From Mum to Mumpreneur

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Mothers in Singapore are creating successful side hustles and surprisingly profitable passion projects that transform into meaningful careers. Here’s how you can start your own.

It’s easy to scroll through Instagram at the end of a dismal day spent chauffeuring your kids to classes and having a screaming match with your four-year-old (because he’s decided that throwing his dinner at his mum is hilarious), and feel an inordinate amount of inadequacy.

You may even spend hours wondering how other mums seem to “have it all” while building their own lucrative mummy empires. But rather than wonder how these women do it, why not start your own your passion project and launch your personal mum-pire?

Of course, every mumpreneur has faced the same doubts and fears before deciding to embark on a new side project. Will I have time? Will I still be able to be with my kids? Am I being selfish for pursuing my passion?

Being a mother may be the most difficult job in the world, but it doesn’t have to be the only job you do.  Singaporeans are a hardworking bunch, with 75% of Singaporean mothers reporting that they work. However, the rigidity of fixed employment is often incompatible with the elastic needs of a life with kids.

So, in order to create the parenting flexibility they need, mothers all over Singapore are building successful side businesses, creating passion projects or “side hustles” that transform into meaningful careers. And the best thing about working for yourself? You have no one to answer to but yourself (and maybe your children when they yell for you at Kinokuniya).

Ready to launch your mumpreneur career? theAsianparent has got all your burning questions covered on how to start your own online business.

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1. Let your passion burn bright

So you’re ready to start hustling, but you’re slightly unsure where to start. What should you sell? Should you jump on the fidget spinner bandwagon or maybe sell some eco-friendly household items? Or maybe you could start a fashion lifestyle blog and sell your favourite skincare products and beach holiday outfits?

Although the ecommerce market is pretty saturated with large online marketplaces like Taobao, Lazada, and Shopee, the key is to find an idea or a product you’re madly passionate about, and believe in it. Do something you truly love and you’re good at. Growing any business will require long hours and lots of dedication. If you’re going to be spending all day working on your business, why not choose a cause that’s close to your heart?

Do you spend all your time with your kids outdoors and love fitness and exercise? Athleisure products are perfect to start your online business. One of the top trending products of 2018, its popularity can be leveraged to sell products you’re passionate about, like compression yoga wear for example.

Passionate about the environment and climate change? Consider selling eco-friendly products to fellow mummies! As more eco-friendly products like beeswax food wraps and menstrual cups are entering the market, a niche segment of environmentally friendly consumers might just be your biggest audience.

Another simple business idea is DIY arts and crafts. Does everyone tell you that you have killer handwriting? Calligraphy art may be a field to explore. Classes can transform your hobbies into successful businesses, and you can find out more about online courses here.

2. Sell something people need

Ideas alone are worth very little when they aren’t solving a meaningful problem. We tend to think our business ideas are golden, but is your product going to be something people want and use?

A great way to brainstorm for problem solving products is by using your own experience. What were the most frustrating things about being a mother? Could you find maternity wear that you actually liked and looked good in? Was there a gap in products that adequately supported raising your newborn according to your religion?

Ex-teacher Sylvia Seow set up an online business selling non-toxic, taste-safe play dough after realising that the play dough her children were playing with was in fact harmful and not as safe as manufacturers claim.

Test potential business ideas by joining Facebook support groups like Singapore Mumpreneurs and asking if others face the same problem. Approach people in your target market, look for Reddit forums that discuss the issue and start a thread asking people for advice.

3. Stop waiting, start now!

The only way to break the endless cycle of wondering how super moms got to where they are today is by starting now. The best way to start learning is to start doing! If you wait for too long, you may be watching someone else execute your business plan, wishing it was you.

Set up your online business with platforms like Shopify, a one-stop online platform that helps you set up an online store, hosting everything from product listings to payment details. You don’t even need any design knowledge. Choose between thousands of different themes of websites and you’re sorted! Shopify also has integrated payment and shipping options with different partners to help you with your business needs, and 24/7 support for all the questions you may have while running your store.

Launch your business BEFORE you feel ready. If you wait until you feel ready, you’ll most likely be waiting a long time. Platforms like Shopify can help launch your business in minutes, and there’s a 14-day free trial for you to get a sense of what it will be like to earn your first dollars!

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4. It takes a village

Michelle Hon. Tjin Lee. Cheryl Wee. These successful mums are raising businesses and children – both 24/7 jobs – with the help of a hugely supportive community. Your business journey is going to be an emotional one, filled with ups and downs and you’ll need a community behind you. Social media is a great place to look for like-minded mummies to connect with, and various Facebook groups like Singapore Female Founders or Breastfeeding Mothers Singapore are good places to interact with other mothers. Or you could join the bustling, vibrant theAsianparent Community.

On Instagram, you’ll not only find a huge community of supportive mums but also an avenue to market your product. Most mumpreneurs use social media platforms to build their own brand and market their products. Using Instagram flat lay style pics and photo apps are a good way to snap product shots and market your items. Lightroom, Snapseed and VSCO are great photo-editing apps to experiment taking product shots with.

As anyone who has ever birthed a child will know, no one can multitask like a mother can. It’s as if running a business was made for mothers. Women, in the immortal words of Beyoncé, are “strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business”.

For more inspiration, check out some of the success stories of other small entrepreneurs! If you’re looking to get in the fashion and clothing industry, the story of fashionable outfit makers MATTER may inspire you. 

And if you are looking for a comprehensive guide to build your e-commerce business, here is a complete blueprint of building, launching and growing a profitable online store!

Get started now! Check out Shopify for more details on how to launch your online business in minutes.

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