What is a ‘Mumpreneur’?
I think most people would agree that a lot changes once you have children. There are the immediate feelings of shock and awe that nine months of pregnancy still can’t prepare you for - are they REALLY going to let us take that little human being home? By ourselves???
Then, once you’ve adjusted to having a little person dependent on you every hour of every day, your mind switches to other worries such as how to get them to sleep more, or shout less.
Later on, after the joys of weaning (but some time before potty training - there’s only so much mess a person can take without some respite in between) you start reaching the major milestones like walking and talking, when the gorgeous little creatures become a tiny bit more independent.
I found that it was around this point that I finally had time to start thinking about my non-parenting life again and to consider what my career might look like in the future. I had given up work as a teacher to bring my two boys up and was unsure about whether or not I wanted to return. I loved teaching, but like many other mums, wanted something that might fit more flexibly around our family life.
There is another factor as well. Raising two children has given me a different perspective on life that isn’t just to do with the logistics of childcare. I feel more confident and I want to see if I can follow through on plans that have been nestling away in the back of my mind for a while.
I think a lot of ‘mumpreneurs’ are women who have taken some time off to have children and have then used that time to reassess what’s important to them. They may well also have come across gaps in the market that they weren’t aware of before and want to create a product or service to fill that gap. They may feel that existing products or services could be vastly improved. They may want to take on a new challenge or learn a new skill to model for their children a proactive approach to life.
I think ALL mumpreneurs would class themselves as effective multi-taskers and all of them would describe themselves as motivated, family-orientated individuals. They are prepared to work hard, stay up late and still be a devoted mother, as well as hopefully doing work that they enjoy and that will earn money to support their families.
There is no exhaustive list of ‘ideal’ mumpreneur jobs, as it clearly it’s sensible to choose something that utilises your own best skills, but for people who are keen to consider new ideas to suit their new families the following options often prove popular.
Freelancing for your previous employers
It is worth investigating whether you could do your old job on a freelance basis. You wouldn’t get the same benefits, but could command a higher rate of pay and could exercise a lot more control over the hours you worked. Thanks to constant advances in technology, you may well also be able to work some or all of those hours from home.
Being paid to look after other people’s children could also allow you to stay at home and look after your own while they were young. You would need to get a full check from the Criminal Records Bureau and may well need to obtain some other childcare qualifications (as well as registering with Ofsted), but once these were in place, you would ready to go.
Take on a franchise opportunity for a baby / toddler group
You may well have attended various classes with your children and might enjoy the chance to run one of these. Running a franchise would mean you had the backing of the umbrella organisation, but were able to take charge of the business for your particular area.
For those who feel confident in chatting to people and persuading them to part with their money, there are many opportunities to work in door-to-door or party-based sales. Avon is a famous example, but there are many other companies that use this approach now. The Body Shop and Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie at Home’ company, for instance, both give people the chance to organise parties, sell products from their catalogues and get some great discounts for the host.
You could consider teaching adults about something you’ve always enjoyed - photography, sewing, origami? This would give you a chance to indulge your passion and meet like-minded individuals whilst earning some money for sharing your expertise.
Jobs you can do from home
This is probably what people would see as the most exciting area of mumpreneurship - identifying a favourite hobby or skill that you can do at home, then working out how to make money from it. There are endless options here, but popular choices seem to be cake-making, becoming a seamstress or making cards and other stationery. If you are especially organised, you could become a virtual PA and offer to help other small businesses with their administration. Many people take up eBay selling as a way to earn money from home. The list goes on!
Having a ‘break’ from your usual career during maternity leave can be an invaluable opportunity to consider whether you would rather be your own boss and play a more active part in shaping what your working life looks like. If this sounds appealing, just do a simple internet search for ‘mumpreneur’ for inspiration. You’ll be in great company!