It is no secret that women business owners are more affected by the addition of a child in comparison to their male counterparts. However, female entrepreneurs are increasingly proving that they are able to successfully run a company and care for a family at the same time, and this has led to the rise of the ‘mompreneur’, a term given to female business owners who are actively balancing the role of being a mother and an entrepreneur.
According to Nimo Naidoo, project manager of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, the number of female-owned South African businesses is growing, and ‘mompreneurs’ are contributing towards this growth.
“The concept of working from home has gained popularity over the last few years and due to the advances in communication and information technologies allowing for a more mobile workforce, many individuals are choosing to run their businesses from home instead of renting office space.
“This development has also led to many mothers now having the option to run a business whilst also having the freedom and flexibility to spend time with their children.”
She points to a report by the United States Census Bureau, which revealed that about 30% of individuals working from home are self-employed women, compared to about 20% of men. “These figures highlight the growth of female run home-based businesses.”
Naidoo says that women are choosing to start businesses for many reasons, mostly for the flexibility it offers, but also because they have noticed a gap in the market, often inspired by motherhood.
“The rise of the ‘mompreneur’, and the awareness created around the possibility of running a business from home while still caring for the home and children, is extremely positive as it encourages women who may not have previously considered a career path of an entrepreneur as an option.”
While being a ‘mompreneur’ has its many benefits, juggling a start-up or small business, as well as the role of a mother, can sometimes be challenging.
Naidoo says that in order to successfully balance work and family, it is crucial to establish a suitable work environment at home. “This can be done by planning your workspace at home and by setting aside a dedicated office area. This will allow you to separate work and family effectively.”
She adds that managing time effectively can sometimes be a challenge. “Being a mother is a full time job, and the additional responsibilities that come with running a business can seem daunting. In order to manage your time as effectively as possible, draft a rough schedule that includes all daily activities. This will allow structured work periods at a time that best suits your schedule. It may be working in the morning when the children have gone to school, or in the afternoon when they are having an afternoon nap or doing homework. While this schedule is likely to change given the nature of home life, it will assist in balancing your time between work and family time.”
One of the other possible challenges ‘mompreneurs’ might encounter along their entrepreneurial journey is finding the balance of how and when to expand the business. “’Mompreneurs’ often start a business to afford the opportunity to watch their children grow up and may be hesitant, or decide against, expanding their business for the fear of taking away time from the family.
“Instead, ‘mompreneurs’ should take the opportunity to expand their business as their children grow up and start spending more time at school and with friends,” concludes Naidoo.