They're often called the "untapped workforce"--the highly qualified, highly educated women who are moms and choose to stay home or work part time because of it. After all, the typical workplace doesn't offer flexibility for mothers who want quality time with their families. This is the first in a three-part "Day in the Life of a Mompreneur" series. As you'll learn, becoming an entrepreneur while being a full-time mom is not only entirely possible, it's desirable for many women. If you've ever wondered whether you could hack it as a mompreneur, here's your chance to find out.
Name: Jennifer Manriquez
Name of Company: The Bilingual Fun Co. LLC
Provides Spanish language classes and produces instructional DVDs for toddlers and preschoolers.
Tell us what an average day in your life looks like, starting with waking up. I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and get a jumpstart on e-mail and my list of "to do's" for the day. Kids need to be up, dressed, fed and out the door at 8 a.m. for the bus stop [She has two children. Only one goes to school.]. My 4-year-old gets shuffled along with me for most of the day. Some days he goes to a sitter and I teach my Spanish classes or have business meetings. Other days we participate in library story times, swim lessons and co-op preschool. I always try to squeeze in some kind of exercise, as well as try to stay on top of housework, laundry, doctor appointments, vet appointments, etc. during the day. We pick up my daughter at 4 p.m. from the bus stop and we're off to skating, dance or Spanish class. Evenings consist of dinner preparation, homework, baths and bedtime rituals. I sit down to work after the kids are in bed around 9 p.m. until I am finished. Whew.
What's your biggest challenge in being a mom entrepreneur? Balance, balance, balance. It's a fine art of balancing life and work when you are a mom entrepreneur. I've had to make this a priority, especially with two young children at home with me as I have been building the business. Making specific "work times" is a must for me. Allowing myself a certain amount of time to accomplish work tasks and then being 100 percent with my children at other times has helped me stay balanced.
What's your best tip for success as a mom entrepreneur? Finding reliable child care. The notion of working during nap time is a great concept but can't always be counted on. With no family close by, I've had to be very particular and conscientious about finding reliable part-time child care. As soon as I got this issue ironed out, I was much more productive and in control.
Do you make time for yourself? How? Yes, absolutely. Not as much or as often as I should, but I do. Going to the gym is my own time and I try to make it a priority every day if possible. I do sporadic girls' nights out and brunches with my college girlfriends.
If you could start over in your business, what would you do differently? I don't think I would do anything differently. Each day is a learning process for me and, although I've learned so much in my journey, I'm very happy with the way I started my company and the way it's growing.
What's your favorite book?
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.
Name: Joanna Meiseles
Name of Company: The Snip-its Corp.
A child-centered hair salon and franchise business designed to be captivating for kids.
Tell us what an average day in your life looks like, starting with waking up .
There is really no such thing as an average day. Every day is different, but here's an example: I wake up at 7 a.m. and get my two younger children bathed, dressed, fed and off to school. While tidying up the house, I check my office e-mail to prepare for the day. I'm a strong advocate for having work/life balance, so on a good day, I go to yoga from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. This I do a few days a week. I'm at the office by 10:30 a.m. My day at the office is very busy and consists of e-mail, conference calls, meetings, store visits, writing, etc. The nice thing about my work is that it varies a lot and gives me a lot of opportunity for creativity and leadership. My job is to facilitate my corporate team's ability to help our franchise owners maximize their earning potential. I get to work on everything from marketing campaigns to financial planning to operations, recruiting, training, management, sales, real estate, product development, PR and anything else that's important. I also have a solid corporate support team. At home, we have a family babysitter and I meet her around 6 p.m. By that time, usually all my children are home and together we make dinner. We also eat together and put the younger children to bed. At around 9 p.m., I relax, watch TV, check in on my office e-mail and go to bed at 11 p.m.
What's your biggest challenge in being a mom entrepreneur?
When everything happens as planned, being a mom entrepreneur is manageable and fulfilling. However, the challenge comes when everything explodes at once. Juggling all the elements is a challenge, especially when one or more balls go haywire. For example, today I had an important conference call but my babysitter called in sick, so I worked from home. One of my kids was screaming in the background. I tried to concentrate on the call but my daughter was stung by a bee, so I had to jump off the call and tend to her. Of course everyone understands, but on those random days, it looks unprofessional and holds up productivity. Another ongoing challenge is that my second son, who is 16 and not driving yet (two more months), always seems to need a ride somewhere at the most inconvenient times. I often leave him stranded.
What's your best tip for success as a mom entrepreneur? Get lots of support, both physical and emotional. I'm lucky because I have good help at work and at home. My family, my husband (who is my college sweetheart), plus my colleagues are all supportive of my life plan.
Do you make time for yourself?
How? Having balance between life and work is important to me and helps clear my head for important decisions. The beauty of owning your own business is flexibility, but you have to make it happen. I make time to do yoga, visit the mall and get my nails done.
If you could start over in your business, what would you do differently? I love what I do. I never thought I would be in this position running my own successful company, but I wouldn't change a thing.
What's your favorite book?
I just finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and it was really good.