In case you have nothing better to do and you just want to help me win contests . . . ;)
Two things to go and vote for:
Vote for me in the V100 -(it's kind of tedious you have to search for my name) BUT you can also vote 10 times if you are really bored! ;)
Also - vote for TodaysMama for top 200 Mom Owned start-ups (you can vote every day)
OK, this is a dream that I am confidant very few of my friends will appreciate or remotely find amusing.
It’s 3:52 in the morning and I just woke up after having a dream that I was in a gun fight with Ben Trott (Typepad co-founder) , Max Levchin of PayPal (currently at Slide) and Kevin Bacon - but the mean and crazy Kevin Bacon from the Whitewater movie.
They were trying to steal my “intellectual property” and somewhere in there Mark Andreesson (Ning and Netscape) sailed in (all in black) and was a good guy helping me protect it all. I think it's because he is tall and has a shaved head. We had machine guns and things that I would probably call glocks and we prevailed. I have to be honest -- my shooting was awesome!
This is where you know, that I have lost it! See pictures below -- these are the guys showing up in my vacatio dreams!
No more Tech on vacation.
And then after waking up all I could think about was how the BlogHer convention starts in just a few waking hours in the Bay Area, and I’m on vacation in Laguna. And that’s a bad thing?
I’ve got serious issues.
Here is a post I just did for StartUpPrincess.com --
A lot of people ask me how and why we started this business. What were the events that led up to it? What was that moment like?There were two seeds planted in my soul that affected me before we had ever started TodaysMama.
When I was at home with my first child I had an “Oprah” moment. I haven’t had many - because let’s be honest, I just don’t have time to watch TV period. But I remember watching when Julie Aigner Clark of Baby Einstein was being interviewed. I marveled at the success she had, lamented that I was buying her Baby Einstein videos with my spare change, and then I left completely inspired in a way that I had never been about business. I said to myself - if she can do that with those movies, I can do something one day too. I remember exactly where I had the thought - on my way out the door of my tiny condo and on the way to the park.
The second moment was a moment of panic. I was a few weeks from delivering my second child (which was not too much later, my kids are just 20 months apart). And I was laying on my bed crying hormonally as some pregnant women do. But I had an almost paralyzing fear come over me. My last job seemed further away, my career and job marketability felt even further away. I was having those irrational “What would happen if you died” thoughts and was giving my husband all kinds of scary scenarios. As much as I loved being a mother and as excited I was for my second baby, a helpless feeling came over me as I realized how vulnerable I felt to the world outside of my ever expanding path of parenthood.
The idea to start our first book came just 2 months after my daughter was born. I had two experiences fresh in my mind as we talked about the idea and inspiration for our first book. But something inside me told me I could do it because I had seen other women do even bigger things. And something inside of me felt comforted to be reaching out to do something exciting and to pour my passion and skills into. As the years have gone by, having my own business has given me a sense of confidence and independence with regard to the unknowns and insecurities of the future. But it has also shown me that I have the ability to create. The closest thing that I can honestly compare it to is having a baby. In creating a business, you build something that lives and breathes and moves about in the world bouncing off people and hopefully making a difference. It is the perfect marriage of the central elements in my life that I am frankly obsessed with: my babies and the art of business.
So I've been traveling a lot the past 2 weeks. First I was in the Bay Area (hence the last nightmare airport story) and then from there I went to New York for a week. I'm finally home (I did have 2 days in between). The hardest part of this whole having your own business thing is traveling away from my kids.
Let's face it - my kids - well, they rock. One of the best things we've found is video conferencing from our laptops. They love it - and it makes things so much better to just see their cute faces!
So for those of you who don't know, I am a tech nerd. Last week I went to the Web 2.o conference this week where people get excited about better code, new apps, and data portability . . . and I loved it.
Getting home from the conference was another story.
A little background on me as a traveler . . . I’m not savvy. I’ve been a lot of places in the world, but let’s face it folks – I have no sense of direction. I rely on my fellow tavelers for expertise.
I had a few friends who were headed to the airport the same time as me. They were taking BART. At first I opted out because I didn’t want to drag my luggage through the streets to meet them (I’m not only an inept traveler, but I’m lazy too). So I was going to pay the big bucks for my own taxi to the airport. But then I got a grouchy taxi driver who didn't want to take me to the airport during rush hour, so I opted to meet my BART traveling friends.
A summary of my trip to the airport:
- Tried to take a taxi to the airport but got an grumpy taxi driver who didn’t want to take me there, so I got dropped off at my friends hotel to take BART to the airport: $20
- BART tickets for me and my friend who carried my bag and some additional credit on my BART ticket since you have to accept less than $5 in change and all I had was a $20: $16
- Word that came out of my mouth when we arrived at the airport and I realized that I had not coordinated with my friends well and that I had gone to the wrong airport: S#!*
- Cost to flag a taxi illegally to get me back to the Oakland Airport: $82.75 (I had $84 left in my purse)
- Tip for the ninja taxi driver who risked both our lives to get me to the airport: $25 (via check)
- Total investment in my stupidity: $143.75
- Price for my plane ticket to get to San Francisco in the first place: $170
Summary: I almost spent more just trying to get to the airport to catch my flight than I spent on my flight all together.
Parting Thought: Always remember there are 3 airports you can fly through the Bay Area with – San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Friends ask each other what airport they are flying through. A note for all my friends – I usually fly through Oakland. Please remind me of that if we ever travel together.
We watched "Meet the Robinsons" this weekend. There is a fabulous quote at the end of the movie;
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. "
- Walt Disney
The older I get, the more I love Walt Disney! :)
I recently got up on my soap box about "The Feminine Mistake" -- which referenced The Mommy Wars a bit. We're running a poll right now on TodaysMama about the Mommy wars -- you can access the poll on the home page in the right hand column. What do you think about the Mommy Wars - Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom?
I was cleaning out some old papers and magazines today and came across an article I ripped out from Women’s Health in June contributed by Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake and writer for Vanity Fair.
The excerpt was entitled “Letter to my Younger Self”.
Let me preface the rant I am about to go on by saying this:
• I haven’t read Leslie’s book, just the excerpt from the article referenced above and a bit of info about her online
• I wholeheartedly agree that women (and men) should plan for the unexpected personally and financially whether through financial planning, insurance policies, ongoing training, etc. etc. That is a book about finances – not about women selling out.
The fast facts that accompanied this little excerpt where:
• 5.6 million – Moms who stayed home with kids in 2006
• 4.4 million – Moms who stayed home in 1995
• 43% -- Percentage of moms with graduate or high-honors bachelor’s degrees who have left the workforce
And here were some of Leslie Bennett’s core messages; (some taken from her bio as well)
• Bennett says that stay at home mothers are “misled by the fairy-tale version of life, in which Prince Charming comes along and takes care of you forever.”
• “What animates the most interesting person I know is the passion for their work and the lives their work has given them”
• “The truth is, most women end up alone, one way or another.”
• “It’s meaningful careers, well-earned success, and enough financial security to ensure a broad range of options that sustain women through the rough patches of life”.
• “My career has given me more enduring gifts than my lovers ever did.”
• Stay at home moms are unwilling to look at the risks of staying home
• She says that the stay at home moms she talks to insist that “bad things would never happen to them, only other people.” I’m waiting to meet one of those women.
• Full time mothers have an overcapacity for denial
• They demand that their choices be respected and attack those who question them. (wow, maybe they should put on their aprons and hand out cookies?)
• Magazines are afraid of offending the stay at home “mommies”, they didn’t want to wake the “cranky children”
• Stay at home moms are buffered from harsh realities and preserve their illusions about their choice
My (longwinded) Take
So here are the juxtaposed messages between the stats bolded in bright red at the bottom of the article and the authors message: - More women are choosing to stay home with their children than ten years ago – and Leslie Bennett is screaming from the big glass building at Vanity Fair, “Big Mistake Ladies”!!!
Let me be a little rude. -- You are a day late and a thought short for this generation Leslie. Your message might have fit for the hungry women’s libbers of the 70’s or the droves of women returning to work in the eighties to go head to head with the boys. But the new generation of women and mothers in the workplace and at home have learned a thing or two from the women of yesteryear. We don’t want to fit in the box of whatever you think we should be – We're perfectly content to navigate our own lives - thanks.
We’ve watched our parents and our grandparents hack it out and the impending results over time. So we want to make changes to make our lives work out a little better. The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Praise for the women who decided to leave corporate America for motherhood for a little more fulfillment AND praise for the women who decided to go back for a little more fulfillment or financial advancement. Praise for choices!
For those who left corporate America and those who want to leave right now: We don’t want to bank on failed marriages, late nights proving ourselves in the workplace and the over-riding sense of guilt wondering if we’ve failed our children AND ourselves. You no doubt find “GEN Y” and many of our “GEN X” counterparts entitled – because we want more control of our personal time than ever. Generally speaking we place a higher value on family and the time we spend with them. And watch out boomers – apparently we’re poised to bring on a GEN Y baby boom that may rival that of the post-World War II population explosion. There could be a 17% population increase in the next 10 years. Say goodbye to the 2 kid average and hello to the impending new national average of 3 kids per household.
It’s not surprising that 43% of moms with graduate or high honors bachelor’s degrees have left the workplace. They are smart! The flexibility is just not there and it quickly becomes “not worth it”. We can’t all write for Vanity Fair. You also fail to mention the fact that 40% of those women who leave the workplace start their own businesses. Why? Once again because they are smart and talented women with much to offer the world – and their children. We didn’t give it all up as the “giant feminine mistake” – we took back what was ours. The ability to have an identity with and without our children, and to be happy at what we are doing, and to contribute at many levels.
The fact that we continue to evolve is ignored. Bennet seems to think that today’s stay at home mom is living on Plumb street with cookies baking in the oven, a glint of emptiness in her mind, and happily cashing in daddy’s pay check. I wonder where she’s living?
Women today have more choices than ever. To have anything that is truly valuable there is a price to be exacted. There is a price exacted to stay home with your children, there is a price exacted to work full time, there is a price exacted to start your own business, there is a price for supporting your husband through medical school, there is a huge price to educate yourself and overcome as a single mother. At every level there are prices. Who is this woman to say which ones are worth it for which people.
I’ve all ready hopped on a soap box about how I think the Mommy Wars are a big lie that we inflict upon ourselves and how much I hate labels so if you’d like to continue to hear me rant on that level you can click here.
Here is the bottom line:
The feminine mistake is that we are led to believe that we belong in a box with limited decisions and paths set in stone. “Stay at home mom, working mom, etc. etc.”
The real feminine mistake would be following someone else’s advice rather than following your own path. It would be taking Leslie Bennett’s advice and listening to the people in the big glass buildings instead of the divine inspiration that we are all entitled to. Be who you are, love what you do, pass that on to your children!
Thanks Leslie Bennett and Women’s Health Magazine, for throwing us all in one jar and stepping back a few decades when women thought they had to choose one or the other!
Whew! If you read that long rant – thanks! I just had to get it off my chest! ;) Thanks for enduring!
So I've just launched out on an intimidating little project to blog for Entrepreneur.com about public relations -- check it out here.
If anyone out there has any PR topics they'd like to read about -- let me know!
Check out my latest post at StartUpPrincess.com -- as I ramble on about community building and branding! ;)
"You must do the things you think you cannot do. "
— Eleanor Roosevelt
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. the other is as though everything is a miracle."
- Albert Einstein
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
-- Calvin Coolidge
Ever wondered about those cute little mocassins you were obsessed with in your child's infancy? Well - they were created by Sandra Wilson of Canada and named after her little boy - Robert. That changes the way I would pronouce the name a litlte bit!
Speaking previously of TodaysMama's as overwhelmingly entrepreneurial - Sandra is featured on TodaysMama right now as the featured blogger. Her blog is called Motherly Advice and if full of great tips and stories from the perspective of a very successful mompreneur.
85% percent of TodaysMama's have or want to start their own business! Check out our latest poll.
"The heights reached by great (wo)men, reached and kept,
Were not achieved by sudden flight.
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upwards in the night."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
If you could start your own business now - what would it be?
"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal."
"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. "
—William Jennings Bryan
The question was asked the other day - did you have any experience or background in the field that you started your business in?
Here was my answer:
I was 26 years old when we started TodaysMama and I had no experience in publishing and technology. My background was primarily in sales and I had been home for 2 years with my first child. My children were 2 months old and 22 months old when it all began. Inexperience was not intimidating - the entire process of starting a business is to me one of the most exciting prospects in the world. In starting a business one gets to bring into existence something that never existed before, whether it's a product, a service, an organization etc. I've had to learn a lot as we've grown - publishing, web development, franchising, licensing, funding/financing, management, and strategy. Often my friends overhear me on a phone call or explaining to them what I do - and they say it sounds overwhelming like there is too much to know. The great thing is that all the knowledge builds on each other if growth is managed. You don't have to know it all at once - and the key to loving it and feeling like you can navigate the waters is the good people along the way who share their expertise and refer you to good people who are willing to help. A solid network is in my mind the cornerstone to most successful startups.
I love TodaysDaddy! ☺ I have to tell you that I notice it everywhere I go. The other day I took my kids to get their hair cut at “Cookie Cutters” (obviously a hair cut place for kids) and believe it or not I was the only mother there. There were 4 other dads who had brought their kids in that afternoon for hair cuts and I literally stood alone as the only mom in the place!
This was followed by a visit to the pediatrician’s office where there were 6 – yes count them 6 dads who had accompanied their children to their visit and there were just 2 of us moms in the room flying solo for our visit. (and I have to admit that the majority of the time my husband comes with me anyway – because my daughter won’t let anyone look in her ears unless he’s there).
We hear it all of the time that dad’s are stepping up and spending more time than ever with their kids and I’m so lucky to be married to one of them. I loved this recent article from the Washington Post – which sited the fact that dad’s today have literally tripled the amount of time they spend with their kids compared to our own parents. Check out a few more great articles about dads on the Buzz section of TodaysMama this week -- "Why Dads Matter" and "Momblocked".
As much as we hear about todays mothers and how we’ve been able to change the way we operate – (think the huge mompreneur trend). Much of this couldn’t be done without great daddys behind the scenes. And those who do it without the help of a great father and husband – those are the women who deserve the most applause in the world because I couldn’t do a fraction of what I do without the help of my husband – who is the best dad on the planet.
So – let’s just say – Happy Father’s Day! Dad’s ROCK! ☺
An interesting little presentation if you have anything to do with advertising at all, or especially if you have a website and you are wondering how to best integrate advertising into it. Click here to read!
- You never know where the consumer is going to be at any given time, so businesses need to find a way to be everywhere! (there were days when there were only 4 or 5 tv channels - and you could count on a commercial spreading your word to the masses . . . can you even remember those days??? I was watching Sesame Street!)
- Top Trends - 1. Communitainment (think YouTube), 2. Usites (think review sites, user generated content), 3. Mainstreaming the Internet (I use if for everything) 4. Decline in mainstream media (you've got lots of other choices, 5. Content consumption is fragmented (you get info from lots of different places) 6. User Generated Brands (think Doritos in the Super Bowl)
There is lots more! This is an informative, well done presentation and won't take you very long to go through!
We all talk about branding -- heck I've even hired a brand consultant before - but this is one of the best, quick, definitive presentation's I've look at -- Enjoy! Click here to view the presentation
"To have a firm persuasion in our work — to feel that what we do is right for ourselves and good for the world at the exact same time — is one of the great triumphs of human existence. We do feel, when we have work that is challenging and enlarging...that we could move mountains...and dwell in a spacious house with endless horizons. "
— David Whyte
As I mentioned I would post a few of the things I found intersting about Seth Godin's workshop. There was a high school business teacher in the audience who asked him what he should teach his students. Seth said two things . . . and I agree with the evil genius.
1- Teach them how to tell a good story
2- Teach them how to sell on EBay
Let's start with the first one. Telling a good story is essential to any business. In other words - (in my opinion) public relations is the most effective way to spread the news about your business. We've had 7 stories on us locally in the last month just in one local market all in different outlets. 3rd party validation is more credible and intersting. The key is that once you get called for that interview you need to be able to tell your story and do so in an interesting way - and hopefully they will call you again. This is how I've lined up all of our ongoing media spots. The trick is helping others replicate it. Not everyone is a great story teller.
One of my first jobs was to be a "food prep girl" at our local ranch market/natural foods store. I was 12 years old (I know, pushing the line of legal). But I was surrounded by lots of people older and cooler than I was. It was one of the most boring jobs in the world -- I just sat and chopped up food and made salads. But for me, I had to figure out how to make my small little life intersting enough to carry on conversations. So I would practically make a game out of taking the most mundane thing in my life and turning it into an intersting story.
As a matter of fact when I was little I tended to stretch the truth a little . . . I told some kids that I was from Australia, I opened my own karate dojo in my basement and claimed to be the sensai (sp), I even had a bowl cut and told a new girl that I was a boy (if you couldn't guess it, I was a tom boy!). But, I maintain that my little experiences story telling were good for me. If you child is a liar when they're little - don't be afraid! I think it's the mark of a creative and interesting person trying to figure out how to tell their story.
I'm also fine tuning the art of telling the story of our business through our brand. I've still got things to improve to tell our story through our site - stay tuned for some more good tweeks to the site!
Selling on Ebay - Something else I have done. . . My husband had a little venture in college called Jerkface Clothing. Believe it or not my husband is a seamster - and a darn good one at that. I'm lucky because he makes our kids Halloween costumes . . .not me! But, this little venture in the world of clothing didn't take off so well. So we had lots of t-shirts, hats and sweatshirts to get rid of. We put them up on EBay and we flew through the rest of our inventory. Jerkface fell by the wayside of life as time went on and we got busier and started even more businesses. But I will say that it was a great experience in working on the internet, in testing the world marketplace, in bartering, customer service, etc.
I sold quite a bit on EBay, and then I got brave and made one purchase -- a car! That's some first time purchase right! I've also bought lots of Pottery Barn seconds since then. Speaking of Pottery Barn seconds, that's a great example of lots of little businesses that started on Ebay. I've heard so many stories of people reselling items on Ebay and launching themselves into a venture they didn't expect to go that big. I think Ebay is a great business playground and test market.
OK-- so there is my 10 cents on those two pieces of advice from Seth.
So, can I complain about Seth Godin for just a minute? He's an evil genius. That's the bottom line. And I know he has Technorati services that allow him to see everyone that posts about him in a given day, so Seth, if you're reading this - a grain of salt please. :)
Seth Godin just came to my hometown. Good news for us right? Kind of like Santa Claus coming to town for our little entrepreneurial community.
Well, I’m still recovering my good mojo for Seth after I was snowed in NYC in February to attend one of his day long conferences – let me get my feelings out first – the workshop was the day before Valentines Day and obviously in the winter time. What was I thinking? (and what was Seth thinking)? Take advantage of this great opportunity right – fly to NYC and soak it all in!?! (or maybe just seize the day and take advantage of the fact that he came to my city, 20 minutes away from my house) I spent a handsome little penny to do so, and then he came to my hometown for $50.
It’s well worth your $50 (maybe not worth the trip to NYC, dining alone on Valentines Day, getting 7 flights cancelled, bumped from 6 others, and watching the lame Grey’s Anatomy “ferry boat” episode alone with a huge pizza in an Atlanta Holiday Inn. There is some bitterness there.
Now on to why he is an evil genius -- he gets an incredible speaking fee -- (let me say that again, incredible), and then he unleashes his marketing mojo on you, actually converting you to his methodology, his books, his ways of thinking (which are to be honest all wonderful and effective), and then he arms you with copies of his book -- not just one, but multiple -- and then he unleashes you to the streets. What has he done? Made an incredible speaking fee, marketed his book, and turned you into one of his marketers all in one sitting, all the while skyrocketing his books up the charts via these mass gatherings. Genius, pure evil genius.
Now that I've got that off my chest, that I know what Seth has done to my brain, I will proceed to tell you a few of the tidbits that I found interesting and yes, I will probably tell you to get his book.
I do have to be honest though --- circus day at pre-school trumped Seth Godin's visit to my hometown. But I did do my part in his evil genius masterplan and I persuaded my mignions to attend. I've received scores of notes back on the event and there are a few tidbits I'm excited to discuss.
Stand by . . .
So -- I had to get a nice dress, new shoes, and my brows waxed for a big night out -- I think the last time I had to do that was Senior Prom!!!
TodaysMama won the Innovation Award from an organization called Best of State -- "The recipient will be an early stage company chosen from among those Best of State entrants who meet the criteria for the award. Nominees in several innovation categories -- new product, new technology, new process, communications innovation, and management or systems innovations - will be judged based on their potential for positive impact and success in the marketplace, and include the following criteria: the nature of the Innovation; proposed benefits, current stage of development; and key company achievements resulting from the innovation."
Needless to say - TodaysMama won the award and we were honored and excited (and especially excited for a night out on the town in grown up clothes!)
I read a little piece in Real Simple magazine this month and thought of the entrepreneur in all of us --
" . . . did you know that popsicles were invented by accident? In 1905, in San Francisco, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a cup of old fashioned powdered soda and water outside wiht a stirring stick in it. After an overnight cold snap, the boy found his drink frozen to the stick. He dubbed it an "Epsicle" and made more for family and friends. Years later, Epperson renamed the snack after he heard his own children scream for "Pop's sicles". In 1923 he began manufacturing the confections. He quickly sold his burgeoning business to a rival corporation, and today his trademarked and patented Popsicle is made by Good Humor and enjoyed all summer long."
Your next accident might be the next big thing! :) Or better yet, your simple solution to everyday problems might be an innovation that you haven't realized yet.
Last week I attended the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco and then spent the last part of the week catching up from my absence. Blogging has fallen by the wayside. I'll have quite a few posts summing up some of the cool things I learned at Web 2.0-- the biggest thing, is something I learned about myself . . . I'm a Tech Geek! Big wigs from companies like Google (including Eric Schmidt), Amazon.com, Skype, Digg, Technorati, Facebook, MySpace and on and on were speaking and doing workshops at the conference. You would have thought I was sitting in a room with Brad Pitt that's how cool I thought the opportunity to listen to these people. When I came home, it didn't take me long to rediscover that most of my friends in the normal world had no clue who these people were - and probably would have rather taken a sedative than sit through that conference.
I on the other hand, was in nerd heaven! I will follow that comment by saying that I was probably the nerd in nerd heaven, I didn't have a lap top, I didn't "twitter" anything, and I have a simple LG phone. I'm so 5 years ago! :)
It's always there -- the mommy guilt. The guilt that we're not doing enought, that we're doing to much, that we've complicated our lives to the point of taking away from our children and families. I have often looked back to the past when seemingly what mother's seemed to be worrying about was a spotless household, canning peaches, and dealing with that neighborhood rascal Eddie Haskel and I've thought . . . wouldn't that be nice!
Well, chear up muliti-tasking mamas! A new study out tells us that we are actually spending more time with our children than any group of mothers in the last 60 years!
"In 1965, mothers spent 10.2 hours a week tending primarily to their children – feeding them, reading with them or playing games, for example – according to the study’s analysis of detailed time diaries kept by thousands of Americans. That number dipped in the 1970s and 1980s, rose in the 1990s and now is higher than ever, at nearly 14.1 hours a week."
The article went on to talk about how we are more concerned with "intensive parenting" -- child development, quality time spent with children, and being accessible. We're also willing to let things fall by the wayside like housework! There has been a 40% decline in housework and it's place on our priority list!
Time that dad's are logging in has TRIPLED!
We're doing a better job than we think . . .
This entire article was well done -- to read more check it out at the NasuaTelegraph.com
I spoke at a very cool gathering of "Start Up Princesses" earlier this year and the podcast has just been posted to the site.
Kim Lavine author of the Mommy Millionaire was recently on the Todays Show and shared her tips for "mompreneurs" everywhere or should I say aspiring Mommy Millionaires. I've seen these floating around the web recently but thought it was worth recapping - mixed with my own take on each item of course! :)
1. Don't apologize for having kids!
Amen! The cool thing about my business is that if you call my cell phone and you hear my kids in the background - I have nothing to hide - I am TodaysMama! :) You should expect to hear my kids!
2. If you're going to be a Mommy Millionaire, you must accept the fact that you will have to burn down your house and build another one after ten years. This is especially true if you are the parent of young boys.
I've actually thought a bit about this lately. Not only do my children destroy my house, but in my pursuit of growing my business I don't have time to clean my house like I should. I have scribble marks on the walls, toys everywhere, and I find goldfish (crackers) in the strangest places.
3. The argument between working moms versus stay-at-home moms is a moot point.
While I agree with the fact that it's a dead argument I tend to disagree with the idea that we can have it all. The concept itself is what drives women mad. There is a time and a season for everythign and there are concessions to make every step of the way. But to divide ourselves between working and stay at home moms is idiocy. We come in too many shapes and sizes to try to draw those lines in the sand.
4. Just because people have more money than you, doesn’t mean they’re any happier than you.
A quote that I have on my fridge says that two of the most dangerous things in the world are too much money and too much time.
5. Understand that just as money can’t buy happiness, a lack of it can’t take it away.
I agree that money can't buy happiness, but in general those who live in "lack" attrack "lack" in just about everything they do. Wealth is a mentality and a mindset and has a lot more to do with money (but I still can't wait to buy anythign I want at Costco! One day I just want to buy as much toilet paper as could fill my storage room - now that's thinking big!)
6. Understand that business for most people isn’t so much about money, as it is about their hopes, dreams and aspirations.
This is especially true for mompreneurs. TodaysMama recently did a survey with mompreneurs and 90% of those surveyed said they worked for passion over necessity.
7. You need a minimum of $20,000 and a well-written business plan to start even the smallest business venture.
Start is the key word here -- :)
8. Nobody ever got rich by spending money.
Good in theory -- there are plenty of corners to cut, but there is a time and place to invest in your business. One of the most important things as a mompreneur or someone with a virtual office is to invest in your brand. You might be run out of your garage, but for heavens sake don't look like it! If you want your little venture to grow you will have to invest in laying a solid foundation to build on.
9. Becoming a millionaire means learning to value passion and ideas, where others only value degrees and job titles
Amen! Job titles are some of the most pointless things in the world and to be honest I am in fact often embarassed of mine. I think the "ego" could easily be interchanged with "job title". Can you be the janitor and the CEO all at once? If you can't - don't start your own business.
10. Be a positive, big picture person, always striving to work for the highest good of all parties involved, and you can’t help but succeed.
There is not much room for negativity when you are an entreprenuer - it will kill you quickly.
11. Everything happens for a reason. Have faith in this, even if the reward isn’t immediately, or even distantly apparent, it will become so.
I actually love that she references Gods hand and help in her business. I agree and believe that God cares about everything we do - yes even our businesses. I can't say enough about how much help He has given me. I love that she reference "Another saying I’ve heard quoted by successful entrepreneurs: There are no atheists in foxholes."
12. Raising money is the hardest thing an entrepreneur has to do, and nobody anywhere is teaching anybody how to do it.
Agreed! This is hard but it starts in the same way that most things in business do, open your mouth and start networking!
13. Believe in yourself; never stop having faith in yourself or your vision or your product, even if other people tell you you’re crazy!
If you don't believe in yourself, no one else can.
14. It’s a time of great possibility, and you can be part of it!
I'm just going to directly quote her take on this one - because I dig it!
"Experts predict that the next five years will give birth to a new entrepreneurial age, in which young companies will produce new ingenious products and devise new strategies to take their products direct to consumers as retailing giants experience temporary stasis from their mega-mergers. The world is becoming one big global economy faster and faster every day. This can be a good thing, as long as we capitalize on the strengths which are unique to America: innovation, design, cultural exportation. We need to develop foreign markets and export our products to emergent countries around the world that are hungry for anything American. Even a small business can do this because of today’s technology."
15. There is $20 billion available every year in private equity from Angel Investors alone, and it’s growing at an exponential rate of 20 percent each year.
Angels rock! And they bring a much better dynamic than a VC (in my limited opinion and experience).
So -- WOW -- that's the longest blog post I think I've had to date -- brace yourselves - and go get your millions!
Somehow working feels more justified when you hate it. I know it sounds weird but it's true. When you don't enjoy your job you're put out by it, of course you'd rather spend your time somewhere else, and people should feel bad for the amount of time you spend on the job that you hate.
I in contrast love what I do. I love it to the point that it energizes me. I generally come home from a meeting, an appointment or an event happier and more energized about my life, my family, and of course my business. It's weird (and maybe unhealthy) because I even feel guilty about the time I spend on my business . . . not because I don't spend enough time with my family -- but because I enjoy what I do so much that it feels like a hobby or time spent selfishly -- even though my business is both a thing I do out of passion and a thing that I do to help provide for my family.
TodaysMama recently did a survey involving fellow mompreneur's and found that the top things that fell by the wayside in their lives were hobbies and household chores. But they are extremely happy about what they are doing and pleased with the job they are doing as parents to boot. It's an interesting predicament to be in . . . but a good one. Scrapbooking can wait I've got my eye on growing my business! :)
My husband and I are non-traditional. We decided this today. I'm not talking the kind of non-traditional where we've decided to refer to each other as "domestic partners" or anything. I'm talking about our lifestyle in general.
We're both entrepreneurs - and I seem to fit into that mold of the "mompreneur" that we're hearing so much about these days. But behind many great mompreneurs, there are great, non-traditional men. The kind of guys who will juggle their schedule to accomodate you, cook dinners, fold laundry, run carpools, grocery shop, and tidy the house. It seems that many men tend to view this type of guy as a Mr.Mom of sorts. But we tend to view things as a partnership at our house. He's a dad. It's all about Give and Take.
But there are times that I can't help but feel guilty. I'm a woman. I can't help it. I fight it - but sometimes it wins. I feel guilty for making him give so much. Luckily he reminds me that I give too and that our family is a partnership - which means that I don't have to do absolutely everything.
We literally sit down on Sundays and mesh our schedules together so that each of us can fit in the appointments and tasks that we need to for the week. We juggle our schedules in a way that means that our kids are for the most part with one of us and we try to schedule our time so that we do as much as we can together.
And I won't lie, there are days when I wish that all I had to worry about was pre-school registration next year. There are days when I wonder if my husband is getting the respect that he deserves for putting himself on the line for what I do. But for the most part, I'm amazed to sit back in awe at the amazing opportunity I have to be engaged and passionate about my business in a way that feeds me - and my family.
If you read my post about balance, you may be asking yourself that question - well, here is the answer -:)
A friend sent me an email today and said “I was just talking to Janet about you and how it seems like you are so laid back and just have all these balls spinning perfectly balanced”
Hah! I’m glad that I’m somewhat illusionary – that makes me feel mysterious like Houdini or something! I love how as women we make a quest for something equally illusionary called balance. It doesn’t exist. Happiness comes by swallowing that big pill and saying – I’ll figure out how to be content amidst a life that will never be fully in balance.
There will always be more pounds to lose, better dinners to cook, ways to be a better friend, a better business owner, a better wife, a better person. Most of all, for the rest of our lives as mothers, we will always find that we will always need to be a better mom. To think that we can toss all of those balls into the air and that there is a prayer of magically making those balls sync like the planets orbit the sun is nothing short of insanity.
I can say that I’m happy – and I’m wildly out of balance. I have to prioritize my day on a minute-to-minute basis. At any given moment I can choose between taking on another project, sitting down at the computer and catching up, or sitting with my kids and soaking them in (cleaning the house and doing the dishes really should be in that shake down, but they fall by the wayside). What’s important is that we are happy with the choices that we make throughout the day.
Sometimes, it means choosing the kids over an important phone call, sometimes in means hiding in the closet for 10 minutes to take the important phone call ;).
And sometimes I make the wrong choice – whatever it may be. Sometimes I prioritize my time unwisely – but it’s not the end of the world. It’s the end of the day – and hopefully I’ve still got tomorrow to start again.
"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."
- Abraham Lincoln
After the YEA conference I went to my little boy's preschool Christmas program and afterwards took my little girl to get some ice cream at a local ice cream shop. As I was walking in a group of high school kids were walking out - and as luck would have it two of the girls were at the conference earlier that morning. (How wild is that!) She stopped me and told me how much she liked the conference and how some of the things I said in the panel inspired her. I almost started crying on the spot. What a cool opportunity to make a difference or leave a small bit of inspiration with someone who is in the depth of developing their perspectives on life and their aspirations for their future. It made me stop to think about how cool it really is to be a teacher-- I always thought I'd never want to be a high school teacher-- but they have got a huge opportunity and responsibility to leave their students better than when they started -- Scary -- but AMAZING!
I just got done speaking on a panel and doing a workshop this morning for the YEA (Young Entrepreneur's Association). I was surprised at what a great experience it was. I think the farther I get away from high school and the closer I get to having teenage kids of my own the more scared I get of them -- :) We're scared of what we don't know! I was so impressed -- they were all amazingly respectful, intuitive and insightful- even the high school BOYS!!! I don't mean to sound so surprised but we always tend to think the next generation down from us is going to lead us to destruction- It was totally energizing to be involved in that conference. To learn more about YEA visit www.yeabiz.com
I read an interesting statistic the other day in a paper I was reviewing for an investment group - "1 in 11 women is an entrepreneur with a 50% or greater ownership state and the number is increasing at a rapid rate."
Brace yourselves world! Anyone keeping up with the trends of GEN Y - those entitled little techies rising up right below the Gen Xers? I find myself on the fringe of GEN Y but I've got some identity confusion - I grew up thinking I was GEN X but apparently I'm right on the cusp of GEN Yness.
They are more tech savvy, more inclined to start their own business, more apt to prioritize family and personal life before all else (and thus make large demands to their employers) - and their population slice is bigger than the baby boomers. In fact I read an article that said that this group is planning on more children and that we should be potentially bracing ourselves for the next baby boom. How does this apply to women, and mama's? In particular women were picked out to be among the most entrepreneurial of the group. With more kids and more entrepreneurial spirit I think the “MomPreneur” is here to stay!
I read in an article once that "entrepreneur's will be the ones that come together to change the world." I have to say that the more that time goes on, the more I beleive it. The more I believe that individually and collectively we can make a huge difference in our world.
In the August edition of Fortune magazine I saw several articles that peeked my interest. One on Fortune's 2006 brainstorm where they pulled 271 of the brightest minds in the world together to discuss the world's issues from biofuels, online romance and Chinese valuations. The next article was about "The Senator from Starbucks" and a mission to get CEO's to step up on health care reform and how CEO's need become part of the solution. And of course, the big one, "The Green Machine- WalMart Saves the Planet". The article talked about everything from the lightbulbs, the fuel, the milk, the yoga outfits, the fair trade coffee -- all of the tactics that WalMart is employing to be more eco-friendly (and I'm sure press friendly as well) and it highlighted companies like DuPont, GE, Goldman Sachs, Intel, and UPS for all of the things they are doing to contribute to the greater good.
The common thread? Entrepreneurs, big and small business, big minds - these people and organizations will be the major factors in solving many of our worlds problems. I'm waiting for the health care solution . . . waiting . . .
We just announced our partnership with Kiva.org -- whom I believe will be among the leading organizations to help eradicate poverty in developing nations. We searched high and low to find an organzation that could foster the kind of "effective good" that we were looking to contribute to. We sent the press release out on Tuesday and just had a great article run today entitled: "Partnership's goal: help moms worldwide build business, home"
Another post for StartUpPrincess.com - I was asked about pointers in fundraising for a business. Here was part 1 of the response-- (can't you tell I'm trying to fill my blog up again since I've been absent for a month!)
First You Have to Believe It
First of all – I openly acknowledge my contribution to the decay of the English language! Brace yourselves . . .
Many entrepreneurs have asked me for advice about seeking funding for their business. I am by no means a professional -- I have obtained funding for 1 (one) company - there is no art or science to it. I simply believe that when you’re ready it comes – but getting ready takes a lot of work.
I can’t really sum up the entire experience in one post, but I will start with what I believe is the most important: Investors invest in PEOPLE, not businesses. Investors are looking for the right leader, the right management team, and the right passion to run a company even more than they are looking for the patent that guarantees the next big thing. Do you know that Hewlett Packard started before there was even a company concept? It was just a couple of guys sitting in a room who formed an organization to do . . . something. The only thing they knew is that they believed they were the right team to do it.
For many of you out there, you’ve written the business plan, you’ve launched the website, you’ve got the prototype, you’ve been operating for a little while now and you’ve got a track record – but . . . Do you believe in yourself? Are you dynamic? Are you ready to let the whole world know how capable you are? (and then back that up) J
If you believe it – DON’T HESTITATE! I would literally stop people in the grocery store that I hadn’t seen for years – when they asked me what I was up to I would without hesitation tell them about my blossoming business and the success we were encountering and the large scale growth we were pursuing . . . and then I would very non-chalantly mention that if they knew any fabulous angels or investors out there in the world to pass along my name. Don’t miss an opportunity to ask someone for help. In general, I believe that as human beings we like to help each other. In the same way that you need to tell your customers how you’d like them to respond to your message (i.e. visit my website, by my product at Costco today, use your coupon) you need to tell people in your life what you need. I’m not speaking in selfish terms. Often times I think we expect others to read our minds, or pick up subliminal cues as to what we might need. Ask for it. Ask for a referral. Ask for some advice. ASK!
The trick to this is that to get people to respond to your request, they have to believe you! Even trickier they will know if you don’t believe it. People (especially investors) sense if you are insecure, entitled, angry, afraid. I hear a lot of people make excuses for rejection – “they just don’t get it!” “It’s because I’m a woman!” “They never gave me a chance!” Take a step back, have a good chat with yourself, convert yourself to your product, your cause, your company, yourself - - - and start again!
Here is a post that I provided for a cool little blog StartUpPrincess.com -- I'd link it, but I can't seem to get it to work! (hmmm . . . no wonder my idea for their daily Magic Wand was a notebook . . .)
Today’s Magic Wand written by Rachael Herrscher of Today’s Mama:
A Blank Notebook!
Simple I know! Low-tech, low-cost, low-maintenance! My favorite
thing in the world is to buy a brand new unlined notebook. Blank
pages! The latest one I’ve been using I got for free in the mail
from veer.com. There is a little blurb in the front of the notebook:
“A place for your ideas . . .”
“As a creative, the blank page is where you work, where you play,
where you test ideas and prove your points — it’s where the rubber
hits the road. Sometimes ideas flow effortlessly. Sometimes they
take superhuman effort. But you persevere, because it’s your job to
unlock the potential of the snowy nothingness.”
I couldn’t say it any better! So go get yourself a blank notebook -
keep it with you always - in the car, by your bed, in your diaper bag
- you’ll be surprised how often your brain wants to “unlock the
potential of the snowy nothingness.”
Someone called me a working mother the other day . . . It left a taste in my mouth and I'm not sure what it was. Someone has called me a stay-at-home mom, a WAHM, a SAHM, etc. etc. No one really knows what box to check me in. Again, all titles leaving me with a taste in my mouth that I had still not totally defined. In that same vein, The "Mommy Wars" has always left me with a taste in my mouth that I disdain.
How is it that we have drawn so many lines in the sand defining what we are? We have acronyms and nicknames for every facet of it. Part of my philosophy is that today’s moms are so many different things, how can we pigeonhole ourselves or anyone else into some sort of distinction or class of mother hood. The reason I think the Mommy Wars are BS is because I think the war is over misconceptions that we create on our own. If we were to strip it all down to a basic level, the Mommy Wars wouldn't exist. The Mommy Wars are about absolutely nothing in my opinion.
Classify me: I am married, I have 2 children ages 2 and 4, I have my own business with a home office, my husband has his own business as well, my husband kicks in to be with the kids when I have meetings etc. to attend, I don't have a nanny or a regular babysitter (although at times I wish I could find one), sometimes I have to dress up for meetings (I call that my uniform, or dressing blingtastic), sometimes I wander around in scrubs, a t-shirt and flips, I work 30-60 hours a week depending on the week, those hours mostly revolve around early morning, naptime, or late evenings after the kids are in bed. What am I? (crazy) A working mom? A stay at home mom? A work at home mom? What team will you put me on for the mommy wars? I like to consider myself a mom. Better yet, I'd prefer if you'd just call me Rachael.
I have a neighbor who makes jewelry out of her home to raise extra money to pay for their adoption, a friend who does bookkeeping for her husbands business on the side in his office Saturday mornings, a friend who's the PTA president, a friend with 6 kids who does triathalons, a woman in my community who volunteers to the equivalent of a full time job and has 3 kids to boot, a friend who is a lawyer, a friend who works one night a week at the Gap for the discount, the list goes on. It's varying shades of grey if you want to figure out who is what. My mom worked full time when I was growing up and I never thought of her or classified her as a "working mother" - I just thought of her as my mom. And the things that any of the above women do make me tired to think about because all of it is engaging, takes brains, talent and energy, and there are days when every bit of it drives each one of us mad.
All of us have work to do. All of us have things we are passionate about. All of us wants to be someplace else on some days of the week. All of us have stuggles and all of us have successes. How many mommy classes do we have to create before we realize that we are all just moms, women, or most importantly individuals, with lives, skills, interests and passions? And more than that - we all have something to offer each other from whatever perspective we are springing from.
How Utopian, I know.
So, next time you want to figure out what team I'm playing for - I think I might call my self an independent agent.
Brock Blake talked a bit about MomPreneurs on his blog today and wondered how we all really do it . . .www.brockblake.com
Well- that's the big thing-- is being ok with what you don't do. There are concessions. No one can have it all. Luckily, women have been built to multi task - but I'm not a miracle worker and I'm not a genius, and I really don't care.
My house is messy a good 75% of the time. My work outs are hit and miss. Yes we had pizza and root beer for dinner tonight -- but last night we had smoked salmon, brown rice, corn on the cob and fresh peaches. You win some you lose some.
I've got 7 piles of laundry in my basement right now and I'm pretty sure there is a chicken McNugget somewhere in the back seat of the car. You'd never know it though because those things don't rot. They self preserve.
However with all of the madness comes this crazy bit of magic. The magic of taking an idea from the back of your brain and watching it materialize, and not only materialize, but hopefully make a difference for someone, somewhere along the way. One day it would be great for it to pay off monetarily, and when that day comes, I'm shopping at Costco and I'm buying whatever I want. Like a lifetime supply of toilet paper and fruit snacks. Until then, it's the random email telling me that whatever I've provided has made a difference that I get that makes me keep going.
Some might wonder if it's worth the additional madness -- I actually think it keeps me more sane. Lucky for my kids and my husband. AND it's forced me to adopt the strategy of being 100% there wherever I am . . . if that makes any sense.
The main thing is, your late to bed, early to rise and by the looks of this post I'm rambling. Good signal to call it a day!