ACTIVATE Women: MomPreneurs on the Move

Nov 18, 2021

Being a mother is a full-time job in and of itself. Couple that with owning a business, and you’re in for a wild (but rewarding!) ride.

At our last ACTIVATE Women session, we sat down with Chelsey Steinlicht – a mother of four and successful business owner of Bright Futures Learning Center in Fargo, ND for 10+ years – to hear her story. In this session, she shared about what it means to be a “Mompreneur” and how to balance the responsibilities of a parent, a business owner, and everything in between.

What is a MomPreneur?

Mom•pre•neur (noun)

  1. A mother who is busy raising a business and a family

A term coined by Chelsey herself, a “Mompreneur” is a word used to describe the constantly relied upon superhumans with an ever-expanding headcount. While they may be somewhat of a rare breed, Mompreneurs have set of unique strengths that allow them to operate at the top of their game. But it doesn’t always come easy…

Mompreneurs are constantly facing new challenges and competing priorities, and the odds are not always in their favor. In fact…

  • 1 in every 3 small business owners are mothers
  • The rate of starting a new business for women is double compared to men
  • According to research, 57% of women starting their own business at the age of 40 or over and the average at of the first child tend to be six before women start their own venture
  • If we consider the percentage ratio, then 79% of mompreneurs are married and 95% have a partner who earns an income
  • The study shows that 79% of mompreneurs have 1-2 children while 71% have a primary childcare provider

That’s what makes them so strong!

Chelsey’s Journey as Mompreneur

It wasn’t until Chelsey was working a fulltime in banking as a mother of one that she began to realize the significant need for quality childcare in the F/M area. To better meet her and her family’s needs, Chelsey got a new job in childcare. She helped manage a childcare facility for over five years, but eventually grew frustrated at the varying visions for the company. As she vented to some family members, one of them posed the question: “Why don’t you start your own?” These six important words are what started Chelsey’s journey as a Mompreneur.

Chelsey spent the next 6 months researching and writing a business plan for her own childcare facility and founded Bright Futures Childcare in 2012, while still working at a fulltime job elsewhere. Before she knew it, she was providing childcare to 78 children and had reached full capacity. She expanded her current location in 2013, now allowing Bright Futures to serve to serve an additional 65 children. And it just kept growing…

Today, Bright Futures currently operates in two different locations, providing childcare for more than 370 children. Chelsey remains in awe of how her business has grown and the ways in which Bright Futures has got to where it is today…all while raising four kids of her own.

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Challenges

While her story may seem easy, the success wasn’t always walk in the park. Chelsey noted some key challenges that her, and other mompreneurs, often face as they work to raise their ever-expanding families.

  1. The clock is always running – For Mompreneurs, there is always someone who needs them, and they have a lot of responsibilities to many different people. They are never off the clock and are often exhausted from several competing priorities.
  2. Fear of failure – When Chelsey first started her Mompreneur journey, she was terrified of failure…and her biggest enemy was herself. It was hard to believe that she could do it all and be successful.
  3. You are always on the clock – Not only is the clock always running, but mompreneurs are also always the clock. They are constantly competing with time all while working two full time jobs: being a parent and being a small business owner.

How do you do it?

So how does she, and so many mothers and small business owners, do it? Chelsey shared five key points of advice:

  1. Identify your strengths and passions - Being a mompreneur comes with a variety of advantages. Identify them, define your strengths, and figure out your “why”. That’s the only way you can fight against the challenges and obstacles you will need to go through.

“Life’s too short to spend time doing anything for just a paycheck, especially when what you are doing takes you away from your children and family. If you love your work, then it will be easier to live a balanced life.”

  1. Say no to “mom guilt” – Every mompreneur has struggled with guilt at some point. Know that this is normal, acknowledge your limitations, and remind yourself that you do not have a be a superwoman to be successful. Reframe your job description to read quality over quantity, and the mom guilt will start to go away on its own.
  2. Balance vs. integration – When you can shift your mindset to focusing on integration instead of balance, you will begin to lift some of those burdens and responsibilities off of your shoulders and find ways to be successful in all areas of your life…with grace. Sometimes your family will require more of you. Other days, your business. And that’s 100% okay.
  3. Mom time outs – It is critical to schedule “me time” for yourself and to do those things that fill you up and make your stronger. Block off particular days, hours, or even just minutes to do those things that are important, but not always urgent. Remember: this does not mean multitasking. Give yourself the undivided attention you deserve.
  4. Good support system – the most important thing a Mompreneur needs is a good support system. This can consist of family, friends, babysitters, work family, mentors, and so many others. You are who you surround yourself with, so you need to build resources around you who can help you, encourage you, and provide you a judgement free space to grow and learn.

For more information, visit the Bright Futures website, read their COVID-19 story, or view Chelsey's "MomPreneur" presentation.