This past week I was fortunate enough to attend an event for entrepreneurs here in Edmonton. As I networked and chatted, I was asked about what it was that Entrepreneur Mom Now, Edmonton does and as I explained blank stares looked back at me. I realized that even at an entrepreneurial event, it isn’t really clear what a entrepreneurial mom is.
I’m pretty passionate about entrepreneurial moms in Edmonton, and assumed that everyone knew what one was: an entrepreneur who is also a mom. Repeatedly explaining what EMomNow is about (hyper-local online magazine focused on providing services, events, news, advice, resources and information to local mom entrepreneurs) got me thinking about what makes us (EMoms) such a strange breed that at a conference about entrepreneurs, we were a bit of an anomaly.
What is a mom entrepreneur?
- a person
- a woman
- saw a need for a certain product or service in an area and operates and organizes a business and took on the financial risk for this business.
- has children
What we know about these women
- generally had career previous to entrepreneurship
- are well educated
- risk takers and creative thinkers
Why do these women take on the role of “entrepreneurship” if they’ve already had a career? As a mom entrepreneur myself the answer is, children. I wanted the flexibility to be with my children as they grew but also to create opportunities for myself and contribute to the family income at the same time. Without going into the social norms of women as the primary caregivers in the home (noted: men now play a huge role in the general housekeeping duties and child rearing than the many generations before us) mom entrepreneurs want to be available for their children (like all parents) but didn’t see their opportunity within a traditional job.
This isn’t to say that entrepreneurship is a walk in the park and mom entrepreneurs don’t work as hard as other entrepreneurs. Anyone knows who’s owned a business knows that’s it’s 24/7 work. As is raising children. As Bruce Croxon said at the event this weekend, entrepreneurs are crazy! Why on earth would people take this life on? To be all consumed by an idea or business? Entrepreneurs are a special breed of people unto themselves.
If mom entrepreneurs are just like regular entrepreneurs they’re talented, motivated are consumed with their business and are constantly striving for success, what makes them so special that they get their own lexicon (“mompreneur”) and online magazine and networking events?
They’re Dr.’s, accountants, consultants, graphic designers, photographers, inventors, artists, sales-people and strategists. They code, design, connect but also do more work in the two hours during a toddlers nap than they ever did when they were “corporate.” They change diapers while thinking about their fiscal year and close deals on the phone while naked children run around in the background.
They work until 1am, every night because that’s when the house is quiet and they’re allowed to have their own thoughts. They also try and steal 15 minutes of work here and there between soccer games, preparing dinner and grocery shopping.
They raise their children, nurture a business and plan for the future.
They’re tired, but excited.
So yes, entrepreneurial moms are just like any other entrepreneurs in Canada, but they’re part of a growing trend of women who want more meaning from their work and are harnessing the power that the internet has provided to create their own view of work-life balance. They’re like any other parent in Canada and pick their kids up from school and attend field trips, but they also create jobs, innovate and inspire.
Editors note: Makes me wonder… next time I get the blank stare of “I have no idea what you’re talking about” when explaining what an entrepreneurial mom is, I’ll ask, what they think it is.