March is Women’s History Month!
To celebrate, we’re putting the spotlight on real women entrepreneurs who are taking the boy’s club of business ownership by storm. Throughout the month, we’ll be featuring fearless women who’ve taken the leap into entrepreneurship, so stick around.
Today’s post highlights Jillian Darlington of MomCo.
Despite becoming a successful serial entrepreneur, Jillian’s path hasn’t always been easy. Her first venture — owning and operating an indoor playground — evolved out of necessity. A stay-at-home mom before her divorce, Jillian needed to find a way to support herself and her son, and fast.
After selling the playground for double her investment 3 years later — Jillian used her earnings to start MomCo. She developed the app as a way to address many of the pain points in her own life. The success Jillian has seen is a case study in knowing your target market… because you’re a part of it.
Jillian faced plenty of hiccups along the way. Chiefly, she had no formal business education and no technical background. Without an MBA, Jillian turned to her experience running the playground and internet research.
“You can teach yourself anything. Don’t think because you didn’t go to school for something that you can’t learn it. You can, you really can, if you just find the right website you can learn anything these days.”
Many of us have probably thought, “Gee, an app that does XYZ would really be great.” But without the know-how to build an app, those ideas go unrealized. Jillian credits tons of research for overcoming this hurdle, too.
“Being a mom and being a woman, sometimes the tech industry is brutal for us.” By being extra prepared and not being afraid to shop around, she was able to find a qualified developer and avoid being taken advantage of.
Advice for Future Women Entrepreneurs
Jillian’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is two-fold: Do it with passion or don’t do it at all, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your heros.
“You’ve got to be passionate about it. You can’t go out there and kill it at something that you don’t really believe in.”
Whether your passion comes from solving your own pain points, or making something better for others, believing in the impact your business makes is vital to riding out the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
Jillian also advocates for reaching out to your heros and potential mentors. “Find somebody who’s done what you’re trying to do, and talk to them, figure out what makes them special,” she urges. Jillian became good friends with one of her biggest heros, Jessica Denay, just by reaching out on Facebook.
Jillian describes the MomCo app as “Meetup, Yelp, Groupon, and Nextdoor all in one app and just for moms.” The app uses geolocation to connect moms with potential mom friends. They can schedule playdates, stay up to date on local events, gets alerts about product recalls, and find deals on “mom must-haves.”
Wanna learn more about the history of women in business? Check out Women in Business: How Women Entrepreneurs Have Grown Through the Years.