One of the things I love the most about Inc. is the unwavering support and encouragement for entrepreneurs. And specifically, its support for various subsets of entrepreneurs. For example, at every Inc. event I have attended, there has been an entire day (or at least part of a day) devoted to military veteran entrepreneurs, or "vetrepreneurs." Being a former Navy SEAL, combat veteran, and entrepreneur, I have a vast amount of respect for the hard work and perseverance it takes to succeed in building a startup into a thriving, mature organization.
Another subset of entrepreneurs that fascinates me is mommy entrepreneurs, or "mompreneurs." The research I have done has lead me to a couple of conclusions. First, the women business owners who succeed are sensational multitaskers, as all moms are. They have a keen ability to balance being both the CEO of the household and the owner of a business. Second, more than many entrepreneurs, their business ideas identify and provide solutions to many of life's problems. Or should I say opportunities? They have great stories, a passion for their work, and unrivaled drive.
Here are the key factors behind the success of mompreneurs.
When we think of successful entrepreneurs, passion is typically one of the key factors that comes to mind. But it takes a different kind of passion to juggle a startup and family simultaneously. It takes sacrifice and risk. Without a deep passion for the vision of the business, there are simply too many factors working against you. A great example of this kind of passion is Julie Aigner-Clark of the the Baby Einstein Company.
This is certainly a product line most of us parents have heard of, as well as a classic entrepreneurial build-it-and-sell-it success story. The Baby Einstein Company was founded in 1997 by stay-at-home mom and former teacher Julie Aigner-Clark in suburban Alpharetta, Georgia. Aigner-Clark and her husband invested $18,000 of their savings to produce the initial product, a Video Board Book. Ultimately, the company was rumored to be valued at $400 million. Aigner-Clark has since been involved in building a few startups, is a noteworthy speaker, and has her own website, Mommymade.com.
Another thing I have noticed is the strong desire in mompreneurs to give back. Many of their businesses are designed specifically to overcome everyday obstacles or provide new opportunities for families and communities.
I came across this wonderful little startup and loved the purpose behind the product as well as the charity it supports. Little Mizz Kit provides a monthly hands-on activity kit on the basis of five specific pillars, including Life Lessons, Fitness, Nutrition, How To's, and Arts and Crafts, with the goal of inspiring creativity and confidence in girls from an early age.
What's most special about this venture is that a portion of proceeds goes to March of Dimes. Why? Because the founder had a daughter who was born with a birth defect called gastroschisis. She had been working with the initial concepts for the business for a while, but this new reality gave the project a soul and reason for being. Her family is now an ambassador family for March of Dimes.
This would seem to be an obvious ingredient in the recipe for entrepreneurial success. Sheila Lirio Marcelo founded Care.com to solve a problem that she knew was not just her own. A young mother with two small children, Marcelo had trouble finding quality child care solutions. She knew there had to be a better way than using the phone book or asking the neighbors if they knew a good sitter. Marcelo founded Care.com in 2006, and today, the company is the largest online care destination in the world, with more than 10.7 million members across 16 countries. And it has certainly been a valuable resource for my family.
But Marcelo's success as a mompreneur doesn't end with Care.com. She has devoted much of her time to speaking on topics related to female entrepreneurship and leadership. She also founded WomenUp.org to increase women's roles in the global economy by providing leadership training, mentorship, and support to girls and women through every stage of their lives and careers.
While doing some research, I came across some great resource sites for current or aspiring mommy entrepreneurs, such as Themompreneur.com and Foundingmoms.com.
Keep up the great work, ladies. My hat is off to you!