What if #MumpreneurWorks
In my search for a list of keywords for Project Mums, I started researching the phrase ‘mumpreneur’ and discovered numerous articles and blogs describing this word as ‘demeaning’ or 'devaluing'. These articles go back to 2013 and I wonder whether people still hold the same view of this word, as it is so frequently used all over social media.
According to the English Oxford Living Dictionary ‘mumpreneur’ refers to ‘a woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children. So why is this be demeaning? While an ‘entrepreneur’ is a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. I think the word ‘mum’ adds description, but is it necessary?
Apparently the word ‘entrepreneur’ is considered masculine. So the word ‘fempreneur’ has been invented on social media, relating to female entrepreneurs - who, according to Deloitte, are predicted to contribute more than £180bn to the UK economy by 2025. Perhaps, the added value that female entrepreneurs add to the economy is the reason why we are supported to start businesses.
Personally I do not have a problem with the term ‘mumpreneur’. I think it's empowering. Like other mums in business, we achieve an amazing amount in a small time frame because we’re incredibly focused and creative. Although, I do prefer to describe myself as a Business Owner, Company Director or Co-Founder than a mumpreneur.
Being a mum was the catalyst for starting my businesses, I wanted the flexibility. It doesn’t necessarily define the way I do business. You wouldn't necessarily know the hours I put into my business or that I work from home. Perhaps, I’m available for meetings from 10am to 2pm because I choose to do the school run. Maybe, I have childcare that enables me to devote 9am to 5pm to my business. I enjoy the flexibility that being a business owner brings. My approach to maintaining a work-life balance shouldn’t make me any less professional than someone who works day and night on their business. The fact that I am a mother shouldn't make me any less of a business professional.
I think the reason why people dislike the term ‘mumpreneur’ is because, for some, conjures up images of a stay at home mum with a side-hustle, a hobby or micro business, which might be inaccurate for some. However, these are legitimate means of generating an income and I wouldn’t dismiss or undervalue it. Nor do I think mums who run a micro business and make money from their hobbies are lesser than those who work full-time or those who own small medium enterprises.
It seems those who have managed to scale a profit and no longer at the startup phase do not want to be coined as a ‘mumpreneur.’ These are ‘serious’ business owners, who just happen to be women with children. Some may have started their businesses before becoming parents. Although they are running a business in addition to caring for young children, they find the term demeaning and I am still confused as to why.
Whether I’m a father, mother, working mum, business owner, young entrepreneur with no children we should all be entitled to flexible working hours, because it is good for our health and wellbeing. Micro businesses, the side-hustle and gig-economy should not be undermined. These may be the difference between prosperity and poverty. Children are often the catalyst for starting a new business, Honest Mum, Vicki Psarias, says, ‘my children made me more creative.’ and I agree.
If we are fighting for equality that’s different but undervaluing those who are starting out, hustling on the side and running a hobby business is demeaning. So ‘mumpreneur works’ for me and I think the debate should be more focussed on equality and breaking down the barriers that prevent mothers from succeeding as entrepreneurs or in the workplace. Let’s harness the different and legitimate means of generating an income, because it cultivates creativity and enriches society.