After my son was born, I knew I couldn't return to the high-intensity tech world if I was going to be the kind of parent and professional I wanted to be. So I started my own business. However, long nights, early mornings and less time with my family forced me to think about my business differently. I launched MORE, family-inclusive spaces for working parents, and completely repositioned my business. Creating a professional life that aligns with my personal values was possible with some vision and business innovation.
Raising a family while growing a business isn't for the faint of heart. Both take devotion.
But that doesn't mean both can't be done well.
Here are the stories of three women entrepreneurs who found innovative ways to make their companies work for them, too.
Found an Untapped Market
Christine Michel Carter is a marketing consultant and the founder and CEO of Christine Michel Carter, where she and her team work with advertising agencies, research firms and companies to ensure their work connects with Black women and millennial mom consumers.
Prior to becoming a mother, Carter's research focused on millennials. She earned awards and led conversations around the new viewpoints of this powerful and dynamic group.
I never wanted to be in a position where my values were compromised again. Instead of being obsessed with rapidly scaling our firm, we shifted our model to focus on deep, sustained impact.
—Leniece Flowers Brissett, founder and CEO, Compass Talent Group
After she had children, her perspective changed and so did her business. Her experiences as a Black millennial mom helped her identify gaps in the market and led to business innovation.
Carter decided to narrow the focus of her company to a misunderstood and underserved segment of the population: Black millennial women and millennial moms. Her newfound focus led to an array of new clients, collaborations and press. She started a completely new business venture, Mompreneur and Me: the only national, free, mommy-and-me professional development event for moms to network and develop professional skills.
“Motherhood didn't hurt my career, it helped it," she says. "I became a leader, willing to take on new opportunities. I assess situations holistically, looking at all possible solutions. That is motherhood on a daily basis!"
Aligned Financial Growth With Personal and Professional Goals
Leniece Flowers Brissett is the founder and CEO of Compass Talent Group, a talent recruitment and strategy consulting agency that specializes in diversity and inclusion.
Like many young, hardworking women entrepreneurs at the beginning of their career, Brissett believed she had to sacrifice her well-being, and even her beliefs, in order to succeed.
However, Brissett experienced a complete shift in values after the premature birth of her twin girls.
"Even though I successfully ran a profitable business for three years before motherhood, I quickly learned that I could no longer operate in the way I had historically," she says.
It was this shift in mindset that led to business innovation. She revisited her company's purpose to ensure that her company's brand aligned with their growth financials and values.
“I never wanted to be in a position where my values were compromised again. Instead of being obsessed with rapidly scaling our firm, we shifted our model to focus on deep, sustained impact," she explains. "In 2019 we'll only work with select clients, by design, so we can over deliver and have energy to be fully present with our families. And I practice what I preach: Everyone we employ are people of color, women of color and/or members of the LGBTQ community."
Her advice: use your core values as a compass.
“I ask myself: 10 years from now when I retell this story to my daughters, will I be proud of my decision?" Brissett says. "I now ensure that clients are clear on our values and approach. Integrity, one of our family values, means everything."
Not only is she now better suited to serve her clients, she's happier doing it.
Integrated motherhood and entrepreneurship
Katherine Wintsch is the CEO and founder of MOM Complex, a consulting company driving business innovation for the world's biggest mom-focused companies. Her idea grew from a desire to connect with mothers across the globe who were experiencing the pressures of work and motherhood.
“I started Mom Complex after the birth of my son, when I was experiencing more feelings of stress, doubt and workplace burnout than ever," Wintsch explains. "The opportunity to study the lives of over 10,000 mothers across 17 countries helped me realize that my feelings weren't unusual—in fact, they were the norm."
Winstsch now seamlessly combines the roles of founder and mother.
“This new perspective IS my business," she explains. "I help companies create opportunities to make the lives of mothers easier. I'm speaking directly to mothers to bring them tips and tricks for making life easier, both from my perspective and from the perspective of their peers. I decided to dedicate my life to making the world a better place for mothers, and in turn, created a better life for myself."
Women entrepreneurs gain an entirely new skill set through the experience of motherhood. Working moms have the unique opportunity to leverage these traits to create thriving—and inspiring—businesses.
Read more articles on work-life balance.
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