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Janelle Keys. Janelle Keys. Featured
20 December 2017 Posted by 


Balancing motherhood and business
JANELLE Keys was enjoying a successful career in print design when she got itchy feet.
“I wanted to do my own thing knowing kids would come along in the next year or two,” the now mum of three said.
So, she took the skills she’d amassed over many years and started her own business.  Fast forward 15 years and Ms Keys is enjoying the rewards of two successful businesses – graphic design and photography.
And she’s not alone. A new report has found the number of women running businesses with dependent children is on the rise.
The Australian Mums in Business report, commissioned by Mums & Co, an online support network for business mums, found half the women surveyed started their own business after finding that working for someone else was not viable.
And for those who took the leap to be their own boss, four in five said they were happier for it.
Carrie Kwan, co-founder of Mums & Co., said more women were moving into self-employment because of increasing childcare costs, workplace inflexibility and unequal pay.
“Australian mums in business contribute significantly to our economy and it’s time she’s acknowledged and better supported,” she said.  
“Technology makes it easier than ever before to launch a business. They now want to take back control of what’s important to them.”
Ms Keys said she knew early on that starting her own graphic design business from the family’s Richmond home would help her balance work and caring for her young family.
And while she didn’t bet on expanding her empire by adding a photographic business to the mix, she’s glad she did.
“It was always a passion and I found I was photographing the kids all the time that it seemed natural for it to branch into a business,” Ms Keys said.
“When they were younger it was easy to schedule my work around them and even now, being able to be home when they get home and being able to be a canteen mum means I stay connected with them.
“With mortgages and cost of living so high, mums need to work, and I wanted to contribute financially. It’s inspiring seeing all the creativeness and business ideas coming out of mums.”
Like Ms Keys, Camden’s Emma Castle is overseeing the success of her home-based business which has helped her achieve flexibility.
Mum to an eight-month-old son, Ms Castle runs a copywriting business, writing blogs, newsletters, articles and social media content.
“I used to be an editor on trade magazines and websites which required lots of travel, evening and weekend events and attendance at a lot of meetings,” she said.
“Now I contract back to my old employers for 16 hours a week and do freelance the rest of the time which cuts out all the commuting, business travel and events. 
“It's worth taking on the challenge because it means I get to watch my son grow up.”
The report found flexibility in working hours and location were the primary triggers to mothers starting their businesses.
“As running their own business becomes the viable option for women to earn income and manage childcare duties, more needs to be done to help those looking to make the leap,” Ms Kwan said.
Who is the typical mum in business?
She has two kids and is likely to be educated. Half of all business mums are between 30 and 39 years old. 
One in 10 are single parents, nearly a third are born overseas and one in four have more than one business.
More than half have businesses in a completely new field to what they were doing before.
Six out of 10 mums who started their business this year have an infant or toddler.


Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Email: info@wsba.com.au
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