Woman by Christian Fu Mueller
It’s a common belief among women executives that they have only two options in their lives: a happy family or a successful career. Both options are equally demanding and mastering them at the same requires stamina that most women think they don’t posses. The truth is, your priorities and values will shuffle a great deal after your baby is born. Suddenly, a strict and tough businesswoman can become a sensitive and loving mother, throwing all her career away for the little bundle of happiness. It’s equally possible that a full-time mother and housewife will enter the hard business world with her baby by her side.
Mothers who become entrepreneurs have an amazing advantage compared to the others. They learnt how to manage their time down to a second and work hard, effectively, and creatively. They are true masters and there is so much we can learn from them, even if we’re not mothers ourselves.
1. Sara Cohen
Fertility Law Lawyer at her Own Practice, Fertility Law Canada
Sara Cohen provides legal advice and representation for parents, egg, sperm,, and embryo donors, clinics and other people or businesses involved in the fertility industry. She used to work at Bay Street at one of the largest firms in the country. After her son was born she left the firm to become a full-time mother with a dream: to help everyone who is struggling with starting a family. Many people believe that the reason behind her fertility law practice is her own struggles with getting pregnant. Luckily, she was able to get pregnant very easily.
However, fertility law has been her dream practice and the birth of her son just showed her the right time for a slight career change. The experience of having a child inspired her in two ways. She didn’t want to observe intended parents to struggle with building their families when she knew she could help. Secondly, having a baby made her start thinking about what kind of person she would like to be and the career she would like to have. Sara wanted to use her degree to help people have children — even if in only a small way.
Prior to starting her own practice, Sara believed she would have more time with her son. The career change definitely gave her more flexibility, but the hours of work stayed more or less unchanged. People often underestimate the time they need to start and run a business. It’s an especially difficult task for mothers since they’re not on their own anymore. Sara’s son stared going to day care three times a week. As her business grew, she needed to add the remaining two working days on top of those three. Now she is trying to steal one of her working days and spend it with her son. As the company became more successful, she doesn’t need to be there that often and can spend the precious time with her little son.
The reason behind her success can be found in her burning passion for what she does. You can only be successful when you’re engaged in something that you feel passionately about.
Sara’s advice to other mompreneurs is quite simple: “Do something you love, and the rest will follow”.
2. Clare Kumar
Clare is a Chief Organizer at Streamlife
Clare is a perfect example of a hard-working woman executive who started her own business after a maternity leave. She used to work in the corporate world for many years. I know there would be an endless line of people waiting to have her job and she knew it as well. She found it fulfilling and interesting, but soon her cubicle-sized living space started to appear too tight. So Clare swapped her wonderful office job to work from home for a major telecom company.
Suddenly, she learnt she can double up tasks and still feel comfortable. She hit the gym instead of taking a 90-minute commute to and from work, and networking lunches were soon replaced by time with her kids. Do you spend hours on various conference calls? Clare managed to fold a serious number of socks during one three-hour long call. Effectivity just got a new face. She was able to manage all her working and home tasks and still have free time to enjoy as she desired.
While she was on her second maternity leave in Montreal, she started with business organization part-time. Clare found that she could use her own experience of being a business mother to help and guide other people and to show them how to use their unique talents effectively.
Soon after she started with business organization, she and her family had to move to Toronto and the mortgage and bills drove her back to the rat race. As a mother of two, she was fighting hard for her place but unfortunately couldn’t keep up with eager analysts in their mid-twenties and maintain the flexibility she loved at the same time.
In 2008, she decided to wave goodbye to her cubicle and start her own business: Streamlife. If you are an entrepreneur, executive, or you just work many hours a week and you find it uncomfortable, Clare and her team are here to help you. She has been through various jobs and seen many people struggling with splitting their time among things, and she can use her experience to help you manage your problems.
Clare is now inspiring and guiding others to live an organized lifestyle to increase their productivity and their piece of mind. The reason behind her choice is simple: she believes that if you want to get the most out of your life, an organized and steady lifestyle will get you there. She sets an example herself. Her job gives her flexibility to be a great mother and an even greater entrepreneur at the same time.
Asking for Clare’s advice? ”In the elusive quest for ‘balance,’ step back and review how effectively you’re investing your time between work, family, romance, health, play, wealth, personal growth, and your environment. Take action to improve weak areas to live your most fulfilling life.”
3. Karyn Climans
Karyn is CEO and Owner at Tail-Wags Helmet Covers
When Karyn left university, she envisioned a different future for herself than she has now. She wanted to have a job with a creative side that would challenge her, bring her personal satisfaction, and of course, happiness.
A couple of years later, and she has it all: a successful career in a creative industry that is helping people in the Americas and overseas keep safe while doing sports. This is something she would never guess she would be doing.
Eight years ago, she was involved in a serious accident while skiing and the helmet she was wearing saved her life. It was a moment that made her realize how important it is to stay safe while enjoying sport activities. However, this wasn’t her only task. She also wanted to create a job that would give her flexibility to look after her children, and so Tail Wags were born.
Tail Wags is a company specializing in designing and manufacturing helmet covers for every type of helmet on the market. Helmets that are sold in shops are often dull and strictly serving one purpose only: safety. Karyn wanted to turn boring helmets into fun so that they will become popular among kids and adults and the number of people wearing them will increase.
The learning curve has been huge. Karyn is working more hours than in any of her previous jobs but she loves what she is doing. She runs her business from home so she can stay with her kids whenever they need her. It is also a great cost cutter because you don’t need to rent an office or commute daily. She admits that times get tough from time time but her key to success is to maintain a sense of humour. She willingly gave up her good housekeeping award years ago. If you decide to run a home-based business, be prepared to live in the chaos.
Her business keeps growing every year and she is proud to say that Tail Wags are now sold throughout North America and overseas. She is responsible for maintaining a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and her amazing website. She praises her customers and loves talking to them. Maintaining a good relationship with her customers is the alfa-omega of her business.
She is not only actively selling her helmet covers but also promoting safety. Her last initiative was a campaign called “Mothers Against Naked Riding” launched in January 2012. Naked means, “We don’t care what you wear, just put a helmet on!”