Finding a Support Network Support resources for entrepreneur moms are plentiful, but if you find yourself needing more, you can always start your own.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
One common thread for all new moms is the desire for support. I'm sure that rings true for mom entrepreneurs as well. Over the years, I've been blessed with many support networks. Despite feeling I have little time available, the investment is more than worth it. If you're just getting started or feel like you need more support, try one of the following resources. There's no need to go it alone.
Online.There are countless chat groups and online groups for mom entrepreneurs. And it's no surprise, considering most moms get their work done during the fringe hours of the day and depend heavily on information from the internet. Too many websites about moms in business exist to cover them all, so I'll share some of my favorites.
Check out www.momstown.com, which hosts forums for like-minded women. Need daily inspiration and guidance? Become a member of their Big Break program for less than $10 per month to receive e-mails, newsletters and access to podcasts. The "Ladies Who Launch" site offers a great "incubator" program designed to connect people both online and in person who have the common goal of launching or expanding their businesses. And finally, besides being a great magazine, Working Mother offers great mom blogs, resources and conferences on its website.
Clubs and networks.One thing is for sure: Networking is crucial to an entrepreneur's success, and there are plenty of organizations to help you. The National Association of Female Executivesoffers membership benefits ranging from a subscription to their magazine and mentoring opportunities to breakfast clubs with expert speakers. The National Association of Women Business Ownersoffers a membership with variety of benefits, including services, products and conferences. Lastly, eWomen Networkgives female business owners a variety of ways to connect with one another. There's a huge focus on networking, and you can take part in online forums as well as local meetings.
Create your own.As much as I love the traditional networking opportunities, I have often felt that my time as a mom entrepreneur is particularly crunched. I craved networking time with women who were dealing with the same demographic I was, so I created my own "MOB"--Mommy Owned Business club. If you also want to network with like-minded women in a similar business, consider starting your own networking group. I simply invited local owners who had businesses with similar client bases. I made sure that each business was unique and didn't compete with any of the others. We then set up monthly meetings at someone's home, during which we shared favorite vendors, resources and kept each other on task.
Not interested in staring your own networking group? Search local sites like www.craigslist.comor www.meetup.comto see if there are already networking groups in your area for moms in business.
No matter which path you take, know that you'll get much farther with support. I've never attended one conference, networking meeting or forum that I wasn't glad I went to. I know you're busy, but it will be well worth the time you invest.