Wave of women business owners also raising kids
Can motherhood mix with a career spent running an organization? An entire generation of women is resoundingly proving that it can.
In Canada today, more moms than ever are adding the title of CEO to their name and discovering that having a baby doesn’t have to mean an end to their business ambitions.
This new breed of mother — dubbed the “mompreneur” — deftly juggles the duties and responsibilities of being a mom with the challenges of running a business. Statistics Canada estimates that four out of every five new businesses are being started by women, a large percentage of whom are simultaneously raising a child.
Kathryn Bechthold, 30, and creator of The Mompreneur Magazine and a mompreneur herself, says success at managing two seemingly disparate lives — that of the mother and the entrepreneur — is rooted in doing something you love.
“It’s definitely challenging. Both are full-time jobs so to fit them together is very challenging, but when you love what you do it’s easier to put in the hours,” Bechthold said.
Mompreneurs vary widely, ranging from the old stereotype of the homemaker juggling a baby in one hand and a phone in the other to suit-and-briefcase CEOs and everything in between.
“A lot of times people think of us as being necessarily stay-at-home moms but that’s just not the case — there are many different kinds of mompreneurs. Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes,” she said.
Bechthold has been a serial entrepreneur all her life and says many of the mompreneurs she has met are in a similar boat. Most, she says, are women who have been in the corporate world and wanted to get back into doing what drives them.
Three out of four have a stable partner in the household, either to help with duties at home or bring in a second income, something that makes taking the plunge to become an entrepreneur a lot smoother.
“When you have that stability of a second income, someone else to take care of the kids and share these responsibilities with, it’s a lot easier,” Bechthold said.
For aspiring mompreneurs, Bechthold suggests first getting up to speed with money matters.
“You have to really do your homework. You need to have a good business plan with solid financing before going into this,” she said.
Find a mentor, especially someone who knows the ins and outs of business and who has experience with cash flow. Banks aren’t your only financing options, Bechthold says, so look around for possibilities like government grants and loans that can help you get on your feet. Most importantly, don’t fear failure.
“I’ve had success and I’ve had failure,” said Bechthold, “and there’s not really much difference — maybe only in the quality of shoes I’m wearing.”