I watched The Apprentice this week and Lord Sugar told one of the applicants off for referring to himself as an entrepreneur, apparently it is not good etiquette to call yourself one, you only get the term by someone else labelling you with it.
In that case if anyone labels me a mumpreneur I shall have serious words with them
And I bet the grief is from 'mumpreneurs', I can't see why anyone else would feel the need to complain?
Maybe that just want to get across that not only are they entrepreneurs but also mums and therefore how good am I at managing to achieve both? I can raise kids AND run a business.. get me kind of mentality?
One of the key things with all this title mumbo jumbo is people forget it takes some one special to make all that happen and that's the "Tea Boy" A good cuppa certainly makes it easier in the mornings
As for me, I'm a "Tea Boy" (unfortunately don't quite belong in the toy boy category, too old for that lol )
I don't get it either, but it seems trendy at the moment. There's a lady at our business breakfast group who does business skills seminars and such like, but only for women - which kind of alienates all us blokes in the room, about half the total - and there's also another Mums in Business group that meets in the same venue, and both are reported to be well attended (of course I can't go along myself to verify )
I have read this post with interest because my business name incorporates the word ‘mumpreneur’ - lawyers4mumpreneurs. I know that some people hate the name but it serves a useful purpose. It attracts the people who I am passionate about helping.
What does being a mumpreneur mean? To me it means that you are running your own business from home in order to be able to work flexibly around your children. Entrepreneur.com defines a mumpreneur as “a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur”.
I am a mumpreneur myself and that’s why my passion is in helping other women like me. After 12 years of working at a top City law firm, at ITV, Virgin and being director of a property company, I set up my own business law practice whilst pregnant so that I could continue to work whilst looking after a young family. It would have been an awful lot easier and financially more lucrative to continue in paid employment, but I did not want to hand my children over to nannies or full time child care. I class myself as a ‘mumpreneur’ because I work around my daughter - I work when she sleeps or is happy playing in her playpen and arrange childcare for when I have a meeting or a call I can’t schedule around naptimes – and by the way, this doesn't mean that the quality of my work is compromised one bit and clients will testify to a proactive, prompt service that equates to the service offered by any top class City law firm. However if I had chosen to have full time childcare and worked full time (or even part time) outside of the home, I would not class myself as a mumpreneur – I would be a business woman with a child.
The fact that we choose to (or have to) work around our children means that we are a distinct business group with our own set of needs and requirements. A fantastic community offering much needed support is evolving. Mumpreneur networking groups hold events at times avoiding the school run and in venues that offer childcare facilities. Mumpreneur conferences are being held to provide advice and support tailored to mumpreneurs. Many mums invent baby related products, so the mumpreneur community to which they belong is their ideal customer base.
For my part as a lawyer, mumpreneurs have their own requirements and needs in the provision of legal services. For example mumpreneurs need to work flexibly around the demands of their children, so they like the fact that it suits me better to schedule calls in the evening once the children are in bed. They prefer to deal with someone in the same position as them who will understand if we have to reschedule a call 3 times because of their crying baby or in some instances have to talk over a crying baby. They also need an affordable lawyer who is prepared to sick to a fixed fee as in the main, mumpreneur businesses are small, self funded businesses.
The female entrepreneurs who dislike the term don’t see why mums in business should be labelled as a subsection of business and think that the term is demeaning to them, making their business seem more ‘hobby like’ and less professional. I wonder whether these women actually work around their children or in fact have childcare that allows them to work independently of their children and just happen to be business woman who have children (not a mumpreneur in my view).
In any event, the perception might be that mumpreneur businesses are hobbylike, but a lot of my mumpreneur clients are building fantastic businesses that any entrepreneur would be proud of. And for many mumpreneurs, success is not about building up their business to a million pound turnover. It is about being successfully balancing spending time with their children whilst still having something for them and keeping them intellectually stimulated and if that means that their business is kept to a small scale and ‘hobby-like’ whilst their children are young, so be it.
I don't think people have a problem with 'women with children in business' calling themselves 'mumpreneurs'. The feeling I get from this thread, however, is that many feel it's an unnecessary branding tool which could end up costing them business.
Why not just say 'entrepreneur' or businesswoman? Or, better still (if you're PC) - business person! Why take the risk?
Does it matter that they have kids and are running a business? Is the moniker designed to ellicit empathy or even cause people to feel sorry for them?
As I said, I chose my business name to attract my target clients. It works for me because that is my niche and it makes me different from all of the other business lawyers out there. However I take your point about limiting your target audience. I am also a consultant with a virtual law firm Virtual Law and when I am not specifically targeting mumpreneur clients, I use the Virtual Law name.
But as for the motives for the name, it is just a tool for identifying other business people with common drivers and requirements - I think the Times newspaper first coined the name. In my experience it is certainly not to elicit sympathy or to make people feel sorry for you - most of the mumpreneurs that I know feel very fortunate to be able to combine running a business with spending quality time with their children.
Suzanne makes some very valid points which I hadn't considered. I personally find that teh volume of "women only" business support groups do give the wrong impression about women in business, a discussion I had a couple months back on Twitter with a few people. The general consensus being that they do create the impression that women need more support than men in business (a view I do not think is correct).
Women are just as capable, and in many cases more capable, than men in business.
I personally feel the mumpreneur badge does create the wrong impression about women who run a business balancing being a mum, and does label them in a manner that can create the impression the work could be rushed between feeds, crying, etc. Most unfairly, as Suzanne mentions above, but that is a side effect of any label no matter what it is.
That said, Suzanne uses the label to attract a specific niche market so it would work for her. On a more general level though I think "single sex" groups no matter what and where they are create alienation and isolation for that group, and that they are wrong. Sticking with the mumpreneur theme, any woman who focus their networking in groups such as that won't get my business. Why not? ...because we'll never meet.
I think Suzanne raised some very interesting points in her post. I suspect that my opinion of this subject has possibly been coloured by the fact that my daughter is now of school age and this allows me a greater flexibility.
I do work flexibly around my daughter, this means I can take a couple of hours off to attend the sports day or recorder concert, but I do tend to make this time up. However, I also work flexibly around my clients, if there is an urgent task to be done then I may work an evening or weekend and take time off during the day, is this really any different just because I am a Mum?
I think that my concern around the use of the word mumpreneur is that as this is not my target market if someone were to use the word in reference to me I believe it would create the wrong impression.
Whilst the term may have been coined to represent the serious working mums, there are those out there who have chosen to use it to represent those who are not really serious about their businesses and treat them more as hobbies, they do exist, and I value the work that I do too much to be mistaken for that.
Whilst the majority of my clients have turned out to be working mums, I do have male clients as well as female clients who don't have children.
Any small business has to work hard to gain respect and credibility, and I have achieved this with my clients and network.
I do agree with Suzanne's point that businesses set up to support mumpreneurs are those that understand that particular markets needs and cater for them, such as the creche at a networking event, or taking a client call after the children have gone to bed. There is a market for this type of support.
I still feel that the most important thing is the service that I provide to my clients and that this should not be affected by whether I am a mum, whether I work virtually, whether I am male or female, whether I am young or old, whether I work from an office or even what I wear, although there will always be those that think this does make a difference.
The problem is that people like to fit others into 'boxes' and I so wish that they would look beyond labels and make a decision based on the person and their abilities.
I am not surprised to have seen the debate re-appear in my Twitter stream, and it makes a refreshing change from some of the doom and gloom news of recent weeks, but it has been interesting to see the differing opinions raised.
At the end of the day we are all entitled to our own opinions and wouldn't it be boring if we all agreed all of the time, there is no right or wrong answer, it's down to what works for you as an individual and how you choose to portray yourself.
I am actually looking forward to working on some collaborative projects with Suzanne, not because of the word mumpreneur but because she understands small start up businesses and their needs. I'm not looking at a label, I am looking at the person behind it and their ability to understand my needs, and to deliver my requirements. Surely that is what it is all about?
I'm not keen on the term as would rather be viewed as a business person only. I don't see why my children or childcare arrangements need to come into it.
To me it feels unprofessional to broadcast my personal circumstances surrounding childcare to the world as part of my business branding. The fact that I run my business around my children is irrelevant and I've never been keen on the thought of using this as some sort of branding mechanism.
I don't like that horrible term as it is patronising to women. It makes them sound unprofessional despite the fact that these women may have previously been head of a department and can plough all their experience/skills into running a successful business.