By littledivaparties, Jun 2 2020 06:45AM
Statistics show that more and more people are starting up businesses. Whether it’s rising childcare costs, a great idea or inflexible employers many of those budding entrepreneurs are mums.
Six inspirational women, all of whom have started their own business since becoming parents, to find out more about life as a mumpreneur. They share their motivation, the challenges they faces but they all say it’s worth it.
Why did they do it? What really struck me from talking to these women was how unique their stories are. Not everyone starts a business to spend more time with their kids – not everyone’s business allows them to work from home. Some were made redundant, others decided for themselves that their former careers were no longer for them. ‘Parenthood can prompt mothers to think differently about what they want from their careers – and indeed I started Mumsnet in part because I hankered after a working environment that was compatible with family life,’ says Justine Roberts, Founder and CEO of Mumsnet.
After having her daughter Marley five years ago, Sarah Akwisombe, 32, from Croydon, returned to her job. The realities of juggling work and childcare didn’t suit her or her employer and she lost her job. However, she hasn’t looked back since. She’d already started an interior design blog, and within six months had won a prestigious blogging award. Her blog and interior design career have continued to grow – she now runs The No Bull Business School, and her husband Jason has recently quit his job to work with her.
Experts agree that starting up a business can give you more control. National Chairman of Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry, said: ‘Although there are challenges to consider, the exciting step of starting and running your own business can allow women more control over the hours they work, making it easier to balance the demands of childcare and have a fulfilling career.’ This desire for a better work life balance that leads many mums to set up their own business. Danae Dade, 37, founder of Cookie and Biscuit, London, was made redundant while on maternity leave. She said: ‘While job hunting for a new role, I realised I couldn’t receive the flexibility I desired as a mother of two.’
Wanting to spend more time with your children isn’t always the main motivation for mumpreneurs. Hannah Saunders, 49, founder of Big Fish Little Fish family raves, says that she didn’t give up her 20-year career in the civil service to take care of her children. ‘Even though I really wanted to be a parent I never wanted to stop working. I didn’t set out to find a way of working to spend more time with my children – it’s just turned out that way.’
Juggling the business and childcare can be a challenge when starting your own business. Melissa Kimbell, 39, from Northamptonshire says: ‘It’s important to be realistic and kind to yourself when you’re trying to balance a business with family life. I couldn’t run Awake Organics the way it is now if my children were any younger, not without a lot of extra support at home.’ Sarah Akwisombe agrees: ‘Having a realistic childcare plan in place is so important. Starting a business takes a lot of time and effort, if you’re trying to do it when the kids have gone to bed it doesn’t give you much time so be clever about how to make it work.’ Trying to run a business from home isn’t an easy option. As Melissa Kimbell says: ‘All the work-from-home mums I know, including me, have taken big risks, scratched out a living in the beginning, and are still trying to figure out a healthy work/life balance. Because laundry, packed lunches, football club, and making dinner are still on the agenda every day!’ These challenges can be overcome though Melissa says, ‘I would plan better from the very beginning. This year we’ve done a detailed plan, mapping out goals, collaborations, marketing, product development, everything. This approach has already helped save time, energy, and money.’ Danae agrees. ‘If I could start over I’d plan out my time more clearly, I think indecision and failing to plan has held me back on a more than a few occasions.’ If you’re thinking of starting your own business Adelle Smith, 36, founder of BKD, recommends taking advantage of free resources. ‘I found Google Campus for Mums brilliant help in the early days.’ Mumsnet also have a dedicated forum on the site to help parents seek input from their peers (and from professionals) on things like strategy, financing and market research.
ITS WORTH IT
Since starting her business, Adelle has appeared on Dragon’s Den, winning backing from Peter Jones, sold her baking kits into Harrods, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis and published a baking book. She agrees that it’s not an always an easy option. ‘While I have flexibility in my life, I also work extremely long hours and often into the night once the kids are in bed. If you’re after working less hours to spend with the kids, starting your own business might not be the best idea. ‘However, if you think you can handle it, it’s the most fulfilling thing you can ever do, I absolutely live and breathe my business and love what I do.’
Rebecca Broadbent, 35, from Cheshire, set up her no-gym fitness business This Mum Can after being made redundant while on her second maternity leave. ‘My first classes were totally nerve-wracking as I was starting completely from scratch but it was exhilarating knowing that I was helping people get fit. ‘The classes are a great open space for women to get stuff off their chests, ask other mums for advice and just talk. My aim was to help mums and if I help a few people every year with post natal depression then that’s good enough for me.’ She says to any mum who is thinking of starting their own business: ‘Just do it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.’
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Disclaimer - Article written by Mandy MazliahSunday 11 Mar 2018 for metro.co.uk