Did you know that today is International Women’s Day? What better day to celebrate the mompreneurs among us! If you’re like me, you spend your weeks toggling between developing client proposals, class mom responsibilities and scheduling play dates in-between conference calls. You spend time on the playground responding to work emails and brainstorming business ideas with other like-minded moms.
This is the age of the multi-tasking working mother. Among us are the courageous and tenacious founders of startups and established businesses, who’ve bravely taken the leap to be our own bosses and define our own success.
Investors are taking notice and are becoming more and more inclined to support women-led businesses. “One hundred percent of my returns in the last six years have come from companies run by women,” says Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary. “I don’t care why. I care about the actual financial results. So this year on Shark Tank, I’m investing in a lot of women.”
Recently, I profiled several mompreneurs to gain a better understanding of their personal journeys and lessons learned along the way. What I found most inspiring was that most of their business had been started as a solution to a problem or gap that they were experiencing – whether that be wet shoes on a rainy day, overstock of sales inventory, a slow pattern-making process or a flimsy bathing suit. Equally encouraging is the idea that an MBA isn’t required to be an entrepreneur, nor is a significant bank account. Anyone with a great idea and determination has the ability to take the leap.
Are you considering that leap but want to gain a better sense of what you might expect? Read on for the top 10 insights and lessons learned, which have been shared by mompreneurs who are rocking it in the business world:
“You hope to find quick success, but you can’t expect it or rely on it – for your business in general, or for any individual aspect of running your business. You have to go through the process of launching an effort, monitoring it, refining it and possibly revising or pivoting.”
On seeking advice.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help. Learn from others in your space or who may be dealing with similar issues as you. When I first started my business, I thought I would like working on my own. However, I soon discovered that I really liked having a team and colleagues that I could bounce ideas off of. There was such a steep learning curve that I wish I had an experienced colleague who could have helped me in those early days. I should have either leaned on my board members or found a mentor who could have helped navigate this new world with me.”
On taking advice.
“You are constantly learning, and sometimes you’re not always ready to hear the things people tell you. Sometimes we are given advice and we just don’t hear it; then years later you hear the same advice and suddenly it makes sense and you can use it.”
“You can’t please all people, all of the time. And sometimes it isn’t personal, it’s just business.”
“When I’m feeling anxious or conflicted, I look at the numbers and make a decision from there. However, on a different day I might have an ice cream or share my troubles with friends or colleagues who can share insights and set me back on track. Having people you trust and can rely on in your inner circle is really important.”
“Even when you take a hit, with a positive outlook, you can always find opportunity in every failure. What’s critical is to keep moving forward.”
On reaching customers.
“Learning how to successfully reach prospective customers has been the key for us. This is something that I totally underestimatebefore I launched. It took a lot of trial and error and connecting with customers and prospective customers to learn what the right imagery, messaging and outreach strategy would be.”
On financial planning.
“If I could begin again, I would sit down with my team and decide what the worst case scenario could be within the next 12-18 months. Then, I’d figure out what it would cost us to recover from it, and work that number into our budget.”
On hiring experts.
“I am a big believer in consultants and working with others who have the expertise that you don’t. I’m hyper-focused about the part of my business that I know I am good at. I outsource the rest. My advice is to know what you’re good at and invest in the right people with the expertise you need. You’ll reach your goals quicker and save money in the long run.”
“I was once told by someone to never tell your kids that you don’t want to go to work. This stuck with me. I never complain about having to leave my kids for work – I want them to feel I’m stepping away from home to do something that is really important to me – something that I love. I want my kids to see that it’s wonderful to have something that you love to do.”
More insights and the full profiles of these and other extraordinary female entrepreneurs can be found on www.inspireflies.com.
Michele Landa Riggio is a brand strategist and communications expert. She has 20 years of experience with legacy and start-up brands including Royal Caribbean, Frito-Lay, Kraft, Girl Scouts of the USA, Physical Equilibrium, and Prim and Wilde, to name a few. Michele is Founder of INSPIREflies – a platform that inspires and advances female entrepreneurship. She also is the CEO of MLR Communications, a brand strategy consultancy, where she collaborates with businesses to establish and market their reputations and brands. She lives, works and plays in Manhattan.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.