Handmade coasters made by Lili

Running a Business as a Mum, What Could Go Wrong?

If you’re reading this blog, then let me guess, you’re a mum? But if I’ve actually managed to attract a dad to read this blog whose partner a business mum, well then, you’re about to qualify in being allowed to look your partner right in the eyes, and say confidently: “honey, I totally understand what you’re going through” without getting a death stare back!

Sorry, But We’re Making You Redundant

I started Bluish Pink along with a friend at the height of the COVID pandemic. We make and sell vegan, handmade cosmetics where I handle mainly the production side of the business, i.e the fun stuff, and my friend handles the website development and other techy aspects of the business, i.e the boring stuff.

Get some tissues ready, this next bit is a real tear-jerker. Our business was born out of redundancy. With how COVID had affected businesses and the economy, after 14 years my company had let me go. And this how Bluish Pink was really born. I’ve fantasied about starting my own business for a while now, and this maybe was the nudge I needed.

Being made redundant is no pleasure for anyone, and I realise that this story might even feel familiar to a lot of you. A lot of people had to hear those dreaded words: “sorry, but we’re making you redundant” and some decided to start their own business. Whether you’re a mum or not, man or woman, starting a business is scary and you all deserve a pat on the back for taking that brave step!

My Daughter, Lili

I have a 6-year-old little angel, who is the world to me.

My daughter, Lili is an only child and so I double up as a mum and as her best friend when school is out. There’s her dad to play with too, sure, but let’s face it, I’m way more fun! Speaking of school being out, because of the COVID pandemic, she hasn’t been able to see any of her friends. And it’s not like us, adults, where we can cosy up in our own living rooms, pour ourselves a glass of wine and start a WhatApp group video call and call it an awesome virtual get together. Kids just have far too much energy. No way is a simple video call going to be enough!

Whilst school was open, admittedly, working on the business was a lot easier. She was at school learning and playing with her friends and at home, I could focus on developing the business. When school would finish, I could put away my soaps and bath bombs and take out the dolls and teacups. I was busy, but I was able to better separate my work life from my home life (even though I was technically working from home).

But as we all know, soon enough the government announced that they would be shutting down schools and kids would need to learn from home. At first, I think schools might have struggled a bit, as things did seem a bit all over the place, but with Google Classroom and video lessons, I feel that things got a lot better. It’s always been important for me to sit with my daughter during her lessons and homework as her education and her development is priority 1.

But with all this time spent helping my daughter learn, I didn’t really have much time for the business. At times, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if something was postponed to a later date. But sometimes, we would receive a big order, her dad would be at work and I would simply need to get cracking. Thankfully Lili understands that sometimes momma needs to get on with work and so she able to entertain herself. We have a lot of toys and a Disney+ subscription and so using the two, she is able to keep herself busy. But this isn’t a Disney movie and this isn’t always the case.

Being a Business Mum

Being a business mum is no easy feat. It doesn’t matter if you have one child or four children who can play with one another. It doesn’t matter if you can manage with only two hours of sleep or if you have a coffee constantly being delivered to you via an IV. Being a business mum is hard. It’s not like you can summon talking unicorns to play with your kids and create a robot or two to help you with your work (God I watch far too many cartoons!).

The answer sometimes is to combine the two. And no, I’m not talking about child labour, sheesh let me explain! With some of the work that I do, I wouldn’t really let my daughter near for her own safety. I do these bits whenever she is busy playing with her dad or she is fast asleep. But there are some things, she can do with me and that’s where I sometimes get her involved.

For example, when creating bath bombs, I would make a big enough batch for her to create her own bath bombs. Alongside her momma, she would use her little batch to mould her bath bombs and the next day she could paint them. The best part is that when they’re ready, she can use them herself when having a bath. I do something very similar whenever I make soap and she wants to get involved. In general, I feel bath bombs might be more fun for children as it’s more hands-on and more fun to use later on.

Children often aspire to be like their parents and at times they do. Ever heard the saying, you’re just like your mum or you’re just like your dad? That has to come from somewhere right? Of course, each child is unique, different and wonderful in their own way. What works for me might not work for you and that does not by any means make someone a bad parent. But if your child wants to get involved and help with whatever you’re doing, it might be worth letting do so assuming the activity is safe for children.

Another way is to set them assignments of sorts that they can work on to help your business (it doesn’t actually have to help). For example, At times whenever my daughter sees me tying something on the computer, she wants to do the same. We’re fortunate enough to have another laptop, but even if you don’t, a pen and paper would suffice. I sometimes ask her to go through our products and describe as many items as she can. I’d give her an example showing her on our website how the product description is used to describe each item. She would then carefully examine each product writing a little story about each item that she picks up. She really loves getting involved and actually focuses on her task whilst also improving her writing skills!

Lili’s Crafts

You now know that I let Lili help and get involved at times. But the story doesn’t end there.

Following in her business mum’s slightly bigger footsteps, Lili has recently decided that she’s starting her own business selling handmade coasters! I bought her some crafts a little while ago and just like her mum she wants to make and sell her crafts herself. And she has! She’s already sold a few to friends and family and she’s noticing that the piggy bank is becoming heavy!

Only yesterday whilst watching me edit a video she realised that the next step for her little business would be to create her own edited video. And that’s exactly what we did! We had some dried rose petals, a blanket, a phone capable of recording in super slow motion, and of course her coasters! And this is what we created!

I’ve uploaded this video to Facebook and Instagram and looking forward to surprising her with the number of likes so if you want to help me surprise her, then please follow each of the following links and leave a like: Facebook, Instagram.

One of my fears of schools being closed down was how children were going to cope. Learning itself is a skill and through thought-provoking tasks and other techniques that teachers use, kids literally learn how to learn. I feel a bit more at ease knowing that even through helping me by writing product descriptions and by forming her own little business she’s gaining some valuable skills. I truly hope all your children coping ok with the current lockdown.

Is It Worth the Effort

I’m not a millionaire, nor has the business broken even yet so this isn’t an easy yes answer.

There is a lot of work that goes into a new business and so whether or not you are a parent there will always be a lot to do. How much work? Just imagine a neverending stream of work. If that worries you or if you really don’t want to sacrifice your free time, then starting a business might not be the right decision for you.

But for those who really do enjoy a challenge, starting a business might prove to be something exciting and rewarding. I like the idea of having something I can call my own and the work actually does excite me. Yes, we haven’t broken even yet, but I am optimistic that we will and hope that we can be a successful business soon.

Personally, I do believe that it is important to have a business partner that you can trust and that knows you well. The knowing you well part is important. My business partner and I have known each other for almost a decade now and so when I can’t get something done as promised because my daughter wants my attention or even if I’m just having a bad day, he understands. Just having that understanding really does help and it does mean that we are able to work better together as a team. Had I had to work with someone who is the opposite, it would be a very different story. A business partner who breathes down my neck mentioning that we’re about to miss our deadline or gets frustrated that we have to slow things down because I’m busy homeschooling would really make this whole venture impossible.

For me personally, it is definitely worth the work. I enjoy what we’re doing and look forward to making this a profitable business.

Over to You

Over to you now! If you’re a business mum or even an aspiring business mum, I’d love to get connected and learn a bit more about how you are doing and your journey. Leave a comment on this Facebook post so we can connect!

If you’re a partner of an aspiring business mum, it’s your job now to motivate her by firstly pointing her to this blog. If your partner is already a business mum, then congratulations! You can now say: “honey, I understand what you’re going through” without getting a death stare (erm… no guarantees).

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