Why I Came Out of the Mommy Closet


I have a dirty little secret.

I’ve spent years–well, not hiding it exactly. Just choosing not to showcase it.

But, now it’s time to air my dirty laundry. So to speak.

I’m a mother.

Yup. That’s it. My big secret. And you’re probably wondering why it’s even such a big deal.

Even though I’m proud of my 3 boys, I put a lot of thought into whether or not to incorporate them into my professional life. There are several reasons any woman would consider the same choice I made.

You’re Just Starting Out

There are lots of women who successfully make a name for themselves as a mom. They build blogs or businesses around having a family.

For these women, being loud and proud about motherhood is essential to their personal branding.

But, for women building businesses apart from their families, it can be distracting to talk about motherhood. One friend who is a partner at a venture capital firm told me that she loses Twitter followers every time she tweets about parenting.

In the era of social media and personal branding, you have to think long and hard about what you share. If talking about your family dilutes your brand, it might be best to keep quiet.

That Pesky Glass Ceiling

Like it or not, there is still a glass ceiling for most women.

Draw attention to your uterus and watch that ceiling drop even lower.

In our Serious Startups episode on parenting, Kane expressed surprise that this is true in startups as well as corporate culture.

“There are no rules in startups,” he said incredulously.

But the harsh reality is that there are rules in everything. Startups are a tough environment for mothers because the very nature of entrepreneurship is all-consuming. There is no time for “distractions,” even if they’re cute.

A quick survey of the startup tech scene reveals 2 main demographics for both founders and investors: “men” and “women without children.”

There are exceptions, of course. But, in general, moms starting a non-family-focused business face a huge uphill battle both practically and reputation-wise.

Keep Your Privates Private

The first 2 reasons I’ve talked about can be overcome with time and success. After a certain level of accomplishment or proving yourself, it’s rarely a big deal to reveal your secret.

This last one, though, can apply to moms at any level.

Sometimes, it’s just nobody’s business.

Imagine how awful it would be if everyone had access to all the cute/horrible pictures and stories from your childhood. A simple Google search would show employers pictures of 2-year-old you being potty trained or your mom’s tweets about the time you ate dog poop. That’s reality for the next generation.

Many moms choose to keep their motherhood quiet in order to give their kids a clean digital record.

(FYI: Even though I’m now out of the closet, I still won’t ever publish my kids pictures or names.)

There Comes a Time In Every Mom’s Life…

There are several great reasons for moms to stay quiet about their kids. But sometimes, it’s time to come clean.

As we talked before filming the parenting show, I realized how many women share my dilemma. We’re entrepreneurs, we have kids, and sometimes both of those things work together. Sometimes they don’t.

Either way, it can be isolating–even more than typical entrepreneurship. Admitting my “fatal flaw” to the world is just one more way to battle that isolation and the status quo.

After all, it’s great to know we’re not alone in our rocketship.

Crowdfunding Goes Feminine


For every great idea, there are a million verticals, and crowdfunding is no different. Did you know there’s a crowdfunding site specifically for veterans? Are you trying to get a park or sports project funded? There’s one for apps, local communities, and nonprofits.

And now, there’s one for women.

Nap Time Startups is still in early days. CEO Vicki Lemay and her team have only been working on it since March of this year, but they’re already planning a beta launch by December.

So, why do women need a separate crowdfunding platform? Are women not getting  funded over at Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Lemay’s answer is that Nap Time Startups will offer a completely different experience from the industry giants. They aren’t just a “platform.” Instead they are seeking to build an ecosystem of support from crowdfunding coaching to advice on financial models.

“When the women entrepreneurs join our crowdfunding ecosystem of business coaches, crowdfunding donors, affiliate mentors/advisors and potential equity investors, we all have the same goal – to achieve success,” Lemay said in an email.

Nap Time Startups also hopes to help donors and investors see the potential in a company or product, which could mean entrepreneurs move beyond crowdfunding into straight investment.

As a mom, the name Nap Time Startups brings up visions of women working away while the kids nap. I asked Lemay if they were targeting moms in particular.

“After so many women entrepreneurs that were not moms with children at home reached out needing crowdfunding and business coaching, we expanded our outreach and are absolutely focused on all women entrepreneurs,” she answered. “Everyone needs a nap, right?”

With such ambitious goals, the team at Nap Time Startups probably does, but they probably won’t be taking one soon. Lemay and her team hope to have the Beta site ready to go by December 5 and are already signing up future users. They also have to plan for their competition. There are a few other women-only crowdfunding sites out there. Plum Alley operates a site that incorporates an e-commerce site so women can sell their wares on the same platform they use for fundraising. Like Nap Time Startups, Chic CEO also aims to incorporate education and support in their platform. And, of course, there are Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

But, we all know that ideas aren’t the most important thing in startups. Execution is. If Nap Time Startups can launch a great site and have great mentorship, they have a shot at creating a unique ecosystem that lots of women will love.

If that’s you, check out Nap Time Startups and sign up for the beta.


Top Cities For Women Entrepreneurs In A Pretty Infographic

diversity,women owned startups,female entrepreneursYou love infographics right? Well lately we’ve been talking a lot about the gender divide and promoting women entrepreneurs from “everywhere else” as best we can. We recently told you about a new Memphis accelerator for women founders. Also in Memphis we highlighted Pink Robin Avenue and it’s founder Danielle Inez who grew her startup out of a 48 Hour Launch weekend, to the finals in the Black Enterprise Magazine Elevator Pitch Contest. We also regularly feature a “Bad Ass Startup Chick”.

Well the fine folks at Intuit, the finance company behind products like Quickbooks, have commissioned an infographic using data from Forbes and nerdwallet, highlighting the best cities for women entrepreneurs.

Coming in at number one was Silicon Valley, however the rest of “everywhere else” faired quite well.

Seattle came in at the number 2 spot with a score of 63. Washington DC, Minneapolis and Portland Oregon rounded out the top five. All five cities had more than 30% women owned businesses.

The survey sample for the data consisted of 552 female business owners. 66% have said they are more optimistic about growth in women owned businesses than they were last year.

Dollars and cents.

The most recent data from 2007 says that 7.8 million women owned businesses in the United States, counted for $1.2 trillion dollars in revenue. That’s up from 5.4 million women owned businesses just ten years prior.

Check out the infographic below provided by Intuit.

Intuit Quickbooks


Check out more women owned startups at nibletz.com The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.


Baltimore Startup: NJorku Is A Job Board In Africa INTERVIEW

There’s a startup in Baltimore called Njorku and what they are doing is actually very exciting. Co-founder Chika Uwazie and her team are connecting people in Africa with jobs in Africa.

We’ve heard time and time again that more and more people in Africa are taking to mobile phones and smartphones because they can’t afford computers and internet access in the home. When we ran this story we actually found out that hundreds of millions of people live off the grid and walk miles to charge their phones. So in continents like Africa mobile is a lifeline.

That’s why Uwazie and her team have developed a job site and aggregator that delivers the information to African people via their mobile device. Employers get access to NJorku’s database where they can upload jobs and then correspond with candidates via SMS/Text messages on their phones.

The service is available in Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Egypt and Ghana.

Job seekers can also do everything most typical full job websites allow you to do, via mobile whether they are on a smart phone or feature phone. NJorku has made it easy for job seekers to upload their resumes and show interest in available jobs with text messaging.

With such an awesome idea we had to take a few moments and talk with Uwazie.  The interview is after the break

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