Being a mother is one of the most amazing, challenging and creative jobs that anyone can do. Add running a business into the mix and it can be as thrilling as it is hard, especially when keeping everything on the surface looking normal “enough”.
Despite the challenges, the number of mothers in business is increasing. In 2018, the percentage of mothers in work in England rose to 74% – up from 68.9% five years before. According to the Women’s Business Council, 84% of women returning to work in 2018 were mothers with dependent children.
Ambition, business acumen and the need for flexibility alongside accomplishing one of the most demanding of roles – being a mum – is a potent combination. Mumpreneurs take multi-tasking to its pinnacle and conventional wisdom around when things are done is blown away, and that ability to juggle multiple priorities pays dividends.
Karren Brady, Jo Malone, Julie Deane, Victoria Beckham and Chrissie Rucker MBE are high-profile mumpreneurs who have a great ability to make things happen. If you believe that anything is possible, chances are it is. By honing the following characteristics as demonstrated by mumpreneurs, it is extraordinary what can be achieved.
Clarity, knowing what they want, and being clear on how to get there
Gaining clarity of direction is essential especially when faced with many ideas and challenges. I often advise clients with big goals and ambitions to break them down into the smallest of steps possible on a daily, weekly, monthly and ultimately annual basis. It is then so much easier to work through what needs to be tackled, and this readily shows up where you may need to draft in additional expertise and know-how.
There will inevitably be set-backs and obstacles, and being able to power through these is noticeable in mumpreneurs. It might not be easy however as is often quoted in the Pixar movie Nemo, one really does have to “just keep swimming”. It is a fantastic quality I have observed many, many times.
Having a strong belief in what you are doing goes a very long way, and of course from a neuroscience perspective, the sub-conscious doesn’t discriminate between fact and fiction. So, if we believe that we can do something, the brain recognises this and if we believe that we can’t, the same is also true.
Read more about mums in the business world:
- With a little help from my mum: Tangle Teezer founder recounts his journey
- How does the UK truly feel about men and women sharing parental leave?
- There’s a muse behind every leader: Entrepreneurs and MPs on their mothers
When self-belief is wavering mumpreneurs borrow it from some-one else, there are always people around us that believe in us. As Oprah Winfrey famously said “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe”.
Being adaptable to make better decisions and judgments goes hand in hand with running a great business. By analysing when things go well and when they don’t you will be able to adapt accordingly and regularly. It may sometimes be little adjustments and sometimes quite significant changes to the business, though all aligned to business focus and goals.
Where would the world be with-out passion? When you love what you do, following your dreams and realising your potential is so much easier especially when the going gets hard. Running a business takes energy, drive and buckets of determination, though with a bit of passion in the mix it keeps one motivated and inspired.
Great mumpreneurs don’t forget to look after themselves. There will be all-nighters and much hard work, and balancing this with making time for family, friends and hobbies is essential. Often, those cracking ideas happen when we are not focused on the business, so maintaining this balance is more important than you might think.
Celebrations should be often, the little successes as well as the big successes along the journey. They are a great reminder of strengths and skills, which sometimes get overlooked in the day to day meleé of activity, pressures and stresses; both professionally and personally. The celebration may just be a well-made coffee and a biscuit!
Eleanor Roosevelt said “Women are like teabags, you never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water”. She was bang on there!
Kate Tojeiro is an executive coach at X fusion and author of “The Art of Possible – new habits, neuroscience and the power of deliberate action”.
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