I wasn’t sure I was a Mumpreneur. In fact, I wasn’t convinced I am an entrepreneur, even without the gender specific label in front. Not in the pure sense of the term. A business owner; yep. A creative in business; possibly closer. A paid writer; yahoo! Finally. And a mother. (And copywriting queen, a wife, a Musical Theatre nut, a Caesar Salad connoisseur, an invisible illness warrior, and a shiz-hot tap dancer.)
In the world I’ve chosen – where words are everything – the labels we align with have power. They matter. And in a society where storytelling forms the foundations for how we’ve evolved, grown, lived, loved, moved forward – I wanted to be sure about who I was in my own story before I embraced a label I wasn’t sure fit.
Or, perhaps, I just wasn’t sure I fit.
Because it’s very easy to sit in your comfy little office space and stay hidden and silent and generally not showcase your own shine in a society where tall poppies are regularly attacked with weed-killer strength savagery. So, I took my preconceived ideas about the Mumpreneur label and I combined them with pure, unadulterated imposter syndrome and for 2 years running resisted completing the submission for the AusMumpreneur awards.
2018 was the third time I’d been nominated. Maybe there’s something magic about threes. It’s my third year of business and my first year full-time after finally quitting my safe and secure job in private school communication. I received three emails from the team at AusMumpreneur before I opened one without deleting it first. I have three divine, hilarious, terrifyingly smart children. I’d just launched my third business – a social enterprise that combined my copywriting, editing, storytelling, and copy coaching skills into a platform to help women’s voices be heard – with my 15 year old daughter. It might be a ‘magic three thing’.
Or maybe I was just ready. Ready to step up, speak out, take up space, and make some noise. Maybe I was feeling audacious the evening I sent in the submission. It only takes a moment of bravery to eliminate the fearful tale you’re telling yourself, right? The night before submissions closed, I gave myself a bit of a mind-smack. It was time to figure out if I was just being a big ‘fraidy-cat and the best way to do that was to put my hat in the ring.
Because I walked in that room on the first day of the AusMumpreneur Conference and Awards and felt like someone had lit a firecracker under my ample behind. 250 women, all experts in their fields, all learning from one another and sharing information and getting excited about each other’s projects and offering advice. It was like the best networking event I’d ever happened upon, amplified. And I felt chuffed to be a finalist for WA Business Excellence (even if I’d made the mistake of Googling some of my ‘competition’ and therefore deciding I’d not win). And I walked out with a gold trophy, a thousand new ideas, and fifty new business owning connections to collaborate with.
I expected the excellent learning opportunities, the access to hundreds of super smart businesswomen, the fancy gala dinner and chance to don a new frock, and all the selfies. What I didn’t expect was to have my concept of the Mumpreneur label utterly challenged. And not just challenged, but full frontal, mouthguard in, square-up, ladyface contested. The AusMumpreneur Awards for 2018 threw down the gauntlet in the face of my questioning whether I fit.
I am a mother. Does it put a less-than symbol in front of my enterprise? Maybe, to some people. But, as I keep telling my clients: those people are not your people. Do I think the experience of being a parent might make me a better businesswoman? I think so. Do I know for sure? No, because I’ve been a mum for 18 years and a small business owner for three and I’ve never performed the two roles separately. Yes, I have authority and experience and expertise. It has a bit to do with raising children but it probably has more to do with being a lifelong writer with an excessive supply of empathy. But, who knows? I’ve been “Ma” for just about half of my life. Which is magic in itself.
So, could I embrace my ‘label-questioner’ and be a champion for all women while proudly sporting the hat of Mumpreneur? What ultimately changed my perception of the label? Firstly, facing my own fear. Fear I’d be considered less talented if I cashed in my ‘Mum chips’. Being afraid to go ‘up against’ these women who seemed to juggle everything so beautifully, it’s as if gravity doesn’t exist in their world (they don’t, that’s fibs, and attending a conference like this one will surely help you realise it’s all an Instagrammable lie).
Secondly, facing my own judgement. What cured me of that? Stepping into the first day of the AusMumpreneur conference and realising if I sat in judgement of the label I was also had the gavel out on the women who chose to embrace it – these kick-butt women. And I had no darn right to consider any of the women in that room ‘less talented’. These women were powerhouses – family, kids, multiple businesses, or just one – doing really well. Articulate, educated, clever, driven, compassionate, as balanced as possible, giving, hilarious. Women who had started with the best of everything and had turned their good fortune into world-changing products and services. Women who had dragged themselves out of situations no woman should find themselves in to create a different life for themselves and their children. Who was I to sit in my cushioned castle of judgement and decide anyone who welcomed the label were any less? I had a moment so profound I felt a sizzle – it was the magic of me changing my mind.
And while I’ll continue to question and consider and discuss and push back against words and messaging and labels that might hinder and not help, I’m happy to sit in the magic of that moment when my preconceived ideas were obliterated and think of the other magic I’ve been fortunate enough to experience while on this crazy, heady, bewitching adventure we call small business life.
The joy of my son giving his teacher a book “my mum wrote!”
The text from my daughter when someone she doesn’t know comes up to her to thank her for the work we’re doing together for women’s voices.
The look of respect in my son’s eye when we talk about where we were three years ago, compared to now.
It’s all a little bit magic.
this is my favourite face
Jay Crisp Crow
is actually my name
Word nerd bird + boss and chief copywriter at Crisp Copy + plump + feisty + brave + tired + too much + one #fullysickbusinesschick + co-founder of How Dare She? + “Ma” for a crew + lover of a Viking
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