Mompreneur Advice from Alex Yates

A Runner-up Winner of the YMC UPS Mompreneur Contest

All across the country, moms are raising families while running a business so YMC and UPS teamed up to find Canada's Most Inspiring Mompreneurs! Our panel of judges were blown away by the amazing submissions but finally narrowed it down to the six winners. Here's one Runner-up Winner's story and her advice for other Mompreneurs.

24 years ago I was hurled—kicking and screaming—into the world of "special-needs parenting." My identical twin sons were born prematurely and the younger of them—Kieron—had a cerebral hemorrhage. At 5 months old, Kieron had neurosurgery and the boys' father left me. When they were 8 months old, I arrived home in Canada and started my new life as my sons' advocate and a single mommy. My son has cerebral palsy and is legally blind, has the BEST sense of humor in the world, and is a total delight. 

I had been brought up trucking around the armpits of Africa with my parents who never seemed to be able to settle down, and managed to inherited a serious travel bug from them. When the boys were nine, I took them on a cruise to Alaska and was immediately hooked on traveling. Over the next few years I took my boys—and my dad—on a several cruises.

By the time the boys were twelve I had found an awesome guy, got married, and was offered to be trained as a travel agent by my very own travel agent. I took her up on the offer and here I am twelve years later, not only an independent travel agent working for myself, but I work a niche market as a specialist in travel for people with disabilities and extra support needs. Each year I escort a group for people disabilities, their families, and friends on a 3-day repositioning cruise and three days at Disneyland. The largest group I ever escorted was 44 people!

Specializing in travel for people with extra support needs has given me the opportunity to help people travel from all over Canada, and some from the US. I have sent a companion dog and her owner on the Queen Mary 2, sent a lady in a wheelchair to Greece for a month (and yes she went to Santorini!), and sent a young man who is wheelchair dependent to Machu Picchu! I have contacts around the world who can help! 

The advice I would give to other Mompreneurs is this: love what you do, but look after yourself. There is only one of you and your kids need you too. Do the best you can and never forget to let your clients know how much you appreciate them. I send handwritten cards to all of my clients to thank them for the business. It's such an easy thing—and you can write cards and watch Grey’s Anatomy at the same time! My clients appreciate the small gesture and pass the word along!

Am I rich and super successful? No. But I put food on the table and provide a roof over our heads and still have time for my family. Seems like a win to me!

Check out our Mompreneurs: Making it Happen section full of tips, tricks and advice from experienced entrepreneurs to help you take your business to the next level. You can even sign up for a 20% discount on all UPS shipping services to help you grow your business.

And you won’t want to miss reading about our inspiring YMC UPS Mompreneurs Contest winners. They may even motivate you to start a business of your own!


HI There!

After 13 years experience as a Travel Advisor I Orchestrate Dreams one Vacation at a Time! I am a working Mom with a son who has multiple disabilities, so I am a home based agent with Vision 2000 Travel Group, the largest independently owned Travel Company in Canada; and over time, I have become a bit of an expert on travel for people who have extra support needs. Having said that, I think all parents traveling with kids have extra support needs, and I am here to help make traveling as easy as possible for you! I specialize in Cruising, Europe, Sunny Destinations and Disney, (especially Vacations by Disney.. an amazing experience for families!) I was born and brought up mainly in East Africa and spent my entire childhood travelling the world, and since becoming a Travel Advisor have had the opportunity to not only travel in person, but constantly upgrade my knowledge with seminars and Webinars, I also promote groups, and once a year I escort a group doing a Pacific Coastal Cruise plus 3 days in Disneyland. People with extra support needs are especially welcomed! On the home front, I have twin sons (one of whom is the young man with disabilities), I was a single parent for the first 10 years of thier lives and now have an amazing Husband who supports me in everything I do.