What the hell is going with the Braduct, you are probably asking? I have not written about the Braduct in a long while and this has been intentional – I have been in a regrouping phase of Research and Development. Believe me, I did not want to deny any of you information or updates, I just needed time to regroup on the arduous path in front me. You all know that I am extremely impatient and, therefore, set ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS timelines for myself. After a bit of searching and examining what I was really trying to do, I am now able to proceed forward with the R&D phase.
Just to bring all of you up to speed…..last year, I had an inkling of an idea for a bra-related product. I began the VERY LONG journey of nurturing this idea from the confines of my brain to the Women of America. Along the way, my ten-year old son (who blushes endlessly when he hears the word bra) exclaimed that I was not working on a bra-related product but rather a BRADUCT. The term Braduct was born after this, and although this is not the official product name, we now affectionately refer to the item as a Braduct.
It has been a roller coaster of a winter that began with my mom having major back surgery and ended with my father-in-law passing. I do not want to make this post all about the ups and downs of my life over the last few months, but rather about where my life will take me now. Beyond still supporting my mom, being there for my kids, and lending a shoulder for my mother-in-law to cry on…..I also really need to get my ass in gear with my mompreneur travels. Throughout the winter, I felt proud that I was still continuing to check items off my to-do list while dealing with the swell of personal crises surrounding me. Now that spring has sprung (I think – it is snowing a bit today), I am ready to forge ahead with a new attitude. Just like the sun will be shining daily (maybe), I plan to sparkle again in my pursuits.
A few weeks ago I wrote about paying it forward, and I proposed that all of you should make your own pay it forward list. Well, my list keeps growing, and I keep challenging myself to think of something really creative to do with it (probably a vlog is best — which is why I more than likely keep putting it off). As the list keeps accumulating, it occurs to me that I really have not one but two pay it forward lists. A personal and professional one….yes, there is some overlap, but really there is room for two lists. While the professional pay it forward list continues to grow, today is a toast to the personal side.
In October, 2010, I basically woke up deciding to chase a dream, become a mompreneur, take a spark of an idea to market, and blog about the entire journey. This came as a BIG SHOCK to my family and friends. My family never saw me being an entrepreneur (I was a social worker turned stay-at-home-mom for 10 years) let alone many of them never heard of a blog! I am sure that my friends were equally surprised at my decision to follow an idea to market, or that I even had an idea that I wanted to bring to fruition. Needless to say, there is a group of peeps that jumped on board and amazingly supported me. That is how I came up with the idea for pay it forward part 1&1/2. This seemed logical to me since pay it forward part 2 is a list of those that have mentored and helped me, and in between the mentors and me is my first line of defense — friends and fam.
By now you probably know that I am a big fan of StartupNation. Why? I am not being compensated by them, endorsed by them, or really connected to them in any way. So, why do I continually promote them? Simply, because it works! When an entrepreneur – either new or seasoned – turns to StartupNation for tips, the advice is there! So much information is available and you do not feel like there is a “catch.” It is a great site to look for answers and hook up with other start-up business owners. This piece is especially invaluable for mompreneurs.
Often, if a mom has either been home for a few years or is moving from the traditional workplace to being a mompreneur….capital and advice could be limited. Hiring a professional coach or advisor at that point may not be a reality, and StartupNation can help her gain knowledge and connect with others. The website provides easy access for moms (and all start-up business owners) to move forward with their dreams.
At the end of 2010, many of my fellow women bloggers wrote fabulous bucket lists of what they wanted to do in the upcoming year. I was not that organized at the end of the year, and I was trying to avoid writing about new years resolutions in general. I did think about 2011 in terms of what I wanted to do in abundance, but now I have my bucket list!
On the previously mentioned lists, I added what I wanted to do in the comment section on several. At the top of my wish list for 2011 was taking my mom to Vegas. With so much going on, why would this be at the top of my list? Well, you have to read my list to find out!
All over twitter and fb, there are wishes, hopes, dreams and expectations for 2011. Truthfully, I am just hoping to survive winter break…just kidding! I am hopeful that my “braduct” (thanks JB for coining that term) will evolve from an idea into a prototype, and then, of course, a useful braduct that all women NEED to buy. I have a rough outline of how I am going to get there, but I still have many unanswered questions.
The most difficult piece for me is that those questions will more than likely be left unanswered until 2011. I have spoken about it before, patience is something that I am learning. With that, I am also learning to prioritize differently and, occasionally, lower my expectations for myself.
This week has been lonely without “prototype guy”. “Prototype guy” is visiting family for the holidays, and I cannot begrudge him that. BUT, I miss him! We were on such a fabulous creative roll before he left. Who would have thought that we could have such a great time playing with bras in a purely platonic, utilitarian way? My 2011 expectation is that we can pick up where we left and continue on that roll.
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 ….
The last ten years have been an amazing ride while staying home with my 2 boys, 3 dogs and 1 husband. Holding a Master of Social Work definitely eased the pain and aided the situation often. As my oldest son approaches double digits, small little thoughts start to sneak into my head….What will I do when the boys have their own teenage lives? Will I have any other accomplishments? Did I really want to go back to social work or am I more creative? I have this teeny, tiny creative idea, but not really sure how to execute. And, then something happened in Vegas.
Surely – you are bewildered. Let me explain. I went on an adult getaway to Las Vegas, and decided to try my luck at some outdoor gaming. As usual, the people around the table became fast friends, and I was excitedly retelling the story of seeing Steve Wynn and Tony Robbins the night before. The guy to my right did not know who either of those people were. The guy to my left was from Michigan and told me he ran a web site, StartupNation.com. I dismissed the information and played my hand.
Later, StartupNation piqued my curiosity. Turns out, StartupNation was just what I needed to light the fire.
This is my adventure. After 10 years of domestic goddess duties, volunteering, & consulting for free – can I make a comeback? Can I get my concept off the ground? Who will help? Who will support? All that remains to be seen.