4 tips for Mompreneurs to Start a Freelance Business
By our special contributor, Vera Gavizon from Workhoppers.
Are you a busy stay-at-home mom, an aspiring mompreneur or a full-time working mom looking for professional independence? Have you considered turning your skills into your own business? Freelancing could be the right option.
According to a recent McKinsey study, 162 million people engage in some form of independent work in North America and Europe. The participation of women varies per country, in the US, 39% of independent workers are women.
Freelancing is a great option for many women who are seeking an extra income, flexibility in their schedule or more control over their professional career. It is estimated that 31% of independent workers end up turning their freelancing activity into their primary income.
Starting a freelance business comes with many challenges, especially for busy moms. Here are some tips for mompreneurs to help develop a freelance business.
1. Plan your move – don’t get distracted
Although changing, it is no secret that many moms often have more family responsibilities to juggle with than men. So when a mom decides to make a career change, she may have additional hurdles to consider.
Everybody starting a new business must begin with a Business plan. Questions such as the following must be answered: what is your competitive advantage in the service you are offering? What is your rate? How will you market your skills? And how will you finance the launching of your independent business? But beyond these regular questions, moms have additional worries to plan out such as childcare, carpool, a quiet space to work (avoiding crying children in the background when receiving calls) or not getting distracted by laundry that needs to get done or dinner preparation.
Tip: Moms can consider joining a co-working space. Advantages to a coworking space is not only that you are protected from kids’ distractions and forced to a more structured schedule, but you also can network!
2. Market yourself - Leverage the gender difference
Starting a new business can be daunting and one of the most critical functions that you will need to undertake is marketing. Even when you have valuable skills to sell, your challenge is to let the market know about you.
Networking is important. The easiest and first step is to let everybody you know that you have undertaken this new path. Get in touch with former colleagues that you may have worked with, former clients, tell your family, friends, and even parents at your children’s school.
Other ways to market your skills are Freelance marketplaces that specialize in finding projects for freelancers.
I am one of the co-founders at Workhoppers and we specialize in matching professionals with local freelance work opportunities. Freelance marketplaces are a great place to find your next project.
In addition, social media should be part of your marketing strategy. Facebook has many groups dedicated to Women: Women Entrepreneurs, Women helping Women, Women in Business, Mom’s support groups, single moms, and many more. Participate actively in those groups and let them know about your service, skills and accomplishments.
I find that women are very receptive to helping other women.
Network at business meet ups in your community. You can also get lots of help from specialized Women Entrepreneur groups. Some banks as well as Government agencies have a special department to give support, coach and financing to women.
Tip: Start small but create a simple informational website to get started. There are many affordable platforms out there such as Wordpress, Wix and others. Use your website to participate in social media and create organic traffic.
3. Manage your time efficiently
Time management and project management are two fundamental skills to succeed professionally and are especially important to have when you need to juggle between kids, home and your new business.
Do some research on the different tools that can help you with this. Some tools like Monday.com helps you organize and track every one of your projects. And I would include every project in your life, kid related, home related, business related and personal needs too.
Define your objectives for the week and for the day. Have clear deliverables for each one of your projects and set apart the required time to accomplish the tasks.
Tip: Set priorities and be realistic on what you can accomplish. It may take some time to figure it all out but keeping track of your time will help be efficient with your time and therefore maximize your income while you find that so desired balanced life.
4. Negotiate like a Pro
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, men tend to achieve better economic results in negotiation than women. Once you decide to work on your own as a freelancer be sure to sharpen your negotiations skills in order to get the best rate for your services.
It is a known fact that women are more assertive when they negotiate for other individuals then they do for themselves. So, think about yourself as an Agent of your organization when you face a client.
Do your research on the competition and understand the best alternative for your client before setting up a price. Then, don’t be scared to throw your number out first, this is called anchoring the negotiation.
You have better chances to maximize your income when you are the one anchoring the price. For more information on negotiating read Best practices to negotiate your freelance rate.
Tip: Always be prepared before you approach the table of negotiation. Know the market rate and the best alternative for your client. Understand your opportunity cost and don’t be afraid to anchor the negotiation above what you want the final rate to be.
Vera is a co-founder of Workhoppers, a matching site designed to help companies connect directly with local professionals for freelance and part-time jobs. Vera holds a Post-MBA from McGill University. She worked for many years as a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Co. and has many years of experience in private equity. Vera then decided to make a significant change in her career in order to juggle between work and family and after becoming an independent consultant, she envisioned Workhoppers as a solution for independent professionals.
Connect with the Workhoppers community on Facebook.
Subscribe to our Newsletter y Blog