The term “mumpreuneur” may be relatively new to our lexicon, but it is one that is quickly instilling itself in our lexicon. Essentially referring to those women who somehow, magically, manage to balance running their own business alongside a family they are, according to the latest figures, contributing around £7.2bn to the UK economy and that figure looks set to increase over the next few years. It is actually thought that by 2025 the mum economy will generate £9.5 bn, and hire around 217,600 – not too shabby at all. Offering women flexibility, autonomy and a way of juggling their personal and professional life, it is no surprise that many mothers are turning to self-employment as a viable way of bringing home the bacon.
So for those mums who are balancing a family and a business – is networking really possible. Surely with all their commitments and expectations networking is a step too far? Adding even more pressure? Well, happily our very own founder Lizzie Philips is the very definition of a mumpreneur, who not only regularly attends networking groups, but also runs a number of WIBN groups in London, so we spoke to her about that all important balancing act.
Q: What came first, being a mum or an entrepreneur?
A: I started networking to promote my marketing business, to be honest falling pregnant was something of a surprise as I had a condition which meant falling pregnant was somewhat difficult. But, by the time I fell pregnant I was already running 4 groups in central London and I was happy I had invested in WIBN.
Q: Can you tell us a little more about WIBN?
A: WIBN was actually set up by two working mums who attended another networking event and felt they simply couldn’t commit to the time demands whilst balancing a young family. They felt there was a real gap in the market for a worthwhile lunchtime networking group that was targeted at working mums and women and accommodated their needs.
Q: Are there any benefits you have from networking and being a mum?
A: I love networking as it offers me a time to be completely independent – at networking events I am not known as Stan’s mum, but rather as Lizzie and treated as a professional. After day’s spent listening to ‘Mr. Tumble’ or attending mummy baby groups that is extremely beneficial to my own self-esteem and identity. In fact, being a mum and networking has worked so well for me that since having Stan I have opened four more groups in the London area.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you face as a mumpreneur?
A: The unpredictability – it can be that I set aside a day to work on your accounting and speaking to clients, but then the night before Stan is up all night feeling ill – that can prove extremely challenging.
Q: Do you have any advice to mumpreneurs thinking about networking?
A: Try out a few different groups and see if there is one which you feel comfortable in. Each networking group has their own personality; so don’t just look at the business, but see if you feel comfortable around the people and if you would be happy to see them once a month.
Lizzie lives in Essex with her husband and son, Stan and runs eight networking groups in central London in Bank, Canary Wharf, Kings Cross, St. Pauls, Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street, London Bridge and Monument and City.
If you are a mumprenuer and have found any more benefits from networking we would love to hear from you – please feel free to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.