Looking for the working mom blog that helps women get down to business? The Founding Moms blog includes tips and tricks for mom entrepreneurs everywhere. The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources where mom entrepreneurs can exchange, connect and learn from one another.
Do you have business insurance? Do you need it? What are all the steps? Jill talks with Sandra Torres from CoverWallet in the FMC’s latest course 35, Get Covered: On Business Insurance with CoverWallet, to figure it alllllll out.
Do I need business insurance?
Talking about business insurance can seem overwhelming. Who cares about it and why would you need it? If you’re a small business owner, Sandra says, coverage can help you feel more comfortable and protected. There are a number of situations in which coverage would be helpful: think Workers Comp if you have employees, liability insurance, or cyber liability insurance if your website gets hacked and you have confidential info.
Where do I start?
Think about the type of coverage you might need. As a solopreneur, for example, if you rent an office, you might want a liability insurance policy. It’s also important to remember that not all things may be covered. It’s important to review materials (especially when you’re working with a contract in place) to see what’s included and what’s not.
But there are so many areas where insurance will help you out. If you have a lot of electronic devices – insurance can cover those no matter where you go! As your business is growing and you may need to buy a building, you can get a policy for that. If people owe you money, you can even get coverage for that! (Neat, huh?)
Who is business insurance for and what are the costs?
Everyone should be covered at some level. It’s important to be covered just in case. Things can always change, no matter who you’re doing business with. Costs vary – most small businesses have policies that cost around $1200/year, but CoverWallet makes it easy for you to pick and choose the coverage that’s right for you.
Okay, I’m ready. I need business insurance with CoverWallet.
Even if you already have business insurance, it’s a good idea to review your policies and take the time to understand them. CoverWallet has a 24/7 advice tool and will communicate with you via phone, email, or text (and they won’t laugh at you!).
As a business owner, it’s vitally important to have some sort of business insurance protection.
Jill knows that you can do it. Sandra knows how you can do it.
Don’t miss this wildly helpful video course, Get Covered: On Business Insurance with CoverWallet. And after you’ve watched the video, ask us your questions on our forum!
Guest post:: We’re celebrating Earth Month! Karen Orlich is the founder of k.o. ecolife, a healthy lifestyle company that designs, manufactures, and procures environmentally-friendly products for kids and adults. Each product offers a knock-out ‘punch’ to improve our world and reverse our carbon impact. Here, she writes about why she developed her product and the journey she experienced. Find her @koecolife on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
How THE POWCH began
In 2012, I discovered the enormously convenient, disposable baby food pouch for my 18-month-old – just grab-and-go, pureed fruit and veggie snacks. Loved these things but hated the price tag: $1.50 for 3.5 ounces of food?!
My son ate them in less than a minute and asked for more, more, more! It was not until I was about to throw out an emptied, discarded pouch from the back seat of my car that I thought, “I should check to see if these things are even recyclable.”
After calling several companies that manufacture food pouches, the best response I got was, “The pouches are not recyclable but the caps are.” Great! Those tiny caps are recyclable but the 5”x3” foil and plastic packaging is not?! I wanted to find a better solution.
Fun fact: 2.5 BILLION disposable food pouches go into landfills EVERY year in the USA alone! It was then that I began my quest, fueled by a gut-wrenching desire to fight for a greener planet. Enter THE POWCH!, an eco-friendly, less-expensive option for extremely pollutive disposables.
Like most things in life worth accomplishing, it did not come easy…
Going for it
I have NO experience in product development, am NOT an engineer, and have NEVER worked in the consumer product market. However, I focused on what I do know – finance, accounting, marketing, sales, and business planning specifically with start-ups. I figured I knew enough.
To the dismay of my husband who swore, “There must be something like this already out there,” I began researching online for comparable, reusable products. At that time, there was nothing. I wanted to use fabric for the bag with a wide opening and a plastic, built-in straw for easy, hands-free eating and cleaning. Then, I researched the Patent and Trademark Office for any existing “reusable food and drink pouch” patents. I did not find anything comparable but as a precautionary measure, I hired a patent research attorney to investigate further.
Fun fact (and also a warning): You can spend thousands of dollars and months researching patents so find a reputable attorney.
I also read about “provisional patents” and filed one myself for $250. This was an important first step as it protected my idea as “patent pending” for 12 months. My attorney did not find anything directly comparable either. This was the first of many big obstacles to overcome and I decided to move forward.
Now I just needed a prototype to test. Using my best MacGyver skills, I cut out the top portion of a plastic milk carton, cut a hole in the cap, and inserted the nozzle straw from a disposable pouch. I then attached some nylon fabric by stitching it together as I could not find “food-safe” glue. Once complete, I served an applesauce-filled pouch to my son. My mouth was dry with anticipation and butterflies filled my stomach as my husband video-taped this moment. My son took it without hesitation and sucked on the familiar straw like he had been eating with it forever! I knew I had something that other kids would like too.
Next step required that I find waterproof, food-safe fabric and figure out how to seal it to the plastic so it will provide a watertight seal—AND, remain food-safe, FDA compliant. Not as easy as one might think. Six months later (after extensive internet searches and conversations with fabric manufacturers), I found the fabric that met my specifications.
Did someone say manufacturing?
I had to celebrate that moment and then take a deep breath for the next: How the hell do I manufacture this? I needed design and mechanical engineers to draw up my prototype and help me with the manufacturing process. This is where the costs can get out of control! I made the mistake of going with a big firm that focused more on design than actual production. And, it turns out, most engineering firms do not have expertise in manufacturing. This created the biggest challenge by far: finding a reliable, quality driven, manufacturer based in the USA. (Note: Most do not want to be bothered with start-ups!)
Over the next three years, I worked with two engineering firms and countless manufacturing sales reps and production teams to develop a patented, manufacturing process that seals the bags and attaches them to the plastic without stitching or adhesive.
All along the way, I encountered many dismissive and insulting people (men, to be specific), saying I was “too involved” or that I “knew everything”:
“You need to cut your losses and walk away.”
“You seem like a nice lady but there’s no way you’re going to get this done.”
These are the experiences that make us stronger, smarter, more resilient. Positive thinking, prayer, and exercise (preferably outside!) were some of the only methods I could use to pull myself out of the dark hole of discouragement.
What I learned and my advice to you.
I am happy to say that we finalized a manufacturing agreement with our current partner in June 2017 and were accepted by the Inventors Corner to exhibit at the International Home + Housewares Show in March 2018.
My advice: 1) be your biggest fan, 2) believe in what you are doing, 3) accept challenges, and 4) adapt when necessary. This will make YOU unstoppable!
The learning curve has been Mount Everest with the stress level through the roof at times. Ultimately, I am doing what I love. k.o. ecolife has a mission to be a healthy-living resource and activist for the planet. That’s what we’re accomplishing every day with every sale (a portion goes to our partner charity, Purple Asparagus, who educates kids and communities on healthy eating that’s good for the body and planet).
Are you celebrating Earth Month?
If you’d like to participate in celebrating Earth Month, here’s an idea. You can help fight for a healthier, greener planet. Simply purchase products that are made responsibly in recyclable packaging. It’s amazing how many “organic” foods are not packaged in recycle containers so always look for the recycle symbol! If you don’t see one, call the manufacturer and ask about it. Companies log these calls and change comes when consumers join together to encourage and demand action.
Mother Earth will thank you!
THE POWCH!-The ONLY Reusable Drink & Food Pouch Made In USA for On-The-Go Health and Nutrition - YouTube
Every entrepreneur needs a website in today’s digital age, whether you’re a service- or product-based business. One of the best ways to connect with customers or readers is to start a blog. Our friends at Bluehost are going to walk us through the steps of hosting and building a blog on a WordPress website!
Step 1: Visit Bluehost.com
Bluehost is the #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org. Every account features 1-click WordPress installation. Powering over 2 million websites worldwide, these guys are one of the most popular and affordable options. Whether you are an experienced or a new blogger, Bluehost will accommodate.
Click the “get started now” button (see above!) Select a hosting plan that fits your needs. (Those who are just starting out can go with the basic plan but if you are really serious about this and want more resources and power go with their Prime or Pro plan.) Keep in mind, you can always upgrade your plan as you grow.
Step 2: Domain Name
Type your domain name with this nifty Domain Name below. Don’t spend a ton of time on this step, you can always change the domain name later. If you already have a domain name, type it in the “I have a domain name” step. Bluehost is generous enough to throw in a FREE domain name for every new hosting account created.
Step 3: Account and billing information
Review the package information below and decide what term/add-ons are desired. The biggest bang for your buck is the 60-month term, but you can choose 36 months, 24 months or 12 months. *Note, Bluehost will charge you upfront for the entire term.
Then, insert your payment information and accept the terms. Once you’ve done that, your Bluehost account will have been created. Bluehost will send you a welcome email confirming account and FTP information. Then you can create your password.
Make sure to review the requirements for creating the password. If you need help, you can always click the “Suggest Password” option. Regardless, Bluehost recommends writing it down just to be safe.
Step 3: WordPress
Thanks to Bluehost, after your hosting account has been created, WordPress will automatically install. Start off by picking a theme; these are all free themes from WordPress.org. You can always update your theme later.
Now that you’ve picked your theme, let’s jump into WordPress and get you even closer to constructing that first blog post. On this step, you’ll see an overview of Bluehost+WordPress integration. You can manage WordPress plugins and blog posts or pages here.
Decide on a site description and title here, and then launch your website!
You can make your site look exactly how you want. With WordPress, the sky’s the limit!
All that’s left to do is to start publishing. Once you’re posting regularly, don’t forget to share your posts on social media and to see what other sites are up to in order to make new friends and connections.
Guest post:: Angie Noll is the founding owner of Reconciled Solutions, which helps high-achieving small businesses with cloud bookkeeping and payroll through QuickBooks Online, profitability improvement, process improvement, cash planning, and budgeting support. She’s also a proud wife and mom and the keeper of the calendar. Here, she writes about finding joy in mom entrepreneurship.
Looking back and finding joy in mom entrepreneurship
As I take stock of my past year as a mom entrepreneur, I look back at the lessons I have learned and what has brought me joy. Being a mom and business owner is a balancing of great proportions!
I have met some astounding mommas out there who have brilliant ideas for how to improve the world around them. I see their struggles, wondering if they have what it takes to be a mom entrepreneur. They question their own endurance, stamina, and determination. Starting your own business is a bold move. I want to give hope to potential future business owners out there: Some of the joys of mom entrepreneurship are such that you will never regret the efforts (and loss of sleep.)
Small but powerful things have brought me joy.
In my 11 years in business, I have learned to enjoy what is given both in business and motherhood. I proudly take ownership of often small-but-powerful things – some as a mother, some as an entrepreneur. I’ve ranked them in order of what has brought me the greatest joy:
10. We changed the name of the company last year from Norita Co. to Reconciled Solutions. In the process, I learned that birthing children is easier than changing the name of your business! Still, I do love our new name and brand.
9. My kids pick out their own clothes, make their own breakfast, put the dishes away when they are done, pack their own lunches, and find their own way to school (on-time) at least 99% of the time!
8. I have built some mighty fine repeatable processes in the past year that are helping me scale my business! I even set up a process for formatting the email signature line within my company. Exciting work it is not, but it is powerful.
7. My kids are polite and kind, and they must have learned it from somewhere (we have had some good nannies who demanded politeness). Although I like to think my hubby and I had something to do with it too.
6. I became a Certified Profit First Professional last year and it has helped me feel more confident in my own business decisions.
5. I have a script for making cold calls! (Don’t ask me how many cold calls I have made lately, though.)
4. I have a staff and they depend upon this business for their financial security. I am so proud that I am able to provide competitive paying jobs to talented people.
My small business contributes to our economy. How cool is that?
3. My teenage daughter still talks to me about important stuff. I think she kind of likes me too. She said I was the “chill” mom in her group of friends and their moms.
2. We really are helping people find financial stability in their lives and they sleep better at night because of it. The work we do in helping them understand their finances and create profitability is powerful and important.
But my number one reason?
1. I am a living, breathing example to my kids that we can go after what we want in life.I can walk the talk. I am building a successful business that truly helps our clients while supporting and raising my family.
The lessons are applicable everywhere.
Turns out that so many of the valuable lessons that I try to teach my children are lessons that apply to business as well. One that has been especially poignant for me as of recently has been Resilience. They actually have seminars about it in school now, and you’ll find it discussed everywhere from TED Talks to Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Option B.
Resilience and fortitude have made lasting impressions on my business and personal lives. We tell our kids that life is a marathon, not a sprint. I tell myself the same thing in business as I try to nurture and grow, to fall down and get up, to strive and fail and do it again, and again, and again. If as a business owner, I can beef up on resilience and fortitude, then I know I have an audience of future leaders in my home who are watching me lead by example.
From one Founding Mom to another, if you are considering becoming a business owner too, maybe this list will help you make your decision. Perhaps it will inspire you to be as crazy as me and to create something wonderful. As I continue into 2018 headstrong and (hopefully) smarter than last year, I will focus on finding joy in mom entrepreneurship.
Can sex help you build a better business? In The Founding Moms Community’s latest course 34, Let’s Talk About Sex, Jill and certified sex therapist Lisa Katona discuss how sex and business influence each other.
Will sex help my business? That sounds crazy!
Let’s be honest: Sex isn’t something that we talk about often as women, let alone as business owners. However, it’s important to remember that sex is a part of your whole health. And if you’re feeling good, you may just be able to run a better business. As Katona says, “You can do business better if you’re having great sex and you can have better sex if your business is going well.” Furthermore, you can use the ways you communicate with your partner in a safe and trustworthy space. Examine your wants and needs, and consider how it feels to be in the same room with someone you trust and feel good about. Take that same knowledge and apply it to your business practices. Does the person you’re about to enter into a business relationship with make you feel safe and secure? If they do, great! If they don’t, then trust your gut and don’t make that business decision.
In sex and in business, communication is key.
We often believe erroneous things about sex. We may have heard them so many times we just believe them to be true, or we believed what our parents said and did. But communication goes a long way. Just like you should be talking to your partner about anything and everything, you should have open lines of communication in business. Ensure that your business partner and your relationship partner respect your wants and needs.
As women, we often forget that we should say what we want. We have trouble valuing ourselves and asking for what we want. The same thing happens in bed as it does in business. Think about how to value what you offer.
Don’t forget: Practice makes perfect.
Do you feel like you’ve lost the spark in the bedroom as well as your office? Variety will help, and make sure you carve out time for your partner. Don’t try to solve all problems all at once. Take small steps to reconnect with your partner – or if you’ve lost your creativity in business – to reconnect with the things that make you happy and satisfied. If you’re trying to compare yourself to others you see around you (“That couple is having so much sex! That person is growing her business so much faster than I am!”), remember that there is no gold standard for either area. Do what feels comfortable, what feels natural, what feels good. It may even be worth it to examine your beliefs with others and talk about it. What you find out may surprise you.
Ok, I’m ready. Let’s talk about sex.
So many of us feel uncomfortable talking about sex, but it really can help you build a better business if you give it a chance.
Jill knows that you can do it. Lisa knows how you can do it.
Don’t miss this wildly helpful video course, Let’s Face It: It’s All About Facebook. And after you’ve watched the video, tell us some of your stories in our forum!
Guest post :: Debra Giunta is the Founder and Director of Design Dance. In 2008, Debra founded Design Dance as a way to bring dance education to children in all communities regardless of age, experience level, background and income through partnerships with schools and community centers. Debra is passionate about new ideas and continues to be grateful for the opportunity to explore new ways to collaborate with her peers in the field of arts education. Here, she writes about her first year in business and the lessons she learned along the way.
The story of my first year in business includes mold, a tough breakup, and the threat of repossession from my car loan company. I threw myself into entrepreneurship when I was 24 years old and on a break from college, determined to build a thriving dance studio out of an abandoned store-front with a part-time side job and a non-existent savings account. Within nine months, the space had closed, I was left regretting many of my reckless first-year decisions.
After I got clear about my goals and learned what a “healthy” risk was, I began to view my first year in business as “the lost year” – a time when I was flailing and irrational. To be honest, I’ve spent the majority of my time running Design Dance feeling embarrassed, hoping I would never have to tell the story of my failed mold studio. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to embrace my first year in business because – while there are a host of choices that I wouldn’t recommend – I did accidentally begin practicing behaviors that have gone on to become some of my very best practices today. In the spirit of finding the silver lining and looking at situations with appreciation, here are five things I did during my “lost year” that actually set me up for success in the long run.
I built a high-stakes situation for myself.
Starting a business without funding isn’t always advisable (depending on your industry.) The fact that I incorporated and signed a lease while my excitement for the idea was still high meant that I bought into my business before fear could catch up with me. That was crucial to not giving up when times were tougher than I imagined they could be.
Today, I’ve built habits around creating stakes for myself and my team. That doesn’t mean we throw ourselves into reckless financial decisions, but it does mean we start acting on our vision right away. Spending an incredible amount of time mapping out how you’ll get to where you want to go rarely serves you. The road to get anywhere is never as you planned.
By not allowing yourself to get too attached to the “how,” you create space to stay focused on the “why” and the “what” – which is the exact drive you’ll need to keep yourself moving through the ups and downs of starting something new. Creating stakes for an early idea might look like talking about it with friends and family before it’s perfect, buying the domain name when the idea comes to you, or spending a bit of money to incorporate it right away. That little bit of extra build up around your idea builds a solid emotional connection to your project which helps to take you from the dreamer phase to the action phase.
I embodied what I thought a business owner was.
It might sound silly but in my first year in business, I took myself to the thrift store to buy stereotypical “business clothes”. I looked ridiculous. Looking back, I know that wasn’t necessary. At the time, I needed to feel like what I envisioned a business owner was; it played a crucial part in my ability to take ownership during the difficult moments.
Even now, when I have a meeting I’m nervous about, an email I’m dreading responding to, or a public speaking engagement, I take time to value the experience of embodying the version of myself that I want to show up. Sometimes that means my choice of outfit and other times it means taking a moment to envision the type of leader I aspire to be and using that vision to inspire my actions. I’ve learned that it’s okay to play pretend until it starts to feel right.
I got my idea in front of people before it was perfect.
The other perk of creating buy-in right away is that you have no choice but to put something out there. The longer you spend alone with your idea, the more precious it becomes to you… and the harder it is to face the facts when it clearly needs to change and adapt. As soon as you have any idea, the first question you should ask is “How quickly can I see how my client responds to this?” I hear this advice regurgitated all the time in business articles, but in practice, know that it is really hard.
For entrepreneurs, putting our idea in front of people can be brutal and more personal than we expect it will be. Whenever I have a new idea, I think about doing everything I can at the beginning to land it on a moving train. Once you’ve created a situation where people are using, responding to, and interacting with your product or service, there’s enough momentum to push you through. The longer you wait to put your idea on the train, the faster it needs to go to keep you moving forward.
I found my people.
My initial business was a store-front dance studio. I held lots of community events to gain initial traction. It’s far too easy to find yourself locked behind a computer all day, especially at the beginning of a new venture. Baking community-building directly into my marketing strategy ensured that I was out of my comfort zone, meeting people, and – most importantly – constantly learning. Regardless of your business model, finding a community of stakeholders is undoubtedly crucial to your growth. Be a leader: host events, start a Facebook group or take people to coffee.
I got clear on my mission.
It took me a little while, but the most important turning point for me was getting clear on my mission and what had the potential to set me apart in my field. This is way harder than it sounds. For me, it was about more than market research. It was about really looking at my unique struggles and strengths and working that into my business plan, curriculum, and workplace culture.
If what you’re doing doesn’t speak to you, it won’t speak to the people you’re trying to reach with your product or service either. Whether or not your business has a social mission at the heart of it, take time to connect with whatever your mission is and allow it to grow and change over time.
How have things have changed since my first year in business?
My relationship to dance or education is really different than it was nine years ago! When I first started my business, I cared a lot about teaching the art form of dance. I loved helping my students learn a new technique or feel confident on stage. But today, my excitement for my work has less to do with teaching children how to dance, and more about teaching them about their own power in taking up space, giving them an hour per day of emotional release, or allowing them to explore a different story about themselves than they’ve perhaps been told by peers or grownups. The work is the same, but my connection to it is different and I don’t doubt it will change again over time.
If you’re interested in more information for dance classes, use code FOUNDINGMOMS here for a 30% discount.
One year of video courses featuring experts on a wide range of small business topics, feedback directly from Jill Salzman and fellow mom entrepreneurs, an accountability buddy, branding and marketing know-how, a profile in the Founding Moms Directory, monthly webinars, and so much more. The Founding Moms Community will help you do everything from marketing your business to getting your taxes under control. Between work and family time, there’s so much to learn…and our members thrive with the support they find inside.
Samantha Dench, owner of Skin Deep, author of Skin Deep: Demystifying Skin Care Solutions to Achieve Healthy, Glowing Skin, and fellow FMC member, believes beauty lies beyond the skin’s surface. She has a strong passion for skin and loves to educate her clients with her tip-top tips. The Founding Moms Community loves to educate its members and share experiences in order to build a better business. We share a common passion for supporting women entrepreneurs.
That’s why Samantha’s helping two women become year-long members of the FMC! Samantha’s business, Skin Deep, offers customized facials and home care products tailored to match your personal skincare needs all year. She gets what it’s like to run a business. And she wants to help you find the support and education that she gets in the FMC, too!
I Wanna Try Skin Deep!
Enter the contest here! It begins on Monday, March 26 and lasts through Thursday, March 29. To be entered to win, post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with these hashtags –>
Your post should include an image, a statement or a video (get creative!) about why you love running a small business. You have until Thursday, March 29 at 5P Central to do so. Winners will be chosen at random and announced Friday, March 30.
Well, as Renee let us know, there are 1.3 BILLION people on Facebook today (and counting). If you’re not one of those Facebook people, that’s okay if you don’t want to interact personally. But for business, that’s potentially a lot of customers you might be missing out on.
And just like your website or your brand, you need to make sure that your Facebook business page is very clear. People want to know immediately what it is you do and how to contact you. Your Facebook business page serves that purpose.
How Do I Post? What Do I Post? HELP!
For a business owner just starting out, social media of any kind can be overwhelming. Luckily, Facebook makes it easy for you to schedule posts and – with the use of trending topics – helps you see what people are talking about. Is there relevant content you can use in current events that may apply to your business? Are you attempting to have a conversation with your customers, or are you just letting them know about potential sales in your business?
“Think about Facebook,” Mulder says, “like a two-way conversation. Think about how you’d want to be spoken to.” It’s also important to cultivate a personal connection with your potential clients. You really want to strive for engagement. Facebook can help you do that.
Do I Have to Spend Billions in Ads?
According to Mulder, Facebook has the most accurate targeting of any digital means. If you know who your customers are, you can create an ad directed solely at them. Generally, though, most small business owners need to guess a little bit before they can focus in on their exact customer base. You can spend $20 on ads a month, and if it works, spend more next month. If it doesn’t, change one thing and go back to the drawing board. A lot of social media, she says, is trial and error. If your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is low, that means your engagement is working (and that means your ads are working).
Okay. I’m ready to learn all about Facebook.
So many people don’t like Facebook, but it’s a great tool for business. Don’t miss out on potential customers!
Jill knows you can do it. Renee knows how you can do it.
Don’t miss this wildly helpful video course, Let’s Face It: It’s All About Facebook. And after you’ve watched the video, tell us some of your stories in our forum!
This Founding Moms Exchange is FREE. Get together and add your voices to the global drive towards gender inclusivity. If you’d like to help us find a local coffee shop or other location to host this, we’d love to hear from you to help mamas facilitate on this day of global goodness. See below for locations or reach out in the FMC to find other ways you can help. JOIN US!
Don’t see your city on the list? Reach out to us to find out how you can host your very own Founding Mom Exchange.
Spread the word. Share the #MAMAMEET2018 video and encourage all the mamas in your life to get involved!
Tell us how you’re going to participate using the hashtag#MAMAMEET2018 before and during your event.
Be counted. Share photos and experiences using #MAMAMEET2018 or , and tell them how many people were in your group and what you discussed. They’ll add you to the tally for the World’s Biggest Mama Meetup!
On March 8, 2018 – we’re helping to lead the way to a brighter future. Celebrate International Women’s Day with us!
Guest post:: Hannah Sullivan is the co-founder of Pogo, an online insurance agency that provides business insurance to the self-employed. She is a graphic/web designer turned insurance expert who loves people watching, eating popcorn, and going to bed early. Here, she writes about why moms should protect their business through insurance and how Pogo may be able to help.
You’re a mom, which means there is a constant whirlwind of activity going on around you. All the time, all over the place. Has Juniper lost her doll? Does Henry have a fever? Can you figure out a way to get Ryland to go to school without wearing a cape? But if you’re a mom who happens to be an entrepreneur, you’ve got an added level of chaos that requires juggling. Not only are you worried about your young ones, you’re also managing customers, invoices, and new client pitches.
One thing is clear: When you’re a mom and you run your own business, you’ve got a ton of responsibility on your plate. And with responsibility comes risk. That’s why we’re here to help you understand how business insurance can help protect you against the liabilities you might face as an entrepreneur.
I work for myself. Why should I protect my business through insurance?
As a mom, you’re already familiar with the term “safety first.” You tell your kids to be safe because you care about them. You want them to be happy and healthy and to succeed. You’ve invested a lot of time, money, and effort into making those rugrats a success– so yeah, buckle up, Juniper, Henry, and Ryland!
The same mentality applies to your company. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on your own, you have a team made up of a few friends, or you’re running a big shop. If you’re accepting payment for your goods or services, you’re a business. If you own a business of any sort, then yes, you should have business insurance. Why? Because it protects all of your hard work. It keeps your assets safe and helps it continue to run smoothly.
I don’t even know where to begin. Help!
First, figure out what your business risks are. This is important to know before getting started because it can affect what types of coverage you may need. The type of protection you need depends on the line of work you do. Every business is unique. Therefore, the risks vary. Your insurance plan should protect you from liabilities that may arise from your business. This is where an insurance agent can help out big time.
Whether or not you’ve had insurance claims in the past
How many employees you have (including part-time, full-time, contractors, and subcontractors)
Interacting with the public
An insurance underwriter will assess your risks and come back to you with a quote, including the rates and terms of the policy (or policies) that fits your business best.
Liability insurance for entrepreneurs
Alright, Founding Moms, listen up. Owning your own company has risks, and that’s why liability insurance is a great place to start for entrepreneurs. Liability, quite literally, means “risk”. Three popular liability policies include general liability, professional liability, and cyber liability insurance.
What is general liability?
Basically, a general liability policy covers your bases for many of the common things that can go wrong (in business, not in life. So, if Juniper gets bubblegum stuck in her hair because Henry was feeling snippy, a general liability insurance would be of no help. However, peanut butter may be).
This policy will protect you from a financial loss if you happen to damage someone’s property, or someone injures themselves tripping over your equipment. Property damage and bodily injury are not the only benefits of general liability insurance. Nonphysical risks, like personal and advertising injuries*, are also covered. Not only that, if someone files a lawsuit against you, your court expenses, lawyer’s fees, damages, losses, and so on, may be covered.**
*Non-insurance speak: General liability also covers claims involving copyright infringement, slander, libel, and false advertising.
**Note: Defense costs are pretty much included in all policies, so I won’t repeat this notion going forward.
Professional liability insurance
Not every business requires this insurance coverage. However, if you provide expert services or advice for a living, it can be very important. People like designers, consultants or photographers can benefit hugely from professional liability insurance.
Professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions or E&O insurance) protects you in the event that a client claims your business made a mistake, was negligent, or failed to deliver a promised service.*
If you’re a consultant, you give advice for a living. If your advice results in any type of financial loss for your client, you may find yourself facing a lawsuit if your client is peeved enough. That jerk of a client could very well sue you. Paying the damages would seriously hurt your pocket, but with professional liability insurance, the fees would be taken care of. Can we all agree that having someone else pay for very expensive, very crappy, situations is almost always better than paying out of your own personal pocket?** Don’t wanna tap into that college fund, am I right?
*Non-insurance speak: Professional liability is basically protection against a dissatisfied client. Yep, it’s that simple.
**Note: I feel this very strongly, but I will also refrain from making this same point in every section.
Cyber liability for self-employed businesses
You might be thinking, “That sounds pretty serious. It’s probably only for big companies.” And if you are, you’re wrong. Cyber liability insurance protects any business in which a customer’s personal info may be stolen or exposed.
Okay, that does sound a little intense. But here’s the deal: Anyone who uses tech to do business should have a cyber policy. As for big companies: yes, they usually do have strong security systems in place.
And that’s exactly why, statistically, hackers go after smaller organizations.
You should think about getting cyber liability insurance if your business handles sensitive customer data (even something as simple as credit card information). It doesn’t matter if you needlepoint sassy quotes and sell them online, or make organic soaps and sell them at the local farmers market while your kids play with goats. Either way, you’re accepting customers’ payment information. Therefore, cyber liability is something to consider.
Cyber liability has an assortment of benefits, but here are a few:
Equipment for business interruption
Regulatory fines and legal costs
Business property insurance
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Business property insurance protects… well, your business property. Pretty much all commercial property can be protected under this policy– from smartphones to computers, photography equipment, and even the office building itself.
Should something get damaged due to theft, fire, vandalism, natural disasters, or whatever, this policy will have your stuff covered. You can choose to have your policy pay for losses based on the replacement cost or actual cash value. For more on that, go here.
A very important note about home-based businesses and property damage
Home-based businesses often rely on their homeowners or renters insurance to cover their business items– 48% of home businesses, in fact.
Unfortunately, what some may find out a little too late is that those policies will typically only cover up to $500 in work-related damages. That’s why it’s very important to protect your commercial property with the right kind of insurance.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a jewelry maker who works with fine gems, a slipper knitter, or an interior designer with multiple screens and surfaces to do what you do best. Protect your commercial inventory and tools with business property insurance.
I have work property, but I take it with me to meetings, shoots, events, and other places.
Business property insurance is limited to your business premises (there is typically a 500-foot coverage radius around the building). If you typically take your tools, gear, or equipment with you off-premises, you should consider inland marine insurance, which protects commercial property in transit.
Looking for a deal?
A business owner’s policy, also known as a BOP, combines general liability and business property insurance into a single package policy. You get better protection at a lower price than by purchasing each coverage on its own.*
It’s basically like finding the ultimate coupon when it comes to business insurance policies. Score! And with all the money you’ll save, why don’t you treat yourself to a nice spa day away from the kids? Massages, facials, manicures, anyone?
*Non-insurance speak: You can easily add extra coverage to a BOP.
Workers’ compensation for self-employed people
Also known as workers’ comp, or workman’s comp, this type of insurance is great for self-employed business owners with or without employees. Workers’ comp helps cover expenses incurred due to an employee’s job-related illness or injury.
You might be thinking, “My industry has no risk. There’s no way I’ll need this policy.” Well, workers’ comp can cover the most basic work-related injuries, even something as simple as carpal tunnel syndrome due to hammering studs while working on your artisan leather business.
Examples of such expenses include medical costs and lost wages due to taking time off work to recover. This policy not only protects you and your employees, but it protects your business as well. Medical costs can be extremely expensive. Paying for them out-of-pocket could potentially hurt your business… or maybe even sink it.
Workers’ comp policies aren’t always optional. Many states require employers to have the insurance by law. But you should consider workers’ comp even if you don’t have employees.
Business auto insurance
You need this if your company owns vehicles. Why? If you are driving your minivan for a work-related reason (even something like picking up more yarn for your crocheted baby hat business) and something happens, your personal auto policy typically will not cover the incident. Learn more about business auto insurance.
Hired & non-owned auto insurance
This kind of auto insurance provides liability protection for vehicles you borrow, rent, or hire. It also pertains to employees who use their personal vehicles on behalf of your business. Learn more about hired & non-owned auto insurance.
Do self-employed business owners need umbrella insurance?
It depends. Umbrella insurance is also known as excess liability insurance. Insurance policies have limits on how much they will cover if something bad happens. Umbrella insurance boosts the limits of your existing policies.
So if you have extra liabilities that your company may face, then yes, you should consider this policy, as it can help pay for the extra expense of unexpected disasters that could put you out of business.
For example, let’s say your business auto policy covers up to $500,000 in damages. You’re in an accident, whose costs add up to $550,000. With umbrella insurance, the additional $50,000 could be covered by your policy. Otherwise, you’d have to pay it out of your own pocket. And before you know it, poof! Juniper’s college fund could be seriously impacted.
Okay – I know why moms should protect their business through insurance.
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