Starting a business is always hard work. This is shown by the statistics, which demonstrate a high rate of start-up failure of around 30% in the first two years. Moreover, starting your dream business during motherhood presents its own set of challenges. You have to balance time and energy proficiently and deal with the stress and financial hardship of bringing up both a child and a business.
That doesn’t mean you should be put off pursuing your career. It is possible to achieve the work-life balance, and many super-mums out there have already done so. You could be one of them if you only have the dedication to see it through.
Splitting your time between motherhood and your career is a juggling act. Of course, your little ones are your priority, but you can still find time for business. You just won’t have much time for anything else in between.
Entrepreneurs typically work more than full-time workers. The average is 52 hours a week. Mothers, meanwhile, spend an average of more than 2 hours per day doing ‘mum’ things, though in reality, every mother will know that parenting is a full-time job in itself. This means your average work week of both paid time and unpaid time will amount to at least 66 hours. If you’re not ready for that then it’s best to put the business on hold for a while.
There are many reasons why start-ups fail, and lack of funding is one of them. Unfortunately, there is currently a venture-capital pay gap that women face, with only 8% of Series A investment going to female-led businesses. Stated reasons include the nuances of female entrepreneurship (motherhood, presumably, qualifying as a nuance), and subtle sexisms.
Mothers may have to look to alternative means of raising capital if they cannot gain the investment needed. This could include crowdfunding or borrowing money. If you have a poor credit rating, you may still be eligible for bad credit loan for business, and will be assessed on factors such as current income levels. If you do borrow, you should always have a reasonable repayment plan in place so as not to jeopardise business or home life.
Being a mother is inherently stressful, and so is being a business owner. With all this going on in your life, you have to be confident that you can deal with the stress. Cherish those rare moments you have for yourself, and use them wisely to recuperate and recover. But understand that you can’t do it on your own.
There are many ways to run your business effectively during motherhood. Ask for help when you need it, and build communities of like-minded individuals around you who know what you are going through. Network and connect with mothers, business owners, and ‘Mumpreneurs’.
Being a mum can actually make you a better entrepreneur. Think about it. You will learn to make better use of time, to trust your own opinions (which will be constantly challenged by your little ones), to become a tough negotiator and to develop a strong sense of discipline. Be aware of the challenges of motherhood when combined with business. It’s not for everyone. But if you feel it is your dream, then follow it and achieve it – not as a sacrifice to motherhood, but as a beneficial component of it.