Most working mums agree that racing home from the office is the most stressful part of the day so it’s hardly surprising that many mothers decide to set up their own businesses after starting a family.
Giving up on the paid holidays and office gossip can be a struggle but that is usually outweighed by the advantage of picking hours that suit you, and best of all you don’t have to endure colleagues glancing at their watches and raising their eyebrows when you are the first to leave – again.
And with Global Entrepreneurship Week this week there’s never been a better time for sisters to start doing it for themselves. Take inspiration from these fabulous Belles.
The brains behind ingenious invention Cuddledry www.cuddledry.co.uk is Helen Tridgell who came up with the idea while watching her husband struggling to get their baby out of the bath. Four years, four kids and one successful appearance on Dragon’s Den later, Helen hasn’t looked back.
Along with her business partner Polly Marsh, former PR exec Helen has built up a thriving multi-national business from her kitchen table. She says: “I was wasting a lot of time every day sitting on the bus while my brain was buzzing with ideas, and I knew if I was left to my own devices I could manage my time an awful lot better.
“I had a senior management role but I was resentful of the time spent hanging around chatting in the office because I wanted to leave bang on time. It was worrying at first when there was no money coming in but having a partner helps – it means I can take holidays and my husband didn’t become an alien.
“Now I never switch off and I’m always available to deal with problems but technology actually makes it very liberating, the other day I took the kids blackberrying – with my Blackberry!”
Entrepreneurial mum Tammy Newberry decided to become her own boss when her son was born with a rare illness and she felt guilty having to take time out for hospital appointments. “I felt I was always letting someone down,” she recalls. “Either Max or a colleague was having to do without me. He was usually asleep when I left in the morning and I was lucky if I got home before he went to bed. After having a regular pay packet, going it alone was a big concern but now I’m making a proper income to support my family.”
Tammy is now head of a fast growing team of part-time workers selling stationery through Phoenix Trading.
“There are no downsides,” she added. “I work most evenings but that’s my choice, it’s a pleasure not a chore. And I have a great rapport with my team which was the one thing I missed from an office.”
Creative Sarah Marshall worked for a magazine marketing company, but after having her daughters her priorities changed. “Sometimes I’m up until 2am but I have no regrets – that’s the life I’ve chosen,” says Sarah who now runs Little Crooked House making soft furnishings from her Somerset home.
“I was so miserable being in an office I’d end up eating a Twix for breakfast to comfort myself, it wasn’t good for me. I knew I didn’t want to work 9-5 and only see my kinds for a couple of hours at the end of the day,” she added.
London based mother of four Emma Fletcher conceived Mum’s Office when she realised she needed help co-ordinating the chaos of her busy family. “As a Mum you need to manage a number of schedules and coordinate them all to synchronise, nap times, school runs, after school activities, birthday parties. You need to know who needs to be where, who will be home for dinner, what you need to remember to send in to school next Monday with Freddie!” she explained.
So, who’s feeling brave enough to wave goodbye to the office for good?
by Nadia Cohen