I am so excited to be writing a new series, just for mums in business! I have teamed up with the Women’s Business Club to speak to members who are also mums and share their stories.
So to start us off, I thought I should share my own story. Here it goes!
So for the first time, formally, my name is Lorah-Kelly! I am 25 years old, wife to my best friend and mother to a beautiful 16 month old girl. I have gone from a full time creative business owner to full time mum whilst my husband managed to land his dream job by teaching himself to code and running his own sideline web design business.
Together, we own Strawberry Studios, which is a dream that we hope to run with once our daughter and any possible future children don’t need us quite so much!
Did you get into business before or after you became a mum?
I was in business long before I was ready to be a mum; but I think in the back of my mind I was preparing for that role ‘one day’. I know that I wanted to create my dream job and be settled into it before thinking of babies. I knew that if I didn’t start my business right away, it would be harder to do it later as it would mean giving up an income that we would’ve grown accustomed to and relied on. Adding a baby on to that would probably mean that I wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of starting my own business!
What was your reason for starting up your own business?
For as long as I remember, I tried my hand at making and selling stuff. It started with cards, then some of my artworks while I slowly got into photography. I have a very entrepreneurial mother who always encouraged me to pursue my dream and why not make it happen for myself? Instead of looking for a job, why not do it directly and charge people myself?
My husband is also very creative and resourceful and loved the idea of creating our own income and he quickly found a passion for web and graphic design. He then started his own design business which we eventually merged with my business to create a business together which I am currently working under as a magazine designer for the Maximise Women’s Business Magazine
How do you juggle being a mum while running a business?
Honestly, I really struggle! In fact I pretty much shut my business down after I had a baby and only took on one client, the magazine which is an on-going project. I absolutely love doing it this way as there is no pressure to find work and as it is quarterly magazine I have months to work on a project rather than weeks or days.
I did juggle the full on business with motherhood in the early months of Emily’s life, but absolutely couldn’t handle the pressure of working full on every day with a baby. I felt guilty and like I was being robbed of a precious time that I should be enjoying! So I stopped taking on clients and simply focussed on one project, which I work on as and when I can.
I ideally only work during nap times, when Emily is with her grandparents and on the rare occasion in the evening. This is absolutely perfect for me as it means I can continue doing the work I love, in my own time and still spend my days being mum and focussing on that.
What advice would you give to any mum wanting to start their own business?
I can only really advise based on my own story, with perhaps some gems I have picked up along the way from other business owners who have shared their journey with me. If you want to start a business, and don’t necessarily need to produce a full time income right away, I would advise you just to start slowly! Finding the balance between being mum and business owner can take some time and jumping in full steam ahead may overwhelm you. No harm can be done with starting slowly, growing organically and in your own stride.
I would also advise spending some time putting together a business plan. It is essential to have this in place for a successful business, so rather than worrying about it whilst also trying to run your business and balance family responsibilities, I would get it done before anything else.
Finally, make sure you know what your priorities are. My priority is always going to be my daughter. If she needs me, I will drop everything I am doing! I have simplified by business so much in order to be able to serve my priorities. I have found a client who works with my priorities and I am saying no a lot to many opportunities because I know they would get in the way of me be being able to put my daughter first. Have a good think about what really matters to you.
What advice do you seek being a mum in business already?
My big question would probably be; how do you appear professional whilst technically being a full time mum who sometimes works in her pyjamas whilst little one is napping?
How has the Women’s Business Club been there for you in your business journey?
Honestly, The Women’s Business Club is the very reason I have the confidence to be in business. In reality, my temperament, personality and lifestyle choices would say otherwise! The Women’s Business Club has always encouraged me to completely be myself.
I have loved the freedom of just being me, and I think my clients keep coming back for that very reason. What you see is what you get, I maintain my integrity in everything I do and don’t apologise for who I am. The Women’s Business Club is a club of real, authentic women who happen to also be in business. I love it!
Read the extended interview (together with plenty of pretty pictures!) on the Mother Duck blog!