Like many mompreneurs, my business started because of my natural need to comfort my child. Most adults recognize that insufficient or poor-quality sleep is a recipe for a bad day, leaving you drowsy and irritable with a foggy brain that makes it difficult to focus.
When your body is only a few months old and needs rest in order to grow and stay healthy, getting good sleep is even more important. So when I saw that my second child wasn’t getting that, I decided to take action. Nested Bean emerged from my desire to create a healthy environment for my child and my drive to share my solutions with other struggling parents.
As I was testing out prototypes for what would become the Nested Bean brand’s signature products, I sought help from my community. This included fellow mothers struggling with similar issues who lived on my street and were willing to give my invention a chance.
Recognizing the significance of this connection with others in helping my child and supporting the other children in my area, I developed a new respect for community-building. Through my experience with this process, I learned a few key things about creating a community and realized its impact on mompreneurs, both personally and professionally.
A community is often bound together by a shared passion—a cause, product or experience that unites everyone within the group. I’ve observed a common thread woven through various communities that involve surrounding women, motherhood, and business: a passion for solving problems.
Our entrepreneurial spirits and mothering instincts want us to soothe and protect, making things better and more comfortable for ourselves and those around us. Chances are that your own entrepreneurial journey began precisely because you noticed a problem in the world and you had an idea for solving it.
While we may work in different fields and niches, we all probably have at least two things in common: love for our families and a passion for our work. When it comes to building a community, keep these broad similarities in mind to expedite the community’s growth. You only hurt yourself and your extended group by opting to not engage with potential members because of where, how, or in what sector they do business.
Mentoring the Future
Mompreneur teams also make for fantastic environments in which entrepreneurs can learn and grow in a safe space where their voices are heard, and their ideas can be expounded upon. Mentorships are naturally formed in such communities, helping newer members to accomplish more with fewer of the mistakes the rest of us have made. Experienced members can offer guidance to navigate challenges, and provide support as well.
When others outside of the membership recognize the value of this, they may want to become part of it—which in turn creates an organic flow that keeps new people coming in and grows the support network year after year.
Having a large community can be great, but may run into problems if the group is too homogenous. One issue is that a group comprised solely of the same kind of people tends to be more vulnerable to stagnation. It becomes hard to think outside the box when you’re surrounded by people with similar backgrounds, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, education level, age, or sexual orientation.
By investing energy into being more inclusive, you end up with a wide range of people involved, and the community grows more robust. This diversity extends beyond numbers. These varying perspectives provide more opportunities for forward-thinking conversations, eliminating the possibility of settling into an unhealthy routine that can rot the system from the inside out.
Consider the many businesses that have failed to innovate or get ahead of their competitors. They stagnate, offering no new products or services for long periods of time, and their strategies are unable to keep up with industry standards. Such businesses don’t last long, and are often run into the ground because they resist incorporating new ideas or people into their business model.
Don’t let these factors change your ambitions for your community. The first step is ensuring your door is open to various kinds of people from different walks of life. The second step, and more important in my opinion, is to actively seek out people who don’t look or live exactly like you.
If you only ever recruit members from the Starbucks in your neighborhood, your options will be limited to your own demographic. However, if you actively seek people out from various localities, events throughout your state, websites and online forums, then you can ensure you’re always signaling that you’re looking for new people to be part of your community.
Beyond making it easier to create larger groups and ensuring a continuous influx of fresh, diverse ideas, cultivating a more inclusive group helps move the needle on decades of oppression that so many people experience in society.
Although the era of legally denying people access to certain groups, resources, events, and organizations en masse is fading, there are still many ways in which people are excluded on a habitual basis. By not only accepting, but actually seeking out diverse members, you fight back against a history of discrimination that may have plagued someone’s demographic for generations or even millennia.
Another key to constructing a powerful network is consistently working toward a specific goal. This approach gives your community a mission with a sense of purpose and progress. Once the goal is achieved, members can experience the satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish.
In our daily work, it’s often difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel on some projects. It can seem like we pour our time, money, and heart into it by the pound every single day yet barely see a baby step forward. But when groups unite, they are able to accomplish things that might be nearly impossible for a single person to do—or even recognize!
When stronger child safety measures are needed within a preschool, or some graffiti needs to be removed from a park, communities of like-minded, caring parents can come together to execute solutions. This collective effort can make things happen faster than awaiting action from local or state governments, while also being more thorough than hiring people who are unfamiliar with the area and its residents.
Such goals can be set, planned for, worked toward, and accomplished multiple times each year. This approach provides a consistent sense of making a difference and having a positive impact on the world.
Advocating for Healthy Families
Mompreneurs in particular can take it upon themselves to advocate for initiatives that contribute to the overall health and well-being of their families and neighboring communities. With the Internet and social media bringing together movements and ideas from all around the world, even mompreneurs from different countries can benefit from seeing and hearing about what specific communities are doing to better the quality of life for the people they love.
By collaborating within our social and business circles, we can come together to make the kinds of changes we know are best for our children and communities.
Striking the Right Balance
Juggling motherhood, entrepreneurship, and community building demands savvy time management and organizational skills. But you’ve been honing those for years as an employee, student, mother, and business owner. Now, it’s time to apply those skills to the community-forming aspect of your enterprise.
Motherhood can fuel your motivation for your entrepreneurial endeavors, while your business can provide funding and resources to support your family. Building a team not only provides social support but also professional support by linking you with ideas and connections that enhance both your parenting skills and your business operations.
When you’re a mompreneur, parenting, business, and networking are all intricately interconnected. Taking away one component can weaken the other.
Allocating time for each individual mompreneur differs slightly. For example, some may want to start their own community from the ground up, while others may want to find and join an already established group. Both methods take different levels of time commitment and brainpower. It’s best to go for the options that work best for you based on your current lifestyle and schedule.
Build Your Passion-Based Community Today
There’s no better time to start a business than the present. Start thinking right now about how you can either grow your own community or plug into an existing community for mompreneurs like you.
Remember that being inclusive and sharing a focused purpose are key elements of a strong community. You can start looking for a group to join or start your own on sites like Meetup.com, Facebook.com, or Eventbrite.com.
Conclusion: The journey of a mompreneur is not just about entrepreneurship; it’s about building a community fueled by shared passions, mentorship, and a commitment to achieving common goals. By embracing diversity and advocating for healthy families, mompreneurs can create a powerful network that enriches both their personal and professional lives.