Rise of the Mumpreneur
There’s a new wave of entrepreneurs taking the business world by storm. They’ve traded briefcases and lattes for diaper bags and baby bottles. Meet the work-from-home ‘mumpreneurs’.
Driven by the rising cost of living, these mumpreneurs are creating new businesses that can be run from home in order to pay the bills, whilst still attending to the needs of their growing families.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, home-based businesses are the fastest growing small business sector in the nation, with an estimated one million people working from home. A recent Bank West report showed the number of women running a business has grown 4.8 per cent in the last decade, while for men it has fallen 8.7 per cent.
The high cost of childcare is the number one reason mothers cite for not returning to full-time employment after the birth of their child. In Queensland, the average cost of childcare is more than $80 a day, with some parents paying as much as $115 a day. Sydneysiders have it even worse, with some places charging up to $160 a day. Long waiting lists add to the difficulties of placing a child in full-time childcare. Despite enrolling their children immediately after birth, some mothers still miss out on their preferred childcare centre when its time to return to work.
But more are discovering the flexibility and convenience, as well as a better work/life balance, that working from home affords. After the birth of her first child, Jesse Windle, 31, of the Gold Coast, made the daily commute to her job as an event planner in Brisbane for three years, until one day she had a revelation.
“All this time I thought I had been working hard to provide the best life I could for my son, but I realised that the time we were missing together as a family was a much bigger sacrifice than the stable income I was bringing in. I needed to work smarter, not harder,” says Jesse. “It was in that moment I realised that the regular 9 – 5 gig was not for me and that I needed to come up with a way to make money whilst still being able to devote the time I wanted to raising my son.”
After resigning from her job, Jesse toyed with a few ideas, still unsure of exactly what it was that she wanted to do. As a self-taught graphic designer, she began working on a contract basis for a local clothing designer. She had always had a passion for creating beautiful things, from typography to cooking. She set up an Instagram account and began uploading pictures of her creations.
“I guess I was having a bit of a tough time at this stage,” recalls Jesse. “I was still a bit unsure of myself and my path in life. My middle name is Louise (one of my nicknames is Louie), and I was trying to ‘find myself’ so I decided to name my Instagram account Finding Louie.”
“I would upload pictures of things I had made – decorative items for the house, and hand crafted party and wedding invites I had created for friends – and my Instagram followers would ask if they could purchase something similar, so I began selling through Instagram.”
After a year of steady Instagram sales, and with the encouragement of a very supportive husband, Jesse launched her website Louie Luxe (www.louieluxe.com), selling typography based artwork and gorgeous hand crafted décor items.
So has the change been worth it?
“When I first left my job, the goal was to make as much money from home as I did in full-time employment. I am now making that, and more, without the stress of commuting and the demands of a time-consuming career.”
With the recent addition of another beautiful boy to their brood, life has never been busier for Jesse.
“When Jayce is at school and Raffy is napping, I am insanely busy creating and packing orders – but I have also never been happier. It truly is the best feeling in the world when I log into Instagram and see pictures of my artwork in my customers’ homes – it makes my heart full.”
But not all mumpreneurs are getting crafty. Angela Simson is the 27-year-old founder of The Gratitude Project (www.the-gratitude-project.com). What started as an online space to inspire people to live happier, healthier lives, has turned into a fully-fledged business for this holistic health coach and mother-of-one.
“I started my Facebook page and Instagram account for the Gratitude Project when I was studying online at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition, right after I had my baby,” explains Ange, as she is better known.
“In the beginning I would just post inspirational tips on how to appreciate what you already have, and how to turn what you’ve got into more than enough. People began to respond to it and my social media following grew so rapidly that I quickly realised there was a great little business in this.”
Before embarking on her career as a health coach, Ange worked in a retail management position. “I loved my job, but I always knew that I didn’t want to return to it after I had my baby,” explains Ange. “If I was going to give up time with my daughter, it would have to be for something really worthwhile.”
For Ange, the Gratitude Project is definitely worthwhile.
“In the early days, my focus was on food and health. I would create recipes for super healthy but delicious treats and sell the recipes as e-books online. These days most of my time is devoted to coaching women on how to live inspired and fulfilling lives in one-on-one sessions, or through my online transformation programs. The reward I get from helping others is so satisfying. It really makes me feel like I am doing something great with my life.”
So how does a woman who is so busy helping others live their best life make sure she has time to devote to her own life and her own family?
“I only conduct my coaching sessions when my daughter, Bo, is at kindergarten. My time with her is only for her, so I make sure to schedule all my appointments on the days I have freed up for clients. Sometimes this means also working after she is in bed at night, but for me that’s a small sacrifice to make in order to have the time I need to give to my child.”
The success of the Gratitude Project has also translated into financial rewards for Ange, who is now making double the salary she received in her previous retail career.
That’s not to say that starting your own home-based business is an easy, or even feasible, option for all mothers, but these two inspirational young women are great examples of what’s possible for today’s mumpreneurs.
Queensland Announces Home Based Business Grants Program
In an Australian first, the Queensland government recently committed $1 million over three years to assist families establish and develop home-based businesses.
The new ‘Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow’ scheme will provide grants of up to $5,000 to assist parents maintain a healthy balance between work and family, and combat the rising cost of living, by running their own home-based businesses.
To be eligible, applicants must:
- have a Queensland-based business
- meet the definition of a home-based business
- have at least one child under 12 in their care for at least 50% of the time
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
To find out more, visit www.business.qld.gov.au