All month, in celebration of Mother’s Day, we’ve been chatting to mums who have turned their passions – for fashion, mindfulness and community – into successful businesses. For our grand finale, we sat down with a mum who shows other mums how to do exactly that.
Meet Carrie Kwan. She’s the co-founder and managing director of Mums & Co, a business – nay, movement – that supports women on their journey through business ownership.
Founded in 2016, Mums & Co quickly became a go-to source of inspiration and information for the some 26,000 business-owning mums here in Australia, offering networking and upskilling opportunities, online and in-person events and tailored business resources and advice.
Their annual event, Be MPowered, will take place online on June 2, and feature notable working mums like Turia Pitt (Spend With Them), Grace Brennan (Buy from the Bush), Katrina McCarter (Marketing to Mums) and Delia McCabe (author and brain food expert).
“These events blend business development, individual wellbeing and family,” says Carrie. “The modern online format is a new type of national gathering, as business events traditionally don’t suit business-owning mums.”
We sat down with Carrie to talk all things motherhood, business ownership and how to juggle the two.
What, in your opinion, are the biggest roadblocks for women who are keen to start their own business, but hesitant?
It is challenging and can be scary to establish a new business and it takes courage to do so. You are unsure of the market, reception to your product and what lies ahead. I say to aspiring business mums that you don’t have to choose between career and family, and just go for it! At Mums & Co, we call it #Mumbition: the unapologetic blending of motherhood and ambition. We did a study that found 77% of business mums across Australia were happier as a result of starting their own business, so go for it and know that you’re not alone.
How can you tell a good business idea from a bad one? Or, is it a case of trial and error?
With your idea, have a clear purpose and understanding of the opportunity – what is the problem you are addressing, how big is this problem and the feasibility of the idea. Look at the industry as a whole, your direct and indirect competitors, and survey your ideal customers (is this a big enough pain point for them to have to fix with your product or service). A good business is one that intimately understands your customer’s needs. Ensure that the start up costs are acceptable and the financial forecasting gives an indication of the result or progress you’d like to achieve.
What are the first steps to take once you’ve decided to start your own business?
Business-owning mothers will take their passion for purpose and start a journey of always learning about how best to connect with their customers and run the business. Identify the areas you can automate, outsource or upskill. Understand the value of networking to meet like-minded people who can help you achieve your business goals. Then, learn how to confidently craft and deliver your business pitch – this is a fundamental skill. That’s why we run monthly “Practice your Pitch” sessions and in June we’ll be launching an online mini-course on pitch confidence for business owning mums.
Where can women go for support if they are business owners?
Find a supportive business network that suits your stage of career and parenting stage. You are not alone! We equip working mums with the resources, emotional support and introductions to achieve their personal and business goals. I love that we provide women with a space to connect, grow and learn together.
Any tips for finding a trustworthy tribe of people to help you run a business?
Take care and invest in your business family as you would your own. Start with a network of recommended suppliers (hint: the Mums & Co member directory does this step for you). If you’re hiring, be clear on the metrics that will convert to business growth. I’ve also had the fortune of some great mentors that have helped me along the way. Ask for feedback: Mums & Co has 42 experts that our members can access for immediate business advice or to learn new business skills.
What are your tips for women who feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of family life, business ownership and just life in general?
We want to live in a world where women shouldn’t have to choose between their families and their careers, however, the competing modes and time pressures of the equally demanding tasks of motherhood and business ownership are undeniably challenging. I take the perspective of harmony – being careful to prioritise ambition, livelihood and wellbeing – knowing that they are all transferable in helping me live the life that I’ve imagined. I’ve learnt to ask for help and recognise the important role men, my family and my support network play. It really does take a village.
Where do you go/what do you do to find inspiration?
We have a community of 23,000+ business founding mums that inspire me every day. We also promote the amazing work of female founders, increasing their visibility and providing role models for other women to be inspired.
Any tips for finding balance as a business-owning mum?
I say to embrace the journey and not wait for the destination! Invest in yourself and build confidence to feel empowered to ask for what you need, as and when you need it, across every aspect of your life – what do you need in business, what do you need at home, what do you need for yourself?
Mums & Co is delighted to invite all Haven readers and share a special 25% discount on Be MPowered tickets for 2 June. View the full speaker program and register at https://utm.guru/udnSV. Apply HAVEN as the Eventbrite promo code.