Why I Helped My Mom Launch a Startup
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Anyone who has worked with my dev shop (Agent Beta) from 2012 to early 2013 as a client or employee most likely spoke to or received an email from Dana. Dana started off helping with basic clerical tasks, and eventually learned enough to manage certain aspects of project development. Dana is smart, willing and eager to learn. Dana is also my mom.
She raised four children on her own, used to run marathons without training and in the middle of her life went to law school on a whim. She was working part-time at another job, bored with her work, eager to learn more and wanted to earn some extra income.
With more than 75 million baby boomers moving into grandparenting and elderhood, some of these people don’t have the financial means to carry them through retirement and beyond. Others have serious medical conditions that prevent them from working. Some are just bored. In addition, roughly 70 percent of current retirees rely on Social Security for at least half of their income.
My point is that there’s no shortage of boomers who could all use some additional support. Social Security may not last forever, their retirement savings are most likely dwindling away and they’re not able to work more than 80 hours per week some startups expect.
As my mom worked with me, I realized she possessed some fundamental characteristics that could lead her to entrepreneurship:
- A desire to learn
- An appetite for risk
- Financially incentivized
- Bored with current job
- An openness to new skills
I approached her with the idea, we solicited feedback from my Facebook group of entrepreneurs (request an invite here), I helped her create a site and she was in business within a week.
What’s my mom’s startup, you ask? Well, paired with her newfound “technical” knowledge and the “roughly” 400 million entrepreneurs that are active each year, we created a startup service company.
She calls it Mom’s Startup Services and helps new companies with tasks including blog post writing, WordPress setup, content distribution, Facebook ads setup, email management and more.
Her flagship product is Mom’s Usability Testing. Her process is simple: she navigates your website, documents every step and sends a detailed report of her findings. She then sits with you and reviews the areas of places that were confusing and makes her recommendations. We figure if your website is easy enough for mom to navigate, your user experience is simple and intuitive enough for anyone to get through.
Here are some key takeaways I've learned during this process:
1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere.
Anyone that has a desire can be an entrepreneur. My mom is a perfect example.
2. Age is irrelevant.
If there's a willingness and desire, age means nothing. This goes for young and old.
3. We should teach others.
As entrepreneurs, it is our duty to build not just our companies, but to teach other entrepreneurs the lessons we've learned during the process. Without my insight and guidance, my mom would probably not be building her business.
4. There are many underutilized assets.
Working with my mom has opened up my eyes to her intelligence and vision. Uber and AirBnb have both figured out how to awake sleeping assets, and this process has me wondering how many more people are out there waiting for their opportunity?
5. The gift of financial freedom.
Teaching my mom how to be financially independent and how to create her own worth has been infinitely empowering for her. It is a feeling I hope all humans can experience. Granted, she's not a billionaire (yet), but she now has the skills to create her own path, where the potential is limitless.
My mom is not cruising Hacker News or voting on Product Hunt, but she’s still become more tech savvy. She has new technical skills, a new passion and new source of income. Plus, we have a mission to help other moms create new companies, and she’s providing support to startups in need.
So, if you don’t get your mom involved, I will. That’s a mom joke. I had to go there. I feel like this whole piece led up to it. Seriously though, let’s give back to those who gave us life.