PROJECT #BEYOUROWN BOSS: ESTELLE KEEBER
The Mums in Business Association (MIBA) is the fastest growing business networks for mums in the world. Formed in 2017, the network has grown to an astonishing 45,000 Facebook group members worldwide and they are continuing to grow at a fast pace.
MIBA was started by sisters Leona Burton and Estelle Keeber who had the vision to create a safe hub online where mothers could access the vital information they need to start and grow their business. The dynamic duo has 7 children between them, and they are familiar with the struggles faced by mothers: lack of affordable child care, trying to juggle work with collecting children from school and working around the clock both at work in the home, in order to provide for their children. Estelle and Leona wanted to turn this on its head, by showing mothers that it’s possible to take control of your own economy and make money, without burnout.
Estelle’s #BEYOUROWN BOSS Story
So let me start by introducing myself. I’m Estelle Keeber, most importantly a mum to my gorgeous boys Jed and Obi, Fiancé to Chris and co-founder of Mums in Business Association.
5 years ago after ending my toxic long term relationship, I found myself as a single mum, relying on food banks and benefits. I had never been at such a low point in all my life. Not knowing how I was going to support my children put a fear in me I had never known. I felt lost, trapped and couldn’t see a way out.
After many sleepless nights, I decided that the only way to start to build a life for me and the boys was to set up my own business. It would help me to be able to have flexible working hours and be more financially stable and less reliant on ‘the system’. I had a teaching qualification in photography and so I took the leap. I had no idea how to run a business…all I knew was that I had a passion for photography and a determination to succeed.
Becoming self-employed brought a whole host of issues. I didn’t know anything about marketing, websites or sales! I stayed up for hours after the boys went to bed watching webinars and training videos. It was a lonely time. I was lucky that during all of this my sister Leona was by my side, well, not literally as at this point she lived in Gloucestershire BUT she was always at the end of the phone. Being in network marketing and working from home herself, she understood the struggles and loneliness.
We had lots of conversations about the fact that if we felt this way there must be many other women who felt the same and so we decided to create a Facebook group and that’s where things really got interesting. Very quickly we realised that we had hit a niche in the market and there were thousands of women out there who felt the same. Women who wanted to feel a part of something, who needed support and encouragement.
Since starting the Facebook community in June 2017 our social media following has now grown to over 180k, we have helped over 100 women become best selling authors, created 13 Amazon best-selling books ( 11 of which went to #1 ) launched child-friendly networking events in over 200 locations around the world and have recently been featured in Forbes!
The last 2 years have been filled with ups and downs from making a keynote speech alongside Michelle Mone and Karren Brady to wowing an audience of over 1500 people at the Success Summit 3. But what has helped us grow our community to the size we have, we are very real. We share our lives, the good and the bad so that other women realise they are not alone.
So just to keep it real, yes we have turned over 250k in our first year but we have also had to deal with team members betraying us, books have been launched with errors, we’ve messed up on stage, we sit and cry with frustration when the kids play up.
Being a mum in business is never going to be an easy journey. It’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotions and that’s on a daily basis! The most important thing to remember is you are not alone!
Being self-employed brings freedom (and stress) like no other job can. Unfortunately, I feel there is still not enough support for women in business and that is another reason for MIBAs success. We offer support in all areas, being a woman in business you can never stop learning and growing.
We would love to see more opportunities and assistance with women wanting to start their own businesses. We are very excited to be putting plans into place for MIBA to be able to help with this issue as a registered charity. Just one more way we feel we can give back, watch this space!
Being my own boss means everything to me. It allows me to live my life in a way that serves me best. Becoming your own boss is a very exciting but scary thought. My one tip…never let anyone tell you that you cant. You are capable of things you are not even aware of yet! Anything is possible….I’m the proof!