When we were interviewing all of the amazing self-employed moms as a part of our research for Mom Inc a few things really stayed with us. Here’s one that stood out. According to Kathy Buckworth, author, spokesperson and all around funny mummy, mompreneurs should take the time to enter awards. When you step off the corporate career path you lose the valuable career feedback that comes with having an employer. As Kathy puts it, “As a mompreneur you only get feedback from your kids, and they always tell you that you suck! You have to get outside recognition and validation when you can. Enter contests—if you don’t win you’ll often get good feedback.”
The good news is that there are some great awards to enter. Here are a few of our favourites:
SavvyMom Mom Entrepreneur of the Year Award - This is a huge deal in the mompreneur community. It’s easy to nominate yourself and then solicit votes from your clients and supporters. The best part? There are amazing prizes to be won, including cash and tons of consulting services, not to mention lots of publicity and bragging rights! This year’s contest is closing soon – so make sure you enter next year. But in the meantime, check out some of the current entrants and cast your vote!
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Not only does nominating yourself for this prestigious award give you great experience, it can also provide some amazing networking opportunities at the receptions associated with the contest.
RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards - Nominations are taken in the spring for these very well respected awards – so get thinking about your own nomination now.
Don’t be daunted by throwing your hat into the ring. Even if you think you don’t stand a chance, odds are you’ll get a lot out of the application process. Putting your vision and accomplishments down on paper will be an excellent exercise and meeting smart people was never bad for anyone’s business! Now go on - we’re cheering for you!
Amy here. As we all know, motherhood is a marathon. A sometimes unrelenting, gratitude-lacking marathon.
You keep at it: “Sit up straight.” "Sit down." “Say ‘thank you.’” “Say ‘please.’” But since you don’t always get positive feedback, it’s hard to know if the kids are getting it. Can they hear me? Is it all sinking in?
My daughter recently caught me reading a particularly grisly newspaper article. She asked me why the person in the story would behave so badly. Can I tell you what my response was to my eight-year-old?
“Do you know how hard it is to make someone into a good person?! Do you know how many hours of work it takes a mom or a dad to turn someone into a good person?! A lot. Like, thousands and thousands of hours of hard work. And what if someone doesn’t have a mom or a dad who will do all that work? What if they don’t have someone who can teach them right from wrong? Then maybe it will be hard for that person to grow up into a good person.”
On a related note, I recently took a cottage vacation with my family. Anyone who knows me knows that nature isn’t exactly my thing. I’m a city girl through and through. Nonetheless, we headed up north en famille for a few days of nature and relaxation. At the cottage there was an old canoe.
I had not been in a canoe for 25 years. I don’t think I would have ever been in a canoe at all had it not been for my mother. Having always been an urban girl, my mother felt compelled to do something about my distinct lack of rural knowledge. At some point, she insisted that I attend overnight summer camp. There I took my first canoe trip, swam in a lake and learned how to make a fire with a single match in the rain. And wouldn’t you know? Some of that knowledge must have stuck.
I spied that beat up cottage canoe and had an idea. I looked at my husband and three kids and said, “Let’s go for a paddle.” After one of my kids cried, and my husband sort-of joked that I was risking their lives, all of them agreed to get in the boat. And do you know what? I’ve still got it. I sterned that canoe like a freakin’ captain. It all came back to me like I was 15 years old again. My kids had a blast. My husband looked at me in a new light.
And I learned that some of that good stuff that my mom worked so hard to provide me really did stick. I can only hope the same will be true for my girls.
This summer Admiral Road will host a summit. For only the second time in the history of the company we’ll invite some respected thinkers to meet with us and delve into complicated issues. There will be refreshments and laughs, but there will also be the need for diplomacy, tact and problem-solving. And hopefully we’ll walk away with some great conclusions and action plans. That’s right, this summer we’re having the husband summit.
Would you believe that only once before in the last 10 years have we formally asked for the input of our husbands? While our husbands know what’s generally going on in our business, we typically present our plans in a ‘in case you were wondering’ way rather than a ‘what would you think of?’ way. We know lots of entrepreneurial gals who have husbands who are de facto business partners to them. They rely on their guys to bounce ideas off and generally be another voice of reason. We’ve found though, that having a business partner means that very often your life partner is a lot less involved in the business. We’ve got each other to think things through – to discuss and debate and to work through problems and plans. If we get stumped we also have smart friends and mentors who are enormously helpful.
But every now and then we remember that we live with a couple of the smartest business people we know – and we’d be just crazy not to take advantage of their considerable brain power too. Who knows, if this husband summit goes well maybe we’ll make it an annual thing.
What about you? How much do you think your spouse should be involved in the business?"