Despite the fact that women have a harder time obtaining business financing than men do, 9.4 million businesses are owned by women—accounting for an economic impact of about 3 trillion—and as many as 33% of those are also mothers (otherwise known as mompreneurs). Those numbers are only expected to climb, with some estimating as many of half of all businesses being women-owned by 2020. With National Small Business Week coming up in early May, we wanted to take a moment to share some insights on how they operate and what we can learn from mompreneurs.
Their Children Inspire Them
You only need to check out a list of successful mompreneurs to understand that this means more than an empathic boost and inspiration for success. Mompreneurs have experiences in parenting that go on to mean developing solutions for themselves and their kids, which actually leads them to become entrepreneurs to begin with. Achieving the best parts of parenting—i.e., ensuring their children are healthy, happy, educated, and safe (e.g., Baby Einstein and Buzzy)—or meeting unique parenting needs (e.g., the Ignore No More app) are the literal inspirations for what they do.
They Live and Breathe Work-Life Balance
The statement is hyperbolic, but only a little. They have to own the fact that they’ll have to work longer and harder at being both a mother and a business owner, but depending on the stage of the business and a number of other factors, mompreneurs can usually set their own schedules and many times are starting their business from home or can work from home for their brick-and-mortar location. As single mom and entrepreneur Nusha Pelicano put it, the mompreneur has to give up on believing in the mythically perfect work-life balance. Similarly, mompreneur Shelly Colbourne states what’s needed is discipline with spending time, but according to the mompreneurs’ individual priorities and what works for them and their families.
They Understand Prioritization
Priorities, of course, go hand in hand with work-life balance. Being proficient at running a business while being a good mom is no small task, and being a mompreneur means knowing which sacrifices must be made and which things need to join the queue of multitasking. As Sheroes founder Sairee Chahal puts it, mompreneurs need to know when to say no, even if that means saying no to a customer or business client, and to have support systems in place to enable them to juggle without dropping any balls.
They Inspire Their Children
Mompreneurs understand that they need to bring their children into the business, although that doesn’t necessarily mean making them literally work for the company. Their kids need to be a part of their business ownership journey, and that means invariably that their kids will learn valuable life lessons early on. Whether that means younger kids learn that “failure is only failure when you quit,” or that older kids discuss trends and logistics with you, developing their own insights into your business and the market. Being a part of a mompreneur’s growth as a business owner means inspiring them to realize their own ambitions.
They Are Incredible Role Models
When you take our previous four points in conjunction, you realize that mompreneurs have to live as role models for their kids, their employees, and for their prospective sponsors. Clearly, a lot of positive attributes are ascribed to mompreneurs, and in most cases, these savvy businesswomen thank their roles as moms, not entrepreneurs. Inasmuch as they view their business as something to fight for, they do what they do to improve the lives of their children. The necessary balance of proactive aggression, leadership, imaginative problem solving, and sensitivity required just to be a mother are hard won, hard earned lessons, but combine that with business experience and the drive to succeed and build something, and it’s no surprise that mompreneurs are people we can all look up to.
Mompreneurs and Marketing
You may think that mompreneurs must have special tools to manage everything that they do, to juggle being mothers and business owners. The truth is, they take advantage of the same tools as any small business, not to mention government programs and similar, such as the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the SBA. Although there are plenty of outlets that discuss marketing and other small business concerns for mompreneurs specifically, that’s no different than any entrepreneurial niche.
However, there are resources mompreneurs in particular can tap into more effectively. Consider our first point from another angle—businesses that offer products and services developed out of real life parenting experiences and concerns have a built in audience: other parents. Childrearing will naturally expose mompreneurs and their solutions to other parents, as with super successful mom owned businesses Bella Tunno and Baby K’Tan. Mompreneurs can market their business just by being moms, and although that can’t be the entirety of their marketing reach, in our ever connected world, it’s a huge first step.
As you can see, the total of what we can learn from mompreneurs is huge. This list is just a glimpse, and doesn’t begin to discuss the sheer success mompreneurs have earned.