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Mompreneurs: Real Life Wonder Women (part 4)

Thursday, August 7, 2008
Guest blogger: Christine Janssen (written with Erin Higgins), denken Research & Consulting - This is part 4 of a 6 part article on "mompreneurs". If you prefer to download this article in its entirety, click here...>


The greatest challenges of mompreneurship were tightly linked to a lack or mismanagement of time, not necessarily money. While traditional entrepreneurs who don’t have children might place an equal emphasis on time and money, it is clear that mothers need to be masters at time management and possess extraordinary organizational skills to meet never-ending demands. Mothers and entrepreneurs alike can relate to the overwhelming feeling of trying to “do it all” and trying to be the best at everything. Imagine trying to be the best wearing both of those hats. (yikes!) Something tells me these women would be in favor of cloning.

Other obstacles mompreneurs face are finding a reliable and trustworthy person to help with childcare, managing their finances, and dealing with the “G” word. Guilt. It seems to be a no-win situation… when they spend time with their kids, they feel guilty for not tending to business, and when they are putting in hours in the office, they feel guilty for not being with their kids. Some women also mentioned the fear of change and success. This is not uncommon for entrepreneurs in general as they are often uncertain how they will actually handle being successful and profitable.

Suggestions and Coping Mechanisms

In order to cope with the stress of mompreneurship, these wonder women so kindly offered their words of wisdom as well as a few tricks of the trade. Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan

Women are naturally great planners and that is precisely what helps them keep all those balls in the air. Make technology your BFF (i.e. Blackberries, Outlook) or squeeze the value out of a good old fashioned calendar. Set up weekly and daily schedules and stick to them. One interviewee said it so succinctly: “divide and conquer.” Get your husband and older children to help more with household chores, making dinner, and cleaning. Treating your calendar like “The Holy Grail” will help keep your entire life on track, all in one place. The next step is to prioritize your priorities. Since both children and business vie for the title, it is crucial that your schedule specifies when you are in “work mode” and when you are in “mom mode.” When in a particular zone, be fully dedicated and focused. And don’t feel inadequate or unproductive if you are unable to tick off your entire To Do list each day. There is always tomorrow.

As organized as you might be, there will constantly be surprises and zingers that can throw your day into disarray, so try to be as flexible as possible. Expect the unexpected and do your best to roll with the punches. Having a good sense of humor will also help manage the day-to-day challenges and keep your own meltdown at bay.

Do Your Homework

Nearly 50% of the respondents highly suggested doing a substantial amount of research prior to starting a business. Nichole Albanese, owner of Lucky For Baby ( and mother of two young boys, said in hindsight she wished she had done more research and planning before launching. Empower yourself by intimately understanding your industry and market. Know who your competitors are and how they position themselves in the market, then make sure you have a competitive advantage and clearly differentiate your product or service. It is a risky endeavor to launch a new business on a hunch, an idea, or a prayer. Since you have limited resources on hand, determine where you should be focusing your energy, time, and money. Building partnerships is also a great way to work collaboratively with a similar or complimentary business. So while your kids are doing their homework, make sure you do yours.

Face Your Fears

First of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help, but be selective on the advice you take to heart. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that most people will want to help you (women are especially good at this). Just be specific about what you need. Secondly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. These moments of truth make for the best learning experiences. Many an entrepreneur has flat-out failed more than once before hitting the big time. Remember… entrepreneurs are inherently risk-takers. This is one of the characteristics that sets you apart from mainstream society. Be prepared to work your plan, but also be prepared to adjust your plan when things don’t turn out as anticipated. This leads me to my third point… Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it. I bet 99.99% of people on this planet are afraid of change. But change is good. It challenges you and it encourages you to grow. When in need of professional guidance, seek the assistance of a life coach or change consultant like Rebecca Rodskog of Rodskog Change Consulting (

Play Mind Games

Having a positive attitude works wonders. Make a conscious effort to see the good and opportunities in things, people, and events that at first may seem difficult. Throw your energy and enthusiasm out to the universe and notice what you get back in return. Keep negative thoughts at bay. Stay focused and keep the faith. Remind yourself that most people spend their lives in jobs/careers that they absolutely despise. Be grateful that you are wise enough to follow your heart and your passion. Be clear on your intentions, purpose, and goals. Most importantly, never stop believing in yourself, because when the doubting sets in, the wheels start falling off your wagon.

[part 5 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.