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Inspired By Motherhood

These moms saw a need in their own lives and were brave enough to turn the solution into a business.

So many people have an idea, but don't know how to make it a reality. How often have you seen a business or product and thought, "I had that idea"? Many of your favorite products and services were inspired by real-life mom experiences. Discovery Toys, Baby Einstein and Build-A-Bear are just a few of the companies moms love that were inspired by motherhood. The founders of these companies weren't CEOs and didn't have MBAs. These women were inspired by a motherhood need and then acted on it. They were brave enough to move forward.

One common trait among mom entrepreneurs is that they learn from others. They ask a lot of questions until they find what they need to know. It's part of why I like to share stories of other mom entrepreneurs--so you can learn from them and from their journey.

There's no map I can give you that leads to success. For each, the road traveled is different. What remains the same is having a dream and moving toward it. All you need is the idea and inspiration. Everything else is already out there. You can access virtually any other assistance be it financial, legal or product development.

The doubts and challenges that hold you back are no different than those once felt by the women I tell you about. If you don't have time, work 15 minutes per day toward your dream. If you don't have money, find a way to raise it. There's an answer to every question. This month, I share with you stories of entrepreneurs who grew their dream into a reality.

WILBUR was conceived by Jill Luedtke, Kim Anton and Tracey Hornbuckle, three moms who saw a need to enhance early literacy skills among very young children. The moms were inspired by a visit to a Utah farm where they met an adorable little calf named Wilbur. They wanted to lay a foundation for reading with young children and felt that a "back to the basics" barnyard was the perfect setting.

"Our goal with WILBUR is to help kids realize the books are fun," say the creators. "We want kids to associate reading with pleasure, which we know is a powerful motivating factor as they learn to read." None of these women had any personal experience in video or TV production. So they networked and asked anyone who would listen how to move forward. They started by creating videos and selling them out of their garages. Each day, they would work from home, pick their kids up from school, "do the mom thing" and then work in the evening.

When speaking to these women, you quickly realize that all are eternally optimistic and unstoppable. They were a huge success and have sold thousands of their WILBUR videos. Their dream from the start, however, was to do a TV show, but none knew at the time how to go about it. Fortunately, they had made a contact who was a champion for WILBUR. When that contact moved to Discovery Kids from another company, she was able to help the entrepreneurs navigate through the process and became their cheerleader on the inside. WILBUR now can be seen on Discovery Kids.

Linda Clark is the creator of Play Clay . As a young mom, Clark loved to encourage creativity and play with her kids. She created a play-dough product because she wanted one that wouldn't crumble or stain and that would last longer than the other products on the market. But it wasn't until her family was in a financial crisis that she became determined to turn her homemade product into a business.

She started making Play Clay in her home kitchen every day and then drove to various trade shows to sell her product on the weekend. Her kids were always a part of the business. When her husband couldn't watch them, Clark brought the kids with her to the trade shows. Through this experience, they learned to sell, work with people and deal with rejection.

Clark went from making Play Clay in her home to having it made in multiple employees' homes. Now it's made in a several-thousand-square-foot factory. She grew the business without loans or investors. When she needed more money, she worked more shows. Play Clay has sustained Clark and her family for many years. It's still a family-oriented business, but now it's her grandkids riding their tricycles through the factory.

If you have an idea for a product, but don't know how to launch it, check out MomInventors.com , where Tamara Monosoff shares tips for getting you from inspiration to the market. Monosoff also was originally inspired by motherhood. After much frustration with her toddler unraveling the toilet paper, she created the TP Saver. Like so many mom entrepreneurs, she had no idea how to turn her idea into a successful business. But she learned along the way and got her product to market. As much as she enjoyed the product's success, she now gets the most satisfaction from helping other moms achieve their dreams.

So if you see a need, fill it. You're no different than any other mom entrepreneur who first started her company. Few of us knew what we were doing when we started. But you ask, you learn and you enjoy the ride. You aren't expected to know how, just to be brave and move forward.

Lisa Druxman is Entrepreneur.com's "Mompreneur" columnist and the founder and CEO of fitness franchise Stroller Strides. Druxman is also a nationally recognized speaker and author, and is considered an expert in the field of fitness, particularly pre- and postnatal fitness. She hosts a free monthly webinar during which she answers questions from fellow mompreneurs. If you are interested in participating, contact her at lisa@strollerstrides.com.

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