Top tips from Australia’s best mumpreneurs
Last week’s AusMumpreneur Awards highlighted the challenges entrepreneurs who are also mothers face when trying to balance a business with their babies.
With the number of female-led and part-time businesses in Australia on the rise, it’s clear that ‘mumpreneurs’, many of whom operate as soloists, are an increasing force in the business landscape.
We spoke to some of the award winners to find out how they do it.
Kelly Northey, founder of Bamboo Bubby – which manufactures bamboo-cotton sleeping bags for babies and which took out the Favourite Product Award – says home and work are completely intertwined.
“I juggle all aspects of my business around the needs of my family, usually at night or during toddler sleep times.”
“A big part of the appeal of starting my own business was in creating one that worked for me and at this point in my life this is what does,” says Northey.
Motherhood and productivity
Elise Easdown, managing director of What's On 4, a series of kids entertainment websites, says being a mother has lifted her productivity.
“I recently heard that having a baby increases your brain’s grey matter by the equivalent of doing two university degrees. I'd believe it.”
“Motherhood trained my body to function on less sleep, to think laterally and to think and prioritise quickly.”
“There's no time for procrastination when you have a list of 10 items long to complete during your child’s nap time,” says Easdown.
Working in the evening
Katrina McCarter, managing director of Bubbler Deals, a deal of the day website for smaller businesses, says working in the evening when the kids have gone to bed is one way to make work and family life fit together.
“Many of my clients are mums operating businesses while juggling their kids. We tend to work school hours and then work in the evenings once the kids are in bed.”
“I find this a great time to reach many of my clients as they are working online then too. Many a deal has been struck in the late evening hours on Bubbler.”
When it comes to making the transition from being a mum into starting a new business, Northey relies on the Nike mantra.
“If you have an idea, the determination and the drive, just do it; even if it at times it seems daunting and overwhelming.”
“Persistence pays off, all you need to do is one thing every day – a year later you will be amazed with the journey,” she advises.
Just jump in
Tina Harris, from kids entertainer outfit Lah-Lah Products, says: “I just jumped in. It was a big risk but it felt like the right thing and I knew if I gave it my all it would work.
“There is such a shift after you become a mum and the working world looks so different. Being in an industry with children and families really felt like the right place for me at the time and it has really blossomed into a truly rewarding career.”
Differentiation is, however, key in an increasingly crowded mumpreneur market, something Northey fully appreciates.
“Bamboo Bubby is a manufacturer of specialist eczema clothing for babies and children with its Adjust-a-Sleeve design being its point of difference compared to other ranges on the market.”
“No other clothing range focuses on a solution that provides good value to parents who have already made sizable investments in eczema products,” she says.
Says McCarter: “I suggest looking for gaps within the market and identify needs not being met.”
“I operate a family deal site and the group buying industry is not known for its superior customer service.”
“As soon as I told people I was starting up a family deal site the first thing they would tell me was about their bad experiences.”
“I quickly assessed there was a clear opportunity for a customer-focused family deal site.”
“We also differentiate ourselves with our 5% donation program. Every purchase on Bubbler generates a 5% donation to an approved primary school, kindergarten or playgroup the purchaser selects,” she adds.
Toni Joel, whose gift business Tonic won the overall 2012 AusMumpreneur of the Year award, says differentiating your business is all about “doing something you believe in”.
“If I’m looking for a new scent for a candle I’m more likely to go into the garden than look at what other people are doing,” she says.
“It’s all about finding a direction from your own space.”
All the award winners
- AusMumpreneur of the Year: Nikki Horovitz and Toni Joel of Tonic
- Rising Star AusMumpreneur: Tina Harris of Lah-Lah
- Emerging AusMumpreneur: Elise Easdown of What's on 4 Little Ones – Australia
- Product Innovation: Dyna Predebon of Adoorabear
- Service Business of the Year: Kristen Semmens of Nitpro & Ziggetty Snipits Robina
- Favourite Blog: Jasmine Boothey of Bargain Mums
- Favourite Boutique: Amanda Edwards & Simone Norris of inviteme.com.au
- Favourite Product: Kelly Northey of Bamboo Bubby
- Favourite Eco-friendly: Dalal Ozdemir of EarthyMamma
- Favourite Handmade: Michelle Jeanes of Wicked Soy Candles & Melts
- Customer Service: Katrina McCarter of Bubbler Deals
- Making a difference: Nicky Johnston of Happy Hero