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Mompreneurs: Real Life Wonder Women (part 5)

Sunday, August 10, 2008
Guest blogger: Christine Janssen (written with Erin Higgins), denken Research & Consulting - This is part 5 of a 6 part article on "mompreneurs". If you prefer to download this article in its entirety, click here...>

Build a Solid Support System

Let’s face it – in addition to the usual stress inducers of being a business owner, mompreneurs also need to know how to manage their 2-year-old’s meltdown while running out the door to an important meeting or how to protect business documents from sticky fingers or crayons. Mompreneurs need a reliable support system and special resources. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you every step of the way. Interviewees stated that their husbands and girlfriends were their biggest cheerleaders, which is no surprise. Several also suggested getting your entire family on board. If your children are old enough, give them household or business-related tasks to do. Sometimes the younger kids really get a kick out of licking envelopes or organizing things. Not only will this help lighten your load, your kids will feel like they are making a contribution, plus you will be teaching them about responsibility. Also, take full advantage of networking groups such as Ladies Who Launch or subject-specific Meetup groups ( where you can join hundreds of networking groups relevant to your business. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can create your own group. Voila!

In addition to your moral support group, one of the wisest things you can do to get your business off the ground is to build your own team of subject-matter experts. This could be a financial whiz to help manage your books or a web designer who can whip up a website in a fraction of the time it would take you to do on your own. Outsourcing business tasks that you can’t do yourself will enable you to focus on what you do best and what you enjoy the most. Understand that you don’t have to do everything yourself. It is a worthwhile investment in your business to reach out to experts and it will help you maintain your sanity.

Manage the Troops

Obviously, if you can afford a full- or part-time nanny, this is a huge help. If that is not an option, work out a schedule with your spouse and look for inexpensive or freebie childcare in your neighborhood. For example, if your gym offers inexpensive childcare, this is a great opportunity for you to escape for some “me time.” (Besides, there’s nothing better for your mind, body, and soul than some good sweat therapy.)

The key is to develop some sort of system that clearly delineates when you are in “mom mode” versus “work mode.” To avoid endless interruptions from children when working from home, try this… I recently read about a woman who gives her children a “visitor’s ticket” each morning, good for one visit to mom’s office that day. This encourages kids to save all their questions, stories, and woes for one visit, versus interrupting you every five minutes. Once they use their “visitor’s ticket,” they know they won’t be able to bother you until the end of the day when you return to “mom mode.” This is a great trick that will help you stay focused, but will also teach kids some good values – time management, encouraging resolutions of their own problems, understanding and respecting mom when she’s in “work mode.”

Valuable Resources for Mompreneurs

In addition to the suggestions above, here is a list of resources that just might make your life as a mompreneur a little more manageable.
  • Big City Moms ( A good resource for moms and moms-to-be living in urban areas. The site includes a nanny exchange as well as a list of events such as luncheons, classes, and parenting seminars.
  • Mommy Mastermind ( Aimed at savvy stay-at-home and work-at-home moms with young children, founder Angela Kane launched this site to help moms and mompreneurs alike manage their hectic lives. In addition to a list of inexpensive or free family-friendly events, Mommy Mastermind offers valuable pod casts and other downloadable resources such as articles and worksheets to maximize your limited time.
  • Mompreneurs Online ( This site was created by Ellen Parlapiano and Pat Cobe, the inventors of the term “mompreneur.” It is a mom’s one-stop, work-at-home resource, providing just about everything mompreneurs need to know and have, including a networking community, relevant articles and suggested books, and even an online mall featuring products made exclusively by mompreneurs.
  • The Organized Parent ( This is where busy moms go to get organized. Founded by Stephanie Vozza in 2003, this site provides tips and products to help keep multi-tasking moms organized. You can find a variety of products from creative filing systems and storage solutions to event-specific survival kits.
  • Center for Women’s Business Research ( Want to sink your teeth into stats, trends, and characteristics about women entrepreneurs? Here’s a top-notch resource that lists most every women’s networking group under the sun, has loads of research reports on topics such as accessing capital, and offers suggestions for managing a home-based business. Some reports are free; some must be ordered for a small fee. While I found a few of the documents to be a bit outdated, this site is still a great place to begin your research.
  • The National Association of Women Business Owners ( A few hundred dollars for an annual membership is definitely a worthwhile investment to access hundreds of thousands of like-minded women entrepreneurs around the country. Endless amounts of luncheons, roundtables, and events provide new avenues to build your network and your business.
  • StartupNation ( A robust resource created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. In addition to offering lots of good ideas and strategies for entrepreneurs working from home, this site provides endless amounts of articles, pod casts, blogs, audio/video segments, and networking opportunities to help launch and build a new business.
[the final part (part 6) 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.