Since so many of you landing here to enter the HP Magic Giveaway are also Mompreneurs, I asked my Twitter friend, Wendy Piersall, aka eMom to share some ideas on marketing on a budget. Although this article is written with Moms in mind, these tips are invaluable to all entrepreneurs looking to keep costs low while building their dream.
Ways Mompreneurs Can Market on the CheapMost moms who start businesses do so with a budget of next to nothing. While there's nothing wrong with this (it's actually how I started Sparkplugging), I've learned that it isn't always the best foundation for a big, booming business. If you have visions of being acquired by some big company someday, I'd make the recommendation that you find a way to give yourself a healthy budget so that you can give your company what it needs to grow. But honestly, most moms aren't even interested in that route - they just want a business that fits in with their busy child-centered lifestyle. If that's you, then everything you do is all about spending as little as possible and making as much as possible as a work at home mom.
Free Marketing and Advertising OpportunitiesIf your business is local, run, don't walk (or, erm, 'type') and get to Google Local and Local.Yahoo.com. Both of them offer free business listings for small businesses. Craigslist, the clearinghouse of the internet, is actually a good place for freelancers and consultants to get the word out about their services. You can post both a classified ad and your resume. If you have a website, check out AdGridwork, an advertising platform that automates the exchange of links between web businesses.
Cheap Online Advertising & Office SuppliesCheap ads are great - and there's plenty to be found for mom businesses. Be sure to do a little research to make sure that your ad will be seen by people likely to become your customers or clients. A few places that offer good advertising for reasonable rates are DiaperSwappers, MomPack, and AdvertisingMoms. The last one also has good advice on advertising in general for mom businesses. Also, before you buy anything for your home office, do a hunt for coupons first. A Full Cup has a whole section of their forum dedicated to coupons and deals from office supply stores.
Think Creatively & Be Passionate to be SuccessfulIf I had to distill my best business advice into two thoughts it would be these:
- After nearly a decade of being a mompreneur, I've found that one of the most important things you can do for the health of your income is to diversify how you earn your money. There might be a learning curve as you branch out, but too many times I've had all of my eggs in one basket and ended up getting burned. If you are a crafter, sell your leftover craft supplies on eBay. If you are a freelancer, write an eBook. If you are a blogger, learn affiliate marketing. Whatever you do, don't rely on one source of income.
- Take care of yourself. Life balance can get a little whacky when there is no separation between work and home. The true key to being successful as a Mompreneur is to be focused and do what you love. You can't do either if you aren't taking care of #1. :)