Business lessons from a mumpreneur: An exclusive interview with Justine Roberts
The co-founder of Mumsnet talks about getting her site off the ground, sleepless nights as an entrepreneur, and being the victim of online trolling
One of the UK’s most-recognised female entrepreneurs, Justine Roberts is a prime example of how the best business ideas can come from some truly awful experiences.
Traveling to Florida on holidays with her children, a supposed ‘family friendly’ resort left Roberts and other holidaying-mums fuming – as the staff were completely ill-equipped to deal with their young toddlers.
Realising how useful an online forum offering motherly advice and parenting insight would be, Roberts founded Mumsnet in 2000 – and has served as CEO for the past 17 years.
No longer a solely online business, Roberts has expanded the Mumsnet brand through multiple channels since its inception – with the site alone now generating over seven million visits and 50 million page views every month.
Having published several parenting advice books, 2016 saw the business’s first venture into the events world, with Mumstock 2016 being held at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly – while sister site Gransnet launched five years previously.
Not all smooth sailing however, Robert’s remarkable success has also caught the unwanted attention of anonymous online trolls and hackers – with one attack leading to a SWAT team surrounding her family home.
Passionate about supporting female entrepreneurs, the former Startups Awards judge, has also used her high profile to express support for greater inclusion of women in business and politics.
While she doesn’t believe gender quotas would help solve the problem of inequality within senior positions, Roberts lobbied then-prime minister David Cameron to make male cabinet ministers job-share so they could experience life at home.
Previously named of one of the top 50 European women in tech, Robert’s long and illustrious career can be highlighted by the fact Mumsnet predates both Facebook and Twitter.
Talking to Titus Sharpe, president of Expert Market, Roberts uses her years of experience to offer invaluable insight for aspiring entrepreneurs…