In the tough global economic climate within which we find ourselves, a single income generated by either parent is not always viable. Whether it is choice or necessity, many parents face the difficulty of having to both work out of the home, often full-time. What are the alternatives? It is widely believed that the repercussions and legacy of the latchkey kids of the 80’s and 90’s are still to be realised. Many parents today understand the value of their personal input into their children’s lives, to propagate family and cultural values. Quantity lifestyle versus quality time has been debated ad infinitum, and it definitely appears as if the pendulum has swung in favour of the former.

The receptive entrepreneurial and informal trading sector within the marketplace lends itself positively to parents exploring alternative forms of employment and income, outside of the traditional nine-to-five office position. Similarities and differences abound between that of the traditional entrepreneur and mom selling Tupperware out of her home. However, I do believe that a strong entrepreneurial spirit can evolve out of the humble beginnings of the first Tupperware party.

Most moms who are exploring ways to earn additional income, while still being able to make the school run, and do homework, are initially entirely driven by the bottom line – the rands and cents denominator. Prior to any mom entering into such an endeavour, it may be prudent to spend some time planning and visioning. Could a simple economic necessity also perhaps evolve into something more fulfilling, both from a personal and professional growth perspective? Perhaps this could become sustainable in the medium to long term. Could this perhaps be the beginnings of a viable and successful multi-generational family business? Possibly it may be an opportunity to offer employment to others in the future. If this doesn’t send you into a total tailspin, and you are able to picture that these possibilities are in fact, just that – possibilities – the first thing you would have to consider is what to do.

What to do?
If you have questions such as those listed above on your mind, this initial decision is possibly the most important one that you may make. It is a crossroads on the path towards the long-term success and sustainability of your fledgling venture. You see, if you grab the first direct-selling pamphlet that you encounter, without any heart, passion or belief in what you are attempting to do, you will surely fail as predictably as the sun will rise tomorrow!

* What gets your juices flowing?
* What are you good at?
* What impassions you and leads you to deliver long monologues at the dinner table, not even necessarily fuelled by red wine?

That is where you must start. Ask a couple of people that know you well, and who could help you identify your passions and strengths.

What it takes?
Once you’ve harnessed the great idea or that burning passion, the next step would be to evaluate whether you have what it takes.

* Are you able to work by yourself without anybody dictating deadlines and tasks to you?
* Would you be able to approach people, either individuals or companies, to assist you in your project, either to buy your products, or to consult with you on a professional level?
* Do you think you have the necessary drive to sustain this project through the extraordinarily delicate and vulnerable first few months?
* Does it excite you, and can you picture the possibilities and options as you start the initial exploratory discussions?

It is extraordinarily demoralising to be fired up and excited about a new venture, and not be met with any enthusiasm or support in return. It is vital to have a supportive friend and family network around you; otherwise you are fighting an uphill battle. You need people who will support you when things are looking tough.

I invite you to e-mail me on should you have any comments on this topic, or if there are any topics you specifically wish to see addressed.


Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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