I had several blog posts brewing in my mind for this week; my outlines were laid out and I was ready to go; and then shit happens. For the last 2 weeks, my adorable, fun-loving, caring father-in-law has been in the Intensive Care Unit fighting for his life. It has been a roller coaster of an affair with many ups and downs, and I have been treading water as fast as I can in order to keep up with everything. After all, I am a mom, wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, mompreneur, advocate for other moms & entrepreneurs, and community member. Sleep is in limited supply, but I have stayed up to date with my boys’ homework and science fair project, cheered on their team at basketball practices, cooked dinner, walked the dogs, participated in committee meetings, made some unreal progress with the prototype, and stayed on target with my blog and my weekly blog at StartupNation while praying for my father-in-law.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that a few years ago, I applied to a job post for a hospital social worker. I was both enthusiastic and stunned when I was called for an interview. At this point, I had not been formally working for 7 or 8 years. I washed my hair, suited up, and headed to the interview. The hospital was part of a larger conglomerate, so the first part of the interview covered all the basics with H.R. You know all the general stuff: I had to work a year before accruing any vacation days; there was no flex time if I wanted to attend school programming for my children; parking was my own responsibility. A dream job – right? Ha!
Last week, I was listening to a podcast on “branding” while de-cluttering my desk (by the way – my desk is a mess all over again). What I took away from the podcast is that the brand is reflected in all aspects of the business. Obviously. If you have successfully branded your business, you already know this. BUT, if you are just building a business, successful branding takes time.
As the desk cleaning began to take more and more time, I started to reflect on how I got to my current place, my brand.
I did not just wake up one morning and say “today is the day – I am starting not one but two business ventures” rather there was a gradual progression that led to this point. A path that was unprecedented for me and with little direction or help from others.
A few years ago, I began to consider what life would be like as my boys gained independence. For at home moms, it is a scary thought that your little “charges” may not need you as much one day! I began to explore my options. I scheduled information interviews with people in positions of interest, took a few continuing education credits, met with the alumni department of my graduate school, and basically floundered about how to put it all together.
I accepted a part-time job subbing for a preschool, increased my volunteer positions, and took a number of job interviews. The job interviews were INTERESTING! You may have read in an earlier post that I have a Master of Social Work. Well, I responded to one job posting about a need for a hospital social worker…turned out to be a job for an abortion clinic counselor.
There were other interviews. Positions that allowed for no time off until I worked there a year…no allowances to attend the Thanksgiving play at the boys school, no flexibility in hours, etc . Obviously, I did not find a right match. That was the beginning of my brand – Who can inspire at home moms? Who can help, aid or assist? I was onto something ….
Yesterday, I had a phone conference with a successful mompreneur, and the best thing about the whole conversation was that she admitted to having failed several times before being successful.
How was that encouraging? It is refreshing to hear someone speak to their mix-ups, who not only has survived to talk about them but has moved on to be victorious.
When searching the web and seeking advice, we mostly hear success stories. But, there had to have been some mix-ups, mistakes, and flat out failures before all these successes. Hearing about others’ misguided attempts gives us the confidence to drive forward and pursue our passions. Why? Because we know that eventually we will get it right.
Furthermore, accepting mistakes and moving forward is even more difficult for the at home mom. For however many years we have been the CEO of our households, master of our domain, controlling the ebb and flow of our environment. As we claim our stake in the start up world, there are so many factors that are out of our control and we are often times forced to work at others’ pace. We may be a little overzealous because we have been removed from that part of the world for some time….and when something does not work our way, the disappointment hits even harder.
I ask you fellow mompreneurs….what was your start like? Can you laugh about your mistakes now? Can you share any of your biggest blunders?