Guest Blog -The Joys and Sacrifices of being an Entrepreneur

As a Mum and Wife, you’re already being pulled in multiple directions. From organizing everyone’s meals at the start of the day, to drop offs, pickups and the numerous house chores, the list can seem never-ending.

But, you have a dream. A big dream. One that will change the world. How do you convince those around you that your dream can become a reality? You have to really work that magic and get it off the ground. That’s the hard part that no one really tells you about.

I come from a family full of Entrepreneurs and owning my own business is something I have subconsciously been aspiring to all my life. However, underneath this desire was the (pretty misguided) belief that everyone who owned their business was set for life. The day without a boss… Awesome! Yes? Hmmm… debatable.

Underneath all those layers of success, amazing stage presence and calm facade is stress. Stress in all shapes and sizes. Money is at the centre of this stress for a number of reasons:

  • You need to feel financially stable before you break away from your day job
  • You need money to be able to support the business
  • You need to more than break-even to also support yourself
  • If you can only support yourself, then how will you pay the staff?
  • Without staff, how will you scale?
  • If you can’t scale, how will you generate more profit?

It is a vicious cycle and one that is really hard to remove yourself from. I almost feel the real question we want to ask ourselves is: “Would we buy this product or service ourselves?”. Something tells me that if you personally are willing to part with your money, then there is a chance someone else will too.

Monetisation can be a struggle for many startups. If you have an app, it could take quite a long time to start charging. You would need to get a set number downloads and would probably have a freemium model. In which case, your most engaged customers are likely to be your pipeline for real paying customers.  If you have a service, you’re also likely to start charging small amounts until you get a steady stream of people recognising you and repeating business.

So where does the freedom, and work-life balance come in? After all, that’s the real reason we want to get away from the day job isn’t it?

No one could have prepared me for the harsh reality that starting up is NOT easier than a corporate job. You don’t get to delegate to anyone and you don’t have more free time. I have had to juggle an active 3 year-old and a 7 month old baby whilst attempting to make my dream a reality. It all seemed so far fetched in the early days but there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your idea evolve. The MumsinTech experience has given me the opportunity to learn so much about the Tech space and how many really inspiring women are already breaking down barriers for us. It’s been the best maternity leave ever! Learning, meeting amazing Mums and Dads, Visiting cool Startups and best of all, having Ivy with me all the time.

So yes, there might not be much money, but it’s my own personal satisfaction that makes me the richest person in town. Will this idea make me rich? Maybe not. But the level of passion I feel can’t compare to a full bank account.

That is what must get entrepreneurs up in the morning, prepare them to take on any challenge you throw their way, work all hours, give up on the latest fashion and move back into their parents’ house, or sell up and downsize. It’s because they are gaining a different kind of wealth, one that is much more rewarding than cash.

The image above is a shot from our amazing “Inspiring Women in Tech” Panel, hosted by Dominnique Karetsos.

Let’s get more women excited about Tech!

Junesigniture

No Kids Allowed

 

Ummm…Yes,I go on holiday without my daughter *hand on mouth gasp*

Why does that sentence paralyse me each time it rolls off my lips to answer the eyebrow lifting judgemental question “are you going on holiday alone?”

When my daughter was 6 months old, I went to Paris for my birthday weekend with a friend. I left Ariella Petra with her father armed with only a feeding schedule, bedtime routine reminder and a good luck note. Let me say that again, I left her with her f.a.t.h.e.r, not a stranger or pack of wolves for weekend rearing. Her loving, doting and fast learner,capable parent. And for the rest, well I was confident he would figure it out just like I did and try whatever worked for him and when all else failed, to do what any good man would do …. call his mother.

What could possibly go wrong? … Well, I am happy to report that NOTHING went wrong. Instead, dad got to enjoy some one to one bonding time with his daughter without my interfering or telling him what not to do. Since then, fast forward 4 years and I have booked a round trip for ONE every year. Yup, I checked out for some me time. Conscious soul sifting is what I like to call it …without hubby and without my daughter.

I returned from my first solo holiday well rested, light on my feet and energised like the ever ready bunny. I was a 33+ working mum that had a bit of me time. Throw in the mix a BFF, retail therapy and couple glasses of bubbly minus the breast pump and you can only imagine how I bounced through the door. Secret: The hardest part was not leaving…but coming home and realising Ariella Petra had not even noticed or remembered that I was gone knocked the breath out of me. Talk about heart wrenching moment. Now I ask you, who is acting like the baby?

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 09.50.26From then on between running businesses, broadcasting, podcasts and gunning for a mother of the year award – I take a holiday, by myself. A gift from myself to myself -with love.

The almost dreaded part of this, is announcing I wont be making a play date or birthday party “Because I am going on vacation” and then the dreaded question “alone?” … The nerves kick in – you would think I was in first grade giving a dissertation on the worlds presidents – palms sweating, tummy churning…bottom lip quiver …I swallow and politely whimper “yes, alone “ quickly followed with “ she will be with her daddy and friends having so much fun “in case they thought I was leaving her locked in the courtyard with only fresh water.I spend my days presenting to a plethora of dragons den-esque businessmen and woman, but one judgemental parent (agreed this is total projection on my part) and I am unravelling as fast as my kid unwrapping a present.

From the moment I walk out the door and wipe away my guilty tears – yes that’s right – I never said I did this without feeling guilty, I put aside (still work in progress) all the pressures and challenges of business, family, friends and motherhood.

So why do I continue to go on holiday without my daughter? Because I can… and because I return with enough bounce that would put Tigger to shame, overwhelming appreciation and awe of my little girl and her father and patience of a saint (for a couple of weeks at least). Conscious soul sifting is one step closer to a better version of myself, which means I’m a stronger, happier mom.

Just a foot note – in case you wondering – yes of course we go on family holidays together. (There I go again – What is it with us mums justifying our parenting styles?)

So would you go on holiday alone ?