Business Mums’ Blog Carnival Is Now Live

The Business Mums' Blog Carnival has been posted over at The Efficiency Coach blog. This month you can learn about social media phone applications, promoting a wedding business, how to fit a bra properly and more! Check it out and get to know other mums in business.

The next blog carnival will be hosted by www.ivyhouseinteriors.co.uk. Email posts to sarah AT ivyhouseinteriors.co.uk by 18 June and the carnival will be published on 22nd June.

‘Mumpreneur’: Love It Or Loathe It?

At first, I was happy to call myself a mumpreneur. After all, it is a combination of 'mum' and 'entrepreneur' and I'd be proud to call myself either. It meant I was stepping off the career treadmill and doing my own thing.

Then I discovered that other mums in business didn't like the word. When they think of a mumpreneur, many people have an image of a woman running a little hobby business to keep her busy while she's a stay-at-home-mum.

The reality for most mums in business is very different. Ask around and you hear stories of mums looking after children all day and then working into the small hours to keep their businesses going. Of having little alternative but to work for themselves because they can't afford childcare. Of refusing to miss out on their children's early years, yet still wanting (and often needing) to earn a living.

In her post What sort of mumpreneur are you? Antonia Chitty asks 'Do you see ‘mumpreneur’ as something that helps mums who own businesses, or something that is holding us back?'. Probably a bit of both, I think.

But what interests me is how come we have a label that is meant to bring us together, yet divides us.

In my pre-baby days I never had to prove I was equal to the men I worked with. True, some women are still grappling with a glass ceiling and fighting to get equal pay, but generally most women are now seen as being as competent and motivated as men.

That's until you have children. Bam, you're back in the land that time forgot. A land of stereotypes and assumptions. A world where the only way to prove your brain hasn't turned to mush is to work full-time and put your baby in a nursery five days a week. Which of course makes you a bad mother. The alternative is to risk becoming a nobody by being a stay-at-home-mum or to apply for a badly-paid part time job.

All stereotypes (except for the badly-paid part time job, sadly). Is this what has contaminated the word 'mumpreneur'?

There are no easy answers. Sometimes I feel like I'm the latest generation in an experiment that started over a century ago, where we still have a long way to go before we learn how to be truly equal.

I'd love to see people respecting the working choices made by mothers. (And the choice to not work.) To support and encourage, rather than to divide and judge.To ditch the stereotypes.  And for the challenges of being a working parent to be shared equally between women and men.

Then maybe we'd all be proud to call ourselves mumpreneurs?

What do you think? Leave me a comment below.

Photo: egor.gribanov

Review: Mum Ultrapreneur – Susan Odev and Mark Weeks

What’s a Mum Ultrapreneur? After reading this book, I know that she’s someone who wants an alternative to the corporate life. To embrace the strength, determination and creativity that mothers have always had and build a business with it.

The book takes an original approach by being made up of several sections that you can use in any way that works for you. The sections include interviews with mumpreneurs, an action plan to help you get your own business idea and Gemma’s story, a fictional account of a mum who starts her own business.

The acronym ‘SPARKLES’ is used to explain the qualities you need as a mumpreneur. ‘SPARKLES’ is the theme that weaves the different sections of the book together. (But I’d be giving too much away if I revealed what the letters stand for!)

The interviews with mumpreneurs are excellent. They show these Mum Ultrapreneurs are ordinary mums who went out there and just did it. That the difference between thinking about starting a business and being a successful business mum is really just about taking action.

Gemma’s story didn’t really click with me –  I’d have preferred a more straightforward, non-fiction explanation of the SPARKLES concept. Having said that, parts of her story were very similar to my own, especially having bursts of creativity when I was pregnant and totally shattered, then collapsing and achieving very little once the baby was born. If you like to learn through stories, you may really enjoy reading about Gemma.

This book is good for getting you moving and for boosting your self-belief. With many mums saying that they would start a business if only they knew how, it’s great that there’s a book out there that tackles the vital first step in the process.  However, Mum Ultrapreneur doesn’t cover the nuts and bolts of starting a business (and doesn’t claim to), so I’d suggest reading it alongside Antonia Chitty’s The Mumpreneur Guide or Anita Naik’s Kitchen Table Tycoon.

You can buy Mum Ultrapreneur from Amazon.

Women Wednesday Blog Hop

Creation|Collaboration was set up by eight women, all existing friends, who run small businesses from their homes. They started the Women Wednesday blog hop to link up with other women in business, spread the word about Creation|Collaboration and basically just have fun visiting new and interesting blogs.

Find out more about the blog hop here.