Mythbusters: "There's No Such Thing as a Working Mum”
When you become a mum, it can be difficult to envisage how you’ll keep your independence and carry on earning a living. But running your own business could be the answer. While it may initially involve longer hours and a significant financial investment, joining a franchise can help working mums achieve a fantastic work-life balance, spending more time with their children.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there are currently around five million working mums in the UK. The number of mothers with dependent children in the workplace has risen by almost a third since 1996. So, just under three quarters of mums are now contributing to their household income.
This is great progress, and more and more women are realising the benefits of starting their own business as a franchisee. Launching a start-up can be daunting, but there’s no need to be discouraged. In fact, 71 percent of mothers who run their own enterprise are their house’s primary childcare provider, and 80 percent launched it after having children.
Becoming a business owner can have a positive effect on family life, allowing you to choose your own working hours and spend more time with your partner and children. According to research, 55 percent of mothers spend less than eight hours a day on their business, so there’s great scope to maximise your ‘family time’.
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Advantages of starting a business as a mum
Although many employers are making changes to accommodate the increasing demands of working mums, there’s still a long way to go. Many women who request part-time or flexible hours are treated as an inconvenience. As a result, many companies are losing talented, ambitious women.
But, when you’re the boss, you can maximise the time you spend at home, delegating tasks to others and working remotely. Today, technology allows us to carry out many tasks away from an office or workplace – as Sara Guiel, Director of The Mumpreneurs Networking Club, says:
The rise in technology has revolutionised what can be achieved from a laptop and a kitchen table.
Certain companies provide the opportunity for remote working, but if you want to spend the majority of your time in the comfort of your own home, opt for a home-based business. You’ll eliminate that dreaded commute, take your children to and from nursery or school, and work during school hours. This extra time with the family can remove much of the guilt often felt by working mums.
Check out our list of home-based franchise opportunities here.
2. Financial independence & financial rewards
Women who give up their job to look after their children are often concerned about losing their financial independence. For some, relying on a partner to pay the bills and finance everything from the big weekly shop to your wardrobe is inconvenient and frustrating. So, running a flexible business from home can be the perfect solution.
A home-based business may even end up being more lucrative than continuing in your old job. Taking into account the high income potential and eliminated costs of commuting and childcare, running your own business at home is likely to provide a decent revenue. Given the average cost of childcare in the UK is over £11,000 per year, being able to work from home can be a huge plus point.
This major advantage leads many mothers to consider starting their own business, but fear of failure and an absence of funds can result in a lack of confidence in many women. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider joining a franchise. By taking this step, you’ll buy into a tried and tested business model with an existing customer base.
What’s more, there are plenty of low-cost franchise opportunities available – perfect for working mums just starting out as an entrepreneur. To find out more about some of the best franchises for those on a limited budget, read our article: Top 12 Most Profitable Franchises Under £20k.
3. Job satisfaction
If you’re going to invest in an opportunity, you’ll want it to be worthwhile and cater to your priorities. Lots of mums want to work with other mums and babies, or even get their own children involved in their business. Fear not – there are many franchise opportunities on offer that can provide just that.
One of the best ways to keep an eye on your children whilst running your business is to invest in a ‘baby franchise’. Read our article: Enjoy A Booming Business With A Baby Franchise to find out more about some of the opportunities on offer.
These types of franchises can also offer the chance to socialise, which can be difficult after giving up work to have a baby. The sense of community fostered in conventional workspaces is often lost when you set up a new business – particularly if it’s a home-based one – so this can be a great choice.
4. Set an example
Finally, many mothers are keen to set an example for their children and, by setting up and running their own business, they can act as a role model for their child. Youngsters will recognise the hard work their mother puts into the business, watching them come up with fresh ideas, manage teams and do bookkeeping – all whilst being a fantastic mother!
In turn, this may inspire children to set up their own business further down the line, achieving financial security and a fulfilling work-life balance.
Business ideas for mums
There’s plenty of room for female entrepreneurs with young children in the franchising world. Here are some of the best franchise opportunities for working mums:
- Business & B2B franchises – You can manage these from the comfort of your own home. Take a look at franchises like promotional products franchise Recognition Express and insurance claims management business Aspray to find out how you can set up a thriving business from home today.
- Van-based – If you’re able to dedicate part of your working day to calling on customers in a van, you may want to think about starting a van-based franchise. This way, you can offer a convenient service to people in their own home or workplace. Try fryer management business FiltaFry or car cleaning franchise Careys.
- Personal & home care – Many of the franchises in this category can be operated remotely. Consider looking at businesses like Seniors Helping Seniors, Photography For Little People and Lockforce.
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Working mums to look up to
Dame Mary Perkins
As Britain’s first self-made female billionaire, Dame Mary Perkins is worth £1.6 billion. With her husband, she set up the Specsavers brand, having given birth to three children in five years. She said:
“It must have been pretty frantic and I had no idea what I was doing. But looking back, I didn’t even think about it. I had a twin pushchair, they were on bottles and I had help, so I just got on with it.”
Perkins is 73 now, but still cycles to work every day and acts as the patron of NatWest’s Everywoman Awards. Its Aphrodite prize celebrates women who have launched businesses while their children were under 13. The highly successful entrepreneur offers some sage advice:
Women with young children are incredible multi-taskers and, at home with the kids, it’s flexi-time — you can work when they’re asleep, work when they’re in bed and there are no overheads. And involve them, so they know what you’re doing.
This savvy entrepreneur launched domestic housekeeping franchise Bright and Beautiful in 2007 and developed it over the years into the 50-branch business it is now. She recognises the problem facing many mothers today:
“They want to work but are not willing to sacrifice their family to do so and I think this growing trend has been a major factor in driving the current rise in mums starting their own businesses.”
Although Ray concedes that, sometimes, “having it all actually generally means you just end up doing it all”, technology now helps working mums build thriving businesses.
Technology that can support remote working and the many supportive networks that are available to help women in business now mean that you really can now run a local, national or global business from your front room if you want to.
Start a business as a working mum
We have a huge range of franchise opportunities available for mothers with all kinds of priorities and ambitions. Visit our franchise directory to browse them.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©
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