Interview with Julie Morgan, founder of Working Mums Club
Read how the desire to quit her job and establish an alternative work life led management consultant Julie Morgan to launch the Working Mums Club.
What’s your career background?
I started in management consultancy – working with companies across Europe tackling a wide variety of business issues. The experience was amazing, varied and crazed at times – from empowering and retraining airport security staff to tackle culture change, to developing global customer engagement visions for Orange.
I was Commercial Product Manager at The Daily Telegraph and then went independent and consulted for brands such as Coca-Cola and Travelzoo, focusing on customer engagement through technology.
How did your career change after having children?
It didn’t change too much, really. Before having kids, I left my job at the Telegraph, and set up my own consultancy, giving me flexibility and I dropped to three days a week. My entrepreneurial ambitions meant I was ready to leave corporate life before the children appeared!
Where did the idea for your venture come from?
A combination of things – I’ve always been passionate about the anti-9-5. I love challenging paradigms around ‘work’ and ‘career’ and hugely admire people who have broken out of this mould and found their own path and their own version of success. A couple of books really inspired me – The 4-Hour Work Week (Tim Ferris) and Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki) – and the team behind Escape The City movement. I left my permanent job to start my journey to this lifestyle.
Then along came motherhood and suddenly I was surrounded by groups of people who are craving for this very thing – a more flexible work life – but want to still be challenged, excited, progressive and earn money. I am really passionate about the notion that mums can have it all – it’s just a case of re-framing the way we see the traditions and ‘standard’ definitions of what work is.
I was having similar conversations over and over again and I wanted to share my experiences of building up passive income through property, quitting my corporate job to set up as an independent consultant and my passion for an alternative worklife. The desire to introduce this group of people to this group of concepts led me to set up Working Mums Club (WMC).
It started as a monthly get-together. I set it up on Meetup on a whim – the night before I was starting a new IT contract – and got over 40 members in the first week, so I knew there was a need for this sort of group.
How did you move from idea to actual venture?
It has evolved over the last year – we have monthly meetings and I’ve covered a variety of topics – depending on the needs of the members, but the format is generally the same. I set up the website and started to build out the social media elements.
We’ve had some amazing speakers to discuss all sorts of aspects of being a working mum – successful mumpreneurs, professional bloggers, mums who have created businesses from their hobby, portfolio careerists, and much more!
We’re launching our first series of courses this summer with our Masterclasses, primarily aimed at mums in business.
The plan is to build out the courses online as well as through face-to-face sessions. I’m also hugely excited to have qualified as a coach so I can now offer one-to-one sessions to really help mums progress their thinking around how to setup and build a work life for their family.
What’s your USP?
We’re not a networking group – the focus is very much on giving Mums the skills, capabilities and inspiration to create a life that works for them – through workshops, courses and one-to-one coaching.
Although networking is an inevitable by-product and some flourishing relationships have fallen out of our meetings!
Who’s your target audience?
Any Mum who aspires to have a challenging, stimulating and fulfilling work career whilst having the freedom and flexibility to be with their family.
The masterclasses are primarily aimed at ‘business’ mums ie mumpreneurs, freelancers, wannabe entrepreneurs, but we’ve had a full range of mums at our meetings – from new mums, empty nesters, business owners, freelancer and mums with careers & jobs.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
Facebook, Twitter, word of mouth and meetup.com has been really good at bringing in new members.
Why is work so important to you?
What a great question! It’s probably less ‘work’ and more about ‘purpose’. I’ve always been a bit of a searcher for my purpose and now I’ve found it through coaching and WMC, it’s the most amazing feeling to be building and creating work in that space – doing something I love to do. It keeps me alive and kicking. Adventure is one of my key values and now spontaneous weekends away, travel, triathlons and charity challenges are now replaced with growing this business – it’s my new adventure!
How do you balance your venture with your family?
It’s a work in progress! Time blocking, routines and planning ahead of the next working day – and online shopping!
What are your three top pieces for aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Get a fresh perspective by reading books, listening to podcasts, following inspiring heroes – about alternative work life, challenging the norm. My commute was a blessing as it gave me the opportunity to read lots and get inspired. I’m happy to share my spreadsheet of inspirational reads!
- Don’t overthink it – setting up WMC was one of the most under-thunk and whim-like things I’ve done. I just went with gut instinct and have tried to keep tapping into that intuition. Whenever I try analyse the what’s and why’s, it slows everything down.
- Start small and see everything as an experiment. Admittedly two tips, but they go hand-in-hand. WMC was my side-project whilst doing the ‘day job’ as a consultant. This took the pressure off and allowed me to play with different formats and topics. I expect the business to continually evolve as I learn more and more about the members and how best I can serve their needs.
Find out more about Working Mums Club on their website.