Hello 'mompreneurship' - Single moms say goodbye to 9-5
Cavalee Freeman, Guest Columnist
Your alarm goes off at 5:45 in the morning, groggy from sleep or sleep deprivation probably, you stumble out of bed. Your first objective of the day is to get the kids up, fed and ready for school.
Invoking your superwoman powers, you amazingly achieve this within a two-hour time frame all while you are preparing yourself mentally and physically to get to your mundane 9-5 job on time.
At 5 p.m., having completed your office duties, you make a mad dash from work, fighting traffic, to pick up the kids from their after-school programme by the deadline.
Then you head home afterwards to face the arduous task of maintaining your single-mother household, in addition to helping the children with homework and class assignments late into the night.
Ladies, let's admit it. This is not quite the idyllic picture of motherhood and family life you had imagined.
Tired and stress-laden, you begin to romanticise thoughts of entrepreneurship - the ability to have financial freedom and maintaining your own work schedule all while enjoying the flexibility of planning your daily activities around your children.
While it is a fact that women entrepreneurs face significantly more challenges than our male counterparts, working women who have children - especially single mothers - have even more demands on time, energy and resources.
Single mothers who seek financial independence through entrepreneurship - 'mompreneurs' - should not be deterred by their less-than- stellar family circumstances.
While I would not encourage you to up and quit your permanent full-time job, I would recommend that you review a few initial steps that single mothers may take to chart a course to financial freedom while maintaining a well-balanced single-parent household.
If you do not already have a basic idea of the type of business you would like to start, begin brainstorming your passions and business ideas while making a mental note of key skills you posses not only in the office but at home.
Single mothers are well versed at negotiating, networking, multi-tasking, delegating and budgeting, among other things.
Compile your list of key skills to assess what industries may be well suited for you.
If you are currently employed and enjoying the benefits of a steady pay cheque, grow a sizeable savings account to be used as investment capital for your new business.
Once you have your business idea in place and financing available, begin making those all important business networking contacts.
Do not underestimate the power of the Internet to help you in establishing your business connections.
Utilise your friends and family members as a testing source for your new business idea or product.
With the utmost confidence in your business plan, approach those business contacts you previously procured. Solicit some of your friends and family members to assist you with sales and marketing.
Remember, you are still employed and have office hours you need to maintain, so your goal is to start your business on a small scale initially, taking on only a few manageable clients or accounts.
As your business grows, you will need to see a small business loan officer to discuss ways to structure your enterprise that will enable you to obtain loans to expand your business.
Once you have experienced growth in revenue, initially your goal will be to replace the salary/income you receive from your current 9-5 job. You will find that you can easily replace your income once you have acquired repeat business from your existing clientele plus seeing a steady growth in your roster of accounts or clients over a period of time.
Once you are able to replace your income, you are ready to relieve yourself of your 9-5 job, taking full control over your life.
Unfortunately, there are no cutting corners in entrepreneurship. Building your business on a part-time basis will be very tedious and time-consuming. It will involve many long hours working tirelessly on the computer late into the night, long after you have put your children to sleep.
The prospects of entrepreneurship for single mothers are appealing but involve hard work and will require your long-term commitment.
For those of you who are bold enough to take on this challenge, remember the words of Nelson Mandela: "It always seems impossible until it is done."
Cavalee Freeman is a recruitment specialist and managing director of Caribbean Job Network Limited. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org