Does a mompreneur really differ from any other entrepreneur? That was the question I was asked by Entrepreneur a number of years ago. I still get asked that question whenever I tell someone about my column, and my answer is a resounding "Yes." Our motivation, work style and ideas all stem from motherhood. Here are some of the ways we're different.
Where we find inspiration --Many women who never would have thought of themselves as entrepreneurs are startled by the ideas spurred by motherhood. You realize all kinds of needs that aren't being met and constantly think there must be a better way. One mompreneur, Tamara Monosoff , has created an entire business to help mom inventors achieve their dreams. But frequently, it's not a product that inspires mompreneurship--it's motherhood itself. For instance, the drive and desire to be home with their children motivates some moms to create businesses that fit in with their family lives. They may start businesses that have nothing to do with motherhood, but that give them the opportunity to work from home or work nontraditional hours.
How we work --First off, there is no blanket generalization of mompreneurs. I know some who work a few hours a day and others who have worked diligently to create an empire. But, most of those I interview tell me they're mompreneurs so they can call their own shots. Most shy away from traditional 9-to-5 hours. They work during the fringe hours of the day so they can spend precious time with their kids. They work from wireless laptops while watching their kids in karate class. And they keep in touch via their smart phone wherever motherhood may take them. I have yet to meet a mompreneur who hasn't said it's the hardest she's ever worked in her life. But the good news is that every woman also says she wouldn't trade it for the world. Mompreneurs truly are working 24 hours a day. When they're not working, they're thinking about work. When they are working, they're thinking about being with their kids. It's a very full life, and each woman accomplishes it in her own way.
Where we work --Most mompreneurs I encounter work from home (or at least start out that way). They spare themselves the commute to the office, and they don't have to get babysitters to be there when their babies are at home napping. Offices have gone virtual. You'll see mompreneurs working at Starbucks, local libraries and even on park benches. As long as they have cell phones and laptops, they're in business. New business ideas such as Cubes and Crayons are emerging, giving moms an opportunity to work and take good care of their kids. Some mompreneurs start companies with child-friendly offices or provide daycare.
Why we work --There are many reasons why mompreneurs go into business. Some want to bring in a little extra money. Some want to have something stimulating and rewarding that they can do beyond motherhood. And others want to see a change in the world. While some mompreneurs do experience huge financial success, most don't go into business expecting it. That is very different from the mindset of most traditional entrepreneurs.
More and more moms are starting their own businesses. I love that more and more women are realizing they can fulfill their dreams and still be successful moms.