Being a mother is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world. Being a mother AND a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of guts, nerves of steel, relentless determination, sprinklings of love, and more.
Yes, it is exciting but it is also an uphill battle. That is why we have put together some important tips to help you aspiring mumpreneurs get started! We are also going to introduce 3 successful mumpreneurs based in Singapore who will share with us their experiences and offer some useful business advice.
Tips to help you navigate your way to business success and a happy family
In today’s world, consumers are fickle-minded and spoilt for choice. They are always on a lookout for something better or cheaper.
Before you start your entrepreneurial journey, take some time to understand the market and the opportunities available. Essentially, you need to know who are your competitors, whether is there sufficient demand in the next few years and the consumers’ purchasing behavior.
Be in touch with market trends and current affairs. A good example is the recent Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore. Some local businesses cashed in on the opportunity with themed food promotions and printed t-shirts.
It is vital that you remain alert so that you can seize new opportunities for your business.
Starting a business on your own, or with a business partner, is extremely time-consuming.
This will be particularly toiling for new mumpreneurs. Starting a business involves planning marketing strategies, mundane administrative work, accounting and selling of course. You may even need to photograph your products and edit pictures. There is a lot to be done.
Add in the time needed to take care of your children and manage the household; you would most likely be burnt out in a short while. That is why passion for your business is very important because this flame of passion is the sole thing that will keep you going.
Make sure you love what you are selling.
Source: Deposit Photos
Your kids need attention, your husband needs your love and your business needs you. None of these can be overlooked.
How do you divide yourself?
When you are spending time with your family, do not let your work problems affect your emotions and do not vent your frustrations on them.
When you are at work, try not to get distracted by your children and household chores. Successful business owners delegate and outsource whenever possible. Get a nanny or helper if needed. Buy time-saving household appliances such as a pressure cooker or that robotic vacuum cleaner. We are sure your parents would love helping out with their grandchildren too.
A successful mumpreneur needs to effectively juggle between two worlds. To do this, you need to focus wholeheartedly and offer your best to both sides.
Mummies will know that when your children fall sick, it can bring your whole life to a stop. It gets worse if your whole family, including yourself, is taken ill with the flu bug.
Mumpreneurs usually work alone or in a small team. Who is going to run your business while you nurse your children back to health? Do remember that customers will not wait for you because there are plenty of competition out there. Once you lose them, they may not return.
Therefore, it is very important to maintain healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle so to minimise unnecessary downtime.
A good share of mumpreneurs use their own savings to start their business. That is risky because you need your savings for rainy days, especially now that you have a family to take care of.
It is essential to make a business plan so as to minimise losses.
Most successful business owners have a clear understanding of their current cash flow and long-term financial projections (ideally more than 3 months). You also need to be aware of where your money comes from and where it is going. Track your spending and create realistic financial goals.
There are affordable online bookkeeping services available or hire a freelancer if you are unsure of how to do the accounts.
If funds are running low, there are some options that you can consider. In Singapore, there are some government schemes that provide funding to entrepreneurs and new startups. Click here for more details.
Alternatively, if your business idea is a unique one, you can also consider raising funds through Kickstarter.com.
Network and Self-promote
Networking creates opportunities to bump into like-minded people and business connections. Yes, we know that many people do not like to over-promote themselves and their business. We find them annoying at times too. However, the art of networking is to do it subtly.
Social settings like children parties or luncheons are a great way to network. The mummy circle is usually very supportive of each other. Do not be aggressive and keep harping about your business. Instead, prepare some key statistics or interesting stories so that you can promote it factually and quickly to interested parties.
Social media is a great and free way to self-promote your business. Mumpreneurs can take advantage of their existing friend network and share an inspirational story about your products or services. Or, you can share about good customer feedbacks. The point here again is subtlety.
Successful Singaporean Mumpreneurs – Sharing Their Journey
Of course, to embark on the mumpreneur journey is easier said than done. So, we thought it would be pretty awesome to get help from the experts themselves! Here is some valuable advice and honest opinion from 3 successful mumpreneurs.
Ruth Tan – Founder of The Workroom, Mother of 3
The Workroom was born from the art and craft passions of Ruth Tan. After having children, she decided it was time to pursue her interests in crafts. Ruth opened her first shop in 2011 at Holland Village, shifted to Beauty World in 2013 and today, she has expanded to two studios located at Upper Bukit Timah and North Canal Road.
Source: The Workroom
Besides conducting art workshops, writing beautiful calligraphy, painting pretty floral designs and managing a team of artists, Ruth is also able to find time for her 3 children and her husband. That sounds like a really tight schedule! How does she do it?
When the going gets tough, how do you cope with stress?
Ruth: If it is a serious or urgent work issue, I turn to my team for a brainstorm, and then to my bestie for a listening ear and sound advice! Otherwise, when it is time for a break, it would be Netflix and Calbee’s ‘Hot & Spicy’ chips please. I also take time out to enjoy my favourite shows and ignore my phone, emails, social media etc.
What have your learnt in life from this mumpreneur journey?
Ruth: I am learning that life is more than these! I love my work, but my work and others’ validation of my work are not the end point. God is gracious and has blessed us with the best team that is not only talented and hardworking, but we also look out for one another. It is satisfying to be on this creative path with like-minded friends.
Source: The Workroom
And, for all of you who wants to be a mumpreneur or you are already starting a business, Ruth has some advice.
“Tackle one thing at a time and focus on what is most important to you. Family will always need to be taken care of first, so whatever time that you carve out to deal with your business could be really short. You could also mark out your time, mentally or visually in a notebook, in blocks of time that so you have a real sense of what you actually have available.
Every family situation is unique; work on your own terms and avoid comparing with or overcommitting to others. Be flexible and open-minded; be ready for changes and curveballs. Accept help from family, ask friends for help when needed, hire help when required.
You can be a capable woman, but you certainly cannot do it all alone!”
Michelle Yang – Founder of Yang Things, Mother of 1
Michelle was a new mom and the main care giver to her newborn son. However, as much as she loved spending time with him, she felt that she was slowly losing her identity. So, in July 2017, Michelle decided to turn to her passion in crafting and set up Yang Things.
In between taking care of her son, Michelle makes and sells adorable baby and mummy accessories such as Drool pads, Carrier pouch, Bibs, Hats, Blankets, Bean husk pillow and more. Drool pads ignited her sewing journey and till today, they remain one of the best-selling items.
Source: Yang Things
Having her own business allows her to feel a sense of belonging and validation; like she could contribute in her own small way. Let us find out her secrets to a happy family and a successful business!
How do you split your time effectively between family and business?
Michelle: I usually work when my child is in school or asleep. When everyone is home, that is essential family time and I try my best to be present. I would also like to believe I’m spending most of my time with my 2-year-old son.
What ways can you market your business without spending too much money?
Michelle: For now, I market my merchandise through Instagram and Facebook. I am also working on setting up my website. Word of mouth is definitely the best way! I believe in doing my best and letting my work speak for itself.
Source: Yang Things
For new and aspiring mumpreneurs, Michelle wants you all to know that “It is not going to be easy. People will doubt, people will question. However, always believe in yourself even if the world does not believe in you.” This what she keeps telling herself to keep her going.
Mira Lyn – Founder of Sweet.n.Salty, Mother of 2
Baking has always been Mira’s hobby since secondary school days. The idea of starting a home bakery business took root during her pregnancy and Sweet.n.Salty was founded in March 2017, when her second son turned 18 months and became more independent.
From baking cookies to conceptualising beautiful packaging, Mira handles it all with precision and flair. She attributes the success of her business to her family. Their understanding, unwavering support and assistance gave her the strength to focus on expanding the business.
She tells us, “My family is my pillar of strength and support. They may not always be available, there are times when I have to manage bazaars alone. But, my hubby is my Number One capable assistant! He often assists me at events or he will take care of the kids at home. My siblings and my dear aunt also sometimes offer their help when they are free.”
How do you juggle and manage your time well?
ML: I manage my time by stretching my day and multi-tasking. Often, I have to sacrifice my sleep hours and family time. It is normal for me to bake until 2 to 3am. When I am preparing for bake sales or bulk orders, my day can stretch even longer.
It boils down to what is more important and many a times, I have to choose between business and family. If my hubby needs my support more, I will give up a business opportunity. It is often a give and take scenario.
Any personal tips to share with new mumpreneurs?
ML: There may be times when it is hard to strike a balance within family and business. The understanding and support from your family is important. I would say, handle within your own means. It is alright to miss an opportunity because another one will come along pretty soon.
With these useful tips, we hope that you have gained some insight on how to go about your mumpreneur journey. We also listed out some available resources below that you can tap on to facilitate your business.
Government Funding and Assistance Schemes:
Online Selling Platforms & Marketplaces:
Accounting or Administrative work – https://www.freelancezone.com.sg/ViewServiceProvider
Cleaning services – https://www.fuss.sg
Logo / Graphic Designers – https://www.upwork.com/o/profiles/browse/?q=singapore
Nanny / Babysitter – https://www.nannysos.com.sg/ad-hoc-babysitter
Pet sitter – https://www.petbacker.com.sg
Entrepreneurship Trainings and Seminars:
Mumpreneur Support Groups in Singapore:
If you have other tips or advice for all mumpreneurs out there, do share them with our readers in the comments below!