Excuse Me While I Digress: A Typical Day

A Typical Day

I’m taking a break from the Gazillion Steps to share something that made me smile today. A blogger asked me to describe a typical day in my life as a mompreneur.

Your schedule is probably a lot like mine so you can guess why I smiled. I was game to try, though, so I thought back over this week.

Each day of this week started with me racing around to get the kids off to school. Most ended with me falling asleep while reading my daughter her bedtime story. Everything in between was as random as can be.

One day earlier this week — was it Monday? Tuesday? I don’t know, but I remember negotiating ad space for an upcoming Stikitty campaign and having lunch with my daughter at school. Then I responded to some customer emails and fulfilled orders. I picked up the kids at school, dropped my son at tennis lessons, and went to soccer practice with my daughter. After dinner, we all sat down to do homework. Then I got back on the computer to answer emails and chat with an overseas partner.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the phone with my bank getting an international wire to the intended beneficiary.

Today, I’ve spoken to two new vendors, threw in a load of laundry, checked updates from Twitter, accepted a request from an old friend on Facebook, and made two new professional connections on LinkedIn. Then I talked with my husband about our crazy schedule for this weekend.

That’s the way it always is.

I guess it was that way when I worked in the corporate world, too. For me, the difference is that I could more easily separate work time from family time when I had a corporate job. Oh, and I had people to delegate to when things got too crazy.

I miss delegating.

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Vetting the Big Idea

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The best mompreneur advice I’ve received so far came from a veteran entrepreneur. He told me not to fall in love with my idea.

I didn’t get it back then.

Vetting the Big Idea

Since “my big idea” was consuming all of my waking thoughts, how could I not be seriously attached to it? And why shouldn’t I be?

I get it now.

What happened to me is very common among entrepreneurs. I was so enamored with my idea that I put on blinders and intentionally disregarded nagging doubts. I pushed full force on an idea that I knew in my heart was going to succeed–despite what my head said.

When I finally let go of my original product concept (read more about it), I was able to see a much bigger, better idea.

Vetting your idea is a critical step in launching your product or service. You need to determine if there is a market for your idea, how much a customer or client will likely pay for it, and how it compares to competing products. 

So take your $100,000 and invest in the best market research firm you can find to put your idea in front of potential customers. Don’t have $100,000? Well $20,000 will get you a pretty good market research firm. Don’t have even that much?

No worries–you’re in great company! Most entrepreneurs boot-strap their fledgling companies and prioritize spending on product development and advertising.

There are creative ways to assess your product or service idea without spending a fortune and I’ll share some that worked have for me in the next post. 

Next post: Market Research on the Cheap

The Big Idea

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There are a ton of incredibly innovative, brilliant ideas out there that never become a reality.

There are a ton of not-so-extraordinary ideas that go on to make millions of dollars.

The Big Idea

What’s the difference? While there are many factors involved in the long-term success of a product or service idea (such as financing, the grit and determination of the mompreneur, etc.) let’s stay with the idea for now.

Ideas that solve real problems win.

It sounds simple enough but what does that really mean? The key word is “real.” And real is in the mind of the consumer, not the inventor. For example, imagine you’re a mompreneur who is an amateur tennis player. You’ve come up with this phenomenal idea for a new tennis racquet for beginning tennis players that replaces the nylon strings in most amateur racquets with a brand new material that improves performance, reduces injury, and increases durability.

These sound like great problems to solve, right?

The question is does the average new tennis player see these as problems? Amateur tennis players often buy their racquet based on which brand they know or on price. Even tennis experts recommend that amateurs focus on head size and length to maximize their early command of the ball.

To sell your new tennis racquets to beginning players, first you would have to convince them that they need to be worried about performance, injury, and durability. And then you’d need to compete with bigger brands on price.

It’s infinitely harder to create a market than to solve an existing problem.

A good place to start vetting your product idea is to ask yourself two questions:

Is there a better way?
Does anybody want and need a better way?

We’ll talk about creative (and inexpensive!) ways to determine the answer to the second question in the next post.

Next: Vetting the Big Idea

Pre-requisite #1 for Mompreneurship: Kids

[tweetmeme]So what’s the difference between a mompreneur and your everyday, garden-variety entrepreneur? 

If wanting the flexibility to spend more time with your kids is not high on your wish list or not there at all, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re not a mompreneur.

Pre-requisite #1 for Mompreneurship: Kids

If you’re ahead of me then you’re saying, that sounds a whole lot like a stay-at-home mom, especially one who leaves corporate life to spend MUCH more time with her kids.

The difference is a good idea. And the willingness to act on it.

Lots of mompreneurs start as stay-at-home moms. I’ve met many who happily left their jobs or put their careers on hold to have kids. They’re savvy, intelligent women who saw a need and created a solution. And there are others who started their companies after their kids got older. Regardless of the age of their children, being a Mom is just as important to them as being a business owner.

My story is that I had an idea float around my head for a number of years and was eager to execute on it. At the same time, I had a growing desire to spend more time with my two small children. When I was laid off from my corporate job in late 2009, I knew the time was right to do both.

Coming next: back to that good idea and how to take that first step.

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