Starting a business as a mum feels like the dream for many. What better holy grail of founding and growing something you are passionate about whilst having the flexibility to be there for your children. For many, the promise of this beats going back to the standard workplace when they’re ready to get back in.
But the reality is, starting a business as a mum – and growing it – can be hard work, as well I know! With that said, today we have Christine Gouchalt – author of Business Mum: Three steps to success in running your own business and being a mum – to share everything you need to know about starting a business as a mum.
The idea of starting and growing a business as a mum seems great in theory – what’s the reality?
I guess it depends on your business idea. Not every type of business is flexible enough to meet the needs of your family. Having said that, in my personal experience with three different kinds of businesses in France and Denmark, I must say that it gives mere more freedom, flexibility and fun, which makes me a happier and kinder mum.
That doesn’t mean that having your own business is a walk in the park. You encounter just as many problems as when you have a normal job. The difference is, that you are more in control of your own time and can structure your day in a way that suits your needs.
How important is it to work out your priorities in life and business when growing a business with a family?
Very important. The whole first step of my three-step process in Business Mum evolves around your priorities, values and beliefs. It’s a puzzle to balance work and family and can only be done if you are aware of what you want, where you are going and why it is important to you. You’ll be faced with a lot of options to choose from and need a “compass” to guide you in the right direction. Also, if what you are doing is not crucial to you, you’ll be more inclined to give up when you face adversity.
As a mum with limited time, how do you practically speaking make this work?
You focus on what is most important and cut out all of the irrelevant stuff. I have enough time for my business and four kids, but I don’t watch TV and haven’t been to the cinema for 10 years, and besides the grand parents I see my friends and relatives less often. Also you talk to you partner to get his/her support, so that you are not in charge of all the house-hold chores. Your career is equally important to his/her career.
What five golden pieces of advice would you share for those mums looking to establish and grow their own business while raising?
- Find out what is important to you in life and why.
- Focus on your customers: who do you want to help and what value do you want to give them. Then build you product or service around that.
- Build meaningful relationships; with costumers, business partners, and entrepreneurs who can help you. People do business with people and trust is key.
- Focus. Spend your time on activities that make your business move forward, like getting customer instead of wasting time on the colours and fonts on you website.
- Lover your expenses. It takes some of the pressure to make a lot of money quickly plus you can invest to grow you business.
Can you share some of your favourite tools tools and exercises for solving problems and growing pains of juggling a business and family?
- Talk to other women who have already done it. There are many communities where you can meet like-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll see that you are not alone and that help isn’t far away.
- Use the many free or cheap online resources to automate your procedures.
- Remember to take a break and relax when you need it. You won’t last long or make good decisions if you are exhausted.
Who do you find really inspirational when it comes to growing a business while raising children? (feel free to mention a few people)
- Susanne Hessellund – 6 children – pilot and billionaire – founder and CEO of the helicopter firm “Bel Air”
- Danusia Malena Derben – 10 children – School for Mothers
- Louise Ertman – 3 children – Founder of “Letz Sushi” – sold it in 2018 with more than 13 restaurants and 200 employees
- Dare I say, Kris Jenner
If you had to give a pep talk to my readers who might be thinking about setting up and growing their own business it would be:
You only live once. I believe that you regret more what you don’t do, than what you do, especially when it comes to following your dream. Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle that to me, gives me much more meaning and so much joy on a daily basis that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s not a matter of money or success, but about being on a journey that makes you grow as a person. So if you dream of starting your own business, ask yourself, how much will you regret it, if you don’t do it?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t be fooled by the stories of automated income and instant success. Because then you’ll easily feel like a failure when it doesn’t happen to you.Action and persistence create results. Know that you must work a lot over a long period to succeed, that things will not go as planned, but that the journey is amazing.
Are you a mum looking to start your own business? Or perhaps you have been there and done that and have some of your own tips to share. Do leave a comment below.