If you see mumpreneurs featured in the newspapers or on television, they will almost always be inventors. Usually, inventors of products for babies or children.
I have huge respect for these mums. Inventing a product and bringing it to market is a long process with no guarantee of success. Compared to other business options open to mums, this is the one that needs the biggest investment of money, takes the longest and has the highest risk. Add to that the facts that the mums rarely seem to have any experience in bringing a product to market and that they are working around children and you have some idea why I’m so impressed.
Oddly enough, this is why I’m disappointed that the only mumpreneurs you seem to hear about in the media are inventors. If you’re a mum with young children, crazy childcare costs and an inflexible job, you could easily think starting a business is not for you because you don’t have a product to invent. And that’s a shame, because there are many businesses that are much easier and faster to start, as well as needing a much less money to invest. Where are the virtual assistants, bookkeepers, pet sitters, community magazine editors, yoga teachers, beauty therapists, graphic designers, online store owners…(and many more, actually)?
If you’re a mum with young children, crazy childcare costs and an inflexible job, you could easily think starting a business is not for you because you don’t have a product to invent.
I’m far from alone. Jane Hopkins of MumsClub has spoken to ITV and The Mail about featuring mumpreneurs who aren’t inventors. Joanne Dewberry of www.charliemoos.co.uk and www.networkingmummies.com started a bit of campaign about exactly this issue. Joanne says:
“Daybreak, ITV’s new morning programme, featured 5 mums on their website and also for a week on the show all under the name ‘mumpreneur’, but these 5 women all had something else in common not just a business and children … they were all inventors. Is this a fair portrayal of ‘business mums’?
Firstly I posted the question on my Facebook page and as predicted the ‘non-inventors’ (and there’s a lot of them) weren’t impressed. It got me thinking even more so I sat down and wrote a very long detailed email about myself, my business, and the many varieties of mumpreneurs out there. Their reply consisted of about 10 words and ended in ‘thank you’. I proceeded with my mini campaign, posting my email and Daybreaks reply on my blog. I was pleased that so many people took the time to give their feedback and not just business mums. After a few days I emailed the link over to Daybreak and well a few weeks later and I’ve had no reply.
Firstly my issue wasn’t that I hadn’t been featured far from that. I am really pleased for those that were. I feel it should not have been labelled ‘mumpreneurs’. Not many mums sat at home on maternity leave would think ‘ooo that’s for me! I can leave my job be a full time mum and invent a product to regulate my income!’.
Why not have a week featuring……
Victoria Dixon mum of 2, creator of www.enhance-me.com she takes an image of your child and turns it into a beautiful fairytale creation. Or Rachel Jeffries mum of 2, who runs online wooden toy shop www.totsandtiddlerstoys.com both of these businesses are online and enable the mumpreneur to work hours to suit her. If she needs to be working late at night or early in the morning so she can spend the day helping at her child’s school or taking them to the park, she can.
Lisa Carpenter, mum of 1, runs www.mobilecarsolutions.co.uk with her husband, offering a wide range of products & services for individuals & companies ranging from a hands free kit for your iphone that streams your music to a tracking solution so you know where your vehicles are 24/7. Not really a girly business but not only providing flexibility for childcare but also working alongside her husband.
Or maybe a new start up business? Ama Aqua making beautiful bespoke polymerclay cake toppers (http://www.facebook.com/bespokeclaycaketoppers )and using social media to market and network while she establishes herself. Sarah Philips, is definitely one to watch.
Business ideas born from the desire to be a full time mum yet earn money
Or possibly end the week on Olga Taylor, brains behind www.weddingvipcard.com a privilege card for couples getting married in Dorset, by teaming up with a number of premium quality suppliers to offer exclusive discounts and special offers in the leading up to your wedding day.
These case studies would definitely display to mums that self-employment isn’t beyond their reach. Uncomplicated business ideas born from the desire to be a full time mum but yet earn money and have the flexibility and freedom needed to do this.”
(You can read Joanne’s email to Daybreak, their reply and the responses of many mums in business and even a few who aren’t on her blog)
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts – drop me a message and let me know what you think.
Joanne Dewberry runs Charlie Moo’s (www.charliemoos.co.uk – party bags, gifts and toys) from her home in rural Dorset, where she lives with her partner and their two children Megan 2 and Charlie 3. She is also co-owner of Networking Mummies (www.networkingmummies.com) with Laura Morris (www.rentabuggy.co.uk)
If you would like to spend more time with your children and earn an income, take a look at my book Start a Family Friendly Business: 129 Brilliant Business Ideas for Mums