Why we need to hear the stories of successful business women who are also mums

Last year a pipe dream of mine became a reality: the Bump to Business Owner podcast was born.

Four years ago, I set up my business: Upsource. We are a Virtual Assistant agency, supporting businesses of all sizes, from sole traders to scaling enterprises.

Starting my business was me taking control of my career and making a stand against overworking, being undervalued by my employers and a rigidity of traditional working practices that just wouldn’t mesh with a growing family.

When I was setting up I was pregnant, with a toddler (also juggling that first lockdown in 2020). I was looking around for the stories of mums that set up successful businesses around their families and just couldn’t find them. 

There were, of course, plenty of stories of male entrepreneurs. Something nearly all of my guests on the podcast have in common is that they had a model of self employment and business ownership in their lives when they were growing up. And it was almost exclusively their dads. In 3 seasons and almost 30 guests, only one has mentioned their mother as a model of entrepreneurship.

But incredible mums are out there, creating successful businesses on their own terms. And I’ve found that there is a huge appetite to hear mums’ founder stories and how they make it work: raising a family while growing a business. The Bump to Business Owner podcast is a space to hear those stories and a community to share experiences and support each other.

The Careers After Babies report has shared some scary statistics for mums. 50% of people perceive mothers as less committed to their careers than people who aren’t parents. 98% of mums want to go back to work after having kids. 87% of mums can’t make full time work, work for them. So mums are turning more and more to entrepreneurship as the only option. That was certainly true in my case. We are still ambitious, but our careers need to have the flex to account for the realities of family life.

Women and especially mums are unrepresented at every level in the working world, which means our problems aren’t being solved, our voices aren’t being listened to and, crucially, our businesses aren’t being invested in. My hope for the podcast is that it empowers mums and female founders to take up space, and encourages women who can’t make traditional employment work for them and their families to see that they have options.

We’ve had some incredible business owners as guests so far: Steph Douglas from Don’t Buy Her Flowers, Anna Mathur psychotherapist and best selling author, Whitney Bromberg-Hawkings, Founder of FLOWERBX, Siobhan Miller founder of the Positive Birth Company  and Saasha Celestial-One, Co-Founder & COO of OLIO app and we’re going from strength to strength. 

These are the stories I wish I heard when I was launching my business. Stories that I hope will inspire and empower you.

By Caroline Marshall

Caroline Marshall is the founder of multi award winning Virtual Assistant agency, Upsource, host of the Bump to Business Owner Podcast and mum to two boys.

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