Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Mamapreneur?

Work-Life Balance on 11.17.11
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Photo: Laura St. John

You don't need to go to school to become a mom. It just -- well you know how -- happens. For me, three times now. (Yep -- they're all boys.)

You don't need to go to school to be an entrepreneur, either. For me, that also just happened.

Did you know that the same skillset you develop as a mom  -- nurture, discipline, balance, scheduling, drama, laughter, and fun -- can apply to starting up your own business?

My Mamapreneur Upbringing

I was just 19 years old when my boyfriend -- now husband -- and I started teaching at my mom's first computer learning center, called Imagine Tomorrow. It was so much fun to wake up and work with kids -- especially when you give them back to their owners at the end of each class! But we saw a much bigger opportunity to take the concept and grow it someday.

Fast forward 15 years: Now I'm Chief Marketing Officer at our company, and we've grown to become the largest provider of computer classes for kids 8-years-old and younger, offered in over 700 locations through a network of mamapreneurs just like you and me. We recently landed our biggest milestone to expand our concept by co-branding it with Discovery Kids.

But we didn't grow overnight. It's been a long, tedious process. It's had its ups and downs. Now that I have given birth three times, I can totally say that growing a business is just like having a family. And even if you had an epidural, there's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved.

Why Women Make Excellent Business Owners

Trends of women business owners show that we like to start smaller and then grow. This is where our nurture trait kicks right in. Males tend to set goals higher and start much bigger, taking on more risk. Just like the responsibility you take on when you decide to grow your family and have another child, you are more likely to succeed when you develop a make-sense approach on how to grow your business.

As moms, we also become very disciplined multi-taskers when running a family. We learn to balance not only our own schedules, but also the schedules of multiple kids going in all different directions. Who's going to soccer, a playdate, a field trip. We become a calendar master. This organized chaos relates well to business, when you have to juggle meetings, prepare materials, attend events, and follow up with your customers.

Honestly, there's no smooth road being a mamapreneur. Let's face it: you can't open up any business and expect that customers will just pour right in. You have to work at it, and there will be obstacles. The same thing happens in our day-to-day lives with our kids. We learn to expect the unexpected: things often don't always go as planned. Whether it's family or business, when you face obstacles with a positive attitude, you're more likely to figure out a solution to the problem rather than allowing it to become your roadblock. And just like in all areas of life, there's nothing more rewarding and fulfilling than overcoming the odds.

Unsure about becoming a mamapreneur? I can assure you that if you already are a mom, then you've got what it takes. And it will be a lot less painful.

Now speaking of odds, everyone seems to ask me: am I going to go for a 4th and try for a girl? I didn't go to school to become a mother or a mamapreneur, but I have learned one thing in the process: There is just some business I will keep to myself.


Laura St. John is a 35-year-old mamapreneur and a busy mother of 3 little boys. She oversees the fastest-growing network of mamapreneurs -- who get to work with kids, make a difference, and create a flexible work schedule -- by offering Discovery Kids Puterbugs technology classes in their local market. For more information, register for Laura's latest webinar. 

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