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Mom, Inc. Notes from a business article in “The Costco Connection” – May 2007 Mom’s the word – A new generation of stay-at-home moms takes the entrepreneurial world by storm Entrepreneurial moms fill an economic niche and have been gaining recognition as a legitimate business force. Mothers who have become at-home entrepreneurs are a phenomenon that has emerged over the past decade as part of a larger trend of female entrepreneurship.
According to a study by the nonprofit Center for Women’s Business Research (CWBR), women are starting new businesses at twice the rate of men and own a 50 percent or greater stake in 10.6 million U.S. businesses. “It definitely is a trend,” says Sharon Hadary, executive director of the CWBR, which released a study showing that one-woman businesses, the category that most new entrepreneurial moms fall into, have been growing at twice the rate of the national average.
These are not just cute hobbies, either. Many women-at-home businesses are making serious cash, with annual sales in the $100,000 range, and some in the millions. The trend has become popular enough to spawn its own subset of businesses and services. Organizations and Web sites have sprung up to serve the women behind these enterprises.
According to authors Ellen Parlapiano and Patricia Cobe, who trademarked the term “mompreneurs,” their Web site www.mompreneursonline.com dispenses advice and provides resource links to more than 7 million women each month. WebMomz – www.webmomz.com has helped thousands of women to start online businesses. And Moms In Business Network www.mibn.org, an online, women-only networking group, represents the interests of the 60 million working mothers in the United States.
Kristie Tamsevicius states that, “A mom entrepreneur is anyone who is able to work from home and make a living. Someone who telecommutes to work from home, operates an online-based business or home-business franchise, or does direct sales and network marketing opportunities. Or someone who takes her corporate job and does it from home.”
“I am a mompreneur in three ways,” says California resident Laurie Zerga, who left the business world to become a chef and culinary educator. “First, I stayed home to be closer to my children. Second, my children inspired the business idea. Third, my business supports a role once held by stay-at-home moms: teaching their children the culinary arts.
All of these women share a common desire not only to satisfy a creative and financial need, but also to remain in contact with their children. Family flexibility and economic success aside, being able to be a mom is still their primary motivation. Susan Dunk says, “As successful as I have become, the best part is that my business allows me to continue to be there for my kids.”
While the work-at-home mom is hardly a new idea, there are a number of reasons why this latest wave is different. Business activities are typically planned during “downtime,” when children are napping or at school, or at night while they’re sleeping. Often, work is taken care of in transit. “A lot of my business is done in the car while I’m waiting to pick up my children.” says Steele. “Probably the best development that makes it so you can be a mom and a businessperson is the cell phone,” says Marshall. “I can take calls when I’m walking to school to pick up my kids. The cell phone allows you to be both things at the same time. Moms also rely heavily on other family members – parents, husbands, siblings, sometimes even their children – to help out.
“You’ll learn as you go. You gain so much confidence and self-fulfillment when you take something that you believe in and make it happen. I feel like a different person. It makes me proud to have this company that was once just in my mind. To see it happening and affecting people in a positive way – it’s been so awesome. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
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