If there’s one thing women can relate to, it’s ‘the hustle’ – the dance being done between work and family, health and stress, and home and happiness. Here, seven successful Shopify Plus merchants, who also happen to be mums, give their advice for the daily hussle.
- For Alex McCabe, Founder of lifestyle business Kip & Co, and for many working mums, the ability to multitask is key to the daily hustle.
“I appreciate the idea is to be completely present in each moment, but it’s a reality for me that there are many times during the day when I am trying to fill both the mum role and the business owner role, and the ability to do both simultaneously is key,” she says.
Being a mum who hustles means Alex says she needs a good appetite for risk, as well as a good sense of humour. “Sometimes you’ve just got to take a leap of faith with both business and parenting, there’s no guarantee the thing you’re doing, whether it’s a new product or a new parenting technique, will work. But on the other side of it you will know how to do it better the next time!”
She says there’s a tonne of reasons why women are underrepresented in start ups – a lack of network and mentors, limited access to capital, and the challenges of juggling motherhood and careers. “Add to that women have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and things might start to seem a bit glum. And yet, there’s an explosion of female creativity, ambition and energy in our world. We need to collectively and individually focus on each of these challenges and figure out practical solutions, even if they aren’t big.”
- Founder and CEO of maternity activewear business Cadenshae, Nikki Clarke, likes to challenge the status quo and refuses to believe women have to choose between being a mum and being a business owner.
“Just because a woman has children does not mean she can’t perform at the top level anymore. In fact quite the opposite, the old saying ‘if you want something done, then ask a busy person to do it’ could never ring more true than to a working mum. It’s high time working mothers are recognised, celebrated, and rewarded,” she says.
“There needs to be a real cultural shift to create a society that supports working mothers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders better, and allow them more scope to grow and flourish. I don’t mean men have to do better, but women also.”
For Nikki, this means stepping up more, speaking up, asking questions, challenging theories, and pushing for things that matter to mothers in the workplace, such as better maternity coverage, private rooms for pumping for working mums who breastfeed, or allowing their partners to pick up their kids from school at 3pm or take a day off to look after sick kids.
“The stand out piece of advice to my younger self would be to trust, and never doubt myself. You’ve got to believe you can achieve your goals and strive for them with unwavering confidence. There will always be ‘haters,’ who will disagree with you, or think your ideas are no good, but at the end of the day, if you think it’s a good idea, go with it.” she says.
“Back yourself! I’d also tell my younger self that I am enough, and what success looks like to me may be very different to what other people perceive as success, but as long as I’m achieving all my goals, then this is all that matters.”
- Being a mum who hustles allows Leah Betts, one of the founders of sleepwear business Cachia, to combine her two loves: her business and inspiring her daughters.
“Working for myself gives me the flexibility to set my own hours. It allows me to do the two things I love best in life, being a mum and running my businesses, and I get to enjoy both. Because I love what I do, my girls see a woman who is driven, and who works towards our family’s future success. I love work and I hope by being a positive role model I can inspire my girls to find the thing they love and a career that supports it,” she says.
As for the delicate balance of work and parenting, Leah doesn’t think women need support or help doing their 9-5 job, she thinks they need it when they go home.
“Partners need to share the mental burden that comes with trying to run a household. The stereotype regarding women’s duties in the house has been in existence for a very long time. Society has come a long way with regards to “workplace” equality but this must also flow into households, equality should not disappear the moment we step foot outside our workplaces.”
- Fellow Founder of Cachia, Sophie Cachia, is also dedicated to living her life in a way that inspires her children by challenging society’s set narratives.
“I want them to live life in the most authentic way, as well as encouraging them to chase every opportunity without the limiting beliefs set by society for so long regarding gender and the ridiculous notion of gender roles,” she says.
“My children are raised with an independent mother who has challenged narratives her entire life, who leads by example to work hard, and they see what can be achieved by doing that. I show my daughter that you don’t need someone to ‘look after you’ as a female – that you, in fact, can build your career and your family simultaneously whilst looking after yourself.”
To this end, Sophie shows her children life doesn’t need to look a certain way and you don’t necessarily need the best grades in school, you don’t always need a university degree, and you don’t have to slog away at a job you hate in order to build your way up.
“If you are determined and passionate enough, and if you put the right people around you, you really can create whatever life you wish.”
- Sam B, Co-founder of skincare company Naked Sundays, says the way she hustles in her career is she is always trying to push herself to learn new skills and be challenged in new and exciting ways.
“Whether it be writinga new book, taking on a new skill, like website building or graphic design, there’s never a dull moment! I love seeing my daughter’s excitement when she comes with me to work, or sees a project come tofruition I’ve been working on.”
For Samantha, juggling the work life balance is key, and while it’s hard for any working mum to get right, trying is what matters.
“Society should start treating women in low and high positions as capable of so much more than we give them credit for, and not expect them to always bring an emotional reaction. “
- Zoe Salmen, Founder of baby and kids business,Little & Loved, says her children are the inspiration for her company, and she wants to show them if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learnt along the way is to stop chasing the ‘balance’. In business there will always be something more to do. Learn to switch off and put yourself first. Say no when it feels right. Ask for help, you’ll need all the support you can get!”
- Ali Clarke, Owner of skincare business Bondi Blades, says giving up her corporate job to pursue a better balance was the most rewarding thing she ever did. That being said, she says women shouldn’t feel like they have to choose between a career and a family.
“I believe that you can have it all – if you want to. It’s up to you. However, at some point something will give. For me it was giving up my six-figure banking job. Money comes and goes but you get burnt out. Having it all now to me is knowing my daughter can have all my attention, and my family is financially stable even without that job,” she says.
“I am working to show her she can be her own boss, and I am looking after my health and fitness again. Being a mum should not stop you from achieving your dreams and goals.”
As for success, Ali says to hustle, women need to be better at tooting their own horns, and supporting fellow women in their successes.
“Stop caring what the people around you think, especially the ones with negative things to say about what you are trying to do, and go for it. They won’t even be in your life in years to come. Stop holding back, you are going to achieve greatness in your life!“We need to start encouraging women to apply for roles even when they don’t meet all the criteria. We are quick learners and should not doubt ourselves, society should encourage women to take on male dominated roles in business regardless. Women should never have to feel they need to lie about their desire to be a mum for fear that they won’t get the role, even when they are clearly the best person for the role.”