May 6, 2009 in Business

THE WORKPLACE

 

As women lose their jobs to the recession, many are deciding they’ve had it working for someone else.

So they’re starting businesses that will let them be financially independent and also have more time to care for their families.

It’s a dream for many women. But those who have made it a reality say they’ve run into some of the same problems as any new entrepreneur, such as finding financing and realizing that they need to outsource tasks like marketing and Web design. Plus there’s the added challenge of juggling family and business time.

Finding financing: Women who want to start a business quickly find that money is hard to come by. Banks usually don’t lend to start-ups. And home equity loans, a traditional source of funding, are far less available after housing values plunged the past two years.

Sherri Morris said using her Chapel Hill, N.C., home as a funding source “was not even an option on the table.”

In September 2007, she started Digi Time Capsule, a company that markets software for expectant mothers that helps them make journals and edit photos and movies about their pregnancy.

Her start-up costs came to nearly $60,000. Morris and her husband had to put up $35,000 from savings and proceeds from the sale of their former home.

Juggling work and family: Working mothers have long, long days. Morris said she starts working at 5 a.m., and after the kids are in bed, she goes back to work.

While her two sons, ages 6 and 9, are in school, she’s looking after her 2-year-old daughter. But, if she needs to go to an appointment, her mother will baby-sit.

“You’re ‘all day long’ instead of ‘9 to 5,’ ” she said. Still, she said, there’s a huge plus to this never-ending activity: “It’s also a dream you’re living, so you don’t feel sleep-deprived.”

Getting help … Women accustomed to managing and running a house can easily fall into the entrepreneur’s trap of do-it-all-yourself.

Carine Firestone, who runs a fashion accessory company, Purse and Pursonality, said that after she started her business in 2003, she was so busy doing all of the work that she didn’t hire the help she needed, something she now regrets.

“When you’re wearing all those hats, it’s hard to spend time to find somebody else,” she said.

Associated Press


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