Meet Carrie Kwan, founder of Mums & Co – a thriving online community that connects and empowers over 10,000 entrepreneurial Australian mums.
Australia is a nation of small business owners - and one in six also happen to be mothers. That’s 345,000 women successfully juggling motherhood and business. And while 77% believe they’re happier since starting their own business, over half find managing their time the biggest challenge. That’s why Carrie started Mums & Co. It was a concept so strong, that CGU became an early backer.
Q. Tell us a bit about Mums & Co, and why you started it.
“As a business owner, and mum, I felt like I was part of a hidden workforce. I started Mums & Co to raise the profile of working mums, while giving them a place to unite, find support, and feel empowered.
Mums & Co is a free member-based online network, committed to helping mums in business thrive. More than just an online space where mums can connect and share ideas, we offer a wide range of products, services and benefits tailored to business mums, as well as perks they wouldn’t normally have access to. These include things like free or heavily discounted services , such as marketing, legal, insurance and accounting.”
Q. What have been your biggest challenges?
Like most working mums, being able to juggle the equally demanding tasks of motherhood and business ownership, has definitely been the biggest challenge. Whether it’s having to squeeze in time to work between parenting duties, or scheduling meetings to work around child-care, time pressures are definitely a challenge.
But there are other obstacles you might not expect too. Like having to deal with a feeling of isolation, and a sense there isn’t always someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through. That was a big factor in starting Mums & Co.
Q: What does success look like for you?
The flexibility to control how I spend my time and work on something that I believe is purposeful. I can be there when my family needs me most, and hopefully my kids will see their mum making a difference to others.
Q: What advice would you give someone looking to juggle motherhood and business ownership?
Firstly, I’d say go for it. You can do this. Secondly, I’d say think carefully about how you spend your time – it can make all the difference.
Here are some pointers:
- Try productivity apps like Asana, Trello and CoSchedule. They can help you keep track of everything in one place, and you can collaborate on projects online, cutting down on emails.
- Collaborate as much as possible. It’s how you’ll keep your skills up to date, and expand your network, and hopefully your business, organically. It’s always worth the time investing in mutually beneficial partnerships.
- And of course, join Mums & Co! Helping mums strike the work/life balance and succeed in business is what we’re here for. As a community, we can share our collective knowledge, celebrate our successes and support each other – we’re stronger when we work together.
Q: Finally, what’s the future of Mums & Co?
I think we’ve got a bright future ahead. The number of mothers owning businesses will increase as women continue to face rising childcare costs, workplace inflexibility and unequal pay.
Women shouldn’t have to choose between their career and having children. Being self-employed is an option that more and more women are turning to, enabling them to advance their ambitions, while having the flexibility to be there for their kids.