Guest Blogger: Amy Kovarick
One of the things I love about Kimberley Blaine, aka The Go-To Mom, is that she brings kick-ass mommy power to the world of business. She has that roll up your sleeves/get it done/quadruple-tasking energy that most mothers have (have to have!) along with a friendly, generous, open spirit.
I met Kimberley online when she emailed me with compliments on my book and radio show and an invitation to exchange radio interviews. Her approach was so casual and straightforward – kind of like a mom on the playground striking up a conversation. So different than a more formal corporate inquiry. It was a mutual admiration moment – just two women interested in each other’s business and open to finding how we might best support and benefit from each other. Business – mommy style.
Women are amazing, savvy, creative business people. The problem is once you become a mom the game changes. There is a different set of parameters. The ambition is still there, the drive is still there, but it’s tempered, it’s molded now to a larger purpose. It’s not just you or you and your husband/partner anymore. It’s US now. It’s a family. There is more to serve.
So, what’s a mother to do? Some still thrive in the traditional business world, holding their own and juggling like mad. Other women are happy to hold their mommy role full time and leave the outside work world behind. And then there are the growing ranks of mompreneurs – the new wave of trailblazers creating mommy centric businesses from home.
This is mommy power unleashed! The Internet has created a giant playground for moms to create a staggering array of businesses. A great many are products and services driven by real mom needs and desires. From hotmomsclub.com (a different twist on social networking) to Boogie Wipes (‘snot your average wipe’) to The Sneaky Chef (how to get your kids to eat healthy) to Petunia Pickle Bottom (gorgeous diaper bags and more). There is a long list of truly clever ideas from truly clever women.
But what is really cool, is that it’s not only the products or services that are innovative; moms are also creating a new way of doing business. Women are not just thinking out of the box, we are creating our own box. Businesses fueled by mommy power often have a distinct character – creative, collaborative, flexible and focused.
As mothers, women are used to juggling, solving problems on the go and generally making things work. We are bringing the same everyday creativity we bring to motherhood to our own businesses. Can’t find a supplier for a product? Moms keep looking or persuade someone to modify their manufacturing. Need to find a way to market effectively on a shoestring? We invent our own grassroots network. Mommy power tends to cut through problems one way or another.
A collaborative mentality is also a hallmark of mommy power in business. Most mothers are collaborative by nature – we learned that we can’t do it alone. From playgroups to school committees to online mommy chat groups – mothers are adept at joining forces. Not surprisingly, it is common to see a partnership or a team of women heading up a mommy driven company as well as a network of mommy fans fueling its growth. Building through community comes naturally!
Mommy business power is definitely flexible power. As mothers, we are used to constant change – handling ever shifting needs and schedules is a given. This ability to flex is built in with mommy owned businesses. Planning can take place on a park bench, at Starbucks or in the shower. Conference calls are scheduled around naptime or school pick up. The business works WITH kids, not against them. Flexibility extends beyond logistics into the capacity to experiment with strategy and adjust to changing markets and demands.
Focus is another common mompreneur characteristic. Moms are used to endless task lists. We know that we can’t do it all and have learned to prioritize on the must haves. Mommy driven businesses tend to be lean organizations focused on doing what counts. Any other approach quickly becomes unsustainable. Mommy power brings a certain ruthless edge to business – a mother’s time is too precious to waste!
To some extent, I might be idealizing mommy driven businesses. Certainly there are mommy-owned organizations that are unfocused, inflexible, non collaborative and decidedly not creative. However, I believe that most mompreneurs are defining a new path to business success that honors the very values and talents inherent in motherhood. We are proving daily that mothers have an extra set of skills, honed by motherhood, that are invaluable in business.
Every woman who generates success with mommy business power makes it possible for more women to follow. As we blend ambition and achievement with compassion and generosity, drive and intensity with flexibility and cooperation – we create endless possibilities for our families and our future.
Amy Kovarick is an executive and leadership coach as well as author of Babyon Board, Becoming A Mother Without Losing Yourself. She has helped hundredsof individuals reach their full potential across the US and Canada. She can be found at www.empoweredmotherhood.com
*header photo is the lovely Laura Mayes, co-founder of Mom 2.0 Summit