“JOB = Just Over Broke!”
“Follow your dreams, or you’ll spend your life working for someone who did!”
These are the words that inspire every entrepreneur to strike out on their own. It was only a few years ago that I was faced with the decision of whether or not to pursue a career as a Mom Inventor when I invented the Green Glider Mop Pad. Who was I going to get to help me? Going it alone was a crash and burn scenario and I knew it, even though I was pretty naïve back then. At the time, I certainly didn’t know people in the industry who could or would guide and coach me. There wasn’t an inventor’s user’s manual that I could follow. Not anything that I could rely on, anyway.
It seemed like the process of bringing a new product to market was this big secret and only the big dogs knew how to make it happen. Well, I wanted to do it myself. I didn’t want some large company doing it all for me and then paying me pennies while they made millions on MY idea and hard work. I understand that they have the connections, relationships and the cash. But it also meant that I had no control over anything and if their weak attempt to bring Green Glider to market failed, I would end up back at the beginning, having wasted all that precious time. The window of opportunity is only open for so long.
So I looked for other people and entrepreneurs to give me advice and share what they’ve learned. Not an easy thing to find in this day in age. What I found was that many business people are stingy with their contacts, and believe that because they had to work so hard to acquire the knowledge and business connections. Many refused to simply give any of that away to a rookie Mom with little business experience, like me, even though it doesn’t cost them anything to “share” what they know. Others would slip in that irritating question that makes me cringe, “So what’s in it for me” or “Sure I’ll introduce you to a person who can help you, if you give me a couple points on all sales that you get out of it”. Everyone wanted a couple points, just for making a phone call!
What I really needed to do was find other people who were just like me. Other Mom’s and other entrepreneurs who were in the same boat as I was, who wouldn’t hoard their contacts and experiences that helped them move forward. Where would I find such mentors? As luck would have it, I discovered the largest entrepreneurial network ever, called CEO Space. I joined this group, went to the forums and learned a mountain of business knowledge from the many classes and instructors who teach there, plus met hundreds and hundreds of members from all over the U.S. and worldwide who open up their address books freely and share any and all contacts.
This was such refreshing behavior that I had never seen before! The point behind this methodology is called “Cooperative Capitalism”, instead of Competitive Capitalism which has been plaguing the business world throughout history, where only a few people win. We’ve all heard that saying, if you want to be successful, it’s all about “Who You Know”. It’s really sad that business people outside of the like-minded groups I now belong to, have been conditioned to be so competitive and selfish, because there is enough success and abundance to go around for everyone who wants to become an entrepreneur.
Another invaluable “online” Facebook group that I joined is called Mompact. Like CEO Space, knowledge and contacts are shared but the members of Mompact are Mom Inventors or Mompreneurs. Most of which have products that somehow help the everyday lives of Moms. I love Mompact because this group is even more like me. We are all Moms who are working to bring our inventions to market. So we all closely relate to taking care of small children while at the same time, working with retailers, manufacturers, patents, internet marketing, social networking, branding, fulfillment, accounting, investors, you name it…we’re doing it! And that means that Mompreneurs never stop working. As I write this at midnight, I am putting in yet another consecutive 16 hour work day.
It’s hard enough to invent a product and actually get it to the point where it’s ready to go into stores. But doing it all the while having your children at your side? This is an accomplishment that is only achieved by a small percentage of driven, committed, Mompreneurs who make sacrifices that many people would not be willing to make. It gives new meaning to the old “stay-at-home-mom” adage because even though most of us are doing it from home, we are building significant businesses and running companies as well as creating work and jobs for those who we hire to help us. Because no one person can do everything totally alone, you need to build a team.
I know that for me personally, I couldn’t stomach the thought of ever punching a time clock again, or being micro-managed , or dealing with office politics and that whole corporate office dynamic. But that does not mean I don’t want to work or have a soaring career! I just chose to do it on my own terms and also be the one who is taking care of my child.
Necessity is certainly the Mother of Invention. Mom inventors are creating solutions to their own everyday problems, and bringing real products to life by acknowledging a hole in the market and filling it. We are turning our homes into our own corporate headquarters, while keeping up with all of the needs of our beloved children! We ARE Real Mompreneurs. Hey, that’s a great idea for a reality show! Except this would actually be “real”, not staged. The proof would be that our products are on the shelves of retail stores, sold on Amazon, QVC , catalogs, websites, and even on TV commercials. We’re moms and we are taking care of our children while making our dreams come true, from home.
Mompreneurs of Mompact, and Entrepreneurs of CEO Space are living proof that cooperation works. I’ve received so much mentoring and help from members of these two groups that it’s now time for me to return the favor. I now mentor others who are in need. Who would have thought that people would be coming to me for business advice and coaching on the path to becoming an inventor or a Mompreneur? Certainly not me. But I’ve now got the experience and knowledge that has come over the past 4 years from just having done it with my own product, the Green Glider Mop Pad, along with the priceless mentoring I received from the fabulous people who said yes when I needed coaching and a helping hand, without expecting anything in return, because you know what….someone helped them, and they remember receiving it.
The power of mentoring can be defined in this simple phrase: Learn, Earn and Return. 1) Learn: You receive mentoring from those who have the experience and contacts to share. 2) Earn: You put that information to work for you and build your business. 3) Return: Then you give back and return the cooperation and knowledge to others who are now where you used to be when you began your journey to become an entrepreneur and create the life of your dreams, making personal and financial sacrifices you never thought you’d make. Because truly, Entrepreneurialism is living for a few years the way most people won’t, so you can live the rest of your life the way most people can’t!