Mompreneur, build the business YOU want, not what society tells you should want!
Every day I see posts by female and women business brands telling women entrepreneurs they’re shooting too low, that they need to think bigger. They need to think more like male entrepreneurs.
Mompreneurs, I’m here to tell you to be true to yourself. If your littles are flying the nest and you want to get your product on Shark Tank and grow the heck out of it, go for it! You have the luxury of time.
But if you’re deep in the trenches and your littles are little and you’re going to playdates, or maybe you have bigs but you’re driving three states away for sports tournaments, you have YOUR permission to keep your business whatever size you can for your sanity. And I’ll also tell you that you should do this for optimum customer service for your clients AND your family. You’ll be tempted to scream at your kids more if you’re frazzled. They will not care how big your business was, they will only care that you were there for them, mompreneur. I promise!
I’m also here to tell you that businesses are babies of their own right. They grow up, they become unruly, you might have to discipline them. Discipline is to learn, to be guided. Be sure you’re listening to the right voices, though, and those are the ones asking for goldfish snacks in the kitchen.
If you started your business so you could have time to be there for your kids – whether they’re just toddling around or whether they’re teens, you owe it to yourself to be there for your kiddos. You will never get to the fly-the-nest days and say “gee, I spent too much time with my kids.” TODAY, this afternoon, you might feel exactly that way (the days are long, the years are short.)
I work with mompreneurs every day. They are typically corporate switchers (I hate the term corporate dropout, or 9-5 refugee here – you made this choice, you didn’t drop out!) who decided that you wanted something different, more authentic, less bureaucratic, less face-time and more facetime with your kids.
Here are the top mompreneur lies you’ve been told:
- Grow your business at any cost, because businesses have to grow to thrive (this is not true, many very small businesses are successful for their owners)
- Spend all your waking moments on your kids and do business after they are in bed or naps (only works for toddlers or under)
- You have to grow your business like a man would to succeed (you do not, success is within your own definition)
- You have to bootstrap and spend your own money to grow (that’s not true either, loans, grants and other sources of capital are highly underutilized by mompreneurs
- You’re limited only to MLM businesses. While MLM businesses appeal to women for a variety of reasons, many, many entrepreneurs are successful crafting their own products and services – and if you really want to rep someone else’s product, team up with another mompreneur and help grow both your businesses!
- You have to be a techie to manage your own online store and online digital marketing (not true, but you probably need training, that’s what we do!)
- You should spend all your time on your business because you’ll never get another shot. Not true. Most entrepreneurs start multiple businesses in their lifetimes. And they grow, contract, grow their businesses as they go. It’s OK!
Mompreneurs, you started your business so you could have freedom and flexibility to do what you want on your terms. Don’t let society tell you any other way – your definition of success is yours.
But just to back that up, you should know that women entrepreneur owned businesses fail at much fewer rates than male owned businesses do. Why? Well, maybe because women are naturally more conservative on how they run their businesses (not politically conservative, but fiscally) because they know what’s at stake. She’s thinking not of herself but her kids.
Let’s explore 3 ways mompreneurs can prepare to succeed on their own terms:
Stop looking at others for external definitions of success. You’re home with your kids (or like me, they’re home after 3pm). Raising humans is the MOST NOBLE and CRUCIAL work we can do. Ever. These people you’re raising are going to take care of you – and the world – in just a short number of years. When you make sure you do it right, mama, we all succeed. It’s not defined by your balance sheet or P&L.
Start by asking yourself (in a journal) what you hope for for your children’s future. Then write down what you hope for for YOUR future. Then work backwards from that. If you want to grow your business to $1M in two years, and you have toddlers, you have to have a way to scale that without your involvement. If you have a high schooler and want to start a new business once she’s in college? You can start now! Writing this down makes it more real and gives you practical ways to outline what you need to do now. Plus, it’s fun to look back in one year or 5 years and see the progress you’ve made. A journal is a great way to record this.
Get some help – a business startup coach (like Ann) can help you think strategically through your options. And, once you get to forming that business, setting up all your online ‘stuff’ – you’ll have picked just what you need (no more, no less), and you’ll be ready to launch your dream in a way that’s sustainable for your family.
Let’s also talk MLM businesses for a moment – these are called MultiLevel Marketing businesses and in the days of your mom (or grandma), Tupperware, the Avon Lady started it, and now you have BeautyCounter, CAbi, LipSense, YoungLiving, DoTerra, Monat, ThirtyOne, etc.. Why these appeal to moms is their relatively low barrier to entry – the time commitments are low (and generally work around family schedules), the startup costs are generally low and they have a lot of support. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this – franchise businesses often provide these same types of supports for business owners. The difference is that the real money in MLM is made by the people who signed you up (there are exceptions to this, but that’s usually how they work). They make money when YOU make money. Now, this is great if you love your “upline” friends, but if the way-way-upline are people you do not know (or worse, don’t like), then this is a problem. You’re feeding their success. Another way to create this for a local business, is to befriend a local mom maker or two and see if you can rep HER products. Like MLM, but just the two of you. But don’t discount MLMs because they get a bad rap – they’re successful for women for a reason and have been for over 75 years.
Whatever business type you choose, whatever business makes your heart sing, here’s what you should know:
Promise: you do not have to emulate male entrepreneurs to be successful! And your best measure of success is the children you raise. Full stop.