What comes first – mom or mompreneur?

This is easy I am a mum first… I have a two children aged 4 and 6 and a stepson aged 13. They are loved, fed, clothed and entertained first and foremost!

I am also a mompreneur… I have created Silver Apples, which is a range of handmade, quirky, classic and yet practical clothing for kids. I have unleashed my creative side and I have got an amazing response from the general public. My clothing is different, unique and my brand is recognisable as the Silver Apples brand.

Luckily when I was starting my business I didn’t consider that being a mum would hold me back. I was compelled to start and just kept going! I didn’t look back. I didn’t worry what might happen. I am a mum but it wasn’t going to stop me!

Would it be easier to start a business without young kids?

YES! But as the Chinese proverb says ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’ There will always be reasons to put something off so just make a start, get the head down and see what happens!

Is it hard?

Yes, I have to be more organised, more efficient and more determined. I am still responsible for the school runs, home works, dinners, lunches, cleaning and THEN I start on my business. But while all of the tasks that I have had to juggle are exhausting, they are exactly the qualities and attributes that have stood me in good stead when things have got tough with my business.

If you are the tower of strength, where do you get your support?

Early on in starting my business, I was lucky enough to be introduced to the Women in Business organisation. I joined the Power of Four programme and was in a group with fourteen other women, all at different stages with their businesses or business ideas. Our group was a diverse group, from business coaches to film makers to eh… a late-night seamstress, that’s me!  There was great solidarity within the group. Everyone was interested and interesting and I got a great deal of encouragement and motivation from the group. On one occasion I got a personal message from another woman entrepreneur saying ‘I’ve just had the worst day. Everything has gone wrong from start to finish’. I got back immediately to say ‘ah me too!’ And you know what they say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved…’ We both agreed that it felt so much better to know that someone else was in exactly the same boat! We had a good rant and then got back to work the next day! Sometimes it is the small things that count!

What are my top tips for an aspiring mompreneur?

  1. Network! Meet and discuss your plans with other women. You will be amazed at how much you can get by sharing ideas and plans! Support and solidarity is a great comfort when you are going out alone!
  2. Get organised. Give the time to your business and during that time do not feel guilty about not being with your kids for a few hours.
  3. Your ‘TO DO’ list will never be done! So allow yourself to stop and continue the next day!
  4. Spend quality time with your kids but also allow yourself some ‘me time’. Go for a walk. You are allowed to do something for yourself. This is not selfish, it is self-maintenance!
  5. Allow yourself to dream! Have a passion! Run with it!

Angela Wilson is designer and founder of Silver Apples Belfast. You can view the Silver Apples clothing range at  www.silverapplesbelfast.com or at St George’s Market (http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tourism-venues/stgeorgesmarket/stgeorgesmarket-index.aspx) every Saturday. Angela is happy to help aspiring mompreneurs and is happy to be contacted with any questions or feedback!