The Changing Landscape for Mompreneurs
In the U.S. in the 1960’s, we saw a shift in the perception of our culture in which mothers were no longer encouraged to stay home and raise their children, but rather, to go out and join the workforce alongside their husbands.
You see, after World War II, life in America was dominated by a “return to domesticity.” There was unprecedented economic growth, a baby boom, and a migration of families into the suburbs. The domestic housewife was even encouraged in pop culture, like the television show Leave It To Beaver.
That changed though in 1963, when Betty Friedan wrote the bestselling book The Feminine Mystique. She argued that the perception of the ‘perfect nuclear family’ was actually degrading to women and such mainstream media served to limit the potential of women.
That sparked what is known as Second-wave Feminism. 2
Over the course of the next four decades, as a result, fewer and fewer moms opted to stay at home. Yet recently, that trend has shifted. According to Pew report, the percentage of stay at home moms reached its lowest point in 2000, and has been rising steadily ever since. 1
Why the change?
As with any shift in society, there are always numerous factors to consider, in this case ranging from economic to demographic. But one thing is clear, society still favors the involvement of at least one parent for the majority of a child’s upbringing, and the continued development of the Internet as a viable source of revenue is enabling and encouraging mothers to pursue solopreneurial endeavors.
Enter, The Mompreneur
While “mompreneur” may be a relatively new phrase, it’s certainly not a new mindset for mothers. Mompreneur refers to a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mother and the role of solopreneur. And as we know, mom’s have been doing that forever.
But in today’s business environment, it does seem to take on new meaning.
Today, mompreneurs are a growing trend in the small business sector, and it’s no surprise why.
Investopedia says that “mompreneurs are a relatively new trend in solopreneurship, and have come to increase prominence in the internet age, with the internet allowing solopreneurs to sell products out of the home rather than relying on foot traffic to brick-and-mortar business.” 3
Ten Tips for Becoming a Mompreneur
So if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I can do this!,” that’s great! Where do you start? Here are a few tips:
- Talk With Your Family
More than any change in jobs, a decision to start your own business can have significant impact on your family, so talk to them about it. You’ve been running the business of your household for a while now, and your spouse and kids have gotten used to that. They’re going to have to not only accept some changes, but more responsibility around the house as well.
- Follow Your Passion
It generally goes without saying that solopreneurs are passionate about the businesses they’re trying the build, and the people they’re trying to serve. But it’s even more true when there’s a need to balance that solopreneurship with essentially another job.
Mom’s have to be 100% focused on whichever role they’re in at any given moment, and that’s exhausting. Starting a new business is challenging for everyone, so make sure that it’s something you’re passionate about so that you will be sustained during the tough times.
- Organize What You Know
It’s important to get organized early and begin making checklists. Though this part is less about your daily To Do list, and more about what needs to happen to make your business successful. You need to identify the things that you know and can take care of, and the things you need to learn or outsource.
- Focus On The Most Important Things
As solopreneurs, there are literally a thousand things that we could be doing at any given moment. What’s critical to our success, particularly for mompreneurs, is being able to prioritize what needs done, and focus on the most important tasks.
- Talk To Your Customers and Prospects Early
As a startup, this early period while you’re growing and learning is extremely valuable. You likely aren’t yet flooded with work and customers, so take this opportunity to personally talk with every customer and prospect. Ask them what they’re struggling with, and how they’re dealing with those struggles. Learn from them and apply that knowledge to your business.
Oh yeah, and don’t ever stop doing that.
- Start Building Your List, Now
While you’re talking to people, make sure that you’re ensuring you’ll be able to keep in touch by getting their email. And ask them if they know anyone else who might be interested in what you’re doing.
On your website, make sure that you’re giving people an opportunity to sign up. Incentivize if necessary to capture those email addresses. Trust me on this!
- Be Creative and Test Ideas
There truly is no such thing as a bad idea. You can come up with all kinds of reasons not to do or try something after it’s sunk in a bit, but let the creativity flow for as long as you can. Think of ways to test those ideas and see what works, and learn even from the ideas that don’t work at all.
- Create Boundaries and Guidelines
This is where it gets oh-so-tough to be a mompreneur sometimes – setting boundaries. As a work-from-home Dad, I get this. It’s easy and convenient for the family to ignore the fact that you’re “at work” and walk into the office with their latest need or request.
But generally speaking, that can’t be allowed.
When you’re at work, you’re at work, and that needs to be respected. So talk about it. Make sure everyone understands what to do and when it’s OK to call for mom. It’s best if you have a set schedule.
- Establish a Strong Support System
Every solopreneur needs a strong support system. Whether it’s your family, friends, or a close set of other professionals in your niche – you need people whom you can talk to and turn to when you have questions and problems.
If you don’t have some immediate friends or colleagues who might join your impromptu mastermind group, just turn to social media. On Facebook, for instance, there are lots of groups specifically for Mompreneurs. Google+ has Communities and LinkedIn has Groups as well.
- Be Patient, and Be Ready To Work Hard
Finally, don’t expect your business to be an overnight success. And don’t expect your family and friends to get it right at first. These things take time.
And be proud of yourself! You’re making a huge commitment and will be working hard. Which means…
BONUS TIP! Don’t Forget Me Time
Don’t forget to give yourself some Me Time! This might mean an hour here or there for some peace and quiet. Perhaps some reading time. Or maybe you treat yourself now and then with something special. Particularly for us solopreneurs – this is critical! It’s one thing to have a boss and co-workers who can recognize the effort you’re putting in and give that pat on the back, but when you’re working by yourself, or even when you have staff but you’re the boss, it’s often up to you to recognize when you’ve put in a good day’s work.
Don’t forget that.
This infographic helps illustrate these tips, and it would be great if you pinned it and shared it with other mompreneurs!
I hope these tips and information on mompreneurship has inspired you to get started, or helped you to know that you’re not alone, and that your struggles are shared by many.
Start your solopreneur journey today!