It’s 2022 and yet women-led businesses still lag behind their male counterparts. As of October 2020, female founders and women-led businesses only made up 22 per cent of the 355,000 registered start-ups in Australia. In comparison, the percentage of working mums in Australia has almost doubled since 1984; 63 per cent of partnered mums and 39 per cent of single mums with children under five are in the workforce now.
As both a business founder and a working mum, it’s sometimes been a challenge to find the wider support and investment that I need and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Shifting direction from banking to gym owner to app tech
My career started in finance and banking, but my passion has always been women’s health. After a year and a half of planning, I left my stable job to open my first fitness business – a women’s only gym in Sydney where I worked with a diverse group of women and new mums on postpartum recovery.
The idea for my next business venture was seeded in that very gym. Working with new mums showed there was a need for simplifying how we gathered information. We shared similar experiences of feeling utterly overwhelmed by the information available and motherhood, and I saw an opportunity here to help make the lives of new mums easier.
Navigating the development of the app
So Mumli was born. Once we identified the problem – that mums were simply floored by the amount of often conflicting information available to them – we needed a solution. With 75 per cent of millennial mums using the internet for parenting advice, we knew a digital tool would be the natural place for the product to live. But we needed to determine exactly what that would look like. From our developmental research, we discovered Gen Z and millennials will soon make up 85 per cent of new mums, which affirmed our idea to create an app that would have all these features, services and information in one place.
I had no idea how to make an app! After researching with my team, we commenced focus groups where we talked to mums from a variety of backgrounds to gather insights on what they wanted in an app. Having these conversations with fellow mums unearthed the gaps in knowledge we have as new mums and validated our experiences on how difficult it can be to find the right information.
It was a lot of trial and error, but the community we’ve built with Mumli has been invaluable in providing live feedback on how we can improve the user experience. We’re currently in closed beta, with plans to roll out new phases over the next few months.
How to be both a mum and a founder
There’s no right way to be the founder of a start-up and a mum. At the beginning, I struggled to strike the balance between work and family. And with the pandemic, those lines weren’t so much blurred as much as they didn’t exist. It has been a trial by fire to find the ways that work for me, so I’d advise others not to be afraid to try out new things to see if they work.
Try getting into a solid routine with your family and if you have a partner, tag-team the work to lessen the load on yourself; make sure you set boundaries between work and family, and cut yourself some slack if you don’t get it right the first time.
Being the founder of a business that is creating a platform to make the lives of new mums easier is something I never dreamed I could do. This is only the beginning and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds.