When I started my business I wrote a blog post on why I use the term ‘working mum’ to describe women in my position. I did this mainly to appease my mother, who finds the description demeaning to stay-at-home mums (another term which is less than ideal).
Recently on Flying Solo there has been an impassioned debate on the term ‘mumpreneur’, both in the comments on Sam Leader’s article “Don’t call me names” and on Flying Solo’s Facebook page, with few supporters of the term (apart from myself) making comment. And so I felt the need to write about what ‘mumpreneur’ means to me and why it is neither “demeaning” nor “cutesy”, as some comments described.
I market my business and programs to mumpreneurs and call myself a ‘Mumpreneur Coach’ – with pride.
To me, being a mumpreneur is about:
- Working from home and all the flexibility and benefits that brings;
- Designing your work hours around your kids;
- Business ideas inspired – either directly or indirectly – by your experience of pregnancy, motherhood, babies and children or your new role as a mother;
- Integrating your livelihood and career with your role of being a mother far better than most corporations allow.
It does not mean that your business is a ‘hobby’ or that you use your kids as an excuse for poor service or response times. In fact, most mumpreneurs put in very long hours of work and have an exceptionally high work ethic.
What we are doing is creating a lifestyle and career where we can pick up our kids from school and be home with them when they are sick without worrying about how that ‘reflects’ on us and our loyalty or commitment as an employee.
Associating ourselves with the term mumpreneur has assisted mums who feel overwhelmed and isolated to find virtual support networks and communities to discuss the challenges of being a mum AND an entrepreneur.
From a purely practical perspective, I use the term because it is widely accepted and people will search for businesses like mine using the term ‘mumpreneur’. In order to enhance my search engine optimisation (SEO), keywords or labels such as this are required, whether they are ideal or not. If I used ‘parentpreneur’ or ‘dadpreneur’, it wouldn’t have the same success in Google.
In addition, I made a conscious choice to work with mums only in my business because I felt they were the people I could serve best, being a mother and entrepreneur myself. So whilst I am 100-per-cent supportive of dadpreneurs and parentpreneurs (and these terms), they are not my target market.
In relation to ‘dadpreneur’, I would love to see the term used more widely and would encourage dads who work from home to establish similar support networks to those of mumpreneurs, as they are so valuable. I see no reason why dads shouldn’t band together and gain this recognition and I think it is a fabulous PR opportunity.
For those who like the term mumpreneur and identify with it, I encourage you to wear it with pride and communicate what it REALLY means to those around you. Break down the stereotypes and negative associations. For those who dislike the word, try to see mumpreneurs as they are: soloists who have found a term that acknowledges their unique situation and helps them to find success in business and at home through building community and awareness and reducing isolation.
Over to you! How do you feel about the term ‘mumpreneur’?