I wanted to bring to light a segment of the entrepreneurial population that’s often not recognized.
By Jill Salzman (Founder, The Founding Moms)
Whether you have experience in entrepreneurship or parenthood (or both!), I’m sure you’ll agree when I say it again: Moms make the best entrepreneurs.
I say it again because I already made this claim in a TEDx Talk last November. Given the opportunity to speak before the prestigious TED backdrop, I faced one exciting, terrifying fact: the stage was all mine. Mine to make a bold, sweeping statement about entrepreneurship in the United States. But then I read that the phrase “The United States” puts TED attendees straight to sleep. So, I thought I’d focus on entrepreneurial stats and come up with whimsical infographics or possibly an interpretive dance. But statistical trends are to TED audiences what stale bags of peanuts are to airline passengers. A bit bland.
How to spice it up? At the time I was offered the gig, I’d also had it up to here with condescending remarks about what I do. I run The Founding Moms, my third venture, and we help mom entrepreneurs help themselves. It’s a collective of monthly meetups and online resources for a niche of women who are trying to make it happen (and succeeding) while raising children.
When I tell people what I do, I get a lot of “that’s so cute.” Organizing kid-friendly meetups is “really delightful and generous.” Very few folks in the entrepreneurial circles I circled would take me seriously because “mom” is apparently a dirty word. (I won’t go into that argument here – but I did write about it in the the New York Times and the comment backlash was incredible.)
So, I determined to create a talk around why moms make the best entrepreneurs. The tongue-in-cheek statement I made was not that mom entrepreneurs are more accomplished than other entrepreneurs. Rather, I wanted to bring to light a segment of the entrepreneurial population that’s often not recognized. At all. We’re laughed at, or given up on, because our culture admonishes women who want to create a company and raise a child.
I will never understand why our society takes so seriously corporate, working men and women who put their children in daycare full-time because they have to, but leave those of us with more flexible schedules to be judged more crudely or not taken seriously at all.
You can watch my talk below to see how I illustrate why moms make the best entrepreneurs. With a bit of Eddie Vedder, a dash of Gwen Stefani and a smidge of Malcolm Gladwell, I rest my case.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Jill Salzman is Founder of The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs. This is her third entrepreneurial venture. She is the author of Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, a columnist for NBC Chicago, has been published in The New York Times and gave a TEDx talk. In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls. She is a graduate of Brown University and law school. Follow her on Twitter at @foundingmom.