Having kids and starting a family is not a walk in the park. Every mom I know can attest to the challenges of bringing and nurturing a new life in this world. Sacrifices have to be made, lifestyle could change, and there might come a time when a mom (or a dad) has to make a conscious decision to take a break from a demanding 8am to 5pm job to focus on raising their kids.
However, this shouldn’t mean that we can’t make a career for ourselves nor follow our dreams. In fact, choosing to stay at home with the kids can open opportunities that you never thought possible nor had the time to think of when you were still tied up to a day job. Staying at home could mean having the opportunity to start your own business.
When I gave birth to my son, my husband and I decided that it’s best for me to temporarily quit my job and be a hands-on mom, at least for the time being. While I immensely enjoy every second with my angel, it also provided me the opportunity to think about creative ways to build a career from home and financially grow too. Taking advantage of the ease of connectivity brought by technology (e-commerce to be exact), coupled with my own personal interest in child development, I decided to put up Cosy Angel – a startup company that offers unique products for children and parents alike. At first, my idea was to offer customised, handmade products given my background in design and sewing. But after careful planning and trial runs, I decided to focus on key products for efficiency in time and distribution. Almost two years after, we now offer three flagship products including our Bath Toy Organiser, Buggy Hooks and my very own creation – the Super Tooth Board Game. We will soon launch new ones too, and I’m very excited to share more about them in the coming weeks.
Cosy Angel is no doubt still at its infancy stage, and I constantly work with a small team to improve our services and come up with products that will genuinely be of value for our customers. One of the things I’m proud of is the community that we are slowly building through this blog and our social media platforms, with the aim of providing a supportive and informative environment for parents like me.
Through this blog, I’m able to connect to co-parents and share valuable information about kids, parenting and anything helpful under the sun. Today, I thought of sharing a few tips that helped me in building Cosy Angel right from the comfort and beautiful chaos of my home.
- Leverage your skills and passion. Everyone is good at something, often at multiple things. Acknowledge them and use it to your advantage. Often, simple skills are overlooked and you don’t realise the potential of making them profitable. Are you good at cooking? Offer customised lunch packs. Great with the paint brush? Offer tutorials. Passionate about music? Reinvent mix tapes (Spotify rings a bell?). In my case and when I was just starting Cosy Angel, I used my skill as a seamstress to create products and combined it with my passion for kids. No skill is too small!
- Plan and focus. Do you want an online business or a physical store in your garage? Do you want to sell products or offer services? Have it all planned and written down in a concise business plan to make sure that you have a strategy at the onset. Get a qualified person to read your plan and give you constructive feedback. Refine and focus. Remember, your plan is the backbone of your business to be!
- Learn as much as you can, and then learn some more. I’m no expert in e-commerce and social marketing. So I started taking online courses, reading and watching tutorials and even up to now, I make sure to take time to learn new things and keep myself up to date. The internet is a gold mine, if you know where to look.
- Invest in good people. Don’t skimp on the quality of talent you hire. Work with people who has the same work values as you do, and invest in experience and expertise. Trust me, it will save you all the heartache and unnecessary expenses (like outsourcing a job twice or thrice). I work with several freelancers and I take time to know their backgrounds and discuss our work in an ongoing basis.
- Learn to listen. Smart people listen to smarter ones. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help and guidance. And as they say, two heads are always better than one.
- Be prudent. Building and growing a profitable business is no easy feat. Exercise prudence in all facets – from time, money and other physical resources, even when you start making money.
- Evolve and innovate. No progress is as good as regressing. We live in a super fast-paced world with a market that has very short attention span. For any business to thrive, innovation is always key. Keep your eyes on the latest trends and development in your industry, reinvent constantly to stay relevant.
Lastly, be patient. Success doesn’t come overnight and there’s no magic formula better than hard work. I hope you find my tips useful and I wish you make your dreams come true.