Have you ever wanted to start a business’ from home and raise a family?
You might be staring at your huge piles of laundry, or your clingy toddler who is on their third meltdown of the morning, and thinking that it’s not possible. But let me tell you, it definitely is!
As readers of Life Unexpected will know, we’re big on supporting mums who have launched their own business’, and after working with several lovely mamas who have created their own companies from their dining room tables, we decided to share their inspiring stories with you, so that you can find out how they balance both businesses and babies.
This week we’re interviewing the gorgeous Gemma from All By Mama, a person who wanted to support other mums so much, that she started her own business selling their products.
Tell us a bit about your business? Why and when did you start it?
All By Mama is a new online marketing and community for Mamas who are running a business flexibly around family life. We launched in 2014 after the birth of my first son, Leonardo. After he was born I fell totally in love with him and I knew I would struggle with the long hours when it was time to go back to work. Finding a way to work flexibly was the first motivator for launching All By Mama. It was more than just that though, being on maternity leave and having a little life to support it felt like my ‘now or never time’ to do what I’ve always wanted to do and start my own business. A year and a half down the line and flexible working is very much at the heart of everything we do.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
Leonardo, aged 3 ½ (must not forget the half or I get in big trouble!) and Cassius, 6 weeks.
Where do you like to work from?
Currently I work from home as do all of our small team of five. It fits with family life and as a start-up it doesn’t make sense to have the cost of an office space. As we grow we hope to have a space we can all work from however it will always be important to us to keep flexible working at the heart of everything we do and working from home will always be part of that.
How do you balance both work and family life?
I’m not sure! Each week is just another week or trial and error, especially since Cassius has come along! It’s hard work and a challenge not to wear yourself out trying to do too much. For me, some weeks it’s more life and other week’s it’s more work. As long as I take time in the week somewhere along the way to have quality time with my sons and a dedicated amount of time to focus on my business then it seems to work out. I work extremely hard and I try to be the best mummy I can and it comes together somehow. I think for me the key is flexibility (that word again!), working hours are not traditional and sometimes I need to use CBeebies as a babysitter and not feel guilty about it!
What is your vision/dream for your business?
We have big dreams for All By Mama to be THE global go to marketplace for beautiful things made by Mamas. We dream of have a huge network mums who support and inspire each other coming together. We also hope to support programmes across the world that help women in less fortunate circumstances work to support their families.
What have been your biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
One of our biggest challenges so far has been managing the growth of the business with only a small team in place. From time to time we’ve dropped balls and we’ve learnt to be honest about our mistakes.
What has been the highlight of running your own business?
I’m not sure I can pick one! The flexibility it allows is so important to me but also the passion that drives me to work hard is a really motivator to get up in the morning. I’ve met some incredibly inspiring business women and learnt more in the last year and a half that I could have ever imagined.
How did you fund your business?
We funded the launch with savings and took a small investment within six months of launching. We are now pitching for our second round of investment.
What advice would you give to other mums starting a business?
Just go for it! Start with small steps and schedule your time (realistically) to allow you to start to get things done around busy family life. Don’t look at what others have achieved and start to compare yourself just set your own pace and your vision and stay true to that. Don’t feel guilty if you have to sometimes spend time working instead of playing – personally I like that my sons see me work hard and I hope it inspires them one day.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
There is no typical day! My days depend on the needs of my children and the needs of my business at any given time. One thing is almost guaranteed and that is working most evenings until late after Leonardo is asleep (Cassius doesn’t sleep yet – thankfully we have slings !!). I have emails on my phone which I check throughout the day so I’m always contactable even when I’m looking after my children and can respond to anything urgent immediately. On the days I have childcare I’m very focused with work and get a lot done.
Do you have any tips to banish the mum guilt we all feel?
I think I feel guilty at the end of every single day about one thing or another. I haven’t learnt to banish that yet but I do try and keep it in perspective. As long as my children are healthy and happy and my business is ticking then I try to remind myself it will all be ok in the end! There’s always something to feel guilty about. The best thing I can do to help when it gets on top of me is meet with my mum friends as I know they will understand!
Do you ever get the chance to have time off for yourself? If so, what do you like to do?
At the moment I don’t have much time for myself but I do have two very young children and my business is still in its start-up phase. I’m ok with that currently but I know as time goes by I will need to find time for myself and I intend to spend that time in spa hotels asleep!!
Thank you so much Gemma for this inspiring interview! We’re glad we’re not the only one that works till very late in the evenings and think the slings are a fab idea! Be sure to check out Gemma’s innovative website All By Mama here. It’ll certainly turn into your one stop shop for gift buying, plus in return you’ll get to support other Mumpreneurs by doing so!
Get 10% off this weekend by entering LIFEU2016 at the checkout.
What did you think about our interview with Mumpreneur Gemma from All By Mama? Let us know in the comments below