Why I Spent 6 Months Researching Moms, and What I Learned as an Aspiring Business Leader

Let’s kick this off with complete transparency: I’d be nowhere without my mom. My mom has spent the last 22 years raising four kids and, while we are lucky to have a loving, generous, successful dad, my mom has definitely been the CEO of the household. I’m now 26, with the youngest of us fast approaching college. Both my parents are healthy, and my mom has mentioned that she feels mentally the same as she did in her twenties. But as the days of the “empty nest” loom ahead for mom, so does the daunting question, “what’s next?”

My dad has a Harvard MBA and impressive career history to fall back on, and my mom is beyond equipped for entrepreneurship, law (her original career), product management or project management. The problem is, she has a 22 year gap in her resume and just a few credits short of her law degree (she had 2 kids while in law school, and when the 3rd came along, she decided she wanted to raise her own kids, not leave it to someone else. She’s thorough like that).

“I’m not an engineer,” she often replies when I suggest that she start coming up with business ideas. “You have an engineer on retainer,” I always reply. My mom loves the idea of starting a business, and throughout my academic and professional experience as an engineer, I’ve learned time and time again that great businesses can come from observing the world around you and noticing work arounds to small problems. Plus, most engineers are the ones implementing OTHER people’s ideas. To me, it’s abundantly clear that my mom has the potential to come up with a valuable project simply by making lists of products and processes that frustrate her.

Last year, I created an Entrepreneurship Kit with guidelines for observing workarounds, a map outlining the transferable skills (as identified by business publications) gained throughout motherhood, an inspirational notebook, some “you are awesome!” tea and “you got this!” pens. When I shared this with my friend rachel vrabec, she loved the idea so much she made one for her mother. The more we talked about this, the more we realized that our mothers were experiencing similar doubts about their next steps, and began to dig a little deeper. Here’s a summary of our research over the last year:

Want to order an Entrepreneur Kit or custom-made kit? Drop me a line