Are you a mum who owns her own business, possibly facing the overwhelming task of juggling motherhood with work? Mum of three and owner of both Bright Biz Online Marketing and a photography business, Loreena Walsh explains the benefits of being a Mumpreneur
Who are Mumpreneurs?
Mumpreneurs wear many hats, but the easiest way to explain is that Mumpreneurs are mums and entrepreneurs all wrapped up into an exciting mix of passion, business and family commitments. Port Macquarie Mumpreneurs is a new networking group, originally founded on Facebook as a networking tool for local mums who are in business.
Mumpreneurs are generally fun, exciting and ambitious people who have chosen to establish or grow a business while also being a mum. For the majority of members, this means that their businesses are flexible, often home based and can be in a range of industries.
How did your particular group come to be established?
A wonderful lady, Vivienne Keys, who is the owner of Queen V Cupcakes and Party Pailz, was the group founder and sums it up best in her own words: “Port Macquarie’s Mumpreneurs eventuated early one morning when my mind was in overdrive with millions of ideas for my little home business, but with no one to bounce them off! I knew I had seen a lot of mums around the local markets with the most adorable products. As my husband and I own a trade business that is predominately male oriented, I was limited to a few like minded friends who shared the same challenges and passions.
“I invited a couple of people I knew to join a Facebook group, not really knowing if they would be interested or not. In a short couple of months, we now have 58 members – with new ones being added every week. I wanted the name to reflect the unique products and high quality that is offered by fellow Mumpreneurs. We’re not big and commercial, but everything we produce is done so with love and enthusiasm. Each woman is out there using modern technology to market their business, and people are interested more than ever in handmade goods, or personalised business services, so it’s a great time to be a mum in business!”
Who are some of the group’s members?
Members are located across the Hastings region, including Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Laurieton, Lake Cathie and surrounds. There are so many different members, it would be hard to list them all here. We’ve just launched a website and people will be able to see a full directory of our members at: www.portmumpreneurs.com.au
What are some of the products / services that current Mumpreneurs offer?
Here’s an overview of the types of services and products offered by our members: cake decorating, handmade clothing and accessories, face painting, art products and classes, homewares and gifts, photography, party entertainment, health and beauty products and business services such as marketing, search engine rankings and public relations.
What do Mumpreneurs do when they get together for meetings?
The group is so fresh and new, we’re in the planning stages to take everything to the next level. Up until now, meet ups have been as simple as coffee and girls’ nights. From next month, we’ll be holding an event on the first Sunday of each month. These events will include social outings such as dinners, professional events such as guest speakers and family days to include children and partners, which is something you don’t get with many other business networks.
Other initiatives are the distribution of goodie bags and joint advertising to help make some forms of advertising more accessible to members.
What have been some of the benefits of being a member so far?
For many Mumpreneurs, there’s a sense of isolation. Being at home working away in your business, or being busy with family responsibilities can leave very little time to have ‘me time’ or talk to other business people. The online environment has brought people closer together, so it’s great to have members within reach 24/7, but the in person contact where children aren’t a hassle to other business owners is just irreplaceable.
It’s hard to be involved in Business Networks when you have children in tow, so having a business network that appreciates family and business and realises that the two are important in so many women’s lives is priceless.
What do members of the group ultimately hope to achieve through their membership?
Jade from Little Glimpses explains some of the biggest benefits: “Networking, friendship, advice (I’m sure there is more!) – we all have different talents and can all learn off each other and help further each other’s businesses! We have talents in our businesses, but also other talents that we have gained from being in the work force.”
It’s a resounding majority of members who agree that socialising with women who share the same visions and challenges and growing our businesses together helps them to stay motivated, inspired and focused and get help that wouldn’t normally be possible.
How difficult do you believe it is to establish a home-based business?
Members in Mumpreneurs agree that there are unique challenges faced with running a home business while raising a family. Issues such as capital outlay to get the business started, confidence to step outside the square, logistics of creating, networking, accounting, paperwork, while raising a family, can be difficult to keep up with.
Michelle Newman of Michelle Newman Public Relations gave this insight: “Running a home-based business is a bit like being a duck: from a business perspective, you aim to look as though you’re gracefully gliding across the surface of a lake – all the while you’re paddling like mad under the water to stay afloat and get where you’re going!”
But if you ask our members, they wouldn’t have it any other way!
What, in your opinion, are some of the advantages for people looking to establish a home-based business?
When I asked this question of our members, their response was a resounding “Flexibility” and “Spending more time with the kids”. For our Port Mumpreneurs Network especially, these two factors have been the driving force behind running their business.
Being able to work at any time of day or night, being able to adjust work schedules around family and be in control of the workload at any given time is what our mums are striving for. Of course, it’s really important not to lose sight of just how difficult it can be to juggle all these areas.
Bec from Little Toot shares her thoughts on the challenges of starting a business: “Establishing the business is the easy part! But building it to a point where it is self-sustaining (and then profitable) is hard work. For me, the main challenges of working from home are that it’s almost impossible to switch off; there is always something to do.”
Is membership of Mumpreneurs open to everyone?
Port Macquarie Mumpreneurs is open to any mum who owns her own business. If you’re looking for like minded women who balance business and family, then we’d love to get to know you!
Interview by Jo Atkins.