The leap is large, the commitment significant. It's a minimum number of hours per week, it's a team, it's rent, overhead, inventory, and most importantly it's your baby. No, not the baby you have now decided to part ways with for many hours a day, but your business dream. Your step from mompreneur to entrepreneur.
It's not an insignificant jump, it's no longer just your schedule to consider but that of your team, your clients, your need to cover the costs on a monthly basis and hopefully walk away with a salary.
As a business owner that spends a majority of my time looking at new products and services, I understand your commitment to the cause, your passion for the idea. I also understand the leap necessary to take the idea from a coffee time chat over an idea with friends to a formal business plan.
One of the biggest things to consider is commitment and balance. As women, household responsibilities fall very much on us. From groceries, to doctors appointments to carpool to after school activities. If you want to debate this, just meet me in the school parking lot tomorrow at 7:45 a.m. and I dare you to find more than one man amongst the 25 women dropping off their kids in order to get to work on time.
We take on a lot but that is not news. What is news is how much more difficult all of these tasks become once you take that step to entrepreneur. A perfect example was this past week where I had to fly in to New York in the morning for a one hour meeting, fly home an hour later and still make it in time to take the kids to karate class and then entertain guests for dinner. It's a balancing act.
The two core differences between a mompreneur and entrepreneur very often are defined in the following ways:
• Office space outside the home
• Employees with dedicated office hours
It's only two items so how big a leap can it really be? Consider that with a home office you likely write off a lot of your expenses such a home phone, fax, Internet etc., as part of your in-home office so you aren't actually incurring new expenses but rather now sharing the load of those expenses between your business and your household.
With offices outside of the home, you now have a gas expense (that you can't write off) for your commute, you now have rent, utilities, business insurance etc. All significant, all risky until you really have a dependable and steady cash flow.
The scariest undertaking is full time employees. When working from home, very often we take on part time help to help us launch or grow a company. With a full time operation, you have full time staff. They will get paid whether your business does well or not, you will have to remit government taxes on those employees whether or not they performed the way you would have hoped and whether their sales hit your monthly target or not. Your salary on the other hand is most commonly referred to as a shareholder investment. It's precarious, it depends on monthly sales targets and it keeps you up at night.
Those are some of the more intimidating factors to take into account when taking the leap. Now on to the benefits.
There is no more rewarding feeling than when you see your dream, your baby, turn into what you imagined. We as humans are capable of so much. More than we can imagine and we usually don't know what we are capable of until faced with the challenge.
I still have the notebook where I jotted down my original notes for my business idea behind PTPA Media. It was while watching my 15-month-old play in a gym class. It was my vision and my aspiration, and now it is my reality. That has been worth the endless hours of commitment, the endless sleepless nights wondering what the month ahead would bring, the hires that I worried would overwhelm me.
I now have a team that I am proud to say I know will take our company to the next level. A team that is as dedicated to taking my dream to fruition. My marketing director who was my first employee and a perfect example of a kijiji ad gone right was my first risk and first best decision. Within five minutes of interviewing her, I knew she could be as excited about the business as I was and four years later she proves that daily when she emails me at midnight or 5 a.m. to tell me about her newest idea for PTPA's growth.
Another indicator that I've found good people is in a favorite email from another director on our team who emailed me early on in his employment with our company to say that he had drank the "PTPA Koolaid" and was behind our growth 100 per cent. This is the type of team you should aspire to have because there is no better investment than the investment in a good people. That's what makes a great business.
I am still a mom first and foremost. I do occasionally get called out of meetings because a child is sick and needs to be picked up from school. Every Friday morning at 7:15 it's Starbucks time for me and the kids before I drop them off at school. My family will always be my priority, it's just a bit more of a balancing act now but I wouldn't change a thing.
There is no doubt that it's a scary leap from mompreneur to entrepreneur but if you are passionate about your business and have a solid plan behind it for growth then it deserves your wholehearted effort to make it a reality.