Mompreneurs are in love with technology. It's truly a gift that allows us to run our own biz efficiently while being available for our kids at the same time. When I started my business Moisture Jamzz, Inc. in 1993 only "techies" were utilizing the internet. My mode of communication was phone and fax. Sometimes I had to physically wait by the fax machine if I knew a big order was coming in and I wanted to sign and respond immediately. Thankfully those days are over. Now, I can be anywhere I want to be and receive a fax on my smartphone while I'm tweeting and emailing. Tech is the new nanny...only better. It allows us flexibility with our time, it's affordable and the reach is immediate and global.
For moms who work while raising their kids, tech gives us the ability to seamlessly go back and forth from mom to CEO in the same space. Heidi Thompson started her own recruiting business nine months ago, after realizing that she had a gift for placing people in jobs. It felt rewarding so Heidi decided to give it a go as a new career. She launched Hire Motives while raising three young boys under the age of eight.
Heidi says she absolutely would not have gone into recruiting at this time if it weren't so tech friendly. "I would have continued to do what I always had done which was connect people with jobs for free, as a friend, just because I could, but I wouldn't have hung my own shingle. This job has practically no expenses, no overhead. The beauty of its reliance on tech is that it makes it risk free as a business pursuit. We aren't out thousands of dollars just to get something going. For me, having this fulfilling career that allows so much flexibility with my family and so much speed to do things quickly and efficiently online is ideal."
A good example of how vital the internet is for Heidi can be seen through the first job placement made through her new recruiting business. It started from an email from someone in one of her entrepreneurial networks who was searching for an executive assistant for her own client. Heidi asked if she would consider using a recruiter, they agreed to work with her. Heidi then circulated an email through several other networks including LinkedIn and also paid for a $25 ad on Craig's List. She found a good candidate from New York City online and then conducted interviews via phone and then Skype. That person was hired and moved to Los Angeles a month later. Heidi didn't have to wear a suit once or drive to a meeting. Her kids didn't even realize she was working.
Heidi's biggest investment lately was upgrading her LinkedIn account above a free status and she says "it paid for itself instantly by gifting me a free job posting ($195 value) which resulted in several top-tier candidates for a position I'm working on. The intersection for me here with "mommydom" is efficiency. Now that my priorities have shifted dramatically since having a family, I want to be able to do what I want to do in the most efficient way so that I can carve out as much time as possible to be with my little guys." She also gives herself a competitive edge by charging less than some other recruiters as she has extremely low overhead costs.
Like many mompreneurs utilizing tech, Heidi says "To the rest of the world it appears that I'm in a professional office on a full time basis and often clients/candidates comment on my long hours or my immediate accessibility, not realizing that I've been on the playground the whole time." Whenever possible, Heidi sticks to her optimum schedule of client calls and candidate interviews between 12-2pm, after two of her kids are in school and the little one is napping. She also gets back to work in the evening.
In addition to all of the help we get from tech via online networking, portable offices, face time calls, amazing smart phones we also have the affordable marketing reach and networking genius of social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and my personal favorite, Twitter.
Never before have we been able to access so many people at such a low cost and with such immediacy. Social media expert Britt Michaelian, founder of Work Smart Lifestyle and Co-Founder (with Dabney Porte) of Girlfriends Productions says "I have achieved great success through social media using videos shot straight from my laptop, posted on You Tube and shared on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. My cost was only my time and ideas, perfect for a busy mompreneur."
Britt's top social media tips include:
1. Remember that social media is about building relationships and giving value. You need to engage in conversation with your viewers/followers, not just spew out sales messages. As moms we don't have time to waste, so being conscious of everyone's time is critical.
2. All tweets, FB updates and videos should give actionable takeaways or inspiration that viewers can use to get results before having to purchase something. The process is akin to building a friendship. You have to build the "know-like-trust" factor in order to establish rapport with your audience. When you do, you establish both credibility and connection which can later result in sales.
I completely agree with Britt's notion that "social media is fast becoming the beautiful landscape of professional and personal friendships that will help you to build your network of contacts to help support your vision. When you find yourself at a crossroads in making a decision, finding a resource or needing parenting help, social media is there for you with answers, solutions and smiles from around the world 24/7." In fact, I met Britt (AKA @MamaBritt) on Twitter.
We are so fortunate to have technology available so that we can be uber productive, launch a biz from home affordably and professionally, run it while being a mom and even have fun on social media while building our own brands.
The biggest cost may be too much time spent on social media...but hopefully your new twitter friend will become a client!