Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Hi my name is Ella. I live with my partner (and co-founder) Tal and our two little ones; Lara, 22 months old, Adam, 6 months old and our business, 10 months old. You could say that it has been a very productive couple of years for us, or that we never get enough sleep.
What’s your business called?
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Masu provides on-demand wellbeing services, currently focusing on massages wherever and whenever you need (or simply want).
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I have been working as a freelance environmental consultant for a few years, since leaving London, but after having Lara and taking sometime off, my big clients had to find new contractors and I found myself out of project work. I had always toyed with the idea of opening a start-up and my friend suggested I join the Campus-for-Moms, an entrepreneurship program which Google runs in Tel Aviv, London, Warsaw and other cities.
It is a wonderful opportunity for parents on maternity leave to utilise their time learning everything they need to build a start-up. They have inspiring lectures by top local mentors and entrepreneurs and it is baby friendly (which means that you can bring your baby with you no fuss).
The timing was perfect for me and shortly after the program Masu was launched (unaware yet that baby 2.0 was in development).
How did you fund your start up?
Self-funded or what is known as “boot-strapped”. Initially we were hoping for it to be a lifestyle business. Little did we know that businesses have a tendency of taking control of you life. So far we haven’t required any funding, the business has been consistently profitable and we manage to keep things lean.
How do you manage working around your children?
I use all the help that I can. My partner, his parents and my parents have been invaluable. It is challenging and every day is different. I’m sure my friends aren’t impressed as I never have time to see them anymore. I keep telling myself that it is all temporary- till Adam joins Lara at nursery (or till they both grow up and get their own place…). In reality, I know that it will probably get harder and harder with time. One thing that being a mother has taught me though is the busier you are, the more you get things done (someone somewhere said “if you want something done, ask a busy person”).
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
On a typical day, if there is such a thing, I get woken up at 6am by either Lara or Adam. I nurse Adam, get Lara ready for nursery, maybe put the washing on, and walk her there and back whilst Adam stays with Tal. Once I’m back, we have breakfast and immediately after, particular if Adam is napping we turn on our laptops. When Adam isn’t napping one of us plays with him whilst the other one gets tasks done; managing the product and website, dealing with costumers and incoming orders, interviewing and managing our amazing pool of massage therapists / service providers and social media. I always work with a task list for the day and very rarely manage to complete 80% of it.
At 3pm I close my laptop and spend time with Lara for 3-4 hours before bedtime.
After 8pm (if both kids are asleep which is rare) we work for another couple of hours with the intention of watching some TV and relaxing together…but ideas and things-to-do keeps racing in my mind 24/7..
I really try, as hard as it is, not to be facing a screen or on the phone when I’m with the kids.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome?
There is definitely a learning curve that I guess every first-time entrepreneur has to go through. We spent months building our initial website from scratch working remotely with cheap unskilled developers only to realise that we were spending more time fixing bugs than actually serving clients. In the end, it was a hard choice but we decided to throw it all away and start anew with a skilled local programmer.
Most days present at least one challenge from dealing with client issues, staff issues, technical bugs, you name it. With so many ideas and intentions it really is a question of learning to prioritise. It is all worth it though, for those moments when clients give us feedback and tell us that they love our service and that we’ve made their day.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
The best thing about being a mumpreneur, other than this awesome title, is the flexibility. I can be with my kids whenever I want and I don’t have anyone to answer to, except my co-founder, who also puts my kids first 😉
I love working with my partner – we learn a lot from each other and we balance each other out. I have the crazy ideas and he brings me back to earth, he is very logical and calculated and I am very passionate and get things done.
What are your plans for the future?
I think we’ve come to the point where we feel comfortable about our business and things are finally moving more or less smoothly. This is the point where we would like to work on growth and expansion and we hope to start getting into new markets and making it not just a local small business. Big plans for the future is to partner up with someone in another geographical location and make Masu a household name for well-being and alternative treatments.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Be prepared to double or even triple the amount of time and money that you plan to spend. But (and I quote here) Just Do It! We only have this life to live, and if starting a business crossed your mind- then do it! You might lose some money, but you’ll learn a lot and quite possibly be successful and if not, at least you’ll have a great ride.