It’s 5:55am as I sit down to write this.
I start my day before the house is stirring. Like 99% of parents, I struggled to get my kids to eat their veggies. When my daughter was two she ate everything – a colorful cornucopia of healthy foods. By the time she was five her plate was as white as a Whistler snowcapped mountain. How could it be that she loved broccoli one week, and a few days later ran from it as if it were a life-sized Brussels sprout with fangs? Desperate for a solution, I turned to the one thing I knew how to do – make it fun. Enter Crunch a Color™, the award-winning healthy eating game.
A qualifier - it didn’t magically go from “I need a way to get my kids to eat broccoli” to “award winning product sold nationwide” in the equivalent of a trimester. It took some serious prototyping and there’s no better product-testing lab than your own kitchen table. We started with index cards by color. Grandpa suggested, “How about points!” My husband piped in, “More points for kale than kiwi!” My son exclaimed, “Mommy, can I earn bonus points for trying something new?” The tiny seed of an idea was growing, fast. Other moms encouraged me to share it. Frequently heard was, “My kids need this!” or “If you could get my son to eat lettuce I would buy it!” So I made a bunch of copies to share with families in my neighborhood. Reports of picky eaters venturing to try broccoli and kids not asking for dessert were heard around town. “Maybe I am onto something?” I pondered.
Next up: nutritionists, doctors, teachers. I recorded every bit of feedback, and worked tirelessly to improve the game. I decided to give back a portion of profits to support kids nutrition. Fast forward a few months and Crunch a Color™ went from cards at my kitchen table to winner of the Dr. Toy and PTPA awards and available nationwide at Indigo and Amazon.
How does a stay-at-home mom figure out how to design, manufacture, sell, ship, and market a product? Easy! As a mom, you have all of the skills you need to be a successful entrepreneur.
1) Do What You Know Best: Be a Mom! Like an experienced mom, I jumped without fear into something new (remember how you felt when they let you leave the hospital with that new baby?) and figured out how to get the help I needed to make it happen. Moms are the best people I know at prioritizing and getting critical things done without wasting time!
2) Use Your Lifelines: Call a Friend - My friends were a tremendous source of help. I focused on going to the experts in my network who knew what I didn’t know. I didn’t get tied in a knot worrying, “I have no idea how to produce a game!” Reach out to friends who work (or have worked) in fields related to your business to learn and make connections.
3) Use Your Unique Talents: Do What You Love! - My former career helped, to be sure. The wonderful part of this project for me was that it pulled together so many aspects of my life: passion for my kids, my love of a creative project, a sprinkling of business strategy (I was a consultant in a former life), some web know-how (I lived through the dotcom boom and bust, too), and a good dose of project management. Look for opportunities that are at the intersection of your passions and talents.
4) Appreciate Your Biggest Supporters: Be Thankful - Without the unwavering support of my family I never could have done this. My husband has been my trusted advisor, enthusiastic cheerleader, diligent time cop and steadfast soft shoulder. My parents have enthusiastically shared the news, recruiting others grandparents to support my growing business. My mother has become my accidental press manager. My children are my top source of new product ideas.
5) Throw Your Plans To The Wind: Start from the Heart - I spent many years working to help other people launch businesses. I painstakingly researched markets, talked to customers, analyzed competitors and crunched numbers. I left all of that behind to be a mom, my true passion. I am humbled and thankful to be able spend my days with my children. Seems it was the right thing for my career as well. I’ve learned that the best businesses are one’s that start from something you care about, not a business plan.
6:42am. I hear the pitter-patter of little feet. Time to shift gears and focus on getting my family off to a healthy start.