Work At Home Mums Around The World

A couple of weeks ago I had an email from Diona Moustri and Kalliopi Fountoulaki-Hanioti of Mammas Work at Home, a website for work at home mums in Greece:

Starting a home based business or working from a home office are emerging choices for mothers who wish to spend more time with their family and continue their career or pursue a new one. The community of Greek WAHMs is growing and at Mammas Work At Home we try to provide an online meeting place to exchange all kinds of information from practical details and tax regulations to creative activities for the kids and inspiring success stories.

Mammas Work At Home was created by an electrical and computer engineer and a freelance translator, two work-at-home mothers who both wished to share their WAHM experience. Kalliopi and Diona first got to know each other online visiting and commenting on each other’s blogs. Finding out that they were both working from home, they decided to join forces and create a blog sharing Greek content for work-at-home moms.

Diona and Kalliopi said there isn’t that much Greek content out there for WAHMs and could they please translate some of the Business Plus Baby articles and publish them on Mammas Work at Home?

I was happy to say yes and the first article was published last week – it’s a translation of Viv Smith’s story of how she started Poppy Sparkles. (Here’s the Greek version and here’s the English one.)

Of course it’s brilliant to be found and contacted from the other side of Europe, but the main reason I’m so happy is that I’m connecting with another community of mums in business. We’re all women who are refusing to accept the normal work choices for mums of small children and are doing it our own way instead. And isn’t it great that we can get together and help each other out?

When I started Business Plus Baby I made it very much UK-focused. That’s because I thought I wouldn’t have a lot to offer WAHMs in other countries because the logistics of starting and running a business would be so different across the world. Not to mention maternity pay and maternity leave (which is confusing even if you are in the UK judging by the number of hits I get on BPB’s maternity allowance articles!)

But I’ve found that mumpreneurs, mompreneurs, WAHMs and business mums/moms around the world are remarkably similar. Just lately I’ve connected with mums in business from Canada, Australia, USA and Dubai as well as Greece and we all want to know pretty much the same things. How can I run a business from home around kids? How do you start and run an internet business? Am I crazy to think I can do this? How do other mums manage it? Plus the big challenge for all small business owners – getting your marketing right.

So if you’re feeling a bit isolated and stuck at home behind your computer, just remember you’re one of a huge group of mums around the world who are building a better future for themselves and their families.

Makes you feel proud, doesn’t it?

Creative Commons License photo credit: kthypryn


Is Working From Home Getting You Down?

Working from home sounds the perfect solution if you’re a working mum. You can save time on your commute (by reducing it to…er…30 seconds!), you can work flexibly around the kids and you can even work in your pyjamas.

That’s all true, but there are downsides. It can be lonely, plus if you need to do any creative thinking, there’s nobody to bounce ideas around with. Then there’s having the self-discipline to ignore that pile of washing up. (If you got the house tidy before you started work, you’d never actually start work!)

That’s why Jelly is such a fabulous idea. Jelly is an informal co-working event where home workers, freelancers and home-based business operators get together for a day in pre-arranged venues to work, join forces and exchange tips and advice. Continue reading “Is Working From Home Getting You Down?”

Starting a Home Business: What Do You Really Need?

It’s never been easier or cheaper to start a business from home. But you still need a phone, a computer, insurance, to register as self-employed, a mailing address, business cards, a bank account and more.  You can do all of this quickly and cheaply, but it takes a long time and a lot of browsing around the internet to find out how. Then there’s that nagging feeling that you’ve missed something important!

That’s why I put together my e-book, Start a Home Business on A Shoestring . I’ve done the searching so you don’t have to! And you can use it as a checklist to make sure you’ve covered everything. You can download the e-book for free when you sign up for my Start Up Tips Newsletter.

11 Top Tips For Business Mums from Karen Sherr of Musical Minis

Last week Karen Sherr told us how she started her business, Musical Minis. Today she gives us her eleven top tips for running a business as a mum.

1. Research the market and competition.

2. Start small. Let the business grow as and when you can cope with expansion.

3. Have a clear idea what you want out of the business e.g. money, how much?

4. Try to separate work from home. If your business is based at home (as all the Musical Minis administration is) have a second phone line fitted. If you’re bathing the children, for example, the answer machine will pick up the call. If a child is having a tantrum you don’t have to speak about business and get more stressed – phone back once the children are settled.

5. Have backup. If your child is ill what will happen to your business? e.g. in Musical Minis will you have to send away the children or can you phone someone to run the class.

6. Know your limitations. For example if you have problems with accounts get someone to help you.

7. Set time aside to be a Mum. After school play with your child or help with homewok. Whenever possible I take and collect my children from school. On the 25 minute journey, I have time to hear about their day and my time is just focused on the children – no phone calls, email or supper to deal with.

8. If there are not enough hours in the day to do everything, do the bits you like (with both work and home life) and get help with the bits you don’t. E.g. get a cleaner, shop online.

9. Work out the balance between work and home that you want. Get help with either work or home life, if the business grows too big for you to manage both roles then work, home and you, will all suffer.

10. Set time aside to deal with administration, household tasks etc. If you keep putting it off the task will become huge (e.g., hours of paperwork, loads of ironing). Regular manageable chunks of mundane but important tasks will help things flow smoothly.

11. Set time aside for yourself. Running a business and having a family gives you no free time – there is always something you should be doing. It is important, whenever possible, to give yourself time to relax – maybe meet a friend for lunch, go shopping for yourself.

I have found the balance that is right for me. Others would need a different balance. Expansion with Musical Minis has purposely been kept small, on a level I can manage, as I still want to be a Mum. Now as the children are growing up, I feel expansion can be more rapid.

How to Manage Two Businesses and Two Toddlers at the Same Time

Award winning mumpreneur Joanne Dewberry of Charlie Moo's tells us about how she manages to be mum to two toddlers and run her businesses:

I’m constantly asked "How do you fit everything in?"  My mum is always saying "You need to slow down!".  I have two small children, Charlie age 3 and Megan age 1, I run two businesses, Charlie Moo’s and Networking Mummies. ( I co-own Networking Mummies with Laura Morris of RentaBuggy), so my life is pretty hectic! But I wouldn’t have it any other way!

The reason I started Charlie Moo’s was because I was disheartened by the rubbish party bags Charlie had received at parties. Not only did they break straight away, they were either very age inappropriate or made of plastic. At one party he received near enough a whole bag of chocolate. It became a slightly stressful experience. Charlie would wander out of the party tightly clutching a plastic bag in his hand and we would fight with him for the contents, in most cases he would be left with a balloon and some bubbles. I took the plunge to build and start up my website after Megan was born in August 2008. I became very adept at typing with one finger whilst breast feeding at 2am. I now sew all the fabric bags myself too!

When I struggle to fit everything in I remind myself why I started Charlie Moo’s: not for the money, not for the fame, not even to rid the world of plastic party bags … because I wanted to.  I also wanted to be a full time mum and that is what I am! My day is dictated mostly by the children’s routine, pre-school, toddler group, friends, trips to the park, I fit my businesses around this.  Sometimes I do have day meetings, events and workshops that I can’t take to. I work these in so they are not very often and it actually becomes a nice treat for them to spend the day with nanny or daddy.  In a lot of cases Megan does come along to meetings with me, but I find if I’m upfront and honest and let them know the situation most people are very accommodating. 

Being a mum is my number one job and being a business woman always comes second.  Which means I will work late at night early in the morning, and am proud of what I have already achieved. I’m fine with this arrangement as by September 2012 my children will both be a primary school and I will have missed nothing in the first four years but gained enough knowledge, skills, contacts and hopefully business kudos to be able to take Charlie Moo’s into the next phase.

(The photo is of Joanne's daughter, Megan.)