(originally published in Working Mother Magazine)
By our very nature, moms are innovative, visionary and more. In other words, a lot more of us could be entrepreneurs.
When you think about the traits and skills of a successful entrepreneur, what comes to mind?
All of these are core DNA traits of most any entrepreneur, and yet … these are also the traits one could use in defining a mom.
Think about it: Moms are true visionaries who can see what’s happening in the present but also work towards a bigger end-goal. That end-goal might be a playdate, or it might be preschool, or it might be college. But moms make it happen, because every day they keep things going right now as they work towards the future.
They say innovation is sparked by pain, and moms regularly deal with the pains of multiple lives. There’s a constant wish that “XYZ” existed to solve the “ABC” problems and pains they’re experiencing. That’s why better, more practical innovations keep coming out—because moms constantly examine what they encounter and think about how things could work better for them. And then a few brave moms actually move forward in bringing those ideas to life.
Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that the ability to problem-solve is one of the keys to their success. They need to be able to see issues from multiple vantage points and create smart, quick resolutions on the spot. And so do moms. Trying to appease a cranky toddler is tantamount to an entrepreneur dealing with an ornery vendor. Moms are quick to address, redirect and resolve problems.
And then there’s passion, tenacity, flexibility … the list goes on.
Becoming a mom is like going for an MBA in a trial-by-error, accelerated, sleep-deprived confab. But we're often so caught up in our mom tasks that we don’t realize how amazing we are in honing these skills and applying them to our lives and careers.
What moms may not have that traditional entrepreneurs have is time and resources. Entrepreneurs are able to devote the energy into researching and then resourcing what they need to launch their business, but that requires a lot of time. Moms have precious little time—one of the reasons we don't often set out to launch our own business.
So how do we change this? How do we moms harness our entrepreneurial powers (that most of us don’t even know we have)?
What's going to change the tide and push more of us to move forward with our ideas vs. let them go because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day?
Two things to start with: bravery and support.
Taking a chance on an idea can be scary, but if more of us embraced our own bravery, that could help. And how about support from other moms? We could rally around one another to encourage moving forward and to provide helpful tools along the way. What if investors and other entrepreneurial leaders actually learn to celebrate moms’ innovative ideas and seek them out? We need more online resources and tools to make the entrepreneurial process easier for moms, built for moms in mind and accounting for their unique schedules.
It will take work to change the tide, but it will absolutely be worth it. If more moms embrace their innovative intuitions and move forwar
d with ideas, think how amazing that would be on empowerment, economic and developmental levels. The next time you talk to a mom who has an idea, encourage her to take a step towards bravery and bring that idea to life. Then, if you can, offer your support.
Catherine Merritt is wife to Ian, mom to Teddy and Archie, a serial entrepreneur, CEO of Spool Marketing and Communications and an overall champion of moms.