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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 6, No. 1 - January/February 2014

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Back to School, Back to Business?

By Sarah O'Bryan

I can almost hear a collective sigh of relief as that first bell rings. It's the start of another school year. Whilst we love having fun with the kids during the holidays, the juggling required to meet work commitments and domestic responsibilities does get challenging as the weeks rage on.

A recent survey found that one in four women is the breadwinner in Australian households. Meanwhile, we're still managing the bulk of domestic duties. With these changing times, it makes sense that a lot of mums are searching for a new model of family structure, and starting home-based businesses.

The earning potential and flexibility of a home business is one way to help keep all the balls we're trying to juggle, in the air, plus contribute to the family budget, whether that be putting food on the table, making mortgage repayments or financing a family holiday.

'Mumpreneurs' are a growing force in the Australian economy. Forty per cent of small business owners in Australia are women who run over 300,000 businesses and one third of them employ staff.

What are the real pros and cons of working from home?

Whilst working from home is a great choice, like any option, there are positives and negatives.

Working from home provides;

  • Great earning potential - with minimal overheads & running costs
  • Flexibility - you can be an actively engaged parent, working your day around important school events
  • Zero commute - enabling the school drop-off & pick-up, without worrying about getting stuck in peak-hour traffic

It's just as important to consider some of the downsides before embarking;

  • Loneliness - you're predominantly working by yourself without the social interaction working with others can provide
  • Hard work - self-employment requires a lot of perseverance & determination, it's not a nine-to-five gig.

Where to start?

Maybe with the children going back to school for the year, you're at a crossroads. You could look for employment that meets the specific demands of being a school mum, or you can create your own income. If you're not sure where to start, ask yourself the following questions;

  • Why do you want to run your own business?
  • Are you passionate about the business?
  • What is the purpose of the business?
  • What type of business do you plan to run?
  • What's driving your business? Monetary or creative value, maybe both?

See the potential

If you have decided this is the path you'd like to take, don't underestimate the potential of a small business. Many people think that self employment is a lot like having a hobby - it's not, it's a real job. A whopping 96 per cent of actively trading businesses are small businesses! And who's to say you can't be successful? In the first-ever Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry survey of female business owners, they found that 27 per cent of respondents have an annual income of over $250,000.

About Sarah O'Bryan

Sarah O'Bryan is the author of "Business & Baby at Home: A set up and survival guide for mums". She is a mum of three children, and runs Lasso Creative, a successful design studio, from home on Sydney's leafy North Shore.

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