Table Talk – Mumpreneurs
Profile chats with five local mums who said goodbye to the nine to five and found fulfilment and flexibility running their own business to fit the needs of their family.
Becoming a mum is one of life’s biggest milestones. Not only does it change your priorities, it also challenges many of us as we attempt to juggle a regular job with the demands of young children. Structured, inflexible hours, sky high child-care costs and the “mother guilt” of missing out on important school or sporting events has seen the rise of the “mumpreneur” – a term coined to describe savvy mums who have turned their passion into a business they can run from home while their children are young. It’s not surprising that home-based businesses are one of the fastest growing business sectors in Australia, and mothers of young children are up to three times more likely to be self-employed than other working women. To discover more about the highs and lows of mumpreneur life, I caught up with a bunch of clever women who have found the elusive worklife balance by either negotiating family-friendly work hours or running their own show. Joining me for a delicious lunch at All’ Antica Italian Restaurant, Buddina, was Laura Klein, owner operator of online business Snotty Noses; Alex Brunswick, solicitor and owner-operator of the Women’s Lifestyle Expo; Shannon Harth, owner of Harth Photography; Helen McNally, owner of All’ Antica Italian restaurant; and Kelly Jolliffe, office manager at Ray White Maroochydore and owner of Foodworks Minyama. Here’s what they had to say.
Profile: What are some of the highs and lows of being a mumpreneur?
Laura: I have never known flexibility like what I currently have, running my own business. I can’t put a price on that. Coming from a teaching background, everyone says it’s the best job when you have kids. Yes, you get the school holidays but I had to get someone else to drop my kids off at their school because I was at work by 7.30am and I had to get someone else to pick them up. If they had a sports day, I missed it. The freedom I now have is amazing. When I pick them up from school, my computer is shut down, my office door is closed and they have my full attention. If I need to catch up on work, I can work at night when they have gone to bed. I had to make a conscious decision to make sure that happened, otherwise, that phone will follow you everywhere if you let it. On the other hand, I love technology and there is no way I would have my business if it wasn’t for it. It’s allowed people like me to create something big from something small, there is money to be made and freedom to be found. The challenge is finding a balance. The to-do list never ends. It’s important to prioritise your time when you work from home and use your time effectively. A woman’s brain is like a laptop with 10,000 tabs open, so I have to focus on work when it’s work time.
Shannon: As a mother-of-four, it has been awesome to be able to be at home with my children for the past four years while still contributing to my family’s income. Even though I am very driven and want to do everything now, I have had to learn to take a step back and realise that given three of my children are still very young, being able to have that flexibility to be there for them and not have to worry if they are home sick has been phenomenal. I think one of the biggest challenges of being a mumpreneur and working from home is the isolation. I was often up editing until 2am, which can be very lonely. I have recently made some big changes to how I work, by setting up some automation in my business and putting some plans in place so I can avoid the late nights, that’s the beautiful thing about technology. I’m not a good mum or wife with no sleep. I also find that if you have any ounce of procrastination, working from home can be hard. Netflix, I love you but I hate you!
Kelly: My situation is a bit different as I work full time as the office manager at Ray White Maroochydore and I also have a business with my husband, Foodworks at Minyama. It’s very busy, but thankfully I have a great boss who understands the family juggle and my hours are flexible. If I really need to work from home I can. My hours are nine to four so I can still drop my daughter to school and my husband does the pick up. I guess my challenges are missing out on school events or sporting carnivals but then the advantages of having our own business is that if our daughter is home sick from school, my husband is always there.
Alex: I never thought in a million years I would do something like run a women’s expo. I am a solicitor with a law degree. For years I thought about going back to university to do something else, then the expo came along and I thought, ‘Woo hoo!’ It really uses the creative side of my brain and a lot of the skills I have learnt as a solicitor have been so useful in the business. I have to be super organised but it just works. I have two teenage children, and I’m a single mum, which keeps me very busy but I have great support from my network of friends who have been in my life since the kids were little. The challenges are having enough time in the day to fit everything in, but my husband has the children every second week, so that allows me the time to focus on the expo, I don’t think I could do it otherwise.
Helen: We bought this business 10 years ago when our three children were still young. We were living on the Gold Coast and my husband Shane, who is also the head chef, decided to jump in the deep end, move to the Sunshine Coast and buy the restaurant. It was very run down and we worked hard to build it back up. It was a big leap of faith but I knew Shane could do it. I remember having one child in a bassinet and one toddler running around as I tried to vacuum the restaurant, those were tough times but we are still here and it is a great family business. We are open six days, so the challenge is making sure we have family time and as anyone in the hospitality industry will tell you, the hours are long but I don’t think we could work for anyone else now. It would be so difficult to be there for the kid’s sport commitments and everything else if we didn’t work for ourselves. We have excellent staff too, which helps.
Table talk review - All’ Antica
The flavours at All’ Antica Italian Restaurant are as rich as its history. A firm favourite among Sunshine Coast locals since 1990, owners Helen McNally and husband Shane, who is also head chef, have been at the helm for the past 10 years and are passionate about delivering traditional Italian fare in a warm and inviting environment.
The dishes at All’ Antica showcase provincial cuisine with traditional dishes from the Northern Alps to the rich waters of the Mediterranean that surround Sicily. Offering a diverse menu with something to suit all tastes, you’ll find all your favourites such as spaghetti bolognese, lasagna and chicken fettuccine as well as something a little bit different such as balsamic roasted pork and veal fillet scaloppine or prawn linguine puttanesca. If pizza is your thing, you will love the huge range of delicious toppings they have to offer such as pork belly, garlic prawns and a plethora of others.
During our lunch time visit we kicked things off with the antipasto misto with baby caprese salad and bocconcini, followed by the Huon River smoked salmon bruschetta. Both dishes were beautifully presented and bursting with flavour. Main course was a delicious beetroot pappardelle with lamb shoulder and goat’s feta; rich and flavoursome the lamb fell off the fork and was perfectly matched with the delicate sauce.
The star of the show was the double chocolate pistachio brownie with chocolate ganache and vanilla bean gelato. Washed down with a smooth flat white, this sweet slice of heaven was the perfect end to our ladies lunch. Bellissimo!
3/115a Point Cartwright Drive, Buddina
Phone: 5444 0988