The moment you hear the word ‘entrepreneur’, the image that pops up is one of a solo traveler beating the odds, and competitors, to the top of a mountain.
SOLO – the one word that remains etched in our minds when entrepreneurship comes to our mind. Many, in fact, prefer it to be that way too. And yet, for mom-preneurs, is it the best option or even a feasible one?
“I could never have imagined doing all this on my own,” opines Nisha Khetan, one of the founders of Cubic Communication, a media relations consultancy based out of Mumbai. Nisha started Cubic with her colleague of many years Sangeeta Irani after the former had a child and didn’t want to go back to regular work hours. “My priorities changed after having a baby, and I did not think I had the patience to deal with traditional corporate life. This gives me the flexibility I crave with a child around. Yet, having a partner gives me the support I need. We are each other’s shoulder to cry on. Work-wise, we are in a good place where we are handling a select set of clients, while not compromising on our worth and time. We are able to divide our day to suit our domestic schedules so that the client remains unaffected at the end of the day.”
Being each other’s Woman Friday also gave them the option to have a fallback in case of an emergency without letting work get affected. That’s the power of collaboration!
In fact, about two months ago i.e. in January 2016, a survey about mom-preneurs threw some interesting results. The survey was conducted by Back to the Front – an organisation aimed at bringing women back into the workforce, and First Mom’s Club – a 30,000 member-strong online community for mothers worldwide, who recently launched their mobile application. Speaking to a group of over 1,200 respondents, the survey concluded that being their own boss was the biggest reason moms turned entrepreneurs. Interestingly, the survey “reaffirmed the importance of human network for them to be successful.” A helping hand at home, an external mentor or coach and a group of like-minded women who can help – these came up as the key types of network assistance they would appreciate. The survey established that the mom-preneurs sought the freedom to follow their own instincts, while having a support system to fall back on in case of advice or support required.
Anjali Gulati, Founder – Back To The Front, opines, “I believe it is always better to have a team of mom-preneurs running an enterprise than one. Where one person may be satisfied with the scale achieved, a team will constantly strive to aim higher and aspire for more.” Anjali started working with women seeking a career comeback about six-and-a-half years ago when entrepreneurship itself was a new idea, leave alone mom-preneurship. “Having worked with thousands of mom-preneurs over this time, I find that working as partners or a team makes any business scalable and more dependable since there is always a back-up to fall back on, in case of an emergency. Then, of course, some career choices like consultancy works better as a single individual simply since it can be handled at one’s own convenience better that way.”
Collaboration, clearly, is not always about having a partner or co-founder. It could also mean being a part of larger platforms, where one can learn from the other’s mistakes and achievements. And that is what Hopscotch.in did! Understanding the ecosystem that mom-preneurs often work in, Hopscotch set up a back-end team that would assist the mothers to take their product to the online world. Says Rahul Anand, Co-Founder & CEO of Hopscotch.in, “We have over a lakh vendors across the country. And some of them have literally moved from selling their wares at exhibitions to launching their online showcases. We believe they could benefit from assistance on building their brand story, their logo, photography of products – basically creating the online avatar for their brands. We also work with them in arriving at the optimal pricing for their products and offer sustained market feedback on their collections.” This kind of support and consultancy for a solo mom-preneur would be nothing short of gold. Having begun the initiative in April 2013, Rahul observes that mom-preneurs are far more open to fine-tuning their collections to match market demand. They are amenable to experimenting with 12-18 collections a year vis-à-vis the traditional two-three that are put out by the big brands. And this clearly is bringing them the results, at least on Hopscotch.in.
In fact, there are now several platforms online that extend support to mom-preneurs in more ways than one. Be it assisting with tips on business management, continued guidance and assistance until one is established, e-commerce platforms and so on. www.indiamums.com, www.mompreneursindia.com and www.mompreneursonfire.org are platforms dedicated to assisting mom-preneurs in India, and globally. On the other hand, there are also entrepreneurs’ or mothers’ platforms such as www.therodinhoods.com and www.smartmomz.com that are active and extend various forms of support, with a special focus on mom-preneurs.
Various ways of collaboration, therefore! And, even then, we are constantly shown examples of women who have battled it by themselves to the top. And their stories are made out to be what legends are made of. So, the idea should be to make the most of what you have without letting it hamper the real reason you became a mom-preneur, to balance work and life, to utilise your skill-sets even while you pamper your little one/s with your attention.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)