Millennial mompreneurs are embracing technology to help them generate innovative business ideas and bring those concepts to market, while maintaining a work-life balance.
As the mother of three children, Kim Kofman was adept at throwing birthday parties. But, every year, her children would get numerous gifts that they didn't want. Tired of running around to return the unwanted items, Kofman says she and her friend, Leslie Kimel, spotted an unmet business opportunity. So, the duo founded Gifted, an online party planning, and gift registry platform.
The site, founded in 2016, allows users to send invitations and register for cash gifts. Invitees can RSVP and give a cash gift right on the website. The organizer has the option of selecting a charity and having a percentage of the cash be donated to that charity, ranging from 1% to 100%. They also can track RSVPs, gifts, and donations from an easy-to-use dashboard.
Mompreneurs Embracing Tech
Being a mompreneur isn't a new concept, but technology, along with the rise of the gig economy, has changed the game. According to the 2019 Salesforce Small and Medium Business Trends Report, advanced technology like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, artificial intelligence, and marketing automation is becoming more accessible for smaller companies. And some tools help moms launch consumer products businesses without having to store their inventory in the spare bedroom.
Becky Beach had so much success running her e-commerce handbag business part-time that she launched MomBeach.com, a consulting company that shows other moms how to start their own online stores. In 2017, she was creating makeup tutorials on YouTube when she saw an ad for a drop-shipping course. Drop-shipping allows e-commerce entrepreneurs to have their products shipped from a third party.
To get started, Beach used Oberlo, a platform that helps people find products, and Shopify, an online store builder. Her first store cost her $29 per month on Shopify. Now, she has multiple stores, sources her products, and is even designing an original handbag. She has also hired a virtual assistant based in the Philippines to help her with customer service, such as questions or problems with orders.
"I couldn't believe there was something like this going on—people were just selling other people's items, you know?" Beach says. Since then, she says she has earned more than $500,000 with her online businesses and was able to pay off $80,000 in debt.
The Blended Life
Some moms are using their professional expertise and backgrounds to launch new companies. Summer Crenshaw launched automated recruitment platform tilr when her son was two years old and undergoing multiple surgeries for kidney failure.
While that might not seem like the ideal time to launch a company, Crenshaw—who along with her two co-founders are based in Cincinnati, New York City, and Toronto, and run the company virtually—says launching the business gave her the flexibility to prioritize what was important in her life.
"Anybody who knows me knows that I'm going to get my work done. It just might look a little different," Crenshaw says. In the four years since its launch, tilr has raised more than $10 million in angel funding and has grown to 20 cities across the country, she says. The co-founders communicate and collaborate using digital tools like Zoom, which allows them to meet "face-to-face" without being in the same place.
As more technological tools emerge and people can work from anywhere, more business-building opportunities arise. For mothers and others who seek more work-life balance, it's increasingly possible to build the business—and life—they want.