I've been reading Mum Ultrapreneur, partly because I'm doing some business book reviews for Mums The Blog, but also because I just love a good how-to-start-your-own-business book.
(What did I think of the book? I'll let you know when Mums The Blog publish my post…)
As I was doing a final skim through Mum Ultrapreneur's interviews with business mums, I nearly choked on my biscuit when I read:
"…lots of business mums I've come across said their husbands aren't at all [supportive]. Which I think is something important to mention. I've found that a lot of husbands, because they're so money focused, find it difficult to understand what they're wives are doing because they're not bringing in that much money. Lots of mums in business are only doing it because they really enjoy it and it's creative"
Alli Price of www.motivatingmum.co.uk
Photo by showmeone
It wasn't the bit about the unsupportive husbands. Not everyone has an entrepreneurial streak, and if you don't have one yourself, coping with one in your partner can be unnerving.
What made my crumbs fly was this –
"Lots of mums in business are only doing it because they really enjoy it and it's creative"
One huge advantage of running your own business is that you can do it your way. But surely making a decent profit has to be a central goal of any business? True, most of us mumpreneurs have two aims – to make money and to fit our work around our families. But I'd assumed that the making money part was a no-brainer. After all, a business that you enjoy, is creative but only makes peanuts isn't a business. It's a hobby.
Many businesses go through periods where they make no profit at all, especially at the beginning. But the aim to make a decent profit has to be there for it to be a bona fide business.
I wondered why I was so rattled by Alli's quotation and I've nailed it down to three things:
1. A creative, enjoyable business that makes very little money is a huge wasted opportunity.
If the business makes some money, there's every chance that with a few tweaks it could make a lot more. Perhaps it needs more of a focus, a business plan or marketing plan, a review of pricing, more training or business advice.
2. What's really going on here? Are we selling ourselves short as business mums?
Many of us Brits still see money as a slightly grubby subject and I suspect British women are particularly affected by this.
The trouble is that this belief can lead to women not having the confidence to ask for what they are entitled. I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the jobs that are done by female workers are the lowest paid. That, in turn, lowers the status of work that women do. Perhaps lurking behind all this enjoyment and creativity is a woman afraid to ask for what she is really worth?
3. I don't want anyone to think of my new business as a little hobby to keep me busy while I care for my babies
I may work part time, but I take my business every bit a seriously as I took my previous career. In fact, the stakes are even higher now. I need the money to keep a roof over my family's head and I want to set a good example for my children. I aim to do work that I enjoy, but if it doesn't pay me what I'm worth I'll find another business idea.
None of this is meant as a criticism of Alli Price or Mum Ultrapreneur. Both are passionate about helping mums to start businesses exactly as I am. I hope the quotation has been just a starting point for my thoughts and that these help a mum somewhere to get a decent profit for all her hard work.
Because it's hard work even if you do enjoy it.
What are your thoughts? Please do drop me a comment below.
7 Replies to “Why Mumpreneurs Should Make a Decent Profit”
I agree, the primary aim of a business must be to make money otherwise as you say it’s a hobby. Obviously it’s great if you enjoy what you do, but if it’s done purely for pleasure with no regard to profit then it is a hobby.
I think most mums start their own business because they need to find a source of income that fits around their child. We all know how difficult it is living off one wage!
Unsupportive Husbands / partners is indeed the curse of many a budding entrepreneurially inclined mum. I have heard many mums describe the way their business idea(s) had been flippantly dismissed… ‘your just a mum, you have no time and no money’ besides, you should be getting on with more important tasks. Comments like this are enough to make your blood boil – grrrr.
On a lighter note, of course there are also plenty of women who have ‘tuned in’ partners who find it very exciting that they have ideas to start a home businesses and who will and / or do support them fully.
I started my business when my son was two months old and the biggest difference for me over the last two years has been the shift in my attitude towards time and money. My work permeates my life in a way that is not as clear cut and distinct as it was when I worked full time. A business, especially in the early days, requires much unpaid work (I’m talking about accounts, writing for your website, networking, thinking! etc) so the effort to pay ratio was, in my experience, pretty poor in the first year. It is certainly changing now, but I still may be better off in a full time job than in part time business (in terms of added benefits of employment – paid holiday, sick pay etc). However, in terms of my personal development I am transformed. The big monetary rewards may come later, and will be hard won!
I think this is a big issue and you’ve got some of the elements spot on. I agree that women (and men, but let’s focus on mums here) need to change the way they think about money. Profit is not a dirty word. Everyone reading this article should take a moment to look at their own beliefs about money, and also their beliefs about their work. When I run courses the majority of women are in business to HELP in some way. You can only be truly effective as a helper if your business is strong, and making a profit will allow your business to grow and help more people.
Secondly, think about how you feel when ASKING for money. Research has shown that women are less comfortable to ‘name their price’ than men, and women in ‘helping’ professions are less comfortable than, say, women working in IT. Say how much you want for your service out loud: are you comfortable saying this or do you feel a bit apologetic? I know I do.
Finally, I just don’t think the majority of mums who start businesses are equipped well enough with financial skills. There is a big need for courses (like the session at the Mumpreneur conference last year) to help people break down the costs they are incurring when running their business and factor them into their charges.
Wow, what a response! Thanks to everyone who has left a comment.
Fiona, you said – “I think most mums start their own business because they need to find a source of income that fits around their child. We all know how difficult it is living off one wage!” This is one reason why I don’t like the idea of mums running little hobby businesses. So many mums really do need the income that a good, profitable business would create.
Christine, I know I’m probably being naive, but it really amazes me that, ten years into the 21st century, some women are being told by their partners “you’re just a mum, you’ve got more important things to do”. I feel very fortunate that I’ve got a supportive husband.
Kayte, thanks for giving us your view of being a mum in business. I may be in touch for more in the future!
Antonia, excellent points as ever, thanks for stopping by. “Profit is not a dirty word” might be a useful mantra to chant quietly to ourselves as we’re just about to name our price! I know that I’ve touched on a much bigger issue here, what do you think the solution might be? More training and support for mums in business?