Mush is a Tinder meets mums groups app designed to make sure no woman needs to feel alone as a parent. Here the Founders of Mush share their journey, so far.
What inspired you to start a business?
Mush was born from a very real need that we both experienced as mums. We were finding it hard to get through those long days with very small children: we were sleep deprived, lacking in adult interaction and feeling like we were doing it by ourselves.
We met on a cold November day with babies strapped to our fronts and toddlers around our feet and quickly realised that we had friends in common, children the same age and lived a few streets apart. Without that chance meeting, we could have gone the whole winter with just our small kids for company. It turned around maternity leave for us- it went from hard daily toil to a more manageable and fun experience, just because we had each other to share it with, and fill those long days together.
We thought that in a day and age so well serviced with other digital enablers for people to meet, there really should be one for mums to find their mum friends. So we set out to raise investment to build Mush, so that no one else had to experience loneliness as a new mum.
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
There is a reason that there is a rise in the ‘mumpreneur’. Working mums are constantly looking for ways to improve the balance between work and home life, and being your own boss allows you to set the terms of this balance. For us, being able to manage our work load to accommodate time with our children is by far the greatest reward. The challenge comes from this too though- as a founder you are never switched off from the business, and you have to be careful not to spend all the time with your kids responding to emails…
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures.
When we were first writing a business plan we were given the advice that we needed to set a vision and a mission from day one. Our vision was to be the biggest social media platform for mums, and our mission was that ‘no mum does it alone’. Once we had established these (ambitious!) goals, it was a question of planning how we would get there.
Our biggest tip is to write lists. It makes the most insurmountable goals achievable. Clear road-maps about how you might achieve the mission and vision, split out into tasks that get you there. For example, you want to build an app? Speak to developers, read up on the process, plan the designs and the user journey, brainstorm your branding and tone. Lists lists lists.
As far as dealing with success and failure- it’s about striking a balance of the two. Never be too smug about the former and don’t give yourself too hard a time on the latter. If you aren’t having a good mixture of the two, you aren’t trying enough things!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
We had to raise investment to build mush as unproven entrepreneurs, with no tech background, for a tech product. All we had to show for ourselves was ‘passion & a pitch deck’, and crucially a deep knowledge of our target audience. We must have had 10 meetings for every one investor we eventually secured, and we were doing this with ad hoc childcare for two babies under three each. It was a rollercoaster ride and at one point it felt like we would never get there. But we started to have traction and nine months later we were able to get going. I think the turning point was being backed by a credible investor and having the surge in confidence in ourselves and the idea- that confidence really is infectious.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
The quickest way to become an expert in something is by talking to experts. We trawled our LinkedIn and the connections of our connections to get in front of the most knowledgeable people on parts of our business we needed help with. Accepting advice (and also taking some with a pinch of salt!) has been so key to our journey to date. We are lucky to count on many investors as advisors too, and coming from different backgrounds they come in handy at different times. There is huge merit to professional coaching too; we suspect we will use it in the future.
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
We were blown away by the amount of free networking events available for entrepreneurs (meetups is a great resource for this) and we go to lots. There is very rarely a fruitless networking event; you will always learn something from somebody or have an introduction as a result. We couldn’t recommend it more highly. They also serve as a continual pep talk for yourself, and a chance to refine your elevator pitch! Just stock up on business cards.
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
We are not experts in this yet, so we will see how we fare! But growth hacking is the very trendy term for basically ruling nothing out when it comes to marketing your business. Scale for us is attracting more users, more commercial partners, building better product and taking on other territories. We have been advised to keep all of them simmering at once, but only to execute on international expansion when everything is in line! Hiring talented people will obviously be a key challenge for us, but we are firm believers that there are thousands of talented people who would enjoy the environment we have to offer- flexible working for a cause they believe in. Again, this is all written out in various lists!
What does the future hold for you?
Mush is currently underway with its second round of fundraising to keep up the groundswell we have achieved in the past six months. We have huge plans for it, and we are confident that we will hit the ground running in January with new investors, a new team and the means to get Mush on to the handsets of all mums everywhere.