I’ve recently been going through the Market Mommy archives. Over the past seven years, my level of dedication to the business has sometimes waivered. It’s never been a consistent climb, but rather one of hills and valleys. As my family has changed, so has my business. As my family has grown and become busier, my business has sometimes suffered. I know I am not alone in this.
This week, specifically, I’ve updated our free online business directory of mom-owned businesses. We offer this as a free perk for our readers. Listing your business and getting an inbound link can help in your efforts to build SEO and gain more traffic. As I’ve went through the hundreds of listings, it became quickly apparent that everyone that was in business seven, five or even two years ago isn’t necessarily still in business.
There was not one category of business that stood out. There was not a common denominator that I could point to that explained why some businesses have made it and some haven’t. One site I clicked on showed a simple message. “We are sorry, but after 18 years in business we’ve regretfully had to close our doors. Thank you for your support.” Disappointing. Devastating.
Direct sales businesses, consultation companies, Etsy and EBay shops; all of them were affected.
As I looked through the list of those I was removing from the directory I was sad. Many of them I remembered fondly from our early days. Many of them were starting their businesses and trying to grow them at the same time as I was trying to get Market Mommy off of the ground. Many of them I had worked with, purchased from and/or promoted.
Others, however, are thriving. Many have been around for several years and continue to grow and evolve. What’s the difference?
Many moms, I think, start a business to fill a void. Maybe that void is income now that they have children and need more cash flow. That could either be because they’ve quit their full time gig, or simply because there are more mouths to feed. Or, the void could be now that they are trapped at home all day with their babies they desperately crave some adult interaction.
Whatever the reason, or whatever the void, it’s not necessarily a permanent need. The business landscape changes quickly, but not as quickly as a young, growing family. School schedules change, babies are born, and life circumstances are never considered constant. And yet, all of these things dramatically affect the mom-owned business.
According to Forbes.com, 80 percent of all entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. That’s a lot. And, that’s all entrepreneurs; even the ones with an office outside of their home, investors and a researched business plan.
Now, envision the mom sitting at her counter trying to run an online store while making sandwiches, combing hair and cleaning up dog puke. Doesn’t sound very conducive to running a business does it? Running a business is hard no matter who you are. Running a business when you’re a mom can be a colossal feat.
No matter if your business has lasted four days, four years or four decades, you should be incredibly proud of yourself. Life is hard. Business makes it harder. We all just desperately want to do what is best for our family. Whether that is working outside of the home full-time, from home part-time, or some type of combination, the desired goal is always the same; a happy, healthy family.
Kudos to you if you’re a mom entrepreneur, past or present. You are doing hard work!