The Mompreneur of the 21st Century.
Do you remember being a kid and everyone asking you: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Growing up I had big dreams, however, being a Mompreneur was not one of them. In fact, my answer was, “When I want to grow up, I want to be a professional dancer on Broadway.”
I started dancing at the age of five. I took ballet, tap and jazz classes every week. I also loved dancing and singing in my school’s musicals. When I got to middle school and high school, I tried out for our school drill team and made it. We would practice three hours every day after school, and on the weekends we would travel and compete all over Southern California. However, my dreams of becoming a professional dancer slipped away when I became pregnant at age 16 and was a teenage mom my senior year of high school.
My parents did encourage me to finish high school and go to college, which I did, but I eventually dropped out of college to get married. Four years later, I was divorced with two kids. I decided to go back to college and get my business degree, but I was still a struggling single mom working two jobs. I’d drop my kids off at daycare at 5:00 a.m. and pick them up at 5:00 p.m. I was miserable, and I felt so much guilt when my daughter would be crying with her arms open for me to pick her up as I walked out the door of the daycare center to go to work. As I was driving down the street to work, I knew there had to be a better way. I wanted to be the one to raise my children, not the daycare center.
One of my first part-time business ventures I embarked on was real estate investing. I purchased a single-family home to rent out. I didn’t know anything about being a landlord, so my experience was somewhat of a nightmare. However, I learned two things from that business venture: First, hire a professional who has expertise in areas you don’t have because they can save you time and money in the long run. Second, find a mentor who has more experience than you do so they can guide you and encourage you when times get tough.
My greatest challenge as a Mompreneur happened 10 years ago when my youngest son was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a rare life-threatening illness. When I realized I couldn’t go back to work, I started a new business in my son’s hospital room. That’s when my journey as a Mompreneur really began.
What is a Mompreneur?
The word Mompreneur is a term that was introduced around 1994 describing women who start or run their own businesses, while also acting as a full-time parent. Mompreneur is a combination of two words: “mom” and “entrepreneur.” Data shows that Mompreneurs are more likely to run a business out of their home than out of a commercial building.Unfortunately, over the years there has been controversy over the word Mompreneur as a term that is either disempowering or empowering for moms who are balancing family obligations and the demands of being an entrepreneur.
According to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report by American Express, there are 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. and 4 million of those businesses are mom-owned businesses. Those numbers are incredible! Women-owned businesses generate $1.9 trillion dollars each year, and in 2019 there were 1,821 net new businesses started by women every day. Plus, 50% of U.S. businesses are women-owned and it was estimated 6,417,400 women-of-color-owned businesses employ 2,389,500 people (25% of total women-owned businesses employment) and generate $422.5 billion in revenue (23% of total women-owned businesses’ revenue). 
Why is there a stigma with the word Mompreneur?
As I was redefining my brand as a Mompreneur, and during my research on today’s Mompreneur, I was surprised to find several articles in which mom’s felt that the word was an insult and/or demeaning because it was taking away from their business owner identity. I have been calling myself an entrepreneur for years, yet I am a mom too, and I take both roles seriously. I am proud to call myself a Mompreneur because running a business and raising a family takes skills. Moms wear several hats. We’re teachers, cooks, chauffeurs, doctors, and therapists.
In 2017, 99designs conducted a Mother’s Day Mompreneur Survey (https://99designs.com/blog/business/mom-entrepreneur-infographic/) and I found theses statics very interesting:
- Seventy-one percent of women still serve as the primary childcare provider, which means they are pulling double duty when running their business.
- Fifty-seven percent of moms start their business ventures after 40 years old.
- Moms tend to wait a while before setting up their business. On average, the first child at the time of starting their business is six years old.
- Seventy-nine percent of moms are married.
- Ninety-five percent have a partner who brings in an income.
- Nineteen percent of moms secured any outside funding for their business venture. Male entrepreneurs on the other hand, were found to have raised $100,000 or more for their business.
Although the statistics show the rise of women and moms starting their own businesses, I speak with women and moms on a regular basis who want to start a business, but their doubts and fears stop them from taking that first step. Starting a business is not easy, especially during this time of uncertainty. Small businesses have been impacted severely by the pandemic. However, I believe this would be an ideal time for moms who have dreamt of starting a business, currently working at job that is not fulfilling or find themselves at home all day with their kids and want more for their family.
There are several characteristics that make
moms the best entrepreneurs:
First, I believe moms are the most important people in humanity because they give birth to the next generation. Just think, if it wasn’t for our mothers, you and I would not be here today. Moms give and sustain life. They are nurtures, energetic, resourceful and hard workers. Being a mom has made me stronger and more resilient. I’ve developed so many skills being a young mom which I now use as an entrepreneur today.
Second, moms make amazing leaders. They are resourceful, are not shaken easily and they can juggle multiple responsibilities at one time. For example, imagine going on a field trip with a class full of elementary students who don’t know you. Normally, you are assigned a group of students who you are responsible for the day. As a leader of the group, you have to quickly build a relationship with the students and inspire them to listen to you so that you can guide them throughout the field trip and make it back to the bus safely.
Third, moms make great negotiators, especially when you’re trying to persuade your two-year-old to finish their dinner, brush their teeth, and go to bed without any temper tantrums during the terrible twos.
Fourth, moms make great salespeople. How many times do you hear the word “NO” from your toddlers? Imagine selling vegetables to a stubborn three-year-old, that takes patience and persistency.
Fifth, moms don’t get sick days. They still have to show up to work when they’re sick, tired and burnt out.
Sixth, moms are used to stress and crises. For example, consulting your teenager who comes home from school after having a bad day or gets in trouble at school. We have to stay calm, cool and collected.
And lastly, as a mom, you have to develop great time management skills. For example, if you work outside of the home and you’re managing your kids’ extracurricular activities, school, doctor and dental appointments throughout the year.
Moms also need to be prepared to deal with problems and emergencies all day long, which is an important skill to have as an entrepreneur. Starting and running a business is much like raising a family. In fact, motherhood is a form of entrepreneurship, you just don’t get paid monetarily. However, being a mom is quite possibly the most rewarding experience and to see how your kids grow up and to know that you had an influence in shaping their lives.
All in all, I believe motherhood is the best preparation for becoming a successful entrepreneur.
 According to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report by American Express, https://s1.q4cdn.com/692158879/files/doc_library/file/2019-state-of-women-owned-businesses-report.pdf