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Why more mums are choosing entrepreneurship over the 9-5

by Marianne Stenger
Over the last few years, a new trend has emerged in the business world – mum entrepreneurs, or “mumpreneurs” as they are now being called. A survey carried out by Harriet Harman, UK Minister for Women and Equality, found that more women these days are starting their own businesses rather than rejoining the workforce after starting a family.

Forbes recently reported that women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the last 20 years, and contrary to men, their businesses tend to be largely home-based small businesses. Additionally, these women-owned businesses are expected to create 9.72 million new small business jobs by 2018.

So what is the driving force behind this movement of women entrepreneurs? Why are they choosing to leave their 9-5 jobs and launch at-home businesses?

According to the Harriet Harman survey, 70% of women entrepreneurs said they started their business because they wanted more flexible working conditions and 75% said that running their own business had improved their work life balance. found similar results after interviewing entrepreneurial moms; over 90% said that they chose to work from home because they wanted more family flexibility.

Holly Reisem Hanna, founder and publisher of The Work at Home Woman, explained that for her and most other women she hears from in her line of work, the work-life balance is the biggest motivation for wanting to work from home.

“For me personally, when my daughter was born, I knew that I would not be able to return to my full-time job as an RN Clinical Research Coordinator,” she says.

“I looked online for different work at home opportunities, but the majority of my time was spent weeding through scams and sifting through various websites to find all of the information that I was looking for – I was left feeling exhausted and defeated.”

That’s when she decided to start The Work at Home Woman, an award-winning website that is dedicated to helping women and mothers achieve their dream of self employment.

She started out by working from home part-time, while developing her idea and writing content for the website in her spare time. Although it certainly didn’t come easy, she says starting her own business has given her the flexibility and financial stability she always wanted.

Another possible reason why the mumpreneur movement has taken off so rapidly in the last few years is that working from home has slowly become more widely accepted.

Where clients and companies once viewed home-workers as less professional or less productive than those who worked in the traditional work environment, it is now much more commonplace and is seen as a very respectable way to make a living.

“In the past, people viewed telecommuters as slackers, and work at home mums as individuals who lounged around in their pajamas. But today, with all of our cloud technology, companies are seeing how seamless telecommuting can be,” says Holly.

So what are the biggest challenges that mums face when just starting out?

“I think the two biggest challenges that women face when they decide they want to [start something for themselves], is first weeding out the scams, and secondly figuring out what it is they want to do.”

“For figuring out the age old question, “what do I want to do with my life?” I suggest reading lots of books and getting connected with other individuals who are involved in the industry. If you’re thinking of starting a business, join a small business group. If you want to start blogging, join a blogging group. Getting connected with other like-minded individuals can really help to get the creative juices flowing.”

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