YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL

Get the work-life bal­ance you want with our ex­pert strate­gies.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - C NTENTS -

Leav­ing the kids with Grandma or a nanny be­fore head­ing to work used to be the way most work­ing mums had to go about earn­ing a liv­ing. But times have changed.

More than any other gen­er­a­tion, to­day’s mil­len­nial mums be­lieve it is pos­si­ble to have it all; ded­i­cat­ing time to raise their kids with­out hav­ing to trade their lap­tops for an apron.

That is why an in­creas­ing num­ber of mil­len­nial mums are opt­ing for jobs that al­low ex­i­ble work-at-home ar­range­ments, or start­ing their own busi­nesses.

The num­ber of mumpreneurs – women who start a busi­ness af­ter hav­ing a kid – in Mums@Work’s data­base has seen a whop­ping 35-fold in­crease, from about 100 to 3,500, over the last seven years. The lo­cal ca­reer por­tal sup­ports mums look­ing for work-life bal­ance.

Tech­nol­ogy, says its founder and mum-of-two, Sher-li Tor­rey, has evened out the play­ing eld for these In­ter­net-savvy women.

“Back then, we had to ex­plain what a mumpreneur is, but there is greater aware­ness now,” says Sher-li, who is also the co-founder of Ca­reer Nav­i­ga­tors Sin­ga­pore, a plat­form that helps moth­ers who have taken a ca­reer hia­tus re­turn to the work­force.

An­other in­ter­est­ing trend she has ob­served is that more PMEs (pro­fes­sion­als, man­agers and executives) – in­clud­ing ac­coun­tants, lawyers and doc­tors – are step­ping out of the full-time work­force to ex­plore busi­ness own­er­ship.

At the same time, the types of mumpreneurial start-ups have evolved.

“Our Start a Biz work­shop typ­i­cally saw women who wanted to start kidswear busi­nesses. But these days, they are very var­ied; we’ve seen B-to-B (busi­nessto-busi­ness) start-ups, con­sul­ta­tion ser­vices, home-made crafts, and more,” adds Sher-li.

In ad­di­tion, the trend has spurred com­pa­nies to pro­vide more ex­i­ble work op­tions for mums.

The num­ber of rms in Sin­ga­pore pro­vid­ing ad-hoc ex­i­ble work ar­range­ments – which in­cludes work­ing out-ofofce – rose from 70 per cent in 2015 to 77 per cent last year, ac­cord­ing to an em­ploy­ment sur­vey by the Min­istry of Man­power.

“While I won’t say there has been a very huge hike, what’s in­ter­est­ing is that most com­pa­nies are now less re­luc­tant to of­fer work-fromhome op­tions. At our re­cent ca­reer fair, we had com­pa­nies like Mi­crosoft, Mastercard and BDO Con­sult­ing specically of­fer­ing work-from-home jobs for cer­tain roles,” says Sher-li.

Elynn Liew, a former HR ex­ec­u­tive and mum-of-two who founded Ca­reer­mums, an on­line job por­tal, has seen a 50 per cent rise in the num­ber of work-from-home job list­ings in the last seven years.

“A num­ber of our clients are young busi­ness own­ers who may be par­ents them­selves. Some of them specically want to hire moth­ers be­cause they un­der­stand their work-life bal­ance strug­gles, and know that they have tal­ents and skills to of­fer,” she says.

While there are now more op­por­tu­ni­ties than ever for mums to start a busi­ness or work at home, the press­ing ques­tion is: How do you make it work? Here’s what you need to know be­fore you take the plunge.

You need the right at­ti­tude – and a marathoner’s en­durance

Are you ready to plough on with dead­lines when ev­ery­one else has called it a day, and maybe work harder than if you were at a full-time job?

Do you mind tak­ing risks and not have a sta­ble in­come? These are hard ques­tions that you will have to ask your­self, say mumpreneurs and WAHMs (work-at-home mums).

Au­drey Tan, 30, who brought Korean chur­ros brand Churro 101 to Sin­ga­pore, says mul­ti­task­ing with run­ning a busi­ness and rais­ing kids re­quires tremen­dous stamina and en­durance.

The mum of two kids aged two years old and seven months old sur­vived only on two hours of sleep daily when her busi­ness rst took off about two years ago.

“There are no short­cuts and you can’t cut corners,” says Au­drey.

So don’t even think about it if you’re not the driven, strong-minded, self-mo­ti­vated, dis­ci­plined type. With­out these traits, warns Su Ling Zagorod­nova, founder and di­rec­tor of web­store Pup­sik Stu­dio, you will give up at the rst sign of difculty.

Am­ple fam­ily sup­port is cru­cial

This is the key to suc­cess. Su Ling says her hus­band is her “cheer­leader” when­ever the go­ing gets tough.

“Start­ing a busi­ness is al­ready very chal­leng­ing, and more so when you’re do­ing it and car­ing for a baby. Fi­nan­cially, emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally, fam­ily sup­port – es­pe­cially from your hus­band – is very im­por­tant,” says the mumpreneur with three kids.

Elynn of Ca­reer­mums says many work-from-home jobs still re­quire you to oc­ca­sion­ally go back to the ofce or out for ap­point­ments, so “back-up” help from fam­ily is es­sen­tial.

In fact, it’s so im­por­tant that Sher-li sug­gests re­con­sid­er­ing work­ing at home or start­ing a busi­ness if your fam­ily mem­bers aren’t sup­port­ive of the idea or do not re­spect your work-ath­ome hours.

Find a space to call your own

If there’s one thing mumpreneurs and WAHMs can agree on, it’s the im­por­tance of hav­ing your own work space – one that is not in­vaded by nap­pies, toys or spit-ups.

“You must – and I can’t stress this enough – have a ded­i­cated work area in your home. Once I close the door of my work room, to take an im­por­tant work call, for ex­am­ple, my kids know that no amount of knock­ing will make me open it,” quips Elynn.

Sher-li says this per­sonal boundary also ap­plies for work timings. If your des­ig­nated work time is be­tween 8am and 11am when your kid is in school, no

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.