Want to Start Your Own Business? Dream Bib, I Mean Big, Mama!

Dream Bib, I Mean Big, Mama!I’ve been a small business owner for five years now, and a mom for just barely one and a half. Because my business initially started out as something completely different than it is now, it still feels pretty new and fresh to me. I absolutely love what I do. I feel extremely blessed to have the freedom to plan my days as needed, have equal time focused on work as I do my babe, and to have a husband who is secretly a better cheerleader than I ever was.

But I often get asked how I got to this place, what the first steps should be in starting a small business, how I balance my time, etc.

Even though I know I have an infinite amount of things to learn, I am always excited to share what I have picked up thus far, and what I would or wouldn’t change!

Getting started

If you have a small business idea in mind, one you have been dreaming of, thinking about the what-ifs of it, then quickly rationalizing with yourself that it would not be the responsible thing to do – you have to stop. Right now. That game is such an exhausting one to play with yourself. I’m going to share with you the same thing you have probably heard or read on Pinterest a million times and easily brushed off. 

Literally, just go for it. It doesn’t have to be as complicated or overwhelming as you think. 

I started my business with my college roommate in our apartment one afternoon when we realized we had made too many signs, and no longer had any white space left to hang them on the walls. We had a photoshoot, Facebook page, and a business name created by midnight that night, and our first pieces sold to family and friends the next afternoon. Imagine if you tackled your idea with that much tenacity and excitement; think of how many new businesses and creative people we would know about!! 

Allocating time efficiently

It doesn’t matter HOW MUCH time you spend on your business at the beginning. The important thing is that you set aside SOME AMOUNT of time, whatever that means for you. This might be squeezing tasks in before everyone wakes, after everyone goes to sleep, or in-between soccer practice. But, the more the business grows, the more time I need, thus the more adjustments we need.

My husband and I have both agreed on a schedule that works for us – it may not be to the minute every day, but I do have time every morning and evening to step away and focus on the most important tasks for the business, like tracking orders or responding to customers.

I try not to be on my phone in front of our daughter as much as possible. Still, it can be pretty difficult on my days home with her when I see messages or orders coming through and have to ignore them until “work hours”.

I have to remind myself that business is business and can wait until my ‘work time.’ My days home with my daughter are a priority.

Getting work done

I recently made the decision to leave my full-time job to focus on the business. This was a huge (and exciting) step but is still somewhat terrifying even eight months later. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a supportive husband and a daycare provider who is willing to take our daughter three days a week. Right now, it’s the best of both worlds – I get alone time with my girl, and the other days to work uninterrupted. 

Again it has not always been this way. It took a lot to get to this point. When I was still working outside of the home full time, my evenings and weekends were crammed full. It was a balancing act between my family, customer interactions, and making the products that are crucial to keeping the business alive.

Growth and adjustment go hand in hand, and they aren’t things that happen overnight. Start small, and start comfortably. Don’t bend over backward before even looking behind you.

You do not have to start big to grow big

I have found most recently that the more okay with adjustment and change I am, the more my business flourishes. As much as I love consistency, in order for my business to grow, I had to loosen my grip on quite a few things. My mantra “This is fine, everything is fine, we’re fine,” has slowly made me a much more relaxed business owner. Find a mantra that will work for you, and stick to it.

I know these are all pretty basic tips, but they are things that I remind myself of consistently. It’s important to realize how much I’ve grown, the business has grown, and how happy it is making my family and me.

Remember, you will always have the excuses of not enough time, not enough finances, not enough space, or not enough support.

If you have an idea and it’s something you want, it is worth trying.


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Originally from Fort Dodge, IA, Karlee fell in love with the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area after graduating from the University of Iowa. After marrying her most favorite guy, Sam, they bought their first home together in Marion! They have loved raising their 11 month old daughter, Frankie Rae, there. Karlee is newly a stay at home/work from home mom - spending half of her week loving on and chasing Frankie, and the other half making baby clothing and accessories. Co-founder of The Purple Wagon, Karlee adores creating quality products for littles and attending markets throughout the Midwest. In her free time you can find Karlee traveling, thrifting, eating Indian food, reading, running away from their chickens, and eating more food.