Here's what 13 Aussie mums learned from building businesses while raising kids

Having a baby isn’t the end of your career, it can actually instigate a whole new one for many mothers.

Business Insider spoke to 12 Australian “mumpreneurs” who’ve launched their own ventures while raising little ones.

Many came up with the idea for their business after experiencing the problem they now solve, realising there was a sweet spot in the market.

For many, as the kids are growing, so are their businesses and they’ve got a bunch of advice to share with other mums or mums-to-be thinking about launching their own business.

Here’s what 12 Australian mums learned from building their own companies.

Being A Mum In Business Forces You To Refine Your Multitasking Skills - Sasha Deacon, Founder Beau Hudson

Founder of accessories company Beau Hudson, Sasha Deacon came up with the idea after she had her boys and found the market was lacking a practical accessories solution.

'My goal was to mix something I loved, with being able to be at home with my boys. They were and are my inspiration. Combined with my love for fashion and accessories- I began the business from my dining room table. With my husband now on board as my full time business partner and a great team, we are growing it into something we can one day pass on to our boys,' Deacon said.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

Deacon said the biggest thing she has learned - and admits is still learning - is time management and balancing home and work life.

'Being able to switch between the role of business owner/entrepreneur and mum was a difficult task and I felt it physically impossible to come out of work mode as the emails, orders and to do list never ends! I really had to learn how to switch off from work and give my kids the love and attention they needed,' she said.

'There have been many occasions where I felt like I was either failing as a mum, or as a wife, or a business owner! But the reality of it is...that’s ok! When I have those moments, I just have to take a breath, regroup and write out a list to work out where to prioritise everything.

'It’s not an easy task juggling all of these roles- but all I can do is be the best I can at them and there is nothing more rewarding than watching our business grow and thrive through much hard work, and then ending the day with cuddles with my boys!'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

Deacon said it's all about having a clear vision of what you want to achieve and where you see your business going.

She said staying accountable is so important because while the rise requires a lot of 'hard work, sweat, tears and sacrifice' you need to know what the light looks like at the end of the tunnel.

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

Deacon says, 'Absolutely! Being a mum allows me to keep it real on a daily basis! One minute you’re speaking on a business platform and dealing with international contacts, and the next minute you're changing nappies and dealing with tantrums!'

'It also brings a lot to my business specifically (being in kids fashion) as I can relate to what parents are wanting for their kid’s as it was everything I was in search of for my own. Being a mum in business forces you to refine the skill of multitasking, which is an invaluable tool! It has opened up a new world of opportunity for my family and the future for my kids.'

Running A Family Household Is Not That Different From Running A Business - Lynsey Nichols, Gilbert the Garbage Truck

Together with her husband Herb, Lynsey Nichols launched an education program for children teaching them about sustainability and recycling.

'We want to ensure that our children are part of a global solution,' Nichols said.

'Children are the best teachers. If we can help them to understand the importance of recycling, they will pass their knowledge on to their parents, and our world will be a better place.'

The idea started after Nichols' husband, who was a garbage collector for almost 30 years became concerned about the amount of recyclable materials being sent into landfill. Together the husband-and-wife duo wrote, illustrated and published two children's books.

They now travel around doing readings at libraries and pre-schools in NSW and the ACT to teach children about waste management and the environment.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'I've learned that finding a balance between motherhood and being a businesswoman is not impossible. Believing in the importance of what I am trying to achieve through my business has helped me to find a way to make work and family life balance. My children provide me with inspiration and encouragement because they love the characters we create.'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'The best advice I give to other mums considering launching their own business is to not be afraid to take a risk. Try not to be hampered by the dollar signs. Profit can be measured in what you achieve, not just by how much money your business is making. For example, my business started out as a book and has grown into a educational show that travels around the state. To me, whilst financial profit may be minimal at this point, the growth is exceptional, and it has exponential potential.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Knowledge about the way children learn certainly helps my business. Also, being a mum makes me more aware of wanting to provide my children with a clean planet, and this drives my business as well. Running a family household is not that different from running a business. Being a mum, I know how to multi-task and that's an important skill for any business person.'

Don’t Expect It To Be Perfect - Jackie Hall, Founder, Parental Stress Centre

Jackie Hall used her own experiences as a mother to launch her enterprise.

'My business started as a result of my own crazy parental roller coaster of loving motherhood, hating motherhood, yelling at my children, being in tears of guilt and hating myself for the mother I had become,' Hall said. 'Unfortunately the latter started to become more and more my reality. In essence I was suffering from parental depression and anxiety.

'Realising that only I could change how I felt about being a parent and the daily challenges, I decided to look for information on how to change my mindset, only to find that the majority of information was about how to control your child’s behaviour and how to ‘walk away when angry’ or ‘take time out’. There was no process that I could follow that would teach me how to handle MY behaviour and the thinking that created my reactions.

'So while I was teaching myself from all the personal and professional development work I had done pre-children, I wrote about it as I applied what I was doing. That vital time in my life became the core of the Parental Stress Centre teachings.'

Launching eight years ago, Hall has now written five books, six online stress courses and does live seminars every month.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'I’m still learning this lesson, but there has to be a balance and I can’t do it alone. I have to learn to delegate and trust other people so I can be the best person I need to be for myself, my kids and the people that I help through the Parental Stress Centre,' Hall said.

'I’ve also learnt that there is no overnight success. Rarely is it ever one big thing that makes a business hugely successful. It’s more likely to be a momentum of things that led to the big thing that gave you exposure. But even if you do get that ‘big break’ it will still take momentum to keep you in the limelight. There’s 10,000 hours that goes into an overnight success. I think I’ve done 20,000.'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Do it! Believe in yourself and back yourself. If you wait for yourself to have all the right information, you’ll never get started. The whole ‘own your own business’ venture is a huge professional and personal roller coaster and learning process, but that’s not unlike any other area of life,' Hall said.

'Don’t expect it to be perfect, just start doing it and only do something that you are passionate about, then all that hard work will be mostly seamless.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'I wouldn’t have a business without being a mum,' Hall said.

'But I think being a mum makes it easier to relate to my clients. I always say that none of what they learn from me is written from a pedestal of perfection. I have to apply everything I’m teaching them, to my life everyday.

'I think I bring a realness to the business and because I’ve been through those hard, dark days myself, it’s easy not to judge anyone. Our motto is real solutions. Real support. No judgement. That can only come from being a mum and walking my talk.

Being A Duo Helps With The Workload - Jessica Henderson and Genevieve Pettit, Founders Kalani and Harper

Twin sisters and now mums, Jessica Henderson and Genevieve Pettit launched their own line of designer threads for little kids after wanting their little ones, Kalani and Harper, to have good quality, on trend outfits at a reasonable price.

'We started by literally throwing ourselves in the deep end knowing nothing about the manufacturing process or even how a garment was made,' the mums said.

'After many sleepless nights and hours of research and phone calls which most of the time led to dead ends and almost giving up on our whole idea we finally started to get some leads on where to start and it all fell into place from there.'

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'Time management is definitely the biggest lesson learned,' they said.

'Without setting away times just for the business we would end up with so much work piling up on us at the last minute and with little children it adds a lot of unneeded stress that being a mum already comes with.

'It can definitely be hard at times juggling mum life and house chores as well as trying to come up with our next season range, getting orders posted, replying to emails and liaising with our manufacturers overseas but being a duo we definitely find running our business a lot easier as we share the roles.'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Research, research and more research. Sometimes giving up seems like the easiest option but you if you really want it you can have it,' they said.

'We learned that no one does the hard work for you when trying to get your foot in the door. Persistence is the key and your hard work will pay off eventually.

'Start advertising your business early and work up your follower/fan base on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram as we have found this to be a successful platform for our business.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Being a mum in our field makes it easier to make connections with our target market which is other mothers as we find mums love supporting local small businesses so therefore the word gets spread a lot easier through word of mouth to other mothers.'

Be Confident; If You Delivered A Child, You Can Do Anything - Michleen Daoud, Click Click Marketing

Starting Click Click Marketing in her early 20s, Michleen Daoud decided if she wanted a work/life balance she was going to have to run the show.

Starting in her bedroom, Daod landed two small contracts in the early days which got her off the ground, adding event management to her marketing agency's offering she quickly grew the business - transforming it into a multi-million dollar firm all while raising a family - and before she turned 30.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'The biggest lesson I learnt from starting a business and being a mum is that you can be amazing at both simultaneously. I didn’t think this was possible growing up. As long as you work hard and give 100 per cent, the sky is the limit,' Daoud said.

'I have two beautiful children aged four and two, with a baby on the way. We work with companies like HP, Symantec, Adobe and Fujitsu and host over 200 events a year. We regularly work in all different markets, from Australia, to the US, Korea, NZ, Hong Kong, Greater China, Singapore, Japan, and India. We’ve a great team. This makes me proud, as does being a mum.'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Keep start-up costs low, this will reduce the stress and anxiety when launching a business,' Daoud said.

'Find your niche and focus on it. This will differentiate you from others.

'Be confident; if you delivered a child, you can do anything.

'Work out a routine to suit your work and lifestyle too. Currently I work from 9am to 4pm and log on at night when the kids are asleep. Block out the noise, work hard and give 100 per cent wherever you go.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'I feel like the ingredients to a successful business are being organised, multi-tasking, working hard, learning to budget, being patient, humble, and keeping things in perspective. Motherhood teaches you these things well.'

A Niche Is Very Important To Stand Out In Often Crowded Markets - Belinda Jennings, Owner, Mum Central

After becoming tired of countless eBay sales after having my first son in 2009, Belinda Jennings turned to Facebook and created Adelaide Baby Bargains.

'I went about promoting the site to local mums, encouraging them to join so we could sell amongst each other, saving money,' Jennings said.

When the group started to get traction she launched a dedicated classifieds site, expanding the classifieds service nationally. Growing a community of mums, Jennings now runs Mum Central, a website full of content for Australian mums.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'I learnt very early on to implement and be disciplined around a well balanced work/life balance so that you can still be a mum without risking being consumed by work too much. It didn’t come easily and found it particularly difficult after the birth of my second son, around the time we were expanding our service nationwide,' Jennings said.

As her two boys have grown, they're now three and five, Jennings said she has had to make a bigger effort to separate work from motherhood.

'Critical to this success has been the commitment and support from my husband Jason. While he’s not involved in the business on a day-to-day basis, his contribution goes far beyond this with him looking after our two boys with child care drop off, dinner preparation some nights (yay!) and managing night time routines through the week until I finish work around 6pm,' she said.

'This is, without a doubt, a big contributor to assisting with the work/life balance and avoids me getting wracked with ‘mother guilt’ that I’m not there to do these things all the time.

'Three months ago I moved back to work from home (given my team are now all working remotely around the country). This has seen me spending far more time with the boys (and far less time commuting). It’s made the world of difference to my kids now I’m home when they get home, kindy drop off and pick up are part of everyday life now and we’re able to be together a whole lot more before bed each night. Winning!'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Have a go! I started on Facebook by creating a page, dipping my toe in the water, so to speak, without spending any money. Test the market, know your audience and research what’s available so you can understand and find a niche easily. A niche is very important to stand out in often crowded markets. You don’t need a lot of money (or to quit your job) until you’ve proven your business model and are driving enough revenue to support it.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Without a doubt, if I hadn’t become a mum, I never would have started my business. Born out of necessity, it’s been a journey of discovery and support that I have shared with my community as we’ve grown,' Jennings said.

'By far being a mum brings an incredible amount of value and is a very important element to our business. We know it’s no easy feat being a mum, juggling family life, career and the busy lives we lead. That’s why my entire team are all mums who ‘GET IT’ because we know there’s nothing more powerful than one mum reaching out to another, and that’s what we’re all about.'

When You’re Ready To Put On Your First Employee Advertise It, You Never Know What Talent You Might Attract - Christine Kininmonth, Founder, Fertile Mind

A former TV newsreader, Christine Kinimonth struggled to find smart enough suits to wear on air so she altered the ones she had and with what she calls the Baby Belt.

'I had a very professional box made for it, and promptly ran out of money. The only asset I could sell was my car. Luckily, former stockbroker Peter Hooker who came to buy it bought half my business instead! I launched at a trade show and Target loved the box so much they were our first customer. So there’s a lesson – your packaging is often your best advertising,' she said.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'Other people are fascinated by it. Every time I mention I have my own business, a mum with young children will ask how they can do that too. Funnily enough, those of us with a business are quietly listening, and thinking how lovely it would be to have a regular wage with none of the responsibility of being a business owner!'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Read 'The E Myth' by Michael Gerber. When you’re ready to put on your first employee - advertise it because you never know what talent you might attract. One of our most valuable staff members came from IBM and we benefit every day from her emphasis on more efficient systems and processes.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Children sometimes! I’ve had toddlers loaded up with boxes being pushed into loading docks. I’ve had all four daughters working a production line on the dining room table to meet an order deadline. My 14-year-old has a part-time job repackaging maternity accessories,' Kininmonth said.

'Being a mum also brings a consumer’s critical eye to the business. Is it practical? Does it wash? Will it last? What’s the warranty? Our manduca baby carrier, for example, can be fitted with spare parts if needed, so it’s a very sustainable product. That kind of thing matters to mums.'

You Need To Be Starting Your Business For The Right Reasons - Marlies Hobb, Co-Founder, Paleo Café


After the birth of her son Troy in 2011, Marlies Hobb's life completely changed.

'As soon as my milk came through Troy was struck with agonising digestive pain and severe acid reflux. He was limp, starving and vomiting most of the time. For the first 4 months he barely slept and nor did I. I was desperate and I felt I was letting Troy down,' Hobb said.

Suffering from mastitis three times, after four months and multiple paediatrician appointments Troy was prescribed a dairy free formula.

'Within two weeks he went from waking every hour to sleeping 12 hours throughout the night. Over the course of 5 weeks, he healed and I met a new baby boy. A happy, content and engaging one, free from constant pain,' Hobb said.

The experience taught Hobb about how foot affects the body. She started on a paleo diet but found it wasn't social or convenient especially at work.

'That is how the Paleo Café concept came about. We wanted to bridge the gap between the information and the action. We wanted to offer a convenient and reliable healthy eating option along with a one stop Paleo shop and we wanted people from all over to enjoy the convenience of Paleo Cafes,' she said.

In two years Hobb has opened 12 cafes throughout Australia, is about to stage an international expansion and written a Paleo cookbook which is now on the best seller list.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'You need a good team of people around you, who support you and share in your vision and can help you to keep the wheels turning, at home and in business. These people become part of your army of soldiers in the fight for your dreams. They are your partner, your staff, your friends and your family. They are essential for success so you must treat them well!'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'To be successful you must be passionate about your business and you need to be starting your business for the right reasons.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Becoming a mother completely changed my priorities and perspective on life. It showed me what was truly important; and that was health and happiness. It gave me the strength to take leap of faith and leave my legal career to follow my dreams and passion for Paleo Café. It helped me truly connect and engage with people, which is so important for your happiness and for business. It gave me a new level of compassion for people and a sense of purpose. All of these attributes have been crucial in the success of our business.'

Don't Try And Do Everything Yourself - Jo Whitton, Blogger, Quirky Cooking

Having to deal with food intolerances, something that is becoming increasingly common in children, saw mum-of-four Jo Whitton launch her blog Quirky Cooking.

'The community that resulted has grown quickly, and in May I released my first cookbook, which was a best seller within two weeks,' Whitton said.

'Because of the success of my book and blog, I now speak at seminars and classes around Australia about healthy eating and cooking for food intolerances, and share my practical 'how-tos'.'

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'Don't try and do everything yourself. Get some help with anything you're not great at, or that you don't want to spend time on, so that you have quality time to spend with your family and to work on what is most important in your business.'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Be a connector! When you go out of your way to share yourself, help others and you get to know others in the online community and local community. You will find that many times the help and encouragement you give comes back to you. Don't be shy about connecting.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Practicality. I know mums don't have much time, they're generally on a budget, and they need things to be simple and in small steps so they are not overwhelmed with all they already have going on in their everyday lives,' Whitton said.

'I try to keep my recipes and tips and posts very practical and helpful - not just airy fairy ideas of where we all should be with our diets, but how to get there, one day at a time, when you're sleep deprived, with kids hanging off you, a tight budget, and no time to get too fancy. Mums appreciate the practical application of changing the family diet one step at a time, and I think that is why my blog, book and classes have been so well received.'

Don't Be Intimidated By The Business World - Lauren Harris, Founder, Tadah Patterns

Everything old is new again - at least that's what Lauren Harris likes to think.

Harris launched her business Tadah! Patterns to revive the old art form of sewing and make patterns funky, modern and accessible.

'I embarked on this journey in July 2013 after the children’s clothing I was designing, hand crafting and selling on the internet became so popular that people started asking for the patterns,' Harris said.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'I am constantly learning about time management. It is the greatest challenge that I face as a business owner and a mum. Learning how to separate my business from my family has been a big eye opener for me, and has allowed me to give each the time and energy that it deserves.'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Just get in there and give it a go! Don't be intimidated by the business world because you probably already have many of the skills needed to run a successful business, you just need to believe in yourself and take the first step.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Being a mum brings many things to my business. Flexibility would be the biggest asset that being a mum brings, and this goes both ways. I am able to be flexible with my ideas, my time and the resources that I put in to my business.'

There Is Always Something To Do, Start Before You're Ready - Jenine Dilts-Bayman, Founder, Mums With Bubs Fitness

Starting a fitness business six months after the birth of her first child, Jenine Dilts-Bayman did it to find herself again.

'When I fell pregnant, I felt lost. I had no other friends with children, and my career was just starting to get going,' she said.

'I was diagnosed with antenatal depression, which only came on more so when my baby was born. It was when my baby was about 4 weeks old that I started exercising with her.

'This became a regular play time activity for us both and a real bonding experience, and I thought if we love it so much, surely other mums would too!'

Dilts-Bayman did her fitness certification and in October 2012 ran her first class.

'I was healthier, happier, and felt more connection with my baby than I had ever thought possible. It was a true 'win-win', and still is!'

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'Time management is critical, and there is no down time! There is always something to do. Being a mum takes priority over the business every time, so this means being extremely organised, planning well in advance and asking for help when needed in order to keep the business progressing and my family life as together as it can be! Thankfully, my kids love coming to classes with me and being involved in all the activity. To them, daily exercise with mum while I work is social and lots of fun!'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Start before you are ready! Have your blueprint in your mind, but it doesn't have to be perfect. The most important thing is to take note of your ideas, start writing that list, ticking off the boxes, and take action in whatever time you can manage. And perhaps most importantly, ask for help from someone who has been there, read their books, or at least Google it if you aren't sure how to do something! You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish when passion, expertise and action combine.'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'Being a mum brings everything to my business! If I wasn't a mum, I wouldn't have recognised the need nor had the idea to offer the programs we provide.

I love that my children are an integral part of it; how my 2.5 year old daughter now dances, lunges, jumps and sings her way through the classes, how my 4 month old smiles through his tummy time, rolls around and joyfully participates in the sessions I teach.

I love that our sessions can create positive change for the mothers who attend, but also their children, husbands/partners, and anyone else they come into contact with. If the mother is happy and healthy, it leads into a healthy lifestyle for the rest of her family.'

Outsource Where Possible - Caroline Africh, Founder, Attipas Shoes

Caroline Africh's 14 month old son kept losing his shoes. He was trying to walk but his kicks weren't just right.
It was a holiday in Japan where Africh discovered Attipas Shoes, a prewalker for toddlers.

Bringing a pair back to Australia, she realised their was a market so she locked up the distribution rights, launched a website and two years on has sold more than 15,000 of these clever shoes in Australia and stocks over 40 shops.

Biggest lesson learned from starting a business while being a mum

'Outsource where possible! Being a mum is hard enough without having to run a business. In order to fit a business in and around my kids, I need to be very organised, as well as outsource key tasks. I have a warehouse that completes order fulfilment, an IT team that maintains my website, a designer that manages my artwork and a PR team that deals with the media.

Running my business whilst still being at home with the kids wouldn’t be possible without outsourcing! I am still the face of the business, but have found that by outsourcing processing tasks, I am able to operate the business using a top-down approach. I have learned to micro-manage less and rely more on the strengths and skills of others.'

Best piece of advice for other mums considering launching their own venture

'Always put your family first! I always make sure my kids and family come first, regardless of the task at hand. Having this at the forefront of my mind actually allows me to achieve great amounts work-wise, as when I have downtime from the kids (naps, post bedtime, occasionally during the day) I work in a very productive manner. It’s amazing how much more productive you become when time is of the essence! In order to achieve a harmonious work-life, I find that designating time to the kids, work and partner are extremely important. Sticking to these designations is the key to balance! A sneaky holiday, movie or dinner out doesn’t hurt either!'

Is there something being a mum brings to your business?

'I sell toddler shoes, so being a mum, and associating with other mums daily, helps keep my business afloat. I am forever talking about and selling Attipas toddler shoes to other mothers with similar aged children. I always keep a stash of business cards in my nappy bag, just in case!'

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