Entrepreneurs are busy. Mumpreneurs are busier.
There is always something that needs doing, whether it is meeting deadlines, running reports, filing accounts, scouting for new clients or developing products or services. And there will always be a gulf between the amount of time you have and the amount of time you need.
Now throw in all the demands that come along with having children – school runs, soccer practice, homework, bedtimes – and you start to understand just what mumpreneurs are contending with on a daily basis.
Yet these hurdles don’t seem to have done much to dent the popularity of mumpreneurship. Across the UAE, we find more and more mums starting their own businesses. It should be no surprise: Dubai is perfectly geared towards encouraging entrepreneurship and many mumpreneurs are taking full advantage and creating exciting startups. A quick glance at the landscape shows an incredible variety of businesses that mums in the UAE are building.
Dubai is perfectly geared towards encouraging entrepreneurship and many mumpreneurs are taking full advantage and creating exciting startups in our region.
It’s an exciting time.
But let’s pause for a second. Because while mumpreneurship offers greater control, flexibility and potential financial rewards than most nine-to-fives (all while allowing mothers to focus on raising their children) there is not one mumpreneur who hasn’t created a wish list in her mind, an “If only…” list that would make the day just that little bit more manageable.
So check out the top four “If only” moments on our mumpreneur wish list – and tips on how to make them a reality.
1. If only I could get a good night’s sleep: With not one but two full-time jobs to contend with, something has to give. And more often than not in the world of the mumpreneur, it is sleep that is sacrificed. Late nights running business errands precede early mornings waking children, and fairly quickly the section between the two gets smaller and smaller. However, far from getting more done by reducing the number of hours we spend in dream-land, skipping sleep can actually have a devastating impact on our productivity levels. Recent research from the Harvard Medical School found that scrimping on shut-eye by just an hour or two wreaks havoc with our memory, cognitive function and our ability to learn and process information. Many find including a work-out as part of the daily routine can really help when it comes to energy levels and good sleep. The key is to stop viewing time in bed as an indulgence and start seeing it for what it is – a vital component in the success of your business.
The key is to stop viewing time in bed as an indulgence and start seeing it for what it is – a vital component in the success of your business.
2. If only I could duplicate myself: I’m sure we have all thought this at one time or another. Just imagine: You could get more done exactly how you like it. Unfortunately, until we master the art of human cloning, this simply isn’t possible. However, what you can do is build a strong team of freelancers who understand your priorities and who can support during tighter times. Working with a close group of casual workers allows you to build trust and understanding – though you will undoubtedly have to let your perfectionist tendencies slip ever so slightly. After all, no matter how good a freelancer is, they will never be you. While it may be tricky to let go, delegating in this manner is well worth the effort. Delegation is not simply about handing off the tasks you don’t have time (or don’t want) to do, it is also a great way to add new skills to your business by working with experts in their fields – such as dedicated accountants, marketers or salespeople.
3. If only I could get all my customers to pay on time, every time: This is an “If only” that everyone in business has thought about – not just mumpreneurs. The fact is, if you’re an entrepreneur of any sort, you need to get used to the volatile and often stressful world of collections. The first thing to do is familiarise yourself with your clients’ payment terms, and then put reminders in place to ensure those due dates don’t just slip by unnoticed. Far from simply being a minor inconvenience, late payments have the potential to destroy small businesses. According to a survey by the Forum for Private Business reported in the Financial Times, 16% of small businesses have come near to closure due to late payments, with 51% highlighting it as an ongoing concern. The good news: There is plenty you can do to mitigate risk against such situations. Firstly, be sure to have an open discussion with your clients about payment terms, then draw up an organised cash flow picture, ideally in some sort of finance software to ensure you always know what is owed and when. Should a due date be missed, a polite reminder is usually enough to smooth things out.
4. If only it was all plain sailing: Fear, self-doubt, guilt, worry and feeling like you just want to give it all up is perfectly natural. Everyone in the business world has felt this at one time or another. There is no quick trick to getting this right: Mumpreneurs have to be resilient and have to find that extra will when others would cave.
It’s about keeping moving forward no matter what both home and business life throw in the way. The quicker you start to view challenges as opportunities to learn, the quicker you’ll overcome and move on from them. And it is this ability that separates those who want to run their own business, and those who actually make it work.
The quicker you start to view challenges as opportunities to learn, the quicker you’ll overcome and move on from them.
So there you have it – four key points on every mumpreneur’s wish list. As I touched upon at the start, these “If only” musings are incredibly common among all entrepreneurs. The road to running a successful business is rarely smooth, and there will be plenty of points along the way when you wish things could be different.
But for those who don’t give up and endeavour to turn an “If only” into a practical solution, the journey of a mumpreneur can be an incredibly rewarding one.
While there are encouraging statistics coming from Europe and the US regarding mumpreneurs (claims of up to a £7bn contribution to the UK economy in 2014), the UAE looks set to take the ball and run with it.
Because when you have a place that is designed to encourage startups, a place that values family, and a place full of talented mums from around the world – well, you have a wealth of ideas and the perfect place to make them a reality.