A lot of entrepreneurs come from a corporate background, which often stands them in good stead when they launch their start-up.
They are a vital, but often invisible part of the Australian economy – soloists who work from home, often in a spare room, contributing innovation and wealth well away from the top end of town.
It can be tricky for sole traders to stay connected with the start-up community, particularly as your business grows and time becomes an increasingly valuable resource.
Taking the plunge and becoming your own boss is risky at the best of times, but the danger for sole traders is higher than for other types of business.
Melbourne-based mumpreneur Tracey Cotroneo has launched an online directory of independent stores owned and operated by mothers in business, in the latest addition to the support available to mumpreneurs. Mother-of-two Cotroneo is the founder of Melbourne Mamma, a site designed to help Melbourne-based mumpreneurs generate more traffic to their stores. “Several stores that I shop at have closed in the last 12 months and I can see that many more are struggling to sell their stock and get customers through the door,” Cotroneo says. “The more I learned of the difficulties they were experiencing, having to deal with competition from shopping centres and bigger brands… I knew I had to do something.” Melbourne Mamma offers low-cost advertising to independent retailers and includes a by-location directory for consumers. “It will help families find a local mum-in-business store, offering personal service for time-poor, stressed mums,” Cotroneo says. But Cotroneo isn’t the only one offering mumpreneurs a helping hand. StartupSmart identifies three other initiatives aimed at mums in business: Huggies MumInspired Grant Program The Huggies MumInspired Grant Program is designed to bring out the untapped entrepreneurial spirit of Australian mums, while also helping to create a network of support for mumpreneurs. Mums are encouraged to submit applications with ideas that focus on nurturing the relationship between mother and child. The program is aimed at mums with bubs aged zero to four. Last year, five winners each received a $20,000 grant. There was also a People’s Choice Award, enabling the public to vote for their favourite grant recipient to receive an additional $10,000. Connect2mums Founded by Katy Garner and Peace Mitchell, Connect2mums is an online community that allows mums to read articles, join discussions and participate in live chat parties. Connect2mums is also home of the AusMumpreneur Awards and Mumpreneurs Conference, which celebrates mums in business. It also publishes a monthly online magazine filled with articles, interviews and inspiration. Support a Work At Home Person Directed by Brisbane-based author and entrepreneur Cas McCullough, Support a WAHP is an online community of more than 10,000 home-based businesses located throughout the world. “Support a WAHP launched in February 2010 with the intention to provide a space for work-at-home parents,” McCullough says. “[It] offers a place to promote and gain more recognition for your home based-business [and] connect with other work-at-home parents or people.”
This article first appeared on July 17th, 2012. The advantages of starting your business from the comfort of your own home are clear – you keep your overheads to a minimum, you eliminate the daily commute and you can be flexible with your hours.