Mamapreneurs, you ARE your brand.

Business Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Mamapreneurs, Inc.}
first appeared on Blog Nosh Magazine on July 7, 2008

-I have insomnia and I’m tired.

-I work 7 days a week but Mondays and Fridays are my FT kid days during the summer.

-E-mail is the best way to communicate for me; if you leave me a voicemail, you honestly might not get a call back. If you leave me an e-mail, you will definitely get a response.

I tell you all this not because you are my friends, my family, my colleagues or my clients (although you may be one or all of these things): I tell you this because being transparent about who I am as the owner of three companies and as mama to two kids is essential to the success of my businesses and peace in my personal life.

Being a mamapreneur means that my businesses don’t just rely on the products or the services, they rely on the entire brand package—and that includes me as the owner. As mamapreneurs, like it or not, we ARE the brand.

When I meet with mamapreneurs who want PR help but tell me they can’t mention their kids in any press releases or bios, or when mamapreneurs say they have to lie about their odd work hours because their clients wouldn’t understand, I am more than disappointed. Maybe it was growing up with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as my hero, but I’ve always felt that we have a responsibility as women not to conform to the rules but to help MAKE the rules. As a mamapreneur, I feel immense pride in being part of this amazing group of women who run businesses and raise families. I came from the corporate world where I’d pretend I didn’t have a life outside of the office persona, to the life of a mamapreneur, where personal and business often gets all tangled up. Why? Because I am the boss.

It doesn’t matter whether you work from home or are the owner of a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of employees: you are still a mom who runs a business, you are still the one who calls the shots. You have a family at home. To pretend that part of your life doesn’t exist when you’re in business mode is doing a disservice not only to yourself, but to the entire business world and to your fellow mamapreneurs in general. Once I understood this, accepted and embraced it, I found the balance, the harmony, the peace I have always been searching for. It’s right there, if you’re willing to let go of traditional corporate thinking and just BE YOU.

One of the reasons I chose to make Mamapreneurs, Inc. an S-Corp instead of a non-profit was because I know that American corporations can do better. We CAN come back to a time when corporations aren’t looked at as mega-monsters, but as teams of individuals who are working to make the world a better place. My goal is to have Mamapreneurs, Inc. model what corporations SHOULD be. Mamapreneurs Inc. is about following through with family friendly policies and not just maintaining rhetoric on paper for appearances or awards. We’re about supporting the success of employees and members as moms, women and as business professionals. Here, working toward your version of success is important, but in doing so you don’t have to pretend to be the perfectly glossed CEO or the perfect mom.

I am human to the core, with quirks, many flaws and I will always make mistakes. I also have kids who sometimes get sick and I need to be there for them; they have doctor’s appointments and school events that take precedence over work. Work that I love dearly, but know can wait whereas many family issues cannot.

Sometimes I think we mamapreneurs forget that we’re the ones calling the shots; we are responsible for whether or not our lives are in harmony or in discord. If a design client seems hesitant to work with my hours, even though I would do a fabulous job for them & even if they would pay larger corporate rates, I politely decline the project. If a potential member doesn’t seem to “get” that Mamapreneurs, Inc is more about collaboration, support & building relationships than about hard core cold networking, then I am ok with them not joining the group. The right clients and customers will always be out there.

There is enough business to go around, and if you are true to yourself, your family, and your passion for what you do, then I firmly believe transparency in your business will help lead not only to great professional success but also to personal peace and fulfillment. And that, my friends, is what I believe “balance” is all about.

Editors Pick from Liz from Spoonfed: Marlynn is a Portland mom who writes about issues facing mamapreneurs at her blog www.mamapreneursinc.com. And she knows what she’s talking about. She’s the owner of a funky little design shop in Portland, Urban Bliss LLC www.urbanblissdesign.com and is also the Editor of Mama Lit www.mamalit.com.

Call us working moms, mompreneurs, work-at-home-moms, hybrid moms…whatever the label, we think you CAN have it all, with a little ingenuity and a lot of persistence.

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