Mom + Entrepreneur = Mompreneur
And Taking the Workforce by Storm!
Motherhood is a job – just one that doesn’t pay with money, but in so many other rewards. However, since it doesn’t pay for the electric bill or the groceries, many moms turn to working part-time or full-time, inside or outside of the home for a paycheck. Many moms are also forgoing polishing their resumes or completing their applications to instead start their own businesses and companies. It can bring in that much needed paycheck, as well as provide self-satisfaction and identity, but it is also not for the faint of heart.
What is a Mompreneur?
Entrepreneur.com describes a mompreneur as a woman who is balancing the roles of motherhood and entrepreneur. Balance does seem to be the key word in this definition, and it is a fluid state of being. Whether you are considering starting your own home daycare business, opening a greenhouse in your backyard, writing and editing from your home office (like me), or starting your own cleaning and professional organization company, there are several issues you need to carefully consider.
One Mompreneur’s Story
If you read my recent post about organizing your home life, you were introduced to Tammy Schotzko, owner of We Love Messes. Tammy shared with me some insights about home and family organization, but she also shared with me her experiences and perspectives about her dual role as a mom and entrepreneur – mompreneur.
Tammy decided early on that she wanted to stay home with her first child (now 17), but she always pursued some type of work to contribute to the family budget. Sometimes this was babysitting, mending or quilting for others, participating on the city council, or other part-time investments of her time and energy.
Take Something You Love and Go with It
Moms are about love – and Tammy’s move mirrors what drives so many successful mompreneurs. Like Tammy, they take their passions and interests and find a way to turn those into paychecks. Less than two years ago she decided to take what she loves, organizing, and pursue it as a career. While she first partnered with someone else, Tammy recently became the sole owner of her company in October of 2011. She said that “…once I realized that not everybody is a natural at it AND people would PAY me to do it I would’ve been crazy NOT to pursue it!”
Tammy’s business is now a mobile business, with most of her needed supplies waiting for her in her van. She completes paperwork, bills, correspondences, and more from her home, and at any one time has 10-15 independent contractors doing work through her business.
The Challenges Mompreneurs Face
The glass ceiling may have been lifted, but in reality – it is still there – if at varying heights depending upon whom you ask. Tammy has seen this ceiling herself as she works as “the boss”. In two recent times she laughs about now, she took her husband on fire damage jobs and repeatedly faced people who automatically sought her husband out as the owner of her business. She walked away from one instance not really able to fully convince a particular gentleman that she was running the show. I can empathize with Tammy and understand her circumstances. As a cloud commuter I have often been mistaken for a man – with the name of Chris – as my image is not always attached with my name. Redirecting clients is not always easy, and not even always necessary. As you venture into mompreneur-land, just be aware that the ceilings exist – just take a hammer with you.
In my interview with Tammy I heard her reiterate what I have heard from so many other women who are either entrepreneurs or figures of authority in companies. It can be challenging for women, somewhat natural caretakers, to be firm and business-focused, instead of friends to all, especially if a woman has been spending years providing love and support to her family. Tammy puts it well when she says that “…the buck, and the reputation, stops with me.” If you’re going to pursue an entrepreneurial road, you need to go prepared to be the boss.
The Best Parts of Being a Mompreneur
Working mother is a redundant term. However, if you seek a paycheck and decide to pursue building your own business or career, there are some wonderful advantages of becoming a mompreneur.
- A paycheck – paying bills is nice.
- A sense of accomplishment – your children can follow for inspiration.
- An entrepreneurial experience – nothing prepares you for life’s hurdles like setting up your own track.
- Your own schedule – this may mean more hours than you bargain for so be prepared to pace yourself.
Tammy acknowledges that wanting to do it all and being able to do it all realistically are two separate things. But she also says that mom CAN do it, just at readjusted levels of (self) expectation. At the end of the day there are only 24 hours – in which we are moms, mompreneurs, entrepreneurs, employees, partners, friends, shoe-shoppers, gardeners, and women. Balancing all of those hats is not easy, but as the rising trend of mompreneurs shows, it just might be the new path that women like Tammy are blazing.