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Making of a Mompreneur


Local Moms Make Starting Their Own Business a Passion



76762831
February 01, 2011
When you first become a mother, everything changes. You become selfless, physically giving all you have to your newborn. If you choose to have more children, they too get all you have—not only the last drop of energy in your tank, but more of your heart and mind as they grow. Somewhere there is a light – a light of something familiar, something that reminds you of a lost self. It seems to grow brighter the less our children need us.

As I talked with these Mompreneurs, I listened to their stories of how they grabbed ahold of that light, yearning or idea and examined it, thought about it, prayed about it and turned it into a career for not only themselves as women, mothers and wives but for the betterment of others.

Born out of necessity

Necessity –a stay-at-home Mom needs a lot of things; to be valued for her personal and professional sacrifice, encouraged to dream big for the children and herself and loved for her passion to succeed. Taking desire by the reigns are women with a built-in desire to give back and grow personally bringing her family alongside her for the adventure.

A common thread in the life of a Mompreneur is that they love being their own boss. Erin Goodwin, owner of Graphic Expressions, Inc. started her business right out of college. Now a mother of two, she has an aggressive five-year plan which includes keeping her family top priority. "I love being creative; it's an outlet and something that is my identity," Goodwin said. "Laptops are fantastic as I can be mobile throughout the house and outside."

Kyra Hebert, a Mary Kay consultant, juggled relocating to Indianapolis without family near and wanted something to challenge her and connect her with peers. "Finding quality childcare nearly wipes out the income from a second full-time bread winner. We wanted to add extra income but time didn't permit for either one of us to add another job; then I discovered Mary Kay which allows me to set my own hours and goals."

Faith Montessori Preschool was started by a mother of five who saw a need for a quality Christian Montessori Preschool in Hamilton County. "There are several Montessori programs, but I have yet to find one that has qualified teachers that promote Christian values," Jodie Bolinger said, who finds the most rewarding part of her business is seeing such anxious-to-learn faces.

For a former teacher, unable to find a teaching position, Janet Pillsbury landed the perfect business meshing together her teaching prowess and love of children. "Since my substitute teaching income wasn't going to allow me to buy much, I joined Discovery Toys to earn extra income. I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom, still use my brain, get out of the house and replace some income we'd lost when I was staying home."

Some gifts can't be ignored

"It was the hardest decision I had to make," said Sarah Coe, owner Sarah Coe Design, an Indianapolis interior design business. "But I value spending the majority of the early years of my kids' lives at home. I wanted to have a say in how they saw the world and know that I was developing their character not someone else." So Coe turned down a TV interview and the opportunity to work with custom builders all the week before she delivered her first baby. Since having two more children, Sarah has been able to help clients organize and decorate their homes, work on the campuses of Indiana University and Butler. "Regardless of how my family has grown, God always blesses me with interior design jobs," Coe said.

Babaloo is not only fun to say, it's fun to discover. Samantha Howard has sewn since she was little and loves making baby and kids' gifts. "I had little startup capital so I bought some great fabric on sale, drafted some patterns and got to work. I started my blog about the same time," Howard said.

Nurse turned photographer, is Loree Alayne Photography. Loree was a pediatric nurse and ended up leaving her job last year because she was completely booked having to turning people away. "After much prayer and consideration I decided to quit my nursing job and focus on photography as a full-time business," Wheeler said. "I am so thankful to have the opportunity to do something I love and make a living doing it."

Sweet MaggieLu is a brand new business, started the new-fashioned way on Etsy.com as many Mompreneurs with a crafty-bend do (including Babaloo). For Laurie Abel, her goal is to make at least one item a day that can be posted on her Etsy.com site. Etsy.com is a website dedicated solely to selling hand-made goods and works diligently to keep their products true to the nature of hand-made. "It was only recently that I realized I can really create some fabulous things," Abel said.

Women are led by their heart and for Mompreneurs tying together family and career, the heart rules and everyone wins.

Finding balance

Mompreneurs are able to work from home while kids are in school. For those with small children, getting work done while children are napping or at preschool allows for productive power sessions.

Laurie Dyer, mother of two school-aged daughters, started T & T Sales and Promotions with her brother from her basement in 2001. We found that working from home takes discipline, but she still says, "Why would I want to work for anyone but myself?" She loves not having to request time off to be with her family and being her own boss, making her own decisions and living with those if they fail or succeed.

Leslie Webber, photographer, notices that Mompreneurs are in it because they want to be with their kids. "For me, there's a hesitation for my business to grow out of control, but I can be as busy as I want to be. It's the beauty of having your own business. I cut off scheduling because I don't want the business to grow bigger than my family."

The switch to digital format has allowed photography businesses to grow. That and social media allows small businesses easily accessible venue to promote your business and if you're good the rest is word of mouth.

Susan Wenner Jackson, writer, blogger and community manager, works hard from 9 to 5 and misses her children terribly when they're gone at school. She craved the flexibility and ability to control her daily life as opposed to the full-time outside the home job she held prior to having her two children. "I love being able to use my natural talents and education to help others – whether it's to grow their business or just learn or connect to a topic in a new way," Wenner Jackson said.

Goodwin will reward her daughter with a long game of hide and seek following an impromptu work phone call that may have gone longer than her daughter wanted. Family first – always. Mompreneurs working from home are diligent to work when kids are sleeping, away at school, but define what it is Mom is doing to provide for the family by showing them their work or sharing what they learn with the family.

Balance or "rhythm," as some describe their life, is often illusive. However, with the encouragement from fellow Mompreneurs and family getting over the new business hump or the daily grind, Mompreneurs find success.

Moms helping Moms

Market Mommy, owned by Dawn Berryman, specializes in showing moms how and where to market on a budget. "I have a professional background in marketing and couldn't imagine how much more difficult it is for others to start a business cold turkey—and run a family. What I do helps them market their business with less sweat and tears," Berryman said of the services provided by Market Mommy which includes free marketing advice and tips via the blog and e-newsletter.

"To reap what I sow," Eisha Armstrong said, regional owner of Mom Corps, when asked about why she started her own business. "I wanted more control over my schedule, not necessarily fewer hours, but control over when I work and to do something I'm passionate about." Mom Corps is an employment placement agency designed to connect qualified Moms to employers that understand the balance mothers are seeking.

SCORE is a source many Mompreneurs are using. At www.score.org visitors can receive free and confidential on-line or face-to-face business advice. There is an exclusive link for Women in Business on the site, as well.

The beauty of the changing seasons within a family stirs emotions, stops us in our tracks in awe and forces us to renegotiate what our purpose is in this world. Seasons for mothers include choosing a career, starting a family and figuring how our gifts, dreams and family all meld together, successfully.

Nikki Keever is a freelance writer living in Noblesville, IN with her husband, three children and two dogs.

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