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 our Grand Prize Winner's story and her advice for other Mompreneurs.
I had always felt like a "square peg in a round hole" in my previous corporate jobs. I excelled at them and was on my way up the corporate ladder at lightening speed. Looking back on it, it just never felt right. No matter how amazing the opportunity, I was never satisfied.
As I am sure everyone can relate, having a child changed my life. After being diagnosed with postpartum depression, I was forced to prioritize my time, energy and passions. My doctor recommended diet and exercise as a way to manage my "funk" and allow for lower doses of the medications that challenged my ability to nurse my then 4-month-old son. A project manager at heart, I knew that this aspect of my life was just inefficient. I was going to another city for Pilates (yes, the instructor was that good), a clinic for physiotherapy and an amazing massage therapist who worked out of her home. While I felt that I had found the best practitioners, they weren't working together (through no fault of their own) and I was spending most of my valuable time away from my new son on the road. There had to be a better way.
I read Mom Inc. and was truly inspired on so many levels. I suddenly realized that the dissatisfaction and frustration that I had felt in my corporate roles were because I was trying to be an entrepreneur in a big company. I had been stifling my entrepreneurial flame and, thanks to Mom Inc., I suddenly had the courage to let the fire blaze.
Naturally, a solution to my wellness problem was immediately where I went to. The idea for the Urban Wellness Studio, the one stop shop for physical wellness services, was my solution to a problem that so many professionals face. Men, women, and working mothers alike, we want convenience! Not only does the Urban Wellness Studio boast a non-clinical atmosphere and the most amazing health care practitioners, personal trainers, and group fitness programs, it is a lifestyle. We define inspired well-being. A place where urbanites gather to achieve their optimal quality of life. With a convenient location in Kitchener's uber-trendy Tannery district (home to Balzac's, Google, and an unrivaled group of small start-up companies), online booking capabilities, a retail store featuring a line of "studio-to-street" apparel and Saturday appointment times, we are truly unique.
Watching a mother lose over 20 inches in 8 weeks and fit—for the first time since the birth of her first child—into a size large was truly inspiring and it gave us a purpose. You can follow her journey with our team at www.believetrustchange.com. Her post from April 26th speaks to the difference that we have made in her life and the lives of many other moms who have found us through our pre- and post-natal education sessions and our partnerships with Momstown. For me, watching our clients over the last six months get to their optimal quality of life has made all of the difference. This satisfaction means that I never go to work, I come to this wonderful environment with a staff of friends. I am off of all of my medications and am enjoying every minute I can with my now 17-month-old son.
The Urban Wellness Studio opened its doors on October 31st, 2011 and we just celebrated our 6-month anniversary. Our staff has doubled in the last 4 weeks and we are ramping up to take our business to the next level. We have now created 11 jobs in our community! We are seeing exponential growth each month, all through word of mouth and referrals from happy clients.
One thing that has always been important to me is surrounding myself with like-minded people. People who are smarter than I am. The book Mom Inc. reminded me of that importance, especially when learning how to be a professional, an entrepreneur, and a mom. Prior to the opening of the Urban Wellness Studio I tried a number of networking groups. No one seemed to understand the unique challenges of being a Mompreneur.
So, I approached two women in our area who are also extremely successful entrepreneurs and mothers. The three of us founded Momz in Biz, a grassroots network of moms who are also entrepreneurs who can support and mentor each other as our businesses and our families grow. The group meets one day each month for an hour to discuss one topic. Topics range from social media best practices to growth strategies, employee recognition, and hiring and firing decisions. Momz in Biz has grown to 15 all-star members and has a wait list of other moms looking to join! Momz in Biz was featured in the March issue Waterloo's Grand Magazine alongside Waterloo celebrities David Chilton and founder of She Takes on The World (ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 entrepreneurial sites for Women), Natalie Macneil. I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie recently and she has agreed to join one of our Momz in Biz meetings as a guest speaker as she is so inspired by our group and what we have accomplished as a whole.
Lessons learned, so many! A few of the things that I would share with other Mompreneurs are:
Surround yourself with a support network. It truly does take a village.
Manage your business and make decisions from the financial statements, not the bank account!
Position yourself as the expert in what you do. Your customers will be more loyal than those who you got from a discount offer or ad campaign.
Go in with both eyes open. This WILL be the hardest, but most rewarding thing that you have ever had to do.
I am constantly inspired and humbled by other Mompreneurs.
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!