Secrets of being amumpreneur
ICOMPLETED MY accountancy qualifications, worked my way to a senior position at a leading US investment bank, and I was able to negotiate working parttime after my twin daughters were born. I had a stable, well-paid job and good career prospects. However, something was missing. I wanted to give my girls more time and attention than even my part-time arrangement would allow. I had plenty of hours each day to dedicate to my career but I wanted the flexibility to also dedicate time to my children. A familiar story for women up and down the country, but I decided to do something about it.
After a year of soul-searching and planning, I decided to leave behind my investment-banking career to go it alone. I said goodbye to the daily commute, fixed hours and fixed holiday days and set up my own Microsoft training and consulting company.
It was a very ‘‘Un-Gina’’ thing to do — in some ways, I am a classic accountant. I need routine, order and stability, but I also knew that my kids needed routine, order and stability and I needed to be able to help create that environment. I am also determined, stubborn and ambitious, and hoped that those attributes would be the right ones to create a successful venture.
I am proud to say that two years later I have a better life, feel more fulfilled, enjoy what I do, and have more money in the bank that I did before! These are my top tips on how to leave your safe, secure, job and create your own business.
HAVE AN IDEA
Even long before you decide to leave your job, think of your big idea. Every time there was a round of redundancies at my previous employer I would plan what I would do if my name was “on the list”. Thankfully, I never got on the list (although the pay-out would have been a nice starter for the venture) but I was prepared in case I was.
DON’T BE TOO PROUD
When starting out, no job is too small. You never know where it might lead. It is important to get your name out there and you never know who might recommend you in the future. Initially, I provided late-night training to clients and travelled quite far to provide consulting. Every penny counts and you cannot pick and choose between the jobs you are offered.
I also do lots of unpaid charity work — I can give something back to the community and at the same time it is all good practice. If you are going to offer your services to a charity then it may as well be in your area of expertise. I have maintained my shul’s fundraising spreadsheet and worked on my kids’ school calendar spreadsheet. Being the “go to” person for Microsoft is a compliment — even if I don’t always get paid for it!
It is surprising how many people want to help you when you start your own venture. Everyone has a nugget of advice that may or may not prove to be helpful but take it, write it down and give it a try when you have a quiet period.
IGNORE SOME PEOPLE
There are always people who say unhelpful things, maybe to make themselves feel better or to try and belittle you, but just ignore their unsupportive comments. When I resigned from my job, someone came up to me and said, “I heard you are leaving to be a mum”. It did not even warrant a response. Can you imagine a man leaving work to set up their own company and being told that he was leaving to be a dad?
More accurately, I left my job to become a Mumpreneur —“a woman who combines running a business enterprise with looking after her children”. According to research commissioned by eBay conducted by independent economists Development Economics, the number of Mumpreneurs has grown by 23 per cent since 2011. Mumpreneurs generated £7.2billion for the UK economy, supporting over 200,000 jobs.
REMEMBER YOUR GOALS
When times are tough and clientleads are running dry, remember what your goals are. For me, half of my goals are work-related but the other half are life-related. Provided I continue not to miss a Sports Day, Shabbat party or a Mock Seder, don’t have to count my holiday days and have a varied professional life working with different people, across different industries in different offices from hedge funds to government departments, then I know my work-life goals are being met.
Gina Cohen, Sunbird Advisers