How Freelance Mum Supports Women in Business in Bristol

How Freelance Mum Supports Women in Business in Bristol

It’s hard to believe it’s nearly 10 years ago that Freelance Mum was first launched in Bristol. It feels part of the fabric of life now. Yet at the time, it felt revolutionary. One of those simple, yet winning ideas – to network and bring your children. Born of my own need, being a freelance voiceover artist, juggling motherhood around business.

Tired, time poor and feeling alone, I felt sure I wasn’t the only woman in Bristol, with the same set of needs. I couldn’t find a community to support me and if it didn’t exist then I’d just have to invent it.

So I launched Freelance Mum. In fact, I launched ‘Freelance Bristol Mum’, only to rebrand a few months down the line (first expensive mistake). Initially as a podcast, recording stories with fellow mums in business. I took to the streets of Bristol, with a microphone in one hand and a pushchair in the other – I was a woman on a mission to connect fellow mums in business.

And I did it. From those grass root connections, to building the community that we know and love today.

There was the pivot, as a result of Covid, which means we now how hubs across the UK. Each hub is run by ‘Freelance Mum Fairies’, so members can meet once a month and netwalk. It really is the ultimate network, in the truest sense of the word.

 

So what does Freelance Mum mean and how can it help you and your amazing business?

Freelance Mum is far more than a ‘typical networking event’. It’s fresh thinking, high quality networking events, with women in business. The fact they are also mothers, means you don’t need to ‘explain yourself’. You’re on the same page.

We meet in hubs around the city, once a month, for a netwalk. Then connect every Wednesday, on the weekly online Coffee Morning, with members across the hubs.

The in -person and online mix, is a great combination and means you can dip into whichever event works best for you.

Plus, if you want to visit a Freelance Mum hub in another part of the country, you can! All the netwalks follow the same template, so you know what to expect. The lovely thing is, they all have their own feel about them. It’s great to dip in and out of others and keep building connections.

Oh yes, and you can bring your children. Children are 100% welcome. The netwalks are carefully designed, so children can be part of the meetings. Likewise, if your children are school age, you can still come. There are hundreds of children in Bristol, who have all grown up, with Freelance Mum.

 

Supportive Community

At Freelance Mum, there’s no need to apologise if you’ve been up in the night/have a tired face/a sick child and deadline to meet – we get it! We’ve all been there and have got your back. There’s nothing like the support and camaraderie of a whole team of women, who are all supporting you every step of the way.

The netwalks give you the blast of fresh air that you need, so you leave with that ‘I can do anything’ feeling!

The weekly online Coffee Morning, is just 45 minutes long, so it doesn’t take too much time out of your day. And with features like ‘Business Show & Tell’ – it’s a great way to learn about other businesses and build connections with FM members.

It’s a great way to get connection and chance to network with the wider FM community.

Think of Freelance Mum like a community, that you can ‘plug yourself into’ and leave feeling recharged.

 

Business Opportunities

At Freelance Mum, we might be the most supportive bunch of women you’ll ever meet, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get work done! Not only do you get the ‘warm & fuzzies’ at the end of every meeting, but we get results too.

We’re all about supporting you and your amazing business. We encourage people to keep building relations, to get to know each, so we can really support each other.

And it’s proven. Freelance Mum members have enjoyed success, through collaborations, referring work, sharing advice and helping each other out. That’s just what we do. Last year a whole team of Freelance Mums were finalist in the IPSE National Freelancer Awards, for best collaborative project. It couldn’t be any more ‘Freelance Mum’! We support, we inspire and we get the work done to a blooming high standard!

 

Personal Development

And it’s not just about business growth, it’s about personal growth too We love finding out about each other and honing new skills. With member-led sessions like ‘Lunch & Learn’ there are opportunities for FMs to share presentations, so you can get a deeper dive into other business and pick up some amazing tips along the way.

These sessions are carefully designed, so you can come and join over lunch – either switch the camera off and tuck in. Or if you prefer to keep your camera on and stay accountable – do it that way. We don’t judge. It’s not in our nature. It’s all about supporting you and your amazing business.

 

Work-Life Balance

There’s a lot to be said about ‘work-life balance’ – it’s an ever changing thing! And we get that at Freelance Mum. Really we do.

We understand that the nap time/school run can dictate the working day, but actually that’s part when we choose to run our own businesses, so we can be there. There’s lots of conversations in our online community, The Mothership, about flexible working and how we can make it work.

We encourage each other to take time in the micro-moments, whatever that looks like. We’re realistic and we’re kind to each other too.

 

Community Engagement

We might have hubs across the country, but we love getting to know and support the communities with the city and encourage community engagement. It’s about being part of the ‘bigger picture’ and how we fit into it.

We have great relationships with the team at YTKO, who provide business support to SMEs and freelancers. We enjoy building partnerships, with big companies in Bristol – like the Financially Fearless team at Hargreaves Lansdown, who share our values and goals. Not to mention we’re finalists in The Bristol Life Awards, for Best People Services – it’s great to have recognition, for what we do, alongside some big names in Bristol.

But it’s not all about awards. It’s about connection and plugging into communities. A lot of thought goes into considering venues to meet to netwalk and then stop for a coffee. We have three hubs in Bristol and they all have such beauty. From the open space in Ashton Court. To the city landscape in the Central Bristol hub and ambience in St George’s Bristol, Music Cafe. Then the friendly, community, vibe in The Ardagh Centre in North Bristol. We love meeting in all of these spaces – each them brings its own unique vibe.

 

Future Plans

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, Freelance Mum turns 10 this year – the same age as my youngest daughter. I’m not sure that I had a ’10 year plan’ when I launched that first netwalk! What I do know, children and business are ‘ages & stages’ – it all constantly evolves. You think you’ll have more time, as they get older, but it just becomes a different set of needs. You still need the strength of a community to support you.

And that’s what makes Freelance Mum unique. We’re there to support you, every step of the way, where ever you are in business. From ‘baby steps’ to firmly established, we love watching ideas evolve, businesses launch and see successes. Supporting women in business is just what we do.

We plan to keep doing that. To keep growing and building on existing, firm foundations. The growth has been organic, but we have some brilliant plans. We’ve secured funding from Creative Growth South West and BrisBES, which allows us to keep building on our success and keep championing amazing women.

 

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