Mother's Day came early for one lucky mom: Yana Berlin was named the winner of StartupNation's first ever Leading Moms in Business competition. Berlin is the founder of Fabulously40 and Beyond, a San Diego-based social networking site for women over 40.
The national contest, hosted by StartupNation, a popular business radio show and networking site, ranked mom-run businesses across the United States. Thousands of self-nominated contestants entered and more than 600,000 votes were casts to choose the top 200 moms.
"The ability of moms to be the CEOs of families, in many cases, as well as of their own businesses, is extraordinary, and deserves special applause," says Rich Sloan, "chief startup-ologist" and co-founder of StartupNation. "You could almost compare children and husbands to customers and employees," adds Sloan. "Managing those dynamics requires a skill set that I think transfers beautifully to running a business."
Berlin agrees. "These days, a lot of moms run businesses," says the mother of five, "and the office is never closed." Launched in 2006, Fabulously40.com has thousands of members around the world. But despite her business's growth, Berlin always manages to gather her family for dinner. "Moms have a lot on their plates, and we have a hard time saying no," she says. "It's all about balance and priorities."
Berlin adds that many women choose to start their own home-based businesses for the flexibility and freedom self-employment affords. "You can walk away for an hour or two, or a day, to do what you need to do for your family, and the rest can wait," she says. "If you set your business up right, then it won't fall apart."
Of course, running a business can also be a good way to teach kids about goals, hard work, and determination. "I think the best thing we can give our kids is a good example," Berlin says. "Hopefully, they'll emulate us—if we did it right. And if we did it wrong, they'll do it better."