Millennial Moms: What's Your Side Hustle?
Millennial Moms, as Digiday puts it, are "quite literally, the mother of all generations: Millennial moms account for almost 90 percent of the 1.5 million new mothers within the last year, up 50 percent from a decade ago.” Not to mention that these women have spent countless hours earning an education and preparing themselves for the next 50 years of following their career passions. So, why must Millennial women make the choice between being a full-time mom and having a full-time career?
The choice between motherhood and career pursuit is hard and has many consequences. When that baby is handed to you in the hospital and you realize that you are responsible for that precious child’s needs, it is hard to think anything else is important. In fact, many women tell me that any career desires they have seem selfish. And, any mention of their career dreams is met with criticism from even their most trusted and loved friends and family.
In addition to objections from friends and family, many Millennial women climbing the corporate ladder do not work for companies that accommodate the climb with a baby strapped to their back. It’s really hard, if not impossible to compete in that “high-pressure-cooker” world while struggling to give your baby the attention you want. Women are faced with tough decisions, but in today’s world, an alternative is to ditch the corporate world and become a “mompreneur.”
What Is A Mompreneur?
If you never heard of the word “mompreneur,” check out Wikipedia, who have defined the term as “a neologism defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.” They left out the part that she is struggling to figure out how to pay for the kids braces, or the new prom dress (which your daughter will “die” without), or dashing off to soccer practice (with the wrong cleats) while trying to simultaneously convince angel investors that her idea is really worth their financial support.
The first thing you have to think about is yourself. Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur? Mompreneur may be the “new sexy,” and it can be fun to have dreams of becoming the new Joy Mangano (inventor of the Miracle Mop or Cher Wang (the billionaire co-founder of HTC, the mobile technology company). It’s easy to declare that is what you will do, but these women struggled and sacrificed for success. We see them when they have “made it,” not during the process. I liken it to thinking you are doing your financial planning by playing the lottery. Indulgent, but not practical.
Best Business Ideas For Moms
It may be time to explore some possibilities that can satisfy your needs as a businesswoman and maybe needs to earn some money as well. Obviously, these ideas have to be matched with your talents and time. Lots of jobs, or “side hustles,” can be crafted around your role as a mother. They can still stimulate your mind, bring in some extra cash, and keep you in the game and out of full-time work. Fundera has a whole list that you may want to peruse for ideas. Here are some that caught my eye:
Social Media Maven
Social media has proven to be a catalyst for many small businesses and it is a great way for Millennial women to take advantage of this new platform. What do you need to get started? The good news is that most Millennials are familiar with the new digital media, so all you need to know is how to make it work for your small business clients. And, the good news is that you can do this in your PJs at 10 p.m. when the kids are in bed.
Do you have a passion for good grammar? Are you the consummate storyteller? If you are a good writer, there are many businesses that can use your talents. Most writers in our new economy are freelancers. Try to connect yourself with a popular online blog or publication, that will pay. Or, seek out other online or hardcopy magazines and newsletters. You may want to start your own blog and build your portfolio and readership. The writing field also includes editors, translators, and copywriters, so find what meets your skills and go do it!
Use your talents to help people with photos of important family events. The online world has created a need for images, whether they are shared on social media or on a website.
Post in your local community newspaper or online forum to setup digital representations of wedding or graduation albums, and even give assistance on arranging any “digital” books of important family events that you want to produce in hardcopy form. You can be paid to go into their homes and go through old photos and arrange them with captions. This is a great holiday gift idea and a business that a Mompreneur can perform while the kids are at school.
In the old days, most executives had a personal assistant to handle all the tasks necessary to make their work life (and in many cases, their personal life) run smoothly. I have always encouraged the women I interact with to outsource the tasks that can be handled by others and that don’t need their involvement.
If you are organized and efficient, and you are already doing some of these tasks for yourself, this is a perfect part-time job for you. If you are local to the executive you serve, you can help with shopping for groceries or dropping off and retrieving dry cleaning. Or, you can do things remotely like, making vacation plans, setting up doctor appointments, researching and making dinner and theater reservations, gathering data on colleges, or whatever. A virtual assistant can be a fantastic source of income because you can assist many executives simultaneously, from the comfort of your home.
Where Do Mompreneurs Go From Here?
My advice to career-focused Millennial Moms (or expecting Moms)? Get over the guilt of handling your career and the kids. You can do both! The point is to design the life that is yours.