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SPECIAL: Key to the entrepreneur mom

This article was translated using AI technologies from our Spanish edition. Errors can occur as a result of this process.

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

In 2013, Heike Söns, a communications specialist by profession, discovered that she was expecting a baby. Announcing her pregnancy to her superiors resulted in her losing her job.

When her daughter was born, Heike decided to start her own company in order to continue working without missing this phase of her life as a mother. He worked with Olga Schiaffino, also a communicator and mother of two, who ran an agency for coordinating corporate events.

Their first product was a bazaar called Momzilla Fest, which they use to promote and promote the work of other entrepreneurial moms and act as a link between them and potential customers. They advertise it on their Facebook page and at the same time it acts as a meeting point for their community on social networks. The bazaar takes place twice a year in Mexico City.

In 2017, entrepreneurs launched Momzilla.com.mx, a portal where mothers can find a directory of services (their second source of income), a blog with content related to motherhood, and soon an online store. The business model, therefore, is to manage advertisements for entrepreneurial mothers to offer products or services, including furniture cleaning, medical supplies, food for breastfeeding women, and baby products. "We currently have a base of around 1,000 women entrepreneurs across the country," says Heike.

Heike Söns and Olga Schiaffino / Photo: Entrepreneur en Español

Heike's case is very common. "75% of my 80,000 candidates are mothers and most of them don't work because of a lack of support in the birth of their children, either because of a lack of credibility in flexible work or because certain organizations have a macho culture," he says. Ana Lucía Cepeda, founder of Bolsa Rosa – a platform for virtual headhunters and a flexible job bank for women – who became a mother four months ago.

Entrepreneurial mothers like Heike are usually between 23 and 40 years old. Their businesses are more traditional (such as coaching, therapies, gourmet activities, marketing and multilevel networks, agencies, marketing agencies, network management, etc.) as they have greater control over their businesses and their family. and even work from home.

In this context, the Failure Institute points out that “Women must plan a day in which, in addition to participating in their business, they also combine housework and childcare. For this reason, they choose companies from the start that give them freedom of time and mobility. "

Victoria 147 – an organization that aims to inspire the future generation of women leaders through training and community – points out that in its network of entrepreneurs, the five main business areas of services (27%), fashion (12%), beauty and wellness (11%) ), Art and design (10%), and food and beverages (8%).

As for the reasons for which they commit, the primary need is to increase or maintain their income (15% of women are the main breadwinner of their families) followed by personal improvement (66% want to start a business of themselves out of pride self), independence and an intellectual challenge, as well as by identifying a neglected opportunity or niche.

An interesting fact is that 70% of their income goes to the community and their family and that 100% think that work-life balance is important.

Another aspect they share is that they generally have few breaks as they use their free time to go about their business. "While their children are in school or daycare, they visit customers, produce, close sales, meet, see suppliers and solve problems because they change roles after 3:00 pm and are full-time mothers," says Blanca Sánchez, Director of Spacioss Coworking, a collaborative workspace for women in the Narvarte neighborhood of Mexico City.

In addition to discrimination, entrepreneurial mothers face other barriers such as a lack of education and access to finance, limited time and access to opportunities.

If you are a mother and are about to start up or already have your own business, you are certainly faced with these adverse circumstances too. From the hand of the stories of successful parent entrepreneurs, here are some keys to being successful as a mother and as an entrepreneur.

1. RUN YOUR BUSINESS BY GOALS

Regardless of their entrepreneurial mom schedule, the reality is that going through this merger gives them some kind of superpowers like multitasking, improvising, and quick problem-solving. "Now I use my time better," says Ana Lucía Cepeda from the stock exchange. my family."

This entrepreneur shows her ace up her sleeve: orient your business by the goals, not the hours you spend in them. “Working this way helps improve productivity because you know what you need to achieve, and it doesn't matter where you are or when you do it, but you deliver it fully when you have to,” he says .

This way of working enabled his company to bring the best candidates into its ranks, most of them also mothers and former employees of large companies with high management profiles. “We all adjust our time as needed because we work for results. And we help each other with technology and hold virtual meetings once a week to see how we're doing and how we can support each other. ""

Thanks to this approach, the entrepreneur was able to take several months of motherhood to enjoy the arrival of her firstborn Diego, knowing how to delegate and coordinate with her partner and team in a timely manner. "I wanted to be able to keep calm that nothing bad happened and business kept flowing," she says. "And when something came up, I just went online or held a video conference."

Ana Lucía Cepeda / Photo: Entrepreneur en Español

2. IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES THAT OTHERS DO NOT SEE YOU

Another special skill the momprenenurs acquire is a more accurate vision to spot occasions when they may not have seen them before. The reason? “Children are their main source of inspiration: they see something in themselves or in their behavior that brings about an idea or an improvement,” emphasizes Victoria 147.

Such is the case with Betsy Eslava, who decided to start "a business for my daughter" when she couldn't find schools teaching ballet to babies. "The only way was four hours from my house and it was very expensive," he recalls. In 2003, Baby Ballet Marbet was born, a place of initiation for dancing for children from the age of one and a half, where sports such as gymnastics and Tae Kwon Do are also taught.

After 15 years, Betsy has broken two major stereotypes with her business: ballet as a strict and rigid discipline that only applies to girls as 10% of her students are men and the belief that dancing requires a certain type of skill. Body by accepting all types of students, even if they don't have the typical complexion of a dancer. "We want kids to fall in love with culture, music and live arts by making ballet accessible and by removing the constipation," he says.

Betsy Eslava / Photo: Entrepreneur en Español

Additionally, Betsy offers other mothers the opportunity to get involved through the Baby Ballet franchise while enjoying their children at the same time. "Most of my franchisees have careers and are mothers," explains Betsy. "I want them to grow up and walk hand in hand with their children within the corporate culture," he says.

To date, the brand looks after 10,000 students per month in 75 branches across the country, five of which are owned and the rest in franchise format. In addition, the company has crossed borders and has nine international offices in Colombia, Costa Rica and Chile. And he has among his plans to conquer the United States, Canada and Europe.

She did not achieve these successes on her own as she and her husband Mario Loaiza formed a team that is responsible for the short and long term planning and the relevant aspects of the franchise. Additionally, he has surrounded himself with outside consultants and millennial professionals including a fashion designer, production engineer, marketers, economists and educators who are responsible for identifying market trends.

3. SEARCH AND CREATE SUPPORT NETWORKS

The fact that an enterprising mother can share the responsibility of looking after her children and the home with her partner and family can improve the survival or failure of a business. Support systems extend outside the home and also extend to the corporate level. One possibility for this is the hand of a partner who, together with the entrepreneur, manages the administration or operation of the company. According to Victoria 147, 56% of her community was doing it with a partner.

On the flip side, there are organizations that bring women entrepreneurs together and provide space to connect with mentors and allies, like the aforementioned Victoria 147, Mexican Businesswomen's Association (AMMJE), and Spacioss Coworking (40% of users are mothers) , Bolsa Rosa (who has linked around 5,000 women with flexible jobs) and Momzilla.

Recently, Heike and Olga from Momzilla, together with Mónica Martínez (also a mother), financed the El Encanto del Caos project via Kickstarter, a scrapbook with activities designed to strengthen and inspire other mothers in raising their children. The campaign exceeded the funding target and ended with 108% of the planned quota.

Momzilla's growth has been organic thanks to the support of its community, who used their intelligence and creativity to weave ideas for the platform. "That made the journey not only easier, but also very emotional," explain the founders. Both believe that despite the challenges and difficult moments, one of the great satisfactions of this stage is that not only are their children and business growing, but also the businesses of any entrepreneurial mother who puts their trust in them.

As part of their plans for the future, members are looking for Momzilla to consolidate themselves as the largest mothers' community in Mexico and to expand the Momzilla festival to cities like Querétaro, Mérida and Cuernavaca.

"Children demand a lot of attention, but so do companies because they are like another child who has to be constantly fed," says Heike.

4. BE CONSTANTLY TRAINED

Improving the conditions in which they work is undoubtedly one of the tasks of the ecosystem for women, who make up 51.4% of the national population and 37.8% of the workforce. This is highlighted by the Entrepreneurship of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Mexico (ASEM). Female entrepreneurship not only creates jobs and contributes to the country's economic growth, it also enables them to work and be economically independent, especially when it comes to business with mothers at the helm.

Juana Ramírez, co-founder of ASEM and entrepreneur (founder of Sohin), points to three factors that stop women from entrepreneurship: equal access to finance, no more even terrain in family and domestic tasks, and a lack of education and training to address risk aversion and face running their own businesses.

Blanca Sánchez from Spacioss Coworking agrees. “Women need to train to be better contributors to families and business, and today there are an infinite number of tools to do so. Training is an investment, it is knowledge building and that means more sales, business, customers and prospects. ""

Cecilia Valdés knew that through training she could broaden her horizons and initiate a change that appealed to her as a consumer. When she moved to Canada with her husband in 2009, she became interested in the spa business. However, not knowing how it worked, she decided to study cosmiatrics and a specialized diploma in this service and invest 12 months in this business. During this time she met Michael Beresford, the founder of the natural cream brand Moor Spa, and was convinced of his products because they did not contain any chemicals, artificial colors or flavors.

Back in Mexico in 2011, Cecilia decided to start a concept that would combine the marketing of these creams with the experience she had gained in the spa industry. He raised a million pesos between his own savings and loans from friends, so that his "first child" was born: Moor Spa + Nails in Las Lomas, west of Mexico City. A month later, it opened a second location in Plaza Carso in the same area of ​​the Mexican capital.

Cecilia Valdés / Photo: Entrepreneur en Español

5. Always strike a balance between family and business

By 2014, Cecilia and her husband and partner wanted to open another Santa Fe office when an event put them to the test: her first pregnancy. It was a complicated month leading up to the premature birth of his daughter Alejandra. Thanks to her strength and the team she had formed in her business, both her motherhood and her company went ahead.

Today Moor Spa + Nails offers beauty services based on the model of the hotel and offers an "accommodation service" in which around 2,000 guests are looked after by certified beauticians with high hygiene standards every month. In addition, around 100 branded products and a range of premium emails are sold.

The range of services for men and women includes manicures, pedicures, facial treatments, waxing, machines and devices, tanning, eyelashes, gel and varnish. And it offers a spa concept for girls.

Currently, Cecilia, with her three children (one newborn) and eight units (three of their own, one in partnership and four franchises) is faced with the constant challenge of finding the balance between running the business and looking after their little ones. “Being an entrepreneur means reducing your fear and learning to trust your instincts. And with children there is no way to give up, ”she assures.

This last challenge is like the "kryptonite" of Mompreneurs. Well, if they turn their attention to the family, they might have low sales in their business or a lack of structure. And when they look at the company, the kids and the house get annoyed about it. There is also a feeling of guilt for not being sufficiently present with your family or work. What's the cure? Heike gives one possible answer: "Being a mom and an entrepreneur works without a fixed schedule and you have to learn to recognize your mistakes, grow, forgive yourself and start over if necessary."

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