Meet the mums in business: our panel share their best advice

04 April 2019

Having recently celebrated International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day, we decided to reach out to mums who successfully balance family life with running their own amazing businesses.

There is a huge amount of amazing, dedicated mums who juggle raising their children with making a positive impact in the business world. From building a successful company to holding senior positions in their industry, we got in touch with some truly accomplished business mums to share the stories and advice that put them on the road to success. Whether you’re a mum-to-be or just looking for some insight, we hope you find their stories inspirational and uplifting.

What are some of the steps you take to achieve a good work-life balance?

Fiona Murden headshot

Fiona Murden, leadership psychologist working with multinational companies and the UK's most successful business leaders

"I remind myself to put time in the diary to do exercise, catch up with friends and prioritise family over work when it comes to big things – always, without exception. I continually reflect on what my own needs are, what gives me energy and what drains it. I also give others permission to tell me when I’m worn out; at that point it can be really difficult to see in ourselves and we tend to want to keep on going." 

Hira Ali headshot

Hira Ali, executive career coach, leadership trainer & keynote speaker

"I think I am still trying to achieve the perfect balance! My business is relatively new and needs a lot of attention and time. However, I advise mothers to schedule breaks from time to time to avoid burn out. It's easier to do that when you are not working for yourself but with your own business, you really need to make a conscious effort to hit the pause button and breathe!"

Martina Mercer headshot

Martina Mercer, marketing and PR consultant; editor of the blog Sunday Woman

"I discovered a long time ago that it’s important to have a cut-off point. In the first few years of business, I would work all hours as I built the business from scratch. As it settled down, I made sure to stick to routine. These days I put my phone away while I’m with the children, and take weekends off. That way they receive 100% of my attention when I’m not working." 

Female boss lectures colleagues in boardroom 

What do you rank as your greatest personal or professional accomplishments?

Fiona "My greatest personal accomplishments are having my two daughters and being a family unit with both of them and my husband. At a professional level, I would say it’s probably gaining Chartered status as a psychologist, and publishing my first book which has enabled me to start raising the profile of behaviour and psychological literacy more broadly."

Stacey Jackson headshot

Stacey Jackson, Founder of women's sportswear brand StaeFit

"Outside of my sportswear brand, I am best known as a singer. I recorded a single with Snoop Dogg, which was pretty great for someone who (at the time) was in her 40s with four kids!  It was a big deal to break into the music industry at 40. But it wasn’t an easy ride at first. With hard work, determination and perseverance, you can make anything happen though."

Gillian Robson

Gillian Robson, co-Founder and CEO of sun-care and self-tan brand Tancream

"My greatest personal accomplishment was over-coming a very negative time in my life and turning it into a positive, which allowed me to launch my own skincare brand to help others. After my experience undergoing surgery for skin cancer, I strive to get the message across to others the importance of wearing SPF every day – 90% of all skin cancer cases are preventable if we wear sun protection."

Woman working from home with baby

What advice would you give to prospective mothers who are currently running or looking to run a successful business?

Fiona "Realise that running a business doesn’t make you a bad mum. It sounds obvious but it’s something that can be difficult to accept at an emotional level. Ultimately if it makes you feel more whole as a person then it means you’ll be able to give much more to your children. Find support from other women who have been there before. Talking to someone who is a few steps ahead of you can be hugely liberating; realising you’re not in it alone and that someone else has had the same worries is very reassuring."

"Always have confidence and believe in yourself and your business. I learn something new through the eyes of my children every day; how to be patient, how to manage others’ lives, how to be someone that others depend on, and how to be empathetic towards others. All these things are relevant in the business world and I feel it’s an advantage to be able to take all that experience with me as I build my own business — experience is key, and knowledge is everything."

Martina "Try not to juggle everything. Carve out proper time to dedicate to the business so it can receive your full attention. I’ve worked with a one-day-old baby across my knee and the laptop balanced on the arm on the sofa, but soon found my health began to suffer. Don’t feel guilty for needing childcare, as long as you give 100% to the children when they’re in your care, they’ll thrive and so will your business."

Woman with enormous hair looks at phone while she holds glasses

Gillian "Always follow your gut feeling: believe in what you do, always remain positive, I had the challenge of my health which was a huge hurdle – we take the highs with the lows in life and it makes us the people we are today. Our children are better people for it – they also get the best out of us, as it’s more quality time rather than quantity."

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What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of balancing motherhood with running a business? How do you get around these challenges?

Hira "While running a business gives you flexibility, the downside is that since you are not following a fixed 9-5 schedule, you may get distracted by family responsibilities and duties. But with a little bit of discipline this can be managed. I find it particularly challenging to keep myself motivated and focused when my son is off from school during half term breaks and other holidays."

Stacey "As a mumpreneur you are clearly juggling two massive things. I think if you can successfully balance the two parts of your life, then it’s definitely a positive. Scheduling can be tough because I don’t like to miss a parent-teacher meeting or if there is an accident at the school, I would drop everything and take my kid to the hospital. Plus, I never miss a school play or a dance recital. So, it’s about knowing how to structure your time to be able to catch up on things you may have missed as a result." 

Martina "I find school holidays and sickness days the most challenging. I often work flexibly so I’m around when the children finish school, but this can mean I need to hide in a soundproofed room to have a phone call should anything urgent pop up. I try to avoid communication when I have all the children at home as it can come across as extremely unprofessional if there are children asking questions in the background! My eldest is autistic, while my youngest is glued to me 24/7. They understand I need to work, but I don’t like them to think that work is more important than they are."

Woman and baby working at home 

What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of running a business?

Hira "Running my own business has given me a lot of flexibility. I can be in charge of my own calendar and schedule, and be available for my son without much prior notice."

Martina "I grew up as a latchkey kid and didn’t want that for my own children. Although I can’t make every school event, I’m glad I’m there for the children when they finish school. I can also choose who I work with, from the people I hire to the clients I take on. This means I always look forward to coming to work in the morning and find every aspect of my business a joy."

Gillian "Meeting some incredible people along the journey – my business partner is a friend – I now feel I have gained a sister that I never had. To have this incredible journey together and take on challenges together, we always remember to keep positive."

We hope you have enjoyed this insight from experienced mums in business, and would like to thank everyone who contributed.

Gazprom Energy is a leading and award-winning business energy supplier, helping thousands of small businesses manage their gas and electricity contracts. To find out more about what we can offer your business, visit the homepage or call us today on 0161 837  3395.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

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