Mompreneur Reality: The Latest Findings

Ask any mother who owns their own business and they’ll give you a different version of their own mompreneur reality. In today’s post, Pamela Webber, Chief Marketing Officer of 99designs reflects the results of a recent study by her company. The findings just might surprise you.
More than a few high-profile reports offering interesting stats on female founders and entrepreneurs have come out lately, highlighting the increasingly important role we women are playing in today’s global economy. For example, according to the sixth annual report from Womenable and American Express OPEN on the state of women-owned businesses in the US, female entrepreneurship is exploding.
The report states that between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%—a rate five times the national average. Additionally, women-owned businesses now account for 30% of privately held companies in the US, and, as a result, should create more than 5 million new jobs nationwide by 2018. This is astounding and impressive.
However, much less research has been done on women founders with children. Given how large and growing we know this segment of entrepreneurs is on 99designs, we thought it was time to shine the light on these “Mompreneurs.” To do so, we surveyed over 500 mom entrepreneurs to dig into how they manage to run successful business and families.
We crafted our survey to identify some of the most common challenges, sacrifices and realities for these moms. The results were enlightening and inspiring. While no mom entrepreneur is exactly the same, our respondents shared similar characteristics. Here’s what we found:

As expected, mom entrepreneurs work hard and make big sacrifices.

While these moms are getting businesses up and running, they are also keeping the family up and running, as 71% of the mom entrepreneurs we surveyed are the primary child caretaker. How do these moms manage to keep it all going?
Well, 73% often or sometimes put in a second shift – i.e., a few hours of extra work online after the kids go to bed. These moms also sacrifice in two major areas in their life – “working out” and “time with friends.” Lilach Bullock, a self-made social media expert speaker and trainer advises other mom entrepreneurs to “make sure your time is spent as productively as possible” in order to minimize unnecessary sacrifices.

Mompreneurs start their business after kids are in school.

Eighty percent of mom entrepreneurs started their business after they had kids. What’s interesting is that this is strikingly different when compared to dad entrepreneurs. Only 60% of dads started their business after they had kids. Also interesting is that the average age of their child when moms started their business was six years old, about the average age the little one goes off to school.

Mompreneurs practice work-life integration.

This point was an “ah-ha” for us as there is much talk of entrepreneurs striving for work-life balance. Jacqui Boland, founder of Red Tricycle, offered the reframing of this picture as work-life integration, and our research supports it. For example, mompreneurs think of their family as part of their team.
Erin Schurtz, founder of Mommi, did this by finding a nanny that loves her kids like they are her family. She explains, “We found someone like that through when we moved to Hawaii and I was so busy with work. She has been such a lifesaver, because I know she will take such good care of my little ones while I am building the business. It lowers my stress, allows me to focus, and I couldn’t do it without her!”

Mompreneurs prioritize self-care

Our moms may burn the midnight oil on occasion, but 63% get 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Neka Pasquale, founder of Urban Remedy says, “balance life and work with a healthy diet.” Other entrepreneurs, like Elizabeth Welborn, founder and CEO of Stick and Ball, finds time for her rejuvenating horseback riding hobby.

Mompreneurs invest in professional development

Sixty-three percent of mompreneurs have a network of entrepreneurs they rely on, which is important not just for emotional support but for practical support as well. A strong professional circle should definitely be a mompreneur reality.
When starting my business, I found my network of entrepreneurs invaluable in helping me learn how to incorporate, how to get a website and logo design, and other functional parts of starting an e-commerce business. Not only did this help me get my business off the ground, it helped me build a skill set that I use to this day. Gina Pell, founder of Splendora & Content Chief of The What, says it well: “Never stop learning.”
So, why does mom do all this? To make money? To follow her passion? The number-one advantage she states to starting her own business is flexibility. Presumably, this indicates that entrepreneurship is a better path for her work-life integration than a traditional corporate job.
For more details, see the 99designs mompreneur survey and advice from today’s mompreneur on the 99designs blog.


Pamela Webber

Chief Marketing Officer at 99designs
Pamela Webber is Chief Marketing Officer at 99designs, where she heads up the global marketing team responsible for driving customer acquisition and increasing lifetime value of customers. Prior to joining 99designs, she founded weeDECOR, an ecommerce company selling custom wall decals for babies' and kids' rooms, and also worked as an executive marketing consultant for True&Co, a wildly successful ecommerce startup specializing in custom-fitted women’s lingerie. Earlier in her career, Pam served in various corporate strategy and marketing positions with brands Borden, eBay and its subsidiary, PayPal, Inc. A resident of San Francisco, Pamela received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MBA from Harvard Business School.



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