Female Founders: Amanda Seibert of ‘Mama Sing My Song’ On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Do what you love. Starting a business will require more time and effort than you could imagine. If you love what you do, you won’t mind.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Seibert, the founder and “original mama” of Mama Sing My Song. Featured in PureWow and Indianapolis Monthly, Mama Sing My Song is a company that creates personalized songs and lullabies for thousands of kids all over the world.
Expanding upon her company’s mission to celebrate the diversities of each child through song, Seibert’s debut children’s book Mama, Sing My Song: A Sweet Melody of God’s Love for Me will be released on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and three children, where they try to fill their home with songs, dance, and laughter each day.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Absolutely! In my wildest dreams, I could have never imagined landing in this career path, and yet I feel like I’m doing exactly what I was made for!
I’m a mama of three, and when my first child was born, we were driving home from the grocery store and she was crying in her car seat, so I made up a little song with her name. To my surprise, she stopped crying! I sang that song over and over again the whole ride home, and before I knew it, it became “her song.” As she grew a little older, she would often ask, “Mama, sing my song!”
When my second child was born, I made up a song with his name too. Soon nieces, nephews and friends started asking for songs, and the next thing I knew, a mama I’d never met on the other side of the country reached out and said, “I hear you write songs for kids. Can I hire you to write songs for mine?”
This idea seemed so crazy to me– “I’m not a real songwriter, just a mom who makes up songs for my kids!” But I reluctantly agreed to do it. She wept when she heard the songs, and for the first time, I believed that maybe there was something special here after all.
Four years later, we’ve written personalized songs for thousands of children around the world, reminding them of their incredible worth and just how deeply they are loved. And every day, I feel so grateful to be a part of it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Ever since I was a kid, I wrote my own little books and dreamed of being an author one day. As I grew, I quietly tucked this dream away as “unrealistic” and “unattainable,” but it was still there.
In January of 2021, I received a text message from a friend I’d gone to college with. We hadn’t kept up much in recent years, so I was surprised to see his name on my phone. The message said that he’d dreamed that he was walking out of the gym and passed a bookstore with a cardboard cutout of me, holding my new book that was named after my company, “Mama, Sing My Song.” He walked up to the cashier and said, “Hey, that’s my friend!” The book was about the importance of parents speaking words of truth and affirmation over their children, and he just wanted to share that dream in case it might be an encouragement to me.
I thanked him and told him that writing a book had always been a secret dream in my heart, but that I couldn’t imagine it actually happening. Also, I hoped there would never be any cardboard cutouts of me anywhere. Ha!
Exactly six weeks later, I received a message from HarperCollins. They’d heard about my company; how I write songs for kids and wondered if I might be interested in writing a lullaby book for kids. They wanted to name it after my company, “Mama, Sing My Song.”
My heart pounded and fingers trembled as I responded, “Yes, I’m interested!”
I think it’s amazing how saying “yes” to one thing can often lead to another “yes.” Saying “yes” to this company– even when I felt unqualified as a songwriter or embarrassed for doing something different– has opened up so many more “yeses” that I never saw coming.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As an entrepreneur in a largely uncharted field, we’ve certainly had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way. At the time, most of these mistakes felt frustrating rather than funny. However, the lessons we’ve learned along the way have been an important part of getting us to where we are today.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Where do I even start? I have felt supported and cheered on by so many people each step of the way! Social media can be an ugly place, but this company would not be where it is today without my Instagram community.
I used to run marathons, and there was this incredible energy as people lined the streets to cheer you on. I could literally feel the energy as they cheered my name, and it kept me going when I wanted to quit.
For the past four years, customers, friends, influencers, and celebrities have “lined the streets” to rally around our company in the most amazing way. I could never name them all, but I absolutely would not be where I am today without all these incredible women cheering me on.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
This may sound overly simple, but I think it comes down to confidence–women recognizing and celebrating their gifts rather than hiding them. As women, there’s this tendency to downplay our gifts, like “Oh, it was just a little song that I wrote. It was just a little cake that I decorated. It’s just a silly hobby; it’s nothing, really.”
In reality, I’m afraid that my best effort won’t be good enough. So, if I downplay it, then no one will be disappointed in me. No one can say it’s not good enough, because after all, “It was nothing anyway.”
There is not much that excites me more than hearing someone talk about their passions and encouraging them to go after it! I wonder how the world might look different if we simply celebrated one another’s gifts and encouraged each other to pursue the dreams in our hearts.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
One really simple change we can make as individuals is to become cheerleaders for one other’s dreams. Women, let’s support each other! Do you love baking macarons? Amazing! Spreadsheets light you up? Awesome! You’re a dancer/ painter/poet/photographer? I’m cheering you on!
Look for local opportunities or small businesses to support. Find ways to champion someone else’s dream. There are so many ways we can support one another, and I can tell you as a woman and as a small business owner, all of these “little” things make a huge difference!
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
I think women need to know: you are amazing! You have wonderful gifts that are meant to be shared! It feels risky to put yourself out there, I know! But what might the world be missing out on if you hide your gifts rather than share them? What might YOU be missing out on if you don’t try?
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
When I first founded Mama Sing My Song, I thought the real work would be writing the songs. I had no idea how little that would actually be in comparison to all of the time and effort that went into the countless other roles/tasks of running a business.
You are always “on.” No one will ever care more about your company than you. If you’re not pushing things forward, it’s not going to happen. And yet, if you love what you do, it will all be worth it.
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
I was a softball pitcher growing up. My dad always told me how he admired the courage it took for me to stand on the mound. It did take a lot of courage to be a pitcher– to stand under pressure, knowing that I might disappoint my team or make a fool of myself in front of the crowd, and when I did, to get back up and try again. That takes courage.
As important as a pitcher might be, you can’t win a game by yourself. We need every player on the team. I think the same is true in the business world. We all have different gifts, and each one is so important! Not everyone will want to carry the responsibility or take the risks of being a founder. That’s okay. We need every team member!
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Do what you love.
Starting a business will require more time and effort than you could imagine. If you love what you do, you won’t mind.
2. Do what you can.
Go after it hard. Do everything within your power to do. And then, let go of the rest.
3. Do the best you can.
Put your whole heart into it. Work with excellence, and your work will speak for itself.
4. Be patient.
Success doesn’t (usually) happen overnight. Expect a wild roller coaster and try to enjoy the ride.
5. Be persistent.
Expect to hear 100 no’s for every yes. DO NOT GIVE UP. DO NOT GIVE UP. DO NOT GIVE UP.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I never imagined how lyric and melody could make such a deep impact, but our songs are touching the hearts of children in beautiful ways, reminding them of who they are and how deeply they are loved. We’ve seen the specific effect these songs can have on children in foster care, helping rewrite a negative self-narrative and reminding them that they are worthy of love. I believe the ripple effect of these songs in years to come will be greater than we’ll ever know.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
One of my biggest dreams in life has always been to be a part of a movement for good, and I believe that this company is a fulfillment of that dream!
This year, we have a huge goal of giving away 1,000 personalized songs and stuffed animals to kids in foster care (with the help of donations and 10% of our profits donated towards this cause). It’s a wild goal and, to be honest, we are very far from reaching it. But I dream of blowing this goal out of the water and giving away thousands and thousands of songs to precious children who need to be reminded that they are loved.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
This is a tough question! One woman I really admire is Joanna Gaines. I love how she is using her gifts and passions to serve others in so many different ways. I’d love to pick her brain and hear how she does it all and what she’s learned along the way!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.