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6 Mamapreneurs Share the Motherhood Lessons that Make Them Better at Business

6 Mamapreneurs Share the Motherhood Lessons that Make Them Better at Business

Liz Biscevic

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It's no secret that working mothers face stiff hurdles. From the infamous "second shift" of domestic labor many moms pull in addition to their dayjob to taking a significant hit in pay and prestige when the first child is born, the working world is not kind to mothers. More and more new moms are becoming "mamapreneurs" and proving that not only can they work for a business, they can found and run their own, thankyouverymuch. We asked six of these badass business owners what valuable lessons motherhood taught them that have been key in their professional success, and how running a business can prepare them for raising a child.

Whitney Lundeen — Sonnet James

   Photo via Sonnet James

 Photo via Sonnet James

Whitney Lundeen launched Sonnet James as a single mom, on the kitchen floor of her Palo Alto home in 2013. Her goal is to provide moms with stylish dresses in material that’s functional for motherhood. Sonnet James’ line of comfortable, durable, wash and wear dresses give moms the freedom to play with their kids while looking chic at home, at the park, or in the city.  

What has motherhood taught you about running a business?

How to be efficient with my time! I think before I was a mom I would have lingered at lunch meetings, or not gotten straight to the point on phone calls. Now, it’s all about how much time I have to get x amount of things done between school drop off and pick up. I work hard and fast five hours a day, instead of eight or nine. 

What's the most important "mom skill" you've learned that has been most beneficial while starting and running your own business?

Quality over quantity always, whether it’s product, time with my kids, hours I work, everything.

Lisa Baumgartner — Funkins

  Image via Flickr Creative Commons

Image via Flickr Creative Commons

Lisa Baumgartner started Funkins in 2011 when looking for a fun and simple way to reduce school lunchtime waste. Her son's Montessori preschool required that children bring in a waste-free lunch, including a cloth napkin, and Lisa decided to make her own using bright fabrics and fun patterns. Today, Funkins is still a family-owned business, committed to helping schools and families across the world make lunch time waste-free, earning the business of celebrity-parents like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, and David and Victoria Beckham. 

What has motherhood taught you about running a business?

To be more “chill” i.e. stay flexible and always remember it’s OK to pivot from your original vision. Having spent my early career working for McDonald’s, alongside brand partners such as Disney, Coke, and Mattel, there was a great deal of security and stability, and that security came with an abundance of support. Much like being a mom, running a business is a much more fluid experience!  The world suddenly becomes a very unpredictable place, no two days look alike, and you are much more exposed to external pressures.  

What's the most important "mom skill" you've learned that has been most beneficial while starting and running your own business?

Planning and time management skills. In order to manage both a family and a business, I have to operate at maximum efficiency in order to keep both environments healthy and happy and cannot afford wasted time and effort.

Wendy Snyder — Fresh Start Family 

  Image via Fresh Start Family

Image via Fresh Start Family

Wendy Snyder is a Positive Parenting teacher, family coach, and the founder of Fresh Start Family Online, which offers parenting videos and online community support. 

What has motherhood taught you about running a business?

Being a mom has taught me that patience is essential and also acquired … it takes practice. Often the best things in life (or biggest successes in business) don’t happen overnight. Raising a little person with integrity requires lots of seed planting, just as creating and running a successful business does. Having patience to keep watering those seeds, even when you’re tired and fearful about the future takes courage and perseverance. Being patient and making it through some rough stages of raising kids and launching a business have helped me embrace that there is just as much growth and learning in the waiting as there is in the times of celebration and goal hitting. Good families and companies take time and nourishment and commitment. 

What's the most important "mom skill" you've learned that has been most beneficial while starting and running your own business?

How to be firm AND kind … that the two can exist together with great power. In both my home and business, being bold in my beliefs, boundaries, rules, voice, and faith while also extending kindness, compassion, and empathy has been the sweet spot where I find confidence and purpose in life. The combination of both together create opportunities to connect with children in a deep and meaningful way and also work with staff, contractors, collaborators, or clients with ease. Keeping that balance is a constant work in progress but one that I find joy in seeking and purposely working towards. 

Stacia Pierce — LifeCoach2Women.com

  Photo via Stacia Pierce

Photo via Stacia Pierce

Life coach Stacia Pierce has published 21 books and developed several motivational programs and lifestyle products.

What has motherhood taught you about running a business?

You can’t control every outcome (no matter how hard we try). But I’ve found if you keep a positive attitude you can always turn things into a winning situation. I’ve also learned to have patience with people, because children will teach you patience. You learn to be more understanding and mindful as you raise them. Professionally, I’ve learned to value what the client wants like I value what my kids want. Like children, most people tell you what they want from you. 

What's the most important "mom skill" you've learned that has been most beneficial while starting and running your own business?

Plan ahead. With a busy family like mine, I learned early on to plan ahead and plan often. My life is on lists, and I’m constantly making lists for things that have to be done, things we need, etc. I take this same approach with my business and planning company goals. 

Jennifer Gallinger — CareCar

  Photo via Jenn Gallinger

Photo via Jenn Gallinger

Jennifer Gallinger co-founded CareCar—a service to help drive elderly or disabled patients to their doctor’s appointments—as a new parent. Now as chief operations officer, she is responsible for the day to day of a fast-paced startup looking to "disrupt" a complicated industry

What has motherhood taught you about running a business?

I remember leaving the hospital with my daughter thinking, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’ But I had no choice but to figure it out. Starting a business feels a lot like that. You don’t really know what you’re in for until you’re in the thick of it. It can feel overwhelming, like you want to give up. Those moments of up-all-night-with-a-sick-child, teething, breastfeeding difficulties, and so many other hard but important times that come with raising a child allowed me to discover my own strength and learn how to persevere when you’re feeling defeated. Being a mom taught me how to be brave in a whole new way, and how to be prepared for everything. Living that role is what prepared me for my career at CareCar.  

What's the most important "mom skill" you've learned that has been most beneficial while starting and running your own business?

So many. But the most transferable skill I’ve learned is probably composure. More specifically, staying calm in chaos, not reacting, and trying to discern the root cause of whatever the problem is as quickly as possible. Before having my daughter, I took most things at face value. If something is broken, you should probably fix it. But with a child if something is wrong, you can’t show any sign of concern while trying to figure out the root of the issue, how to fix it, and how to prevent it in the future. Every problem becomes a puzzle that needs solving. You use each problem to teach, learn, and grow as person, instead of just solve and move on. That skill is paramount in running a business. Every failure becomes an opportunity. 

Nichole Kirk — Dear Heart Designs

  Photo via Dear Heart Designs

Photo via Dear Heart Designs

Dear Heart Designs began when Nichole Kirk wanted to help raise funds for her friend’s mission trip to India. Her goal was to sell 10 of her fabric wrap bracelets. When she ended up selling over $1,000 worth in 48 hours, Kirk decided to embrace the path of jewelry designer on her own terms. Now, she hopes to inspire and guide others who want to run their own business.  

What has motherhood taught you about running a business?

I believe moms are super-humans. We manage another human’s entire life, 24/7, on little sleep. We push on through tantrums and mini disasters because we know that in the end, it’s all worth seeing those tiny lips curl up into grins and those chubby arms hug. It’s kinda like running a business. You push on through the trials and everyday struggles because you know that one day it’s going to be worth it. You’re going to look back at what you’ve built and your kids are going to watch you go after your dreams. That in itself is one of the most important and inspiring things we can do for our kids. To let them know that they can be and do whatever they dream of. That there isn’t a limit to their potential.

What's the most important "mom skill" you've learned that has been most beneficial while starting and running your own business?

Girl, go ahead and fall in love with coffee if you haven’t already. You’re going to need a LOT of it. 

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