This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures. I will be celebrating with the Mumpreneurs Networking Club, you’ll struggle to find a more inspirational bunch. While the word ‘mumpreneur’ has now become a disliked term for some, for these types of networking groups it has come to mean support in a community redefining the rules of doing business.
The word itself is rather twee. I know for a fact it makes some people cringe. The more patronising among us envisage ladies sitting round swapping Avon for Tupperware and calling themselves business women. Typically we associate an entrepreneur as a business person who makes a good amount of money through creative and innovative means. Some women using the term ‘mumpreneur’ are not strictly entrepreneurs. However, the mumpreneur is viewed as a woman who is running their own business plus raising a family, you could argue this is completely creative or needs to be. It’s a fine line in terminology, as many men who are ‘entrepreneurs’ are probably dads too – does that make them dadpreneurs?
The truth is, women are taking rather large risks to create an income for themselves. Some have chosen a path where you invent your own timetable, on the one hand has multiple benefits but also takes a military approach to routine. Running your own business eats up your time and requires boundless energy. Mumpreneurs gamble with potentially missing out on quality time with their kids, without feeling tired. Logistically any working parent has challenges, it is a whole new dimension in time management. However, the structure of a job with fixed hours and a place of work, can offer a path of least resistance for a mum who needs to work to bring income into the family, but that is also by no means easy.
In my view, we need to strip away what we’ve learned over the years about women and working. Forget about the term mumpreneur and think more about what women in business are doing and how. Networking groups such as The Mumpreneur’s Networking Club are providing ways for women to connect on their terms. Rightly or wrongly, many of us prefer to swap skills or trade with another mum because we feel they understand our circumstances a little more. We actively promote each other’s businesses because we empathise with those who are trying to gain more confidence to sell themselves. We’ve stripped away some levels of formality, as we don’t particularly have time and need to get down to nitty gritty quick! Above all, many women with their own businesses are trying to achieve something to set an example to their children and inspire them to follow their passions.
That’s not to say we don’t struggle. There are numerous challenges with managing family life and balancing making money. But we support each other, confide in each other and those who have succeeded in some areas mentor those who are starting out.
That is why I’m spending my day at a charity lunch, surrounded by the city’s most exciting, passionate and interesting mums in business. Whatever we decide to call ourselves on that day, we are there to connect, work together and inpsire future generations of children (girls & boys).
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