What is a Mumpreneur?
No, really? Is it an entrepreneur who is also a Mum? And do we even like the word?
When I began The Mumpreneur Lawyer, I wanted to work with Mums who had started businesses, and who were entrepreneurial, so when I came across the word Mumpreneur, I was quite sure it encapsulated the people I wanted to serve. It is a convenient label for women in business. Like girlboss, bizqueen, and many other womeninbiz hastags #! But I’m not oblivious to the fact that some people really don’t like it. That it is patronizing, that being an entrepreneur should be gender free.
When I started serving Mumpreneurs, it was not in the dictionary, and certainly not in the Oxford Languages and Google dictionary. Now it is, and it defines a Mumpreneur as a woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children. Which of course leads us to the question, why not Dadpreneur? There are plenty of men who set up and run their own businesses in addition to caring for young children. And I say, why not dadpreneur?! Highlighting our parenting role, be that Mum or Dad in addition to our role as an entrepreneur need not be a negative thing. We all have roles in our personal lives that are important to us. And before I am an entrepreneur, or business owner, I am a Mum. Being a Mum comes first for me. It just does. If my child is sick, he comes first. If my child needs me, he comes first. The business and business ideas can wait…. and perhaps it can wait for Dads too.
Being a Mumpreneur doesn’t mean that you are running a side hustle. It doesn’t mean you are a “solo-preneur”. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t serious because you are juggling competing priorities. But equally it doesn’t mean that you are extraordinary because you are a woman, or that your success in business should be judged by your success as a parent. A mumpreneur should be judged by the same rules in business as any other; are they disrupting markets, creating opportunities, having social and environmental impact and of course making money.
But, there are some big reasons I wont call myself an “entrepreneur”. And that is because I want to help break down the stereotype that entrepreneurs are men. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world with context, with history. The word “entrepreneur” has masculine origins in French and there is on ongoing cultural expectation in society that entrepreneurs are men. So the word itself is not gender free. Adding a gender, highlights that I am a woman and a Mum – and a proud one.
There are other reasons I wont stop calling myself a Mumpreneur, and that is because successful women are not easy to find. And when I find them, I want to support them. I want to know when a business is woman owned, and Mum owned, just as I want to know if it is indigenous owned, disability owned, LGBTQIA owned. Because the world is not fair, but by knowing these things I can help level the playing field. I can choose where I direct my capital, and use it to support the businesses that I want to support. It helps me support all the women in business, and particular Mumpreneurs. And what’s more it helps me to give recognition to those women, because women face far higher challenges than men do in work and in business life.
So what do you call yourself? Ultimately it comes down to your own values, and what you want to portray to the world. If you want to keep the fact that you are a Mum or Dad hidden from your role in business, fine. But if you want to create more meaningful business relationships, bringing your personal life into your business role may open up more opportunities and deeper relationships for you. Bring your personal background, and choices, and parenting roles to the fore I say; add the kids to that Zoom call – right now, you may not have a choice anyway! But if you haven’t; try it, you might be pleasantly surprised.
PS hats off to all the emerging #dadpreneurs!