Looking back, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak, but I assumed I would have to put it to one side until my children were older. It’s funny how having a baby completely changes your plans!
It all started when I was expecting to go back to work at the end of my maternity leave. I took my daughter to look at a nursery and realised I couldn’t go back to work full-time. I just couldn’t leave her in a nursery five days a week. I was an IT trainer – a job that involved travelling and didn’t suit part time hours. It just wasn’t going to fit my new family.
I'd had a permanent job for a while, but before that I'd been freelance for six years. I knew that being self-employed might be the only option open to me, but as a new mum I had no idea how it might work. What type of work could I do? Was it even possible to run a business around a small child?
I started to research some business ideas. I tried a party plan, but selling another company’s products just didn’t grab me. Then I found out, to my surprise, that I was expecting our second baby – due just fifteen months after the first.
With two babies I would need a business that was very flexible indeed. One that I could fit into a spare half-hour here and there, preferably without leaving the house! By then I was in the sick-and-tired first few months of pregnancy, I had a temporary- part-time job and I was fed up. I started blogging – partly to connect with other mums in business and partly out of sheer frustration. I was going nowhere fast, but maybe all my research would help someone else in my situation?
My son arrived in August 2009 and I carried on blogging - although not very much for a few months! I realised there was a huge pool of experience and knowledge out there among mumpreneurs and I wanted to share it. So I started to feature guest bloggers and that meant I met even more business mums. I was gathering a lot of useful information and I thought of turning it into an e-book.
Antonia Chitty of www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk and I met each other through our blogs. We discovered that we’d both been thinking of writing an e-book of business ideas that suited mums. It made sense for us to collaborate; we could get the book written faster that way. That’s what I love about mumpreneurs – we don’t compete we collaborate. When our e-book was almost complete we decided to talk to some publishers and the first one we approached wanted to publish it. It’s called ‘Start a Family Friendly Business: 23 Brilliant Business Ideas For Mums’ and it will be out on 15th September.
After a year of blogging, my two babies are nearly two toddlers. My need to escape employment and full-time childcare has changed from a problem into a new career and a new way of life. There are lots of challenges and that means I have questions to ask of people who are ahead of me on the path. I hope I can pass this on to mums who are facing the same challenges as me.Helen Lindop is the owner of www.businessplusbaby.com, a blog dedicated to helping mums of babies and toddlers start their own businesses. For updates on her book, sign up to her Start Up Tips Newsletter