Going solo

3 things I did to successfully launch a small business while on maternity leave

- November 10, 2020 4 MIN READ

Don’t want to go back to work after having a baby? Here are few women who took destiny into their own hands and started their own business on maternity leave!”

There comes a point in every mothers’ life when it’s time to hang up the burp cloth and venture back into the “working world”. Some mums dread returning to the 9-5 after being on maternity leave, but maybe you don’t have to! 

We explore two mothers who have taken destiny into their own hands and started their own businesses whilst on maternity leave and a few helpful tips and tricks they learned along the way! 

Kelly Lavery is the creative mind behind Strucket, the world first hybrid strainer and bucket! The Strucket is an innovative system which was designed to assist in the way people soak and drain virtually anything. Designed and made in Australia, the Strucket came to fruition after mum Kelly had grown tired of soaking nappies, bibs, clothes, and toys. 

“Putting my hand in a bucket of soaking nappies was like putting it in a dirty toilet! I hated it and wanted a better way… when there wasn’t one, I created the Strucket!” – Kelly Lavery, Founder

The Strucket is an all-encompassing soaking system. Its unique engineering allows you to soak, separate and drain whatever you like without having to put your hands in dirty, unhygienic water! It is environmentally friendly supporting sustainability by reducing the amount of waste caused by items such as single-use nappies and paper towels. 

Kelly is now a multi-national and award winning entrepreneur with a practical and pioneering product that people love. What was once an idea through parenthood pain is now a national success, with Strucket having turned a profit in its first year with major demand! And the key to her success? Hard work and determination. 

Kelly shares that “Entrepreneurship is all about tackling something that has not been done before; you are selling yourself, selling your drive and have to have a doggedness to keep driving it forward; it’s not for everyone.” 

Kelly isn’t the only mumpreneur that has discovered her own calling. Co-founder and business-owner of global success Custom Neon, Jess Munday stumbled upon her business while on maternity leave with her first child, Jagger, back in 2018.  She was on the hunt for an affordable and high-quality neon sign for both her upcoming wedding and son’s bedroom. To no avail, Jess had realised a noticeable gap in the market. 

What started as a small side hustle as Jess worked from home during maternity leave, now boasts 28 employees throughout Australia, the UK and USA. Having faced struggling times during the COVID-19 pandemic, Custom Neon lost a big chunk of their business. 

Now heavily pregnant with their second child, Jess refused to sit back and ride the wave of the pandemic. Instead, she re-evaluated their business’ focus and consumer base. It was a risk, increasing marketing spend and changing tactic, but it paid off and Custom Neon went on to increase productivity by over 50% since February! 

In April of 2020, Jess gave birth to her second child, Indi-Grace, with co-founder and husband Jake, and to say it had been a wild ride would be an understatement! 

Despite the pandemic and two small children, Jess remains dedicated to her business and her team while being a devoted mother. Juggling both parenthood and an international business in one of the toughest economic times, Jess ensures that, although training has to be done online and the day-to-day meetings are conducted via Zoom, her emphasis is on making sure that her team is happy, healthy and in a positive headspace. Jess continues to provide the brightest rainbow through an unruly storm. 

So, how can you become your own boss and start a business? Here are a few helpful tips:

What is Your why?

Be sure on why you are starting the business you want to build. Some women do it because they no longer have a job waiting for them, and this may be one of their only options. Other women do it to share their creativity, or to be their own boss. Regardless of your ‘Why’, starting your own business can provide an income and financial independence for mums on maternity leave. It also allows you to explore your true passion. 

Knowing your ‘Why’ will help you to understand your business’ mission and values. It will motivate and guide you in your journey towards setting up a business.

Being a working mum

Being a mother is a job unlike any other just in itself, adding the prospect of starting your own business is going to take a lot of hard work. The biggest benefit of having your own business is the flexibility it offers mothers, however when your working from home with a child it’s best to not get comfortable in any single routine. As your child grows, your routine will change, so be kind to yourself and accept those changes in your situation as your own growth. Be prepared and know that this is inevitable, especially as you have more kids should you choose to. 

Have a business plan 

Kelly from Strucket insists on having a plan when starting out in your own business venture. She advises having a plan and making it big, “A plan is the key to understanding your potential and nurturing it.” Devising a plan requires a lot of research. 

Once you have committed to starting your own business you need to outline what your business is, what you do and where you see yourself in the future. Understand the business model in which you wish to operate, the products or services you offer and how you are going to sell them. 

Research your target demographic, recognising their wants and needs and how to best communicate with them then slowly start implementing your business strategies and tactics. It’s best not to rush into anything, being a mumpreneur there is so much at stake, so focus on one thing at a time. 

Custom Neon’s Jess Munday says that one thing she’s learnt throughout her entrepreneurial experience is to take things one step at a time, “When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I remind myself to concentrate on the task at hand and try not to let outside factors get to me.” Focusing on each step as you take them allows for you to invest more of yourself than if your mind was overrun. Creating lists and constructing plans will help you do this. 

Another important factor in having a business plan is to set yourself some goals. Where do you see yourself after the first three months, after your first year, or even in five years’ time? This gives you something to work towards and with each goal you hit, you set yourself more. It is also a great way of measuring your company’s success!

So, what are you waiting for? Take that leap of faith and discover your calling as a mumpreneur!

This post was written by Clare Jones of Custom Neon 

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