Myth-Busting the Mompreneur

Common Myths about Starting Your Own Mompreneur Business Busted!

Maternity leave gives women the opportunity to step away — if only temporarily — from the traditional workforce. But suddenly, baby’s first birthday is around the corner and it’s time to start planning. The questions begin: Where will baby go to daycare? How will I transition to being a working mom?

Occasionally a strange phenomenon can occur at this point – Momma starts thinking about alternatives.

Maybe she has an urge to stay-at-home or perhaps a small business idea which has been nagging at her seems possible. This is where more questions arise. The timing is perfect, but can it happen? What would her family think? How could they afford to have her drop out of the workforce? Is she willing to take the risk? Where would she start?

Speaking as a weathered Mompreneur, I thought it appropriate to share some of the Mabel’s Labels experiences. Over five years ago, Mabel’s Labels was created when I got together with three other moms and we put our clever little business plan into action. Mabel has felt like another child we have nurtured along with our other children. We were thrilled to recently receive the Savvymom Mompreneur of the Year Award.

We belong to a huge network of Momma customers, friends and entrepreneurs — here are some of the thoughts that swirl around taking the plunge into becoming a Mompreneur.

MYTH: I am going to have more time to spend with my beautiful children. I will be able to talk to customers while the baby naps, breastfeed while reading reports, and go on play-dates around meetings. I may even volunteer at the nursery school co-op a couple of mornings a week!

REALITY: While you may have more time with the children, you don’t actually have more time. What you now have is flexibility. Flexibility is what allows you to drop the kids off at school or go to the park in the afternoon. What it doesn’t do is get your work done and tuck you into bed at a decent hour. Trading time for flexibility has its drawbacks. The play-date you do in the afternoon equals sitting at the computer til the wee hours. The result is a pretty exhausted Mompreneur — which can make that activity you do with the kids less enjoyable for everyone.

As for thinking you will make phone calls during nap time — you may need to re-consider that one. If your children are like mine, they have an internal sensor that notifies them when there is an important phone call being made. In my experience, this career path is best suited to those who are not too hung up on getting sleep and are very functional without it.

MYTH: It will be fantastic to be my own boss and set my own rules. I won’t be accountable to anyone or have to report what I’m doing or where I’m going. Bring on the freedom!

REALITY: It’s true you are not likely going to fire yourself, but that is where the job security ends. If you’re not accountable to everyone you have business dealings with, the business will fail. So while there may not be one single boss breathing down your neck, there will be numerous other “bosses” who hold even more power — the ability to make or break your business. At Mabel’s Labels, our list of “bosses” is endless and includes customers, staff, suppliers, business partners, just to name a few. Suddenly one nagging boss doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

MYTH: I don’t have the money to start a business

REALITY: Clearly this aspect will be different for every business plan, but don’t assume that because you want to start a business it’s going to cost a bomb. Many Mompreneurs have started successful businesses on buttons and pocket lint. Women are not inclined to go to banks and get big loans to start a business. We prefer to hit up the people close to us – parents, husbands, partners, neighbours, innocent by-standers. Many successful Mompreneur start-ups are the direct of result of “love money.”

So before writing yourself off as an Entrepreneur, sit down and really budget what you will need to start your business. You may be surprised by the resources you can tap into.

MYTH: Working alone will be isolating. I’ll miss interacting with adults and the office social scene.

REALITY: You may not be attending power lunches or catching after work drinks on a Friday, but you are hardly alone. The Internet provides Mompreneurs endless opportunity to research, network, blog, message and facebook. It allows you to communicate with customers, peers, colleagues, moms and experts. The best part is no one will ever know that you are doing it all from the comfort of your home while wearing pajamas soaked in sour milk. The Internet provides resources that never clock out. Once ensconced in the Mompreneur scene, you quickly discover the invaluable network the Internet provides both professionally and socially.

Is the Mompreneur lifestyle for you? That may be up for debate. It is certainly not for everyone and there is a lot to consider. For me the answer was clear — though you can often find me hunched over my computer well-past midnight, I wouldn't trade foggy-brained afternoon playdates for anything.


Veteran mother, Julie Cole has six very young children in her charge and is the co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc. She has encountered more than her share of fellow moms looking for advice, primarily about how she manages to juggle life with such a large brood.

With humour, she provides an upfront view of life in a busy family, including honesty about cereal for dinner, monstrous carpool schedules, and advocating for her child with autism.

Julie has become a well-known personality amidst Canadian moms. Her charismatic, dynamic personality has led to various speaking engagements, from morning TV shows to university level business classes.  Read Julie's blog for a motherload of practical advice on babies, balance, bedlam and beyond...

Follow Julie on Twitter or email her at [email protected]