I’m overdue for a post! Closer friends would know that I’ve been busy setting up an entity with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). The learning curve doing a startup of my own has been very steep but it has been really enjoyable! And this post is to share the difference between being employed and being self-employed – from a Mummy’s perspective.
Ten Interesting Facts about being a Mummy-preneur (aka Mummy Entrepreneur)
- The internal struggle is gone. When I was in full time employment, I tiptoed out of the office after hours and felt really bad towards my colleagues. I also felt terror because I knew my boss prefers people who hang around after hours. However, when I stayed to work over time, I felt really bad towards my kid and the hubby, because things are insane when only 1 parent is around. This struggle disappeared when I became self-employed. Now I work whenever I can, and have no qualms stopping work at 5pm to pick the kid up, because I’m the boss and I answer to myself. Of course, working till 1am became more common, which brings me to the next point…
- You willingly work long hours and over the weekend. Because the work needs to be done anyway, long hours become the norm and you work at any time of the day. Working till 1am used to fill me with dread but now that it’s my own business, I’ve done it 3 times last week simply because the work needs to be done. (My freelancer probably thought I was insane though, sending out an email at 1am and then at 5am.)
- You no longer look forward to holidays. Holidays mean shorter work weeks and lesser time to get what you need to do done because the toddler and hubby will be home. Not that I don’t love them..but things still need to get done so I’ll have to squirrel time away to do work somehow.
- You finally understand what “work-life integration” is. When I was employed, a boss once told me that there is no such thing as work-life balance, only work-life integration. I now understand what he meant. To do well and create something worthy, time and effort need to be spent and there is no balance, just integration. The only difference is that when I was employed, I was unhappy to sacrifice my time with the kid for the company. Now I do it (at times) because I enjoy what I’m doing.
- Stereotyping gets pretty annoying. I’ve entertained countless questions on why my kid is still going to childcare when I’m at home. Neighbours question me on why I’m not taking any job that comes by. People look at you funny because they think you’re sitting at home watching K-dramas while your kid is in childcare.
- The uncertainty gets a little scary. Dealing with just outflows when setting up the business and being uncertain about whether you’ll get sufficient income, if at all, from the business, is very scary and probably the reason why few people would quit a job to set up their own business. It gets even more scary because the kid still needs to buy milk powder, diapers etc
- You may not be able to sleep at night. Not entirely from the uncertainty though… part of it is due to excitement, that slowly but surely, your idea is being actualised.
- The kid continually asks you whether you are buying gifts for her. Because the nature of my startup is kids-related, the kid is always asking whether whatever on the screen is for her, which is quite cute really.
- Chores! Cooking! Somehow, operating a startup from home is a little stressful in the sense that chores still need to be done, and in the evening, cooking needs to be done. So it’s a little like integrating both your job as a mum and as an entrepreneur all in one and doing whatever you can with whatever time you have. Of course, evenings are no longer as stressful as when I was employed because we no longer had to rush to do laundry or what not since I’d have done it during my break in the day.
- You are healthier and happier. Perhaps it’s because I no longer squeeze in rush hour traffic with tons of people with germs, or it might be because the stress of coping with the demands of my boss and colleagues who were all single and work super long hours is gone. While I adhere to budgets closely and am super frugal to make ends meet, I am happier.
And how about you? Would you consider being a mummy-preneur?