Becoming a mum and launching a business

When I co-founded Feedr, the online marketplace which connects healthy food producers with employees in the workplace, I planned on powering on full steam ahead for the next few years. I knew the journey would be gruelling and require diligence and hard work, but I was more than ready for it.

Unexpectedly I fell pregnant while we were closing Feedr’s seed investment round. Naturally it felt like an overwhelming challenge to build a successful business whilst raising a child. I looked for strong role models to gauge some advice from, and found a slight lack of direction because there isn’t much public conversation about this topic. It now makes sense – there’s no rulebook to follow on how to handle both motherhood and entrepreneurship, instead you have to piece together your own from advice, stories and personal experience.

Through the people I’ve met since having my daughter and my own journey, I’ve been able to create my own blueprint for juggling, and more importantly enjoying both of these roles. I’ve learnt that it is definitely possible to nurture and invest time into both your child and your business and I’ve met tonnes of fantastic parents who are doing just this. Coming from an era where women have often been underrepresented at the C level, I feel that we are now surrounded by more examples of female power than ever before. I am inspired every day by the strength of women and their capabilities in daily life.

Keeping a healthy work/ life balance

Being the founder of a fast-growing technology start-up and simultaneously a mother has truly served to make me a better CEO. This is because, at the crux of it, time is way more valuable, which means you use it more wisely. You prioritise better, you’re more focused, you delegate appropriately and you have to build a high performing team around you to succeed, all of which ultimately means more value creation at the business level.

Moreover, gone are the days of structured business, all-male offices and standardised working hours. It’s important for senior leaders to acknowledge the benefits of allowing modern life to be integrated into work. Female founders, and those who juggle competing priorities are just as capable of running a successful company as the ‘traditional’ worker. It’s easy to be your own worst critic, and to feel as though you’re having to do everything 80:20, but I’ve learned to embrace that all founders come with their own story and that I should focus on why mine strengthens me to do this job well.

Read: Meet the people who took career breaks to reach their goals

Why we’re creating access to healthier food

As a working woman, I personally found over the years that it was shockingly difficult to find healthy and delicious food while at work. Now more than ever, as an efficient and productive work schedule is of utmost importance, it has reinforced the importance of healthy and fresh food being readily available for time poor people who are striving to manage their own portfolio of activities. If we can help people feel less stretched and stressed, and conversely feel great about what they eat, we can help contribute to better, more balanced lives, which is so important in the modern economy. Work/life balance has never been a more important phrase, and our goal at Feedr is to help people achieve it with ease.  It’s a real positive that my situation has reinforced the ethos behind the company we’re building - it brings new meaning to the role and makes me even more passionate about promoting access to health and nutrition whilst at work.

An example of the food that Feedr provides

The sentiment of the more conscious consumer is felt broadly in the market. We notice through consumption patterns on the Feedr platform that about a third of people intentionally seek ‘free from’ products including meat free, dairy free, gluten free or sugar free food. It’s a misconception that eating well has to be complicated or expensive and we want to tackle this by creating an accessible virtual canteen that meets a wide variety of taste or dietary preferences focusing on simple, honest and fresh ingredients rather than diet fads. Feedr allows people to personalise their own plans and we create drop off points at company locations for convenient access. By pooling orders at these drop off points we can drive better margin business for our vendors and create delivery and purchasing efficiencies.

Employers who care about their staff are increasingly looking for better ways to encourage a healthier workforce and drive productivity. Feedr’s workplace solution has been adopted by hundreds of companies in London.

Being a mother has certainly changed the way I see work, but for the better. It has made me want to sustain health both at work and at home and this has reinvigorated me with new purpose behind the problem I’m solving.  Through teaching and playing with my daughter, it has given me new avenues for creativity and a chance to see the bigger picture. Break away from the conventional mould, and you’ll find all sorts of value from being a ‘less conventional’ entrepreneur.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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