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Maternal Instinct

Mompreneurs have the skills it takes to raise kids--and new businesses.
October 10, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/168432

Are you a mom who dreams about starting your own business? There is a way to fulfill your entrepreneurial ambitions without sacrificing quality involvement with your family. Real-life mompreneurs say the secret to success is simple: Tap into the skills you've already developed as a mom. Here are some examples.

Mom Skill #1: Coming Up With Creative Solutions. After you've come up with your own ways of handling everything from diapering to feeding time, put some of those ideas to use in business. Jen Groover, 33, is a mother of 2-year-old twins and CEO of Jen Groover Productions, a $1 million conglomerate brand of products, many of which aim to make a mom's life easier. In a year and a half, she's launched two TV shows, a book, websites, a blog and several product lines. The first version of her patented Butler Bags--a line of highly organized handbags, gym bags and diaper bags--quickly sold out before the first shipment even left China.

Before starting her Swarthmore, Pennsylvania-based company, Groover had a successful career in childhood education and as a fitness expert. But "after having my twins, I wanted to stay home with them and experience everything motherhood was about," she says. Groover admits being a mompreneur isn't always easy, which is why she started a business to help other moms like her. "It's like being a full-time quarterback," she says. "You never really get a break trying to productively lead your business and your family."

Mom Skill #2: Never Taking No for An Answer. Once you've learned to deal with recalcitrant toddlers, it's easy to persist in the face of stubborn buyers.

Laine Caspi, CEO of $1.2 million product licensing company Parents of Invention, brought a unique baby wrap from Israel back to the U.S. four years ago to use with her infant. When hordes of people stopped her to inquire where they could get one, Caspi, 37, saw the obvious opportunity. "I never would have started my own business if I hadn't been a mom," she says.

Now, after licensing several parenting products from other mompreneurs, she attributes her success to "never, ever taking no for an answer." Good advice for dealing with target customers, and perhaps her two children, ages 4 and 8.

Mom Skill #3: Scheduling and Prioritizing. "Moms have critical entrepreneurial skills such as patience, stamina and persistence," says Tamara Monosoff, author of The Mom Inventors Handbook. "They know how to prioritize and are master schedulers."

Monosoff should know. She regularly races from QVC to Good Morning America, making cross-country day trips so she can be back home for her children, who are 2 and 4 years old. After a successful political career working in the Clinton administration, Monosoff, 41, became a stay-at-home mom. Frustrated by her daughter's delight in continually unraveling the bathroom toilet paper, Monosoff invented the TP Saver. The product did well and has inspired many other budding mompreneurs to seek her advice. Now her books, consulting and product licensing efforts are all designed around helping other mompreneurs succeed. She advises mompreneurs to learn about the processes involved in starting their venture before spending a lot of money.

Alyssa Dver is a mompreneur and CEO of Wander Wear Inc. (www.wander-wear.com), which develops practical information and affordable products to prevent kids from getting lost. Dver is also a frequent contributor to TV, radio, print and web-based publications.