Perhaps this proverb says it best: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Women leaving their jobs to have children and opting to start their own business is a growing trend. Don’t mistake this for a short-lived fad like leg warmers and perms. Today, mompreneurs play a strong and definitive role in the world of entrepreneurship.
According to the 2nd annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN:
The growth in the number (up 54%), employment (up 9%) and revenues (up 58%) of women-owned firms over the past 15 years exceeds the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly-traded firms.
As of 2012, it is estimated that there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people.
This report got us thinking and we wanted to know what motivates these real-life wonder women to launch businesses and persevere when times get tough.
Here are 4 mompreneurs and their stories:
Julie Cole, co-founder of Mabel's Labels
Mabel’s Labels is the leading provider of children’s labels in North America; labels for the stuff kids lose. The company was started 10 years ago by four moms, who are all related, in a basement and is now a multi-million dollar, celebrity endorsed, award-winning international phenomenon.
Motivation to Launch: We were looking to leave the traditional workforce in hopes of finding more of a balance between our work and family plus we had a product idea that kept nagging at us and wouldn’t go away.
Driving Force to Succeed: Now we have 40 employees. We feel responsible to them – we want to make sure they have good jobs and good pay checks to support their families.
Overcoming Obstacles: The thought of us not succeeding was and still is devastating. Having four business partners has also been motivating – we pull each other up and out of a funk when we need to.
Sacrifices Made: The one thing I’ve given up is traditional “me time.” I don’t go to the gym or get manicures. I rarely meet girlfriends for lunch. But I don’t see this as a sacrifice. There will be plenty of time for “me” when my kids get bigger. For now, my focus is my business and my babies and THAT is having it all!
Jessica Kim, founder of Babbaco
Babbaco is a monthly delivery of enriching activities for kids ages 3-7, integrating the 4 major ways kids engage and learn: create, explore, story tell, and connect.
Motivation to Launch: As a mom of three kids, I saw so many things to buy your kids, but not a lot to help parents ENGAGE and spend quality time with their kids. And then I thought, “Who has the time to gather all of the materials and figure out what to do?”
Driving Force to Succeed: My family and kids drive me to continue what I have started. I set out to accomplish a vision and my whole family has been a part of it. I sacrificed a lot to do this and I'm not going to stop now.
Overcoming Obstacles: I overcome challenges in two ways: 1) I have inspiring mentors who offer advice, support, and provide a safe place to ask questions. 2) My positive state-of-mind is a driving force. I see this opportunity as a huge blessing given to me. Challenging moments push me; they do not overwhelm me.
Sacrifices Made: I'm not able to drop the kids off at school or volunteer to be a homeroom parent. My kids are also in after-school care vs. ending their day at 12:30pm. But when I'm home, from dinner until bedtime, I ignore my iPhone and focus solely on my kids.
Renee Wood, founder of The Comfort Company
The mission of The Comfort Company is to simplify the difficult process of expressing sympathy by offering a meaningful selection of non-traditional gifts designed to acknowledge loss rather than to minimize it.
Motivation to Launch: After I left my job as a medical social worker to stay at home with my three daughters, I had no intention of starting a business. But then a relative lost her father and I went online to find a special gift but came up empty-handed. So, I took matters into my own hands, literally.
Driving Force to Succeed: My kids: I have four daughters now and I know they will benefit from witnessing first-hand the power of perseverance and the ability to turn a dream into reality.
My customers: The feedback from my customers also keeps me in the game. Knowing I've helped so many people commemorate a loved one is an incredible feeling.
Overcoming Obstacles: I had to learn very quickly to avoid “What if?' paralysis. Initially, I believed I needed to learn everything about how to run my own business. Eventually, I realized it was more important to actually run the business instead of reading up on how to do it.
Sacrifices Made: I've totally let go of the idea of balance. At times, the housework has to give. Other times the business has to give. My definition of 'balance' is just to be sure everything doesn't give at once! And I've also realized that most of the time, “good enough” really is good enough.
Amy Baxter, founder of Buzzy
Buzzy is a personal pain relieving device that uses cold and vibration to block pain from needles, itching, and burning medications.
Motivation to Launch: As a pediatric emergency department physician and a mom whose 4-year-old had a horrific (and completely avoidable) shot experience, I invented Buzzy to prevent millions of kids from developing a life-long phobia of needles.
Driving Force to Succeed: Empowering people, especially parents, to take care of their family’s health and in some way change how medicine is practiced.
Overcoming Obstacles: The overwhelmingly positive feedback inspires me. Hundreds of previously needle-phobic patients have written to me personally, sharing the relief and comfort Buzzy has provided. They can now tolerate insulin or fertility injections, flu shots and even donating blood.
Sacrifices Made: I quit being a member of a procedural sedation board and have virtually no social currency. Movies? Books? Forget it. I’m the only woman I know who has yet to read, 50 Shades of Grey!