Actually, I hate that term … “Mumpreneur”. A word created to describe women who are self employed and also have children.
I prefer the term “Business Woman”.
Absolutely there are additional pressures to managing a business around a family. Particularly a new, growing business around a young, growing family. And often women feel those pressures in a different way to men. But lets not undersell ourselves, we are business women, we are successful because we are good at what we do. And we also have children.
In the years BC (before children) I worked in senior commercial finance mainly in London. I loved my job. I loved the meetings, the pressure, the deadlines, the promotions, the after work drinks. I worked long hours, I kept a change of clothes and a toothbrush in my desk drawer and received requests to travel half way across the country (or even across the world) at a moments notice. I worked hard to build my career and felt proud of all I achieved.
And then everything changed. My daughter was born.
Motherhood and a London career in finance would be a tricky combination
I quickly realised that Motherhood and a London career in finance would be a tricky combination if I wanted to see my daughter every day. Part time hours or flexitime was not an option…. neither was giving up the career that I had worked so hard for.
Starting my own business, a small local Accountancy practice seemed like the clear way to go. I just needed to find some clients.
I cleared out our spare room, dusted off my laptop which had been stored away during my maternity leave, and off I went!
If you don’t know anything about marketing you have no business
Ok, so it wasn’t quite that easy. Turns out it doesn’t matter how good you are at accounting, if you don’t know anything about marketing you have no business. Figuring out how and where to advertise, how to let people know I was open for business was by far the hardest part of starting up on my own. I took advise from marketing professionals, invested in a decent website designer, experimented with print media, social media and read everything I could on marketing. Bit by bit my little business grew.
This time there was not the option of a year’s paid maternity leave
A couple of years later, baby number two arrived. Only this time there was not the option of a year’s paid maternity leave. I took a little time off, to rest and recover and get to know our new addition but that first year was hard. I have photos of working at my desk with my baby asleep in a sling. I felt intense guilt at not taking my youngest to all the baby groups I took my first. I had a near constant feeling of not doing a good job of either running my business or taking care of my children.
But over time the business has built up and we have become better at managing it all. My eldest is about to start school (how did that happen?), my youngest is now at preschool and the business has moved out of our spare room and into a proper commercial office. My husband is now also my business partner and we even have a part time member of staff.
We are constantly juggling school drops offs, client meetings, and finding the time to do the weekly shop
It is easy? Nope. I don’t think it ever will be. We are constantly juggling school drops offs, client meetings, and finding the time to do the weekly shop. Add in a lack of childcare over the school holidays, the occasional sick child, and a recent house renovation and sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day. In fact I am writing this blog post on my laptop on my knee at half past ten at night.
But oh do the benefits out weigh the costs. I get to see my girls every day and be the one to put them to bed. If I need an afternoon off to take one of them to the doctors or go to their sports day I take it. I chose who I work with, I make the decisions, I have created a work environment that works for me.
And the best bit about my ‘new’ job? My clients. I have an array of wonderful clients ranging from beauty consultants to tradesmen to retailers and everyone in between. Over half of my clients are business women, and many of them are “Mumpreneurs”. Sometimes clients bring their children with them to our meetings (I consider a baby cuddle a definite perk of the job). Sometimes a phone call is easier than a face to face, often with the sound of children in the background. I have watched clients build their business from scratch, just like me, from their spare room or dining table into strong, successful businesses.
So am I a Mumpreneur? I guess you could call me that, but mainly I’m a woman in business and I’m incredibly proud of that.