By Guest Author Erika Valdez
There are many extraordinary examples of women entrepreneurs out there—women who, due to various circumstances, have chosen to take the path of entrepreneurship and are now owners of successful businesses. Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to interview many women, most of them moms, who have ventured into entrepreneurship and who are now success stories. These women have shared their experiences as mompreneurs and talked about the challenges they encountered in their transitions. Each has a unique and admirable story.
The interviews focus on the experiences of these mompreneurs, and what contributed to their decision to venture into entrepreneurship. Throughout these interviews, I observed that my subjects mentioned a number of similar themes when recounting their entrepreneurial experiences—the flexibility that entrepreneurship offers being one of the themes most often mentioned.
Most of the women I interviewed said that this flexibility is one of the most important factors that contributed to their decision to become an entrepreneur while raising a family. While each woman’s situation is different and some women need to return to work soon after having a child, others are in a position to decide whether to continue with their career or become a stay-at-home mom (and, as many women will attest, either is a job of its own). Making the transition from having a career in corporate America to becoming a full-time mom can be challenging. The moms that I talked to said that in choosing to become entrepreneurs, they had the flexibility to achieve both, caring for their families while working from home with a schedule that they create.
Such flexibility becomes a crucial ingredient for success. For these mompreneurs, flexibility is something that has helped them balance their lives. One example is that of mompreneur Valerie Fitzgerald (founder of The Valerie Fitzgerald Group), who views working from home as a great business opportunity for women. “It allows women to take their skills and apply them to a variety of industries and work from home. This enables a woman to make her own hours, work with whom she wants, and design the life she wants to live,” she says.
Ms. Fitzgerald sets out priorities for her day with lists and schedules; this ensures that everything gets done while allowing her time for family. She is a big systems person, so the ability to juggle it all depends on her ability to prioritize, delegate and plan efficiently. She realizes that there are always things to do, but she makes sure that she completes tasks during her set working hours. Ms. Fitzgerald is active on social networking sites, and her business requires constant communication with her clients. Scheduling, and working off lists helps her keep the boundaries between work and home more clear. Having a flexible schedule allows her to complete her daily tasks efficiently. Flexibility has played a huge role in her success as a mompreneur.
Bibby Gignilliat, founder of Parties That Cook, is another woman whose decision to go into entrepreneurship was due in part to the flexibility it offered. “I wanted to call all the shots and have flexibility with my schedule,” she says. Stacey Kannenberg, CEO of Cedar Valley Publishing, shares similar views. Having a flexible schedule has enabled her to “mak[e] time for both of my babies: my kids and my business. I still work around the clock and around my family’s schedule.”
Entrepreneurship has offered these women promising new careers, while allowing them to raise a family, in part because its flexible nature does not force them to choose between the two. In the words of mompreneur Sally Shields, an author and international media specialist, “If you can find a way to raise your kids by staying at home, and also nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit at the same time, is the best combination—the best of both worlds.”
This segment is a part in the series : Mompreneur Stories