While checking out at the grocery store in Philadelphia with two squirming toddlers, Jen Groover searched frantically in her purse for her wallet which was hiding behind various toys, diapers, makeup, car keys and her cell phone. “There has to be a better way to find stuff in my purse”, thought Jen. Later that night while unloading her dishwasher, she looked at the silverware basket and had her eureka moment. “Why can’t women’s purses contain a basket so that all the items are standing up.” A few short months later, the Butler Bag was created; the first compartmentalized purse.
Groover observed something that all women experience, a purse jumbled with unfindable items but unlike the rest of us, she decided to do something about it and created her Butler Bag business. Groover became a “Mompreneur”- a mom who creates her own business balancing family and business demands. Perhaps you have fantasized about running your own show and wondered how to become a Mompreneur. Here are the top five ways to become one.
1. Invent a new product. Necessity is the mother of invention and most new product ideas spring from someone’s observation of an unmet need. To see what ideas you can come up with, as you go throughout your day constantly ask yourself, ‘what is it I wish that I had to make my life better’. Take notes on your phone of these ideas so you won’t forget them. Nothing is too small to consider. Pamela Haven kept noticing that heavier women were sweating under and between their breasts, something that many women surely noticed but all had ignored as business potential. Not Haven, who describes her eureka moment:
“My husband and I had been lying in bed one night and I said that I wished I could find a way to make money and stay at home with the kids. I kissed him good night and just as I did – BAM - literally, it was a light-bulb moment. I had taken a shower earlier and tucked my night gown up under my breasts, like it was ‘bra-liner’. I climbed right out of that bed and I was up until about 4:00am making notes as quick as they flooded my mind. That’s how Pambras, a new bra liner, was created “
Pambras has been in business now for several years and has expanded into several other products. What new idea can you invent?
2. Offer a service that you wish someone would offer you. Lots of busy people are willing to pay others to do what they previously had done themselves. Sarah Covert thought just that when she created Sarah the Pet Sitter. Today Covert can often be found walking through the neighborhoods of New Orleans with four dogs in tow or giving medicine to a skittish cat whose owner is away for the weekend. What service can you provide to your friends and neighbors?
3. Consider what special talents you might have. All of us have some things that we are uniquely good at. When thinking of talents don’t restrict your thinking to the obvious ones like “I am a good singer.” Unleash your imagination and if you struggle to think what these talents might be, enlist a friend to brainstorm with you. Then think about how you might create a business around this talent. Nancy Hagan of Cincinnati knew that she was really good at organizing. She became a Certified Productivity Specialist and created a business called Effective Day to help her clients become more organized and productive and as she says “free you to do what you do best. " What talents can you turn into a business?
4. Think about a cause you really care about. Filomena Laforgia became passionate about educating others on how to deal with autism because she was going through the struggle with her own child. She wondered how she could best help this cause and with her marketing background came up with the concept of selling items on the web where proceeds would go to help autism research. But she didn’t stop there, “There are so many causes and so many people that want to buy products to help their favorite cause” thought Laforgia, “but no website to coordinate all of those causes and purchasers.” From that passion she created Filanthropists.com, a website devoted to selling products to benefit a variety of excellent causes from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless to Ovarian Cancer Research. What cause do you really care about and how can you create a business around it?
5. Copy someone else’s good idea. Have you ever come across an idea and thought “wow, I wish I had thought of that”… or have you visited the perfect coffee shop in California and wonder if it would work in Wisconsin. Well, just because you didn’t think of it first, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Copying another successful business idea is a great way to get started because you know it can work successfully. As long as the market is big enough for another company and as long as you don’t copy any proprietary information (think particular recipe or special packaging) then there is no reason you can’t do the same thing. There is a reason that McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s all exist, all doing the same thing. A good idea that works for one can work for others. What great idea have you seen that you could copy?
For those women craving independence, flexibility and the desire to be the boss, becoming a Mompreneur may just be the right fit.
About Julie Shifman
Julie Shifman is the founder of Act Three, a company that helps women across the country reach their goals in their next stage of life. A sought-after inspirational speaker and certified coach, she is the author of Act Three: Create the Life You Want After Your First Career and Full-time Motherhood.