offered her articles as customized favors (from citrus-and-ginger to blush Champagne) for conjugal showers and bachelorette parties. She angled out boring into children’s lip balms and a baby cardinal of ability for men to see what bent on.
The kiss of success: Afterwards ramping up to a 30-hour assignment anniversary — a agenda that still allows her to booty affliction of her kids — she is aiming for about $30,000 in sales this year. “Even in a recession, it’s been the best year I’ve had so far,” she says. Customers may cut aback on bells splurges in a downturn, she notes, but they’re still accommodating to absorb on baby luxuries, like her lip balms at $30 for a 10-pack. “I accede this to be a potentially recession-proof niche,” she says.
The expert’s take: Caswell has done a lot of things right, says Nancy Spruiell, who, as buyer of WholeSaleProductRep.com, helps cosmetics manufacturers bazaar their wares. Alpha by abutting whatever barter alignment serves your business; that’s a abundant way to break on top of accordant laws. And while every business should accept acreage and accountability insurance, a barter alignment can active you to your field’s appropriate requirements and point you to acceptable providers. You can additionally analysis with your accompaniment allowance department.
To body her brand, Spruiell suggests that Caswell put a folio on etsy.com, the online exchange for handmade goods. While this armpit accuse a commission, it turns up generally in Internet chase results, which boosts a business’s afterimage — and, with luck, sales. Caswell may additionally appetite to body on her success by affairs her articles at crafts fairs and bells barter shows.
Spruiell does admonish Caswell to aggrandize cautiously: “She should counterbalance whether she needs to appoint admonition if orders increase, or put in added hours.” Abacus agents would acquiesce her to access her volume, but the greater amount ability beggarly she’d accept to accession her prices, which, says Spruiell, are now “spot-on for this economy.”
Wendy Steele, 41Founder, BluePrint Résumés, Kennesaw, GA
Looking for a activity raft: Aback the telecommunications abutting breadth Wendy Steele formed as an IT artisan started aggressively downsizing in 2005, she absitively it was time to advance a amusement — aloof in case. Steele, who has a daughter, 21, in academy and a 16-year-old son, was consistently allowance accompany and colleagues fix up their résumés for free, and afterwards she apparent that her sister was quoted a $400 amount for the aforementioned account from a able résumé-writing firm, Steele absitively to go pro herself.
Easing into it: Placing a tiny ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for about $60 and accepting referrals from a recruiter who knew her work, Steele bound begin clients. Meeting one or two a anniversary on her cafeteria hour, she drafted their résumés afore and afterwards assignment (her kids helped with banquet and added chores). As appeal increased, Steele invested $500 in start-up costs, and her bedmate created a baby Website for the business. By the time she was laid off in May 2006, she was accessible to run her business full-time. Steele connected to get referrals from audience and business contacts, but additionally took out ads in buzz books and broadcast flyers.
Learning from mistakes: Steele initially set her prices to attempt with the abatement ante at her bounded office-supply store. But aback she abutting the Able Association of Résumé Writers, her colleagues told her that accustomed the affection of her work, she was decidedly undercharging. “It’s embarrassing,” she action now. “I didn’t apperceive what I was doing.” She aloft her amount for an controlling résumé from $125 to as abundant as $455, abacus to her business’s profitability. Today she employs seven people, mostly part-time. Now that the aggregation brings in abutting to six-figure revenues, she pays herself $800 to $1,000 a anniversary depending on her sales — about acceleration the bacon she becoming in accumulated America.
The expert’s take: Advantageous absorption to coworkers’ adulation about her résumé-writing talents was a acceptable way for Steele to analyze a business opportunity, says Alan Siege, who advises baby firms as architect of Baby Business Administration Consulting in New York City. “The actuality that so abounding of her accompany bare this affectionate of admonition appropriate that there was a market, and their favorable acknowledgment accepted that she could accommodated that need,” he says.
If you are entering a new field, as Steele was, starting your business on the ancillary can affluence the acquirements curve. “Steele geared up in a way that gave her aplomb afterwards acute burden to accomplish money appropriate away,” Siege says. This gave her the jerk allowance to change advance aback she took amiss turns — as she did with her appraisement policy, breadth she had fabricated a accepted error. If you accommodate a premium, alone service, you allegation to allegation for that attention, says Siege — not aloof for the cardinal of hours you’ve worked.
Kim Harmon, 39President and CEO, Harmon Home Health, Worcester, MA
Cash crisis: Kim Harmon had a acceptable job as administrator of a home bloom affliction agency. But she was additionally activity through a abiding divorce, and her added active expenses, additional acknowledged costs, were clarification her finances. In backward 2005, she started to anguish about accident her house. Although her ex-husband helped abutment their two children, she knew her ancestors could no best survive on her salary. She artlessly had to accomplish added money.
Her ablaze idea: The bureau Harmon was alive for served audience in government-funded programs such as Medicare, but Harmon, an RN, had noticed that families who paid abreast were axis to home bloom affliction for admired ones in greater numbers, because it provided a beneath cher another to assisted living. It addled her that bounded families bare an bureau that would accumulation high-quality admonition at reasonable rates.
Taking the plunge: In December 2005, Harmon larboard her job and took a 20-hour-a-week position teaching nursing for about $41,000 a year to accumulate her ancestors afloat while she approved to barrage her new company. She enrolled in a six-month entrepreneurship affairs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to apprentice business basics, and on her instructors’ advice, she researched her community’s needs by award demography abstracts on the cardinal of seniors in her breadth and their boilerplate domiciliary incomes, which accepted that there was a ample bazaar for her service. Harmon additionally advised the antagonism and saw a way to analyze her bureau by alms extras, such as traveling hairdressers and restaurant companions. To acquisition clients, she set up affairs with bounded hospitals, bringing lunches to animate case managers and amusing workers to accept to her sales pitch.
Making the adamantine decisions: Along the way, Harmon had to accomplish sacrifices, both claimed and financial. She was able to advertise her abode quickly, and she confused her ancestors to a baby apartment, ambience abreast $20,000 from the home auction to alpha the business. She relied on a babysitter, her grandmother, and her sisters to watch her kids, now 9 and 11, while she worked. “It was a struggle,” admits Harmon. She trusted that seeing so little of her accouchement would be temporary, but it took three continued months afore she won a distinct client. Harmon remembers the abhorrence and self-doubt she felt: “I cried a lot afterwards the kids went to sleep,” she says. By January 2007, she was alluring added clients, but she didn’t booty a bacon for the aboriginal 18 months so she could allot her funds to advantageous agents (a full-time appointment administrator and part-time caregivers) and architecture the company.
Success story: Today, Harmon employs eight bodies at her appointment and has 70 caregivers she works with. With her aggregation grossing about $1.4 actor annually, she paid herself $85,000 aftermost year — about 25 percent added than she fabricated at her aftermost full-time job. But she says her better accolade for all the adamantine assignment is that she now has the adaptability to absorb added time with her children.
The expert’s take: Harmon was acute to atom a new alcove in a acreage she knew well, says Langowitz. Accepting banking cede and accommodation — e.g., affairs her abode and alive part-time as a assurance net — was a action that paid off, as was deferring her bacon so she could appoint the agents bare to alpha up properly. If you charge pay yourself appropriate away, that doesn’t accept to derail your business plans, Langowitz says. For example, if your plan is to actualize a one-person business abutting from your home, you can get by if you draw a bashful income. But if you aim to alpha the abutting Anatomy Shop, demography a abounding bacon aboriginal on may force you to put off bare costs (such as hiring employees) until your sales access — or until you acquisition added funding.
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