Influencing Mum…

Take a moment to yourself, look at the person you are, how you speak, act, the people you associate with. The dreams and goals you have set for yourself as an individual. Who has had a direct influence on your life’s decisions? Well before you were able to make them yourself and still when you come of age to fly the nest. Who is with you through everything life throws your way? For those lucky enough to have them in their lives, this particular person has been there from the get go. Mum.

But how often do we think to ourselves how we may have influenced her life. Were we part of the plan? Mother’s day is celebrated around the world and is a day for us to think how we have impacted their lives.

We have gathered a group of women who have two job titles, female entrepreneur and that of Mum. Asking them how having kids has influenced their professional life, how they balance between home and work, what advice they would give to women looking to become mums and what they have in store for the future.

Julia Hartz is an entrepreneur, investor and the Co-Founder and CEO of Eventbrite. Before starting the idea of Eventbrite Julia was a development executive at MTV and FX Networks. Julia has been honoured with numerous awards and has been profiled for her leadership and impact in top publications around the world. Julia landed in Silicon Valley via Hollywood where she began her career as a development executive at MTV and FX Networks.

Did your daughter’s influence your work in any way?

Absolutely. I founded Eventbrite with my husband Kevin, so work and family have always been intrinsically linked for us. Our daughters were born into this Eventbrite world of ours, and they have been part of the journey.

As most mums would relate, time management has evolved from a science to an art in my life. Balancing the wiles of supporting a growing company, and the learning curve of being a parent makes for a very interesting schedule, indeed. Although, I believe that being a mother and also a leader at Eventbrite, has helped me embrace my ability to lead with empathy. While traditionally viewed as a weakness, empathy has emerged as a critical business strength, and a requirement to succeed as a great leader. In fact, in a recent LinkedIn post, I call empathy my superpower, and I say that with sincerity and pride.

Did you find it hard to balance your work life with your family, given you and your husband work in the same place?

Creating balance is not a “mom challenge,” or “women challenge,” they are “parent challenges” and “people challenges.” There is no one way to get it all done, but it is possible. For me and Kevin, it comes down to a few key things: prioritisation, strong partners/spouses, help from our family and childcare providers, and obsessive calendaring/planning.

Our lives are extremely binary at the moment: our passion is in Eventbrite and our love is in our family. That is how we spend our time, full stop. Structure allows us to be focused on our day to day and have the assuredness that we have time for family. That’s important and I’m still seeking perfect schedule. Time spent outside of the office or with family is sacred, so we try our best to bring many things that happen outside of the office, into the office.

The most important time management tactic I’ve honed over the last ten years is prioritization. I decide what is most important to me in both family life and work life, then I prioritize around those aspects. That means not everything gets done at once, but at the end of the day, I mentally take stock of what I did spend my time on and make sure it was what is most important to me, and the business.

What would be your advice for other mums who want to start their own businesses .

The best lesson I’ve learned in trying to “do it all” is to have the courage to ask for, and receive help. Getting over the stigma of needing to appear as if I do it all myself took about twelve months. I finally realised that the only way to be a successful happy mother, founder, wife, and daughter, was to accept the help that was being offered to me.

I find this to be true in entrepreneurship, as well. We’ve built a village of supporters around Eventbrite that has truly defined who we are and helped us get to where we want to be. We’re indebted to those who have helped us along the way.

Lastly, be fearless and remember that every failure is a learning opportunity. There is no magic bullet or formula that works for everyone, so don’t underestimate the power to write your own book as you go.

Eventbrite has won many awards for best place to work in, and you’re global now, what are your future plans?

Our goal is to become the preferred ticketing and registration provider for event organisers around the world, and a household name for attendees to find their next exciting experience. We are focusing our efforts on emerging technologies that will help organisers sell more tickets and drive efficiency, growth and collaboration at a global scale.

Hayley Mullins (HM), inventor & co-founder Ashley Wade (AW), co-founder of SleepBelt a premium quality product designed for the 4th trimester and beyond. A hands free skin-to-skin support system and nap wrap, the SleepBelt support allows baby to sleep sound, snug and secure on mum or dad’s chest while giving parents their hands back to read, use a tablet, or otherwise relax.

Do your children influence your work?

HM: SleepBelt wouldn’t exist if not for my children! The product was inspired by my first daughter… she was 2 weeks old and asleep on my chest. I took my hands off of her, and she startled and fell. I searched high & low for a product that would literally belt my sleeping baby to me; when i realized it didn’t exist, i approached my sister Ashley to help me bring it to life.

AW: As a mum to 4, I immediately saw the need for a product like SleepBelt.

How was balancing your work life with your children?

HM: it’s important to remember that we are ultimately doing this FOR our children. It’s easy to feel guilty when we have to travel or spend late nights at the office, but we are showing our children what it means to follow through on an idea, work hard, and chase your dreams. This is an especially valuable lesson for our daughters — women can do anything, and it’s possible to have it all.

AW: It feels so good to know that my children have seen this product grow from day 1. They were there when we first discussed the idea, and they’ve been witness to every major milestone — our first step into healthcare, our first retail order, every patent, and every award… they’ve been part of it. We are building a legacy for our children, with our children… Because of our children.

What would be your advice for other women trying to start their businesses?

AW: Women LOVE to help and support other women. You just need to find your network… that group of people who want to support you via knowledge, purchasing power, or simple cheerleading.

HM: Also — Don’t be deterred if you don’t find your cheerleader right away! People may not understand what you’re working towards, and that scares people… especially those close to you. They think they are saving you from misspending your time or money. Ignore them. Follow your ideas until you hit a brick wall… then climb over that brick wall. Keep going until you have exhausted every avenue of success.

What are your future plans?

HM: We are looking forward to international growth. SleepBelt is a product that every hospital needs, and every mother should be able to easily access.

AW: SleepBelt is a game changer for hospitals. It’s a product with a global application. We plan on being a global solution. Think big, ladies.

Veronica Sinclaire Co-Founder and Managing Director of Social Gem, a fair trade social enterprise empowering girls and women globally. Social Gem is a unique Social Enterprise. that fund education for girls in the developing world through fundraising programs for schools and organizations; they provide employment to hundreds of women artisans in Indonesia and partner with social entrepreneurs to market ethical jewelry,

Do your children influence your work?

Very much. My daughter was an inspiration in creating my business and using social enterprise business model, including girls’ education as integral part of the biz.

How was balancing your work life with your children?

The challenge was different at different ages. Contrary to popular belief — the easiest was baby and toddler stage. When you’re your own boss — you make the rules. And my rule was the baby was with me at work.

What would be your advice for other women who want to start their businesses?

The time never seems right, so just go ahead and take the first step.

What are your future plans?

To continue growing my business and reaching a wider audience, to inspire more women to become entrepreneurs and to fund education for hundreds more girls in the developing world.

Jill Salzman founder of The Founding Mom, a collective of offline meetups and online resources where mom entrepreneurs can exchange, connect and learn from one another. Incredible women living right in your backyard meet up to swap start-up stories, interact with renowned business experts, and build personal and professional connections within the ever-growing network of mom-owned businesses.

Do your children influence your work?

Yes, children influence everything we do. I’m not sure how they don’t for certain folks — they fill up our lives in such a way that you can’t avoid bringing them into the workplace — which I think is a positive for folks in so many ways. I never seek to balance my work life with my kiddos.

How was balancing your work life with your children?

If there was balance, what good would come of that? Some days are work-heavy and some are family-heavy and I love the challenges and rewards of both.

What are your future plans?

The Founding Moms is global — we are in almost 50 cities in 11 countries right now (albeit not in Ireland yet.) And I find motivation in all of the members of The Founding Moms — incredible smart, sassy and inspiring women who are all building businesses in different ways.

These women seem to have done the impossible, run a successful business yet still manage to keep their families a priority. Some even getting inspiration from theirs kids to inspire and motivate not just other mums but women in all walks of life.

So take another step back, this time not focusing on you, but how you have influenced Mum. Have you been a walk in the park? Has it been all sunshine and rainbows every step of the way? Sometimes we forget how our actions directly affect the lives of those close to us. This one day a year is the day for us to influence Mum. Say a thank you for all the things she has done, all the sacrifices and unsolicited life advice that is always right. Mother’s day is the day for us to influence her and at least give her that tea break she well and truly deserves.