Lessons Learned from Super Moms on The Entrepreneur’s Journey

Staying Positive Through Failure, Sharing Work With Your Kids & Prioritizing Self-Care

While the leadership gender gap remains wide, about 10% of Executives at US companies are women, enterprising Moms increasingly skip the wait and promote themselves straight to the top by leading their own businesses.

Friday, I was delighted to join the Pepperlane Connect Conference, to moderate a breakout session. Pepperlane, a services platform and community for Mom-owned businesses, is based on a powerful concept…that Moms can help each other succeed.

The event opened to an exuberant crowd of over 100 Mom entrepreneurs, at all stages of their business journey – from exploring a new idea, to running an established operation and looking to scale. The energy was palpable. Pepperlane’s founder, Sharon Kan and host for the day’s festivities ended her passionate plea for Moms to live in possibility with an open dance session. My kind of event…all of this was before 11 am!

Many of the quotes below are from the panel discussion with six small business owners, moderated by the venerable Diane Hessan, a seasoned entrepreneur, super-Mom and also my former boss of many years, who taught me a lot about leadership.

The day was focused on harnessing Mom-Power to navigate the murky journey of entrepreneurship. The tone was upbeat, advice memorable and takeaways, useful – regardless of whether your title begins with the word ‘Chief’.

Bootstrapping & Developing the ‘Go For It’ Mindset

“Start before you’re ready. Trust your intuition, you have many of the answers.” Lynell Masterson, Personal Healer & Counselor

“Once you accept venture capital it’s no longer your baby. … The benefit of bootstrapping is that you get to keep your baby.” Rebecca Moore, Founder, InANutshell Consulting

““Everything in life is just an invention. Look for the possibility in any situation rather than measuring and comparing your life to others… you will attract the (right) people if you share your ideas and vision. You can live in the universe of possibility, not in the world of measurement. What if you turn obstacles into miracles?” Sharon Kan, CEO & Co-Founder Pepperlane

Staying Positive & Facing Down Failure

“(Failure)…I don’t let it stop me. I make friends with it, it feels crappy, I learn from it and then move on.” Lynell Masterson, Personal Healer & Counselor

“Build a supportive network of people who get it! When we feel judgement…from the outside and emotionally from the inside… it takes a level of objectivity to check in with yourself.” Jennifer Zwiebel, Founder A Place of Joy

“ I agree that failure can absolutely halt us in our tracks, and that what Pepperlane is all about is women entrepreneurs encouraging each other to move beyond failures (not dwell on them, but learn from them) and fine-tune our businesses towards success.” Rebecca Moore, Founder, InANutshell Consulting

“Just because you believe it, doesn’t mean it’s true. For example, you might have a fantastic idea, and then immediately hear yourself saying, ‘I can’t do this. It’s too big, it’s too hard. I’ve never done this before,’ take a breath. Acknowledge what’s true—‘Yes, it’s true that this is a huge step, it’s true that it feels overwhelming, it’s true that I’ve never done this before.’ And then add: ‘On the other hand…,’ as in, ‘On the other hand, everything I’ve ever done for the first time I’d never done before.’ Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean that you can’t.” Jennifer Zwiebel, Founder A Place of Joy

Prioritizing Self-Care!

You are your business. That means take care of yourself. Have fun, go on playdates with yourself… If you’re frazzled and stressed out, no one will want to hire you.” Lynell Masterson, Personal Healer & Counselor

“Find your balance and don’t apologize. I don’t apologize anymore and my son is learning from it.” Jasmine Lopez, Founder Two Ten Events

“Learning how to treat myself with kindness was one of the most difficult things I had to learn.  We would never imagine being as harsh to anyone we loved as we can be to ourselves.” Nataly Kogan, Founder Happier and Author of Happier Now

Making the Mom/Life/Entrepreneur Juggle Work

“Focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to use the conveniences available to you.” Kate Gilbert, Founder Word Press Super Service

“…Don’t be surprised when it changes. Just when you have things humming along kids become adolescents! We’re creating a new paradigm for working. Let’s do it, show them and encourage each other!” Rebecca Moore, Founder, InANutshell Consulting

“Find your why. Use technology that’s available to help… And, hire a bookkeeper as soon as possible!” Crystal Reddick, Founder Crystal Redding Bookkeeping Services

“Put them in their school clothes the night before. How dirty can they get?” Diane Hessan, Entrepreneur, Researcher & Author. Chairman of CSpace

“I know I’m going to get back online at 8 pm when they’re asleep. Since having my first child, someone else (my child) dictates when I have to get up and leave my computer…. (You) have to look at it like a puzzle…. (Somehow) it all fits together.” Kate Gilbert, Founder Word Press Super Service

“(Be realistic about) your schedule…. Some days I have the pleasure of more parenting time. Some days I have the pleasure of more focused time in my business. Make conscious choices about where you want to spend your time, knowing your needs will change and you can adjust. Putting your time into the things that are most important to you is one of the biggest gifts you get from owning your business!” Jennifer Zwiebel, Founder A Place of Joy

Working Motherhood as a Gift to Your Kids

Trynka Shineman, Vistaprint’s CEO shared results from a survey of Mom business owners. “…95% surveyed said being an entrepreneur makes them a better Mom.”

“Don’t separate work and home. Involve your kids! There are things other kids don’t get to do because they don’t have a Mom like you! …When my daughter was in first grade I promised she could take a ‘big girl trip’ and brought her on a business trip to New York City. My client pretended to have a meeting with us, we went to Central Park… (After she shared the trip with her friends at school) … the other kids went home and asked their Moms, ‘why don’t you work Mom?’” Diane Hessan, Entrepreneur, Researcher, Author & Chairman of CSpace

“Over and over check in with your priorities. I want to be there with the kids as much as I want to run my business. Pay attention to what you need and honor that. When I was working and going to school, I used to feel so bad about how much time it took away from them but I was doing it for them. Today, I have 3 amazing young men who treat me like a goddess! I think it’s because they could see my work was for them… If we share our goals with our children, they come to respect and admire it.” Lynell Masterson, Personal Healer & Counselor

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