Being A MOMpreneur Is Big Business

So it’s 2011. Maybe your kids are all in school now, and maybe you’ve decided that this is the year you’re going to get creative – in every sense of the word. Maybe you’ve decided that you’re going to get off the fence and contribute to society. That you’re going to contribute to your household income. That you’re going to leave your high stress job in search of flexibility and balance. Maybe you need to work for financial reasons, maybe you don’t. But one thing is for certain… MomPreneurship is big business.

What is a mompreneur you may ask?

“A mompreneur is a newly coined term for women who establish businesses at home while also acting as the full time parent of their children. The mompreneur movement is one steadily growing in the US as mothers try to find ways to make money, express their creativity or business acumen, and also to parent their children. (Wisegeek.com)”

Sounds like the best of both worlds, right?

And there are SO many different business ideas: selling jewelry or kids clothes, designing websites, freelance writing, event planning, consulting, becoming a travel agent, a real estate agent, sell a product online, starting a blog… the possibilities are ENDLESS.

But I truly believe that EVERY woman should have something to call her own. Something separate from her spouse and kids. I don’t care if you are Donald Trump’s wife… most women need an identity beyond the nuclear family. Now I would like to say, MOST, not all. And I would also like to add, this can be discovering a hobby like painting or dancing, and diving into that passion. Many women are currently living in domesticated bliss, and that is enough for them. I think that’s wonderful. If mommyhood is enough, it’s enough, and you can stop reading.

But if it’s not enough, here’s why you may consider doing something on your own.

If you’ve been following my Blog, or if you’ve even been with me since the beginning, you’ve witnessed the natural evolution. It went from hobby, a simple creative outlet for me, to a real business. My blog has brought me a book deal, a weekly radio gig, speaking engagements, advertisers, consulting, and much more. And I run this mini empire right from my home. I bring my kids to school. I pick them up. I take them to hockey. I cook dinner for my family. I help them with their homework. I don’t miss a beat. But I’m an entrepreneurial mom — a mompreneur.

And given a mommy’s incredible multitasking ability — we can cook dinner, change a diaper and answer a phone call pretty much simultaneously…. why would we NOT be successful entrepreneurs? And as I already stated, we are BIG business – There are 10.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States generating $2.5 trillion in annual revenue, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. In fact, women are starting businesses at almost twice the rate of men.

So the goal today (because there’s always a goal, and it’s always to get you off the fence in a different area of your life), is to open your mind up to new possibilities.

If you’re ready to change your life, to learn, to grow, to contribute, to get creative, to feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, to make money, to meet incredible people, to go incredible places– then listen up! 2011 may be your year where YOU’LL become the next successful mompreneur.

Some tips to help get you started:

  1. The first step is to decide the brilliant IDEA! It could be making your passion your paycheck – like in the classic example of Martha Stewart. Or it could be taking an innate talent you have, and making a business out of that. Maybe you’ve had a previous job that you excelled at and enjoyed, and you’d like to venture out and try that on your own. Either way, you MUST be passionate about it, and should see yourself doing it for many years to come. I still wake up every morning excited about what I’m doing and where I can take Women On The Fence next. Don’t roll your eyes… I LOVE WORKING! So, I’ve definitely unlocked my passion. If you haven’t yet unlocked your passion, you can check out this Blog.
  2. Come up with a catchy name, a unique angle to why you’ll be doing business DIFFERENTLY than all others, and hit the web for market research. Don’t be afraid to check out competitors’ websites and even walk into their businesses and see what they’re doing, what you like, and what you don’t. It’s always eye opening to see what other people are doing in your field. But I will conclude by adding: be a leader, not a follower.
  3. Join networking groups – this is key to both learning more about your industry, meeting potential mentors, and future potential clients and suppliers. If you hate networking breakfasts and lunches, GET OVER IT! You can’t grow a business by being a hermit. Remember ladies… IRL – IN REAL LIFE!
  4. Create your business plan – it should outline your business idea, start-up costs, how much you expect to make and by when, sales strategies, marketing strategies, financial strategies etc… Don’t be scared! And never forget as I say in my book, 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before… Starting Their Own Business .. never forget to put YOU into your business plan. All your strengths should be in there. You are the driving force behind the idea. Banks don’t invest in companies: they invest in the PEOPLE creating and driving the companies, so make sure all your best attributes are in that business plan. Don’t hold back.
  5. Then, once you have your business permit, business name, business number, financing in order, employees if you so need, CALL EVERYONE YOU KNOW! This is not a joke. You should start a running list of everyone you know who could potentially use your product or services. They are great to practice your pitch on, and it’s an easier sell while getting yourself started. Start with who you know. It will spider out from there.

Obviously becoming a mompreneur involves many facets and complexities. But these are a few steps to get you moving in the right direction. It’s January. Now is the time to make the commitment. To get off the fence. To become a savvy mompreneur!

I will also conclude by saying, as with anything in life, no perfection exists. I’ll reserve the drawbacks of mompreneurship for another post. But I promise you, the pros far outweigh the cons, so for today, I would like you to consider this as a very viable option.

Here are some websites as great resources if you are thinking of becoming a mompreneur:

What are you waiting for? This is YOUR year to rediscover youself, and all your talents. You never know just how capable you may be until you risk and try something.

I wish you the greatest success in your pursuit.

Ladies, if you’re already a seasoned mompreneur, PLEASE share some of your tips with our budding mompreneurs. Also, if there are other must-visit mompreneur websites, please share them with our readers.

Until next time,

xoxEDxox

51 Comments
  1. Thank you for the tips. I will check out the sites. I have been wanting to start my own business for a while but haven’t gotten of the fence yet as you say. I hope to in 2011.

  2. I recently joined a local networking group just for entrepreneurial women. I tend to be shy in a big crowd but the all women thing has been great and I’ve got some great leads. That’s a good suggestion.

    1. Glad you’re getting out! IRL – nothing beats getting out from behind the computer screen and forming real relationships. 🙂

  3. Great post and yes I guess I am a mompreneur. Like you’ve written, I took an idea I had from working in the business world and turned it into a consulting business after the second child arrived (five years running now). As for tips, I found it necessary to work outside our home and found another consultant to share professional office space with. We share the expenses and that makes the cost reasonable.

    Also I balance my business with ongoing clients and project related work (project’s with a firm start and end date). This helps balance the calendar year out and adjust for holiday breaks with the children.

    The most important factor, as you say, is that my business is mine and that is so important.

    Cheers.

  4. Great post. I feel like Alicia. This is my year too. Actually 2010 was supposed to be my year but we had some financial issues and it prevented me from quitting my job and risking going out on my own. I plan to this year and will check out all the resource sites you provided. Wonderful blog.

  5. I have just provided sites for mompreneurs. Obviously the incredible list of mompreneurs themselves is too long to list. Thankfully, there are so many incredible women doing incredible things…

  6. GREAT list! Quick thoughts to expanding on these ideas might be:

    1. Be realistic with how much time/money you have to give to your project.

    2. Collaborate with like-minded businesses.

    3. Build a web/social media presence early.

    4. Believe in yourself and your idea, kick your gremlins to the curb.

    5. Don’t get consumed, create space for everything.

    6. Ask for help.

    7. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small.

    8. Be open to what you don’t know you don’t know.

    9. Write everything down, chunk it down into segments.

    10. Reach for revenue, don’t settle for a latte fund. Are you creating a hobby or a business?

    Love to hear other tips!

  7. So nice to read your blog..it is like you are living my exact life. Today I was home with a sick kid and running my business all at the same time. I think the internet and the smart phones are the REAL reason so many smart and talented MOM can actually have the best of both worlds. I wonder why men don;t do the same and run their business form their home? hmmmm thoughts

  8. Erica-
    thanks for the great article! I agree with the comment above – smart phones have enabled us moms to take multi-tasking one step further! we truly can do it all!

    I have been tweaking my prototype, and I am just about “there”…..I am familiar with all the resources that you listed above and wanted to add two more.
    first of all – anything Tory Johnson – is a fabulous resource for women and moms. Her website, books, GMA segment, etc — you name it, she can help you!
    second – not geared specifically for women (but they do sponsor an awesome contest for mom-business owners) is http://www.StartupNation.com
    Thanks – Rachel

    1. Thanks for your input Rachel. I love Tory too and am excited to be speaking at her Spark N’ Hustle conference in Boston.
      Good luck with your prototype! I can’t wait to hear what it is.
      Best,
      Erica

  9. This is an awesome list!! Thank you for putting all of this together Erica! Julie Cole from Mabel’s Labels is often writing about being a Mompreneur – here is a great article from Julie if anyone would like to check it out – Myth Busting the Mompreneur http://www.weewelcome.ca/en/node/11126

    Disc: I work at Mabel’s : ) From an employee standpoint, it’s also amazing to work for a Mompreneur company when you have kiddos of your own. They understand the importance of family & how when you get that phone call from your kids school or daycare you need to drop everything & take care of things.

  10. Hi Erica – Thanks for including The Work at Home Woman on your list, honored.

    Some other sites I rely on for information are Tory Johnson’s, Women for Hire and Heather Allard’s, The Mogul Mom. Good luck to all of you aspiring mom entrepreneurs.

  11. This article couldn’t have come at a better time for me – but perhaps for different reasons than most. I made the decision almost a year ago to add some additional income to our family budget and became an Independent Demonstrator with Gold Canyon Candles. At first, I was a little leary of going down the direct sales path but I have to say that I made up my mind that I was going to try it (I loved the product so if all else failed, I had some wonderful candles to keep all for myself) for a while to see where it would lead. I can honestly say I haven’t looked back since and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    This year, I’ve set my goal to grow my team and pay it forward. I had some amazing mentors who have taught me how to be successful in this line of work – on my own terms. That’s the best part. I can work as little or as much as I want to, having the flexibility to still be MOM and all that comes with that title.

    A friend recently shared an article about the direct sales industry (Gold Canyon, Pampered Chef, Avon etc.), written by a man no less, that indicated these types of companies are quickly rising in rank and are the perfect fit for MOMs for so many reasons.

    This is not intended to be a sales pitch but just sharing my experience as you’ve requested. (Although I’m always happy to chat with anyone who would like more information about joining a great company and a winning team – LOL). I would like to request permission to use this blog post in my own blog (giving credit where credit is due and linking back to your site) as I work towards my goal of building my team in 2011. You’ve raised many valid points that would lend itself well to accomplishing my goals.

    Have a scent-sational day!
    Kelly

  12. My tip is for everyone to read The E-Myth. Be very realistic if you’re starting a business. It will take up most of your time – time you may want to spend with your family. IT will take up alot of your money – money you may want to spend on your family (or on nice wine). It will take a long time to see a profit. And once you see a profit, chances are you will reinvest it into your business so it will grow. Is this what you really want. Think long and hard about it before you become a mompreneur. Now you can’t say you haven’t been warned.

    1. You heard it here girls!
      Great words of advice, Erica. All true.
      But for me, it was worth the struggle, both times.
      Thanks for reading.

  13. Erica, Great post! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. 🙂 Mom’s are busy. There’s no way around that. When you add the complexities of running a business, life can get turned upside down…UNLESS you PLAN for the unexpected. As a colleague shared with me yesterday, being a mom is a 24/7/365 proposition. At 5pm you can’t just say, “Okay, I’m done being a mom for the day.” But instead of YOU always being the first thing that gets sacrificed when time is tight, know what your highest priorities are, versus the other stuff on your schedule that can be postponed, delegated or cancelled in order to make room for life’s surprises.

    Why is this so important? You want to be able to give the best of yourself to the things and people you care about the most. If you are always the one falling to the end of your to-do list, soon you will have very little left to give. So set your highest priorities, you being one of them, and then commit to removing a non-essential task before adding anything new, or when the unexpected happens.

  14. Hi Erica!

    What an awesome article. I have been in the direct sales business for 6 years with The Pampered Chef. I have a team of awesome women that I mentor, I am able to work from home, be there for my four kids before and after school. I meet so many wonderful women who share their homes and a little of their lives with me. I have done this business here in Montreal successfully during my fourth pregnancy, I was able to work a few hours out of the house and still be home in time to nurse her. It has been a wonderful experience. I was able to be there for my mom when she was in palliative care. It has enabled me to do so much and learn a lot. I would take into account what Erica said too. Direct sales are wonderful for many reason but mostly because the wheel has already been invented for you and the start up cost is low. Also working from home teaches us more about balance than any other job. When you work from home you have to give that 100% to your business, but you also have to be present for your family and give them the same 100%. I often say I have more than one job which is true of all moms. It’s the best and I wish that more moms could see working you get the best of both worlds and have the time to enjoy them as well.
    Patty

  15. What a fantastic post! I have worked out of my home for years and still call myself a Mompreneur even though my youngest is in college! It’s still my mindset! I want to encourage ALL women to take this post to heart, do your homework and get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN! You will never regret it! -Martha

    p.s. My newest venture is a forum for Moms! http://mommygalaxy.com I will always be a Mom, an entrepreneur, and LOVE talking to other moms! It’s who we are, ya know?

  16. I would like to chime in here and comment on what Erica Ehm mentioned earlier. I work 60+ hours a week and have made a serious long term investment with time and money towards my businesses. I never want to talk anyone out of starting their own business but let me be very clear here, there are a lot of days when it would be much easier to clock in, clock out and get a steady paycheque. The rewards can be great but you have to plan on not seeing those for a few years. A few things I learned or things I have in place that helped me..
    1. Always do a business plan. I talk to a lot of Moms who think this is optional and believe me, with no plan there is no progress and you will be floundering within a month.
    2. Use the business plan to evolve and change into what your market is asking for. Don’t fight your business plan, just use it as a means of direction. Business plans don’t fail, they change.
    3.List your resources and be realistic. Having a friend do your website is great but do they know how to SEO your site, integrate social media or change your site as needed?
    4. Learn Social Media Marketing and Email marketing and then be prepared to learn it again when it changes. It will change.
    5. Make a family plan and keep a good family calendar. Who will be available on which days for whatever activities are going on? Just because Mom is home doesn’t mean Mom will have time to do everything like she always has. Again, check your resources! Talk to your kids and let them know what it will mean when Mom starts her business. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page as far as finances and your time commitment.
    6. Be prepared for people to want things for free. Your time, your ad space, your blog, your storefront space, your newsletter real estate….anything. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn and it is disappointing but you have to learn to say no and offer an alternative that works for you. Trade services, marketing, or connections – something. If you start giving without getting you will damage potentially good working relationships for the future.
    These are just a few off the top of my head. PLAN PLAN PLAN Moms! You can do it but make no mistake the sacrifices are just as great as a 9-5 job!

  17. Do you have this same list of resources for Canada?
    What if your passion is not exactly a passion?
    What if, you go about your life as a mom of special needs kids and you see that the services and supports out there for special needs people and their families is lacking or ineffective?
    Can you make a business out of the desperate needs that you see for a particular group of people? Can u make money from competing with poor quality government services?
    Just asking…

  18. The path to becoming a mompreneur has never been more wide open. Start your journey with realistic expectations so you take the right steps toward success. Regular communication with your spouse, children, and work stakeholders are essential as you establish structure in your three major jobs. A positive attitude and a healthy support system are tremendous allies.

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