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Mompreneurs: Real Life Wonder Women (part 1)

Monday, August 4, 2008
Guest blogger: Christine Janssen (written with Erin Higgins), denken Research & Consulting - This is part 1 of a 6 part article on "mompreneurs". If you prefer to download this article in its entirety, click here...>

In their own right, being a new business owner and a new mother are some of the greatest challenges any woman can face. Doing both at the same time requires a certain set of skills and characteristics including lots of determination, patience, and multi-tasking. (And perhaps that occasional glass of red wine at the end of a hectic day.) Introducing the mompreneur

What exactly is a mompreneur? Intuitively speaking, she is a woman who simultaneously balances the roles of motherhood and entrepreneurship. The term is typically used to describe a woman who leaves the workplace to raise children and then launches a small, home-based business rather than returning to the traditional workplace. But this isn’t the only path to mompreneurship. Oftentimes women are first and foremost entrepreneurs and then become mothers. Clearly, there are a wide variety of circumstances that can lead women to this stage in their lives.

The term “mompreneur” was coined back in the late 1990s by Ellen Parlapiano and Pat Cobe, two leading authorities on women-owned businesses. They are co-authors of Mompreneurs: A Mother’s Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Work-at-Home Success and Mompreneurs Online: Using the Internet to Build Work@Home Success as well as the creators of (Unbeknownst to most people, the word “mompreneur” is trademarked, and Parlapiano and Cobe are actually the only ones who are legally allowed to use the word in commerce.) While the term essentially describes any woman who is trying to balance both family and work responsibilities all under one roof, Cobe agrees that there isn’t just one type of mompreneur. The distinction is that this title represents a woman who has at least one child and who has launched her own business. I liken mompreneurs to wonder women with super powers. Both roles are extremely demanding and both carry responsibilities that rarely end when the 5 o’clock whistle blows.

[part 2 will be distributed tomorrow]

Christine Janssen is the Founder and President of denken Research & Consulting, a boutique consulting firm in New York, NY that provides end-to-end market research and writing services to small businesses, including start-ups. She is also a Doctoral Candidate at New York University, where she is completing her dissertation on women entrepreneurs.