Is being an entrepreneur the modern working mums equivalent to selling Tupperware?

Growing up I had a stay at home mother, as did most of my friends. One friend from high school had a mother who worked at a bank four days a week. This was so far out of the norm for me that for years I assumed she was the Bank Manager as there could be no other explanation as to why she worked so much!

I admit that I had very few working women as role models when I was younger, but I have always been incredibly driven and ambitious. I guess that drive is part of my personality, because it wasn’t something that I witnessed and wanted to emulate as a child. Perhaps it was the lack of financial freedom and little money that my family had that has ensured that I want to avoid financial stress.

During the 80’s my own mother and her friends would often have side projects to give them ‘pocket money’ as they often referred to it. This was usually as part of a multi level marketing business such as Tupperware or Mary Kay. Some of these women were very successful with these businesses and continued with them long after the children had gone to school.

I started my business, The Tenant Company, when my daughter was a little over a year old, as working full time in my corporate job put a lot of pressure on my home life. The job was very demanding with little flexibility but I was paid well for it. I had the business plan done, the financial forecast and website up and running. I didn’t intend to earn the six figures that I previously had, but I anticipated that by working around my daughter I would still make a comfortable income. Fast forward two years and I will honestly say that the financial predictions I made have not eventuated. So what’s going on? I see entrepreneur’s spruiking themselves as having made a fortune almost overnight – how giving up the corporate world set them free (and let them tell you all about it – for a fee). Is it just me going through this?

Instead of beating myself up about this I approached a group of female entrepreneurs and asked the question “Who earns enough money from their business to support their family?” It might surprise you – perhaps it doesn’t – but most don’t. Most of these women are working to cover business overheads, pay staff or pay themselves ‘pocket money’.

So why do we do this to ourselves? With my own adventure into running a business, and sharing insights with other mothers doing similar I wonder

“Is Entrepreneurship the modern day equivalent of selling Tupperware?”

Why is it that women are busting their arses to run businesses that aren’t making any money? Some of the women I spoke with told me it gave them a level of freedom they wouldn’t otherwise have working for someone else. Others are laying the foundations of a good business whilst their children are young, with the intention of expanding on this when the children go to school. The very few who told me that their businesses are providing them with a substantial income are those that have been operating the business for a number of years and their children are now older.

It seems that some women are spending 4 -5 years running businesses making very little money instead of working part time for someone else because very few part time positions exist. These women are highly skilled and want to make a contribution to the work force, but their request for part time or flexible working hours aren’t being fulfilled.

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Do you think it is possible to pay yourself a market wage from a business whilst working flexible hours? Are we just working for ‘pocket money’. Let me know in the comments below.




3 thoughts on “Is being an entrepreneur the modern working mums equivalent to selling Tupperware?

  1. Great article. I see so many not making the money they could be from their businesses because they do not value their time, do not have a business plan, do not charge proper rates for whatever they do and have so much guilt about charging or will apologies for their rates instead of sticking to them.

    Everywhere I have spoken, confidence in their own worth and value comes up all the time. I think women need to value themselves and charge accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda, thanks for bringing up these difficult topics. I’m not sure what the answers are to your questions. I am not into whining or making excuses. I believe that my future is in my own hands and I have met successful female entrepreneurs, especially in the world I am part of—manufacturing. However, I have witnessed situations that make me wonder if the deck is stacked against us. It is ingrained in us that we should satisfy our needs last. If we don’t, some in society may frown upon us. We are encouraged to be “lady-like” which does NOT include the following: speaking up for ourselves, being ambitious, agitating for our needs or points of view, being the most powerful person in the room, owning a business that isn’t “female oriented,” being the boss of men older than ourselves, demanding equal pay (demanding anything for that matter). I could go on. I think the issues I mention go to Kylie’s remark above that women do not value themselves and hence, do not advocate for fair wages. I learned when I owned my first business that you tell the customer your price, then shut up. Thanks again for this post. I hope you investigate these issues more in the future.


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