So you want to be a Mumpreneur? The top six questions to ask yourself before you take the leap.

So you want to be a Mumpreneur? The top six questions to ask yourself before you take the leap.

Psst. Wanna be a Mumpreneur? Want to live the ultimate lifestyle and work on your own terms? Want to set your own flexible hours so you create your business around your kids and never miss another Book Week parade or Sports Day? Yeah, I know you do. We all do.

And it’s so tempting right? It’s so tempting to tell your crappy, insensitive boss to “Shove it! I’m outta here and I’m going to open my own business!”

Yeah, go sister! Woman power! Mums can do anything!! Whooohooo!

But hold on a sec there honey. Do you really know what you’re getting yourself in for? Do you really understand what it means to be a woman, who also has children, who also happens to run her own business from the kitchen table? (and who may or may not also have to hold down a regular “dayjob” while she gets this Mumpreneur thing off the ground). By the way – I’m not a huge fan of the word “Mumpreneur – but I’m using it here because “woman, who also has children, who also happens to run her own business from the kitchen table” doesn’t quite have the same SEO ranking. (And don’t worry, if you don’t yet know what SEO is, you will soon!)

I’m not saying don’t do it. Don’t become a “Mumpreneur”. I can’t say that, because I’m doing it right now – and you know what – it is great. And I can see amazing things on the road ahead. But right now. About 12 months into my self-employed sojourn. It’s freaking hard. And it’s an awful lot of work. And it’s costing money. And, and, and – so much else.

Mumpreneur in action. Yes, this is what action looks like sometimes.

Mumpreneur in action. Yes, this is what action looks like sometimes.

In these past 12 months I’ve learned a thing or two about running my own business while simultaneously raising two daughters, running a household and, yes, holding down another part time job to ensure we can still pay the mortgage! So I thought I’d do you a favour and list a few very important questions you should ask yourself if you’re thinking of making this big scary, crazy, amazing leap into Mumpreneur-dom.

Here goes.

 

Question 1: Is my significant other on board?

Because if he (or she) isn’t, strap yourself in for some drama. Cue arguments about “getting a real job” and “stuffing around on facebook isn’t going to make any money” and “no, we’re not spending $6K on a business coach”. Starting a business is a crazy tough slog, it’s no surprise so many start up businesses fail. If you’re serious about starting a business it’s going to take time, money and sacrifice. You’re going to need the support of your partner, because you’re going to need them to pick up the slack around the house. You’re going to need them to be okay with the fact that they’re doing the dishes for the sixth night in a row because you’re tapping away on the laptop trying to figure out how to install a WordPress theme to your blog. You’re going to need them to be okay with the fact that you won’t have as much time for them anymore – at least not right now. Get them on board early. Explain your passion. Share your plans and goals. Keep them involved. And hopefully they’ll be supportive.

 

Question 2: Am I prepared to resent my children at times.

Gah! Yes. I did just ask this question. Please stop calling me names.

This is the dirty little secret of Mumpreneur-ship. Because as much as you love your precious little cherubs and think to yourself, “I’m creating this new business for them, for us, to create our dream family life”. I absolutely guarantee that you are going to resent the socks off of them at least once while creating your new business (probably more than once, to be perfectly honest). Perhaps it’ll be the night before your big launch/meeting/presentation – when your teething baby keeps you up all night. Or the day you miss an all-important webinar because you’re cleaning blue paint-coloured poop off the carpet at the exact moment it goes live. (True story, not mine, thankfully!!)

The fact is that young children and start-up businesses don’t mesh nicely. They’re both unpredictable, time consuming, and, yes, frustrating. When you’re starting a business there are going to be days when you simply need to “GET STUFF DONE” no matter what. But guess what, you can’t always rely on your children to be perfect angels on those days. Even if you have childcare and supportive family, you’re still going to have to find time to do work at home – and the kidlets under your feet are going to get in the way. There are going to be days when you want to spend more time on your business than you do on your kids. You will feel like this. And you will feel guilty for feeling like this. Are you prepared for that?

 

Question 3: Am I prepared for the haters, the trolls and the poppy-loppers?

Not everyone is going to think your business is a great idea. Lots of them will try to dissuade you – “Don’t you know how bad the economy is, why on earth would you start a business now?” The thing is, these peeps are generally well meaning, they honestly just want you to be safe and secure, and not broke and homeless. They just have a completely different mindset and view of life than you. So they’re not as bad as the haters, the ones who will try to tear you down any opportunity they can. Why do they do it? Mostly they’re jealous. Maybe they want the kind of life and business you’re working towards. Maybe they just don’t have the guts to take that leap of faith. That makes them feel shit. So they take it out on you. #hatersgonnahate

 

Question 4: Am I prepared to replace most of my friendship group with another one entirely?

The truth is, I now spend way, WAY more time with my new business gals (who I didn’t even know a year ago) than I do the best friends I’ve had for 20 years. Starting your own business can be seriously isolating. Not a lot of people do it, and it’s scary and intense and there’s sooooo much to learn. So we business chicks have to stick together – we seek others out so we can network, learn, brainstorm and absorb business advice by osmosis. Most new Mumpreneurs figure that out pretty quickly and start surrounding themselves with other business minded folk. This isn’t to say that you won’t, or can’t, ever see your friends again, but just beware that friendships are likely to change. See question 1 and 3 for prime examples! Plus, because of all the extra work hours you’re putting in – it can often be quite hard to find time for all your friends – you’ll start prioritising them. Sad but true. The good news is, the ones who are really, truly your friends. They’ll stick around. They’ll stand by you. They’ll understand when you haven’t spoken for them for the past two months. Because that’s what TRUE friends do. (ps, for the record, I still love my old friends even if we don’t get to see each other as often – you know who you are!)

 

Question 5: Am I in it for passion or profit?

Really you need to be in it for both. If you’re not passionate about the business you’re trying to build, you’re simply not going to have the motivation to stick with it.
But you also need to want to make money. Which means you physically need an income stream – ie. you have to have something to sell!

But you also need to believe that you’re worth the money, that you deserve to make money and that your product is valuable enough for people to pay you for it. So really, you need three things: Passion. Profit. And a passion FOR profit.

 

Question 6: Am I ready to be transformed?

This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT question of them all.

“Am I ready for a complete soul makeover?”

This is what you don’t think about when you’re first starting out. You just think to yourself, “Oh I’ve got a cool idea for a business, let’s start a blog and make some money”. You never think to yourself, “Gee, I feel like undergoing a complete and utter transformation of my personal and professional development, my mind, heart, body and soul, my view on the world, my belief in the concept of abundance and laws of attraction, my self-concept of who I am as a person and what my true calling and purpose in life are.”

No-one ever thinks that.

But that’s what happens. I’ve met so many amazing entrepreneurial women over the past year while I’ve been building my business. And while they come from all different walks of life, run completely different businesses and are at a million different stages of business growth and development – they all have one thing in common. Change. They’ve all undergone somewhat of a transformation. Some to the point where they barely recognise themselves from the person they once were. Some to the point where they’ve realised that they need to leave their husband because they’re not willing to put up with a sub-par relationship anymore. Some to the point where they’ve lost friendships because their old friends either “don’t get them” anymore, or got too shitty that they weren’t available for Friday night drinks every week anymore.

Are you willing to go there? Are you willing to make that much of a change. Are you willing to be utterly and absolutely transformed. Are you prepared to barely recognised the person you’ll be in 12 months time?

Yes?

Then welcome to the club.

 

The oxygen mask theory

The oxygen mask theory

Show of hands – who actually pays attention to the flight attendant when she (or he!) gives the safety demonstration when you board a plane? I think I’m one of the three percent of people who are nerdy enough to do so. Most others seem too busy with their nose buried in the latest 50 Shades instalment, or devouring the mini-sized packets of Pringles. Or if you’re travelling with your children – trying to keep them entertained as they’re already SO BORED!!!, before the plane has even started moving.

One thing I’ve noticed in these demonstrations is they always tell us to “fit your own oxygen mask first, before helping others to fit theirs”. And this totally makes sense right? You’re not going to be much help to someone if you pass out unconscious from lack of oxygen. Thankfully, I’ve never been in a situation where those little masks have dropped from the cabin ceiling – and frankly – I hope I never am.

But it often makes me wonder about how we implement this logic in real-life – particularly as Mums.

We Mums are well-known for putting ourselves last. It happens all the time, it happens in tv shows and movies and it’s universally accepted as a truth. And to be perfectly honest, some of us wear it like a badge of honour. Because it’s when we’re completely selfless and spend all our time doing everything for everyone else, that we’re the best Mum we can be, right?

Wrong.

Completely wrong.

Mum’s need to LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES. And yes, that means that we simply MUST put ourselves first sometimes.

I know running a family is hard work – there’s lots to be done, and a million competing demands on any given day. And I know that taking an hour out of the day for a pilates class or a much overdue waxing session might seem selfish. But it’s actually not.

Let’s think about what happens when we don’t do the things we know we should do for ourselves.

  • If we don’t fuel our bodies with the right kinds of nutritious foods – we get fat and sick – or underweight and sick
  • If we don’t make time for exercise – we get fat and unfit
  • If we don’t get enough sleep – we get tired and grumpy
  • If we don’t prioritise spending time with our own friends and loved ones – we get lonely
  • If we don’t make time for rest – we get fatigued and potentially adrenally exhausted
  • If we don’t take the time to recover properly from an illness or injury – we get sicker or our injury worsens
  • If we let our hormones become disregulated – we get grumpy and emotional
  • If we don’t make time for meditation and reflection – we lose direction and lack inspiration
  • If we do everything for everyone else all of the time – we lose sight of who we are and we get resentful

Now who wants a Mum who is fat, sick, unfit, exhausted, grumpy, lost, uninspired and resentful? More importantly, who wants to BE a Mum who is all of those things? Certainly not me.

The Mum who is fat, sick, unfit, exhausted, grumpy, lost, uninspired and resentful runs the risk of becoming quite unwell and therefore being able to do less for her family in the long run.

But more importantly, this Mum is not putting forward the best version of herself to her children. Ultimately, this is the most significant point. We all want our children to grow up happy, healthy, strong, clever, confident and vibrant. We can help this along by modelling this behaviour. Our children learn so much through observation and role modelling – from the very earliest ages – they are tiny little sponges and they take in EVERYTHING – whether you want them to or not.

So when you take the time to look after yourself – for the sake of your own physical and mental health, you’re setting the best example for your children and encouraging them to look after themselves too. Because eventually, they will have to venture into the big, wide world on their own – without you at their side 24 hours a day. At this point you’ll want to be confident that they can keep themselves well – that they are perfectly capable of fitting their own oxygen masks.