As far as I can remember, the moment I was out of a 9-5 job owing to moving countries and a couple other personal circumstances; being an “Entrepreneur” has always been on my mind. Partly achieving my entrepreneurial goals in the first few years of marriage got me super addicted to it. I realized no other job can offer me that inner happiness and satisfaction other than something that I have personally worked on. But then came motherhood, and along with it a whole new set of challenges and responsibilities. And here’s how my journey from an entrepreneur to a mumpreneur took place.
Life as a business owner before a baby:
Deciding to start my own business started way back in 2015. I had quit my job back in Mumbai and was living in Sydney with my husband, awaiting my Permanent residency. The monotony of being a homemaker meant there was an explosion of ideas in my brain. I was craving creativity, self-sufficiency, income from doing things that I love, work that felt like play amidst truckloads of free time- and starting my own business gave me all of that and more.
My day would start by working on my laptop while sipping some coffee in the tranquillity of my home. Hours would pass in a jiffy without even realizing it. I had no mental baggage or guilt as I sat home and worked on my own business. This gave my creative mind its own wings after years of being caged to a 9-5 job life. I was blown over with the kind of ideas I got and how the rush of dopamine swept in, as I learnt new things in relation to my business. Life was never the same again.
My experience as a first-time entrepreneur:
As I learnt over time, the first business is always the hardest one. It can be an epic success story or be an epic fail, but one thing is for sure. It will teach you some of the most valuable business lessons you’ve learned. I worked on Soul Indian Journeys, my first baby for 4.5 years before I took a little maternity break. My reason for starting Soul Indian- an offbeat travel planning company was to work on something that fuels my love or travel and India. To say I lived my dream and best life, was just the tip of the iceberg. It brought in me life-changing developments from confidence to knowledge on how to run a business, identify the “right clients”, how to work on pricing your services, how to deal with sudden issues or how to design my own website, market my own business or blog. I built a small community of repeat clients who loved my services and this fueled me even more. I realized one thing, if you put your heart and soul into your work and respect your customers/ clients, you will always achieve success- big or small.
As we all know, life doesn’t always run according to our plans. I had originally decided to continue working on Soul Indian Journeys even after my maternity got over. But before that could happen, COVID19 struck the world and India was the worst affected. Travel and hospitality were most affected and the world as we knew changed. It just didn’t feel right for me to recommend or propagate travel or holidays when I know that it could lead to further spread of the virus or life-threatening issues for my clients. I wanted to earn money but not at the cost of anyone’s life. That’s when I decided to take a break from the travel business and work on something else.
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So what is a Mumpreneur?
A mompreneur is a female owner who is actively balancing the roles of mother and of entrepreneur according to Wikipedia.
Life after a baby:
Once you have a baby your life is kind of turned around in more ways than one. Throw in a baby that hates napping or has acid reflux and you know you will be struggling for time. My baby was and is a high-need and super spirited baby so there was never a calm moment at home, outside or in the car. I tried hard but struggled for time to my own self for even basics like having a bath or taking care of myself mentally, physically or creatively. The only time I got a breather was when my LO started day-care 2 days a week. That is when I started getting a hold of life. It gave me a new reason to think of some more creative ideas for entrepreneurship.
I realised that housework never really ends if you are a SAHM, you just got to carve out and prioritise every extra minute you get to grow yourself and your brain cells. Tomorrow or within a year, I might or might not be in a full time 9-5 or I may be working on my own business, who knows? Life gives no second chances- if you want to do something and have some time on your hand, just do it. If nothing else, you will learn if something can work and maybe learn how to operate and function a new business.
You can juggle motherhood and a business and be great at both
After I put bub in daycare for 2 days a week, I had time to think about what I want to do, read about something new, or just have at least some time to myself. That is when I decided to work on some passive income ideas, one of which was to start a print on demand gift shop. I thought it was the perfect way to use my graphic design, photography, painting ideas and fuse them all into usable products while learning a thing or two about e-commerce business and marketing. Bingo! That’s how I came up with my new business idea.
Managing time to run a business as a new mum:
Let me be very honest here, it is very hard managing a business or for that matter any work along with children. You have to lean on some kind of family support/daycare or paid home support. Here are ways I try to sneak out time to do some work:
- Trying to leverage baby’s nap time to the max – In my case my bub was used to contact napping since birth, so she would either sleep on my lap or shoulder or arms. This meant using my phone as my work device. I would use that time to research everything related to my business, list down new ideas in notes or watch YouTube videos to learn things that were new to me.
- Grab a cuppa of coffee and use those extra hours at night after putting bub to sleep (If you have an all night sleeping bubba-then this time is GOLD).
- You could also use any extra time you get while travelling in public transport. You could hear some work/ career/business/financial tips related podcasts on Spotify/ read a book that helps you in your business or work on your laptop or phone- whatever suits you.
When you become a mum, time becomes most precious than ever and every minute you get on your own can be profitable to you.
My advice to new mums looking to start their own business :
- Be gentle with yourself and dont compare: My advice to any new mom is to be as gentle with yourself as possible. Don’t set up too many expectations of how “Mompreneurship” will be or how someone else made it happen. You know your situation, goals and baby the best. Your baby could be different and so your schedules might be different too. You may or may not be able to carve in an exact number of hours each day. Just keep pushing yourself a little bit more every day and find your own sweet spot.
“Give yourself 1-2 attainable goals each day no matter how small”.
- Prioritise: Another thing to know is that you will face a rollercoaster of emotions being a new mom. If you take all the mental load of the baby as well as the home- you will have no physical or mental energy to work on your business. Prioritise tasks that are necessary and those that can wait. For eg. laundry can be kept unfolded and the kitchen dishes can stay dirty for a few more hours. Don’t worry too much about creating the perfect balance as a working mom, because let’s be honest here- there is nothing like a perfect balance.
- Join a local mompreneur group: If you feel alone on your new journey and are looking for some like-minded mums on a similar path, join a local mompreneur group. You will not only get valuable tips to help run your business and networking opportunities but also lifelong friends.