found her at-home success
tapping into other moms’
needs for marketing expertise.
“There’s a lot more competition now,” she advises.
“You need to be a marketer
first and a businessperson
second. Unlike advertising for
a product, you have to market
yourself as the real deal.
“That’s what I help people
do now. I help them develop
this brand. What makes you
different? How can you
“The future is for entrepreneurs who can find a niche
and really embrace it.”
to remain in contact with their children. Family
flexibility and economic success aside, being able to
be a mom is still their primary motivation.
As Costco member Susan Dunk, who invented
the ToddlerCoddler ( www.toddlercoddler.com) car-seat
cushion, says, “As successful as this has become, the
best part is that my business allows me to continue
to be there for my kids.”
While the work-at-home mom is hardly a new
idea, there are a number of reasons why this latest
wave is different.
Technology makes working from home easier
than ever, providing a gateway to careers that were
practically unheard of 10 years ago, says Parlapiano,
a Costco member in New York. Traditional professions such as nursing, teaching, investing or practicing law are careers that, by virtue of the Internet, are
now possible to maintain outside the office. And less
conventional positions such as virtual assistants are
possible almost exclusively because of the Web.
Additionally, with high-tech tools such as cell
phones, e-mail, blogs and podcasts, moms are able
to market and network—to reach a wider audience
more quickly and efficiently—without having to
step out of the house.
“If you can get a laptop, an online connection
and a cell phone, you could literally be dropped on an
island,” says Tamsevicius. “The Internet has
slashed start-up and marketing costs, and
given entrepreneurs access to potential
customers all over the world.”
“With the Internet, the other person can’t see
that the office is in your bedroom,” says Marina
Westerdahl, who invented Comfy Crawlers (www.
comfycrawlers.com), padded-knee pants for kids. “It’s
not like you have to have the big office anymore.”
“It’s easier to set hours,” says Parlapiano.
“Because of that flexibility, you don’t have to pick up
a phone and worry about kids in the background.”
Show moms the money
Money might not be falling from the sky, but as
the mom-at-home model has taken root, funding has
certainly become easier to find. Though mompreneurs still tend to rely on savings accounts and credit
cards for start-up expenses, according to Parlapiano,
grants and low-interest loans are more accessible.
Financial resources include women-specific
micro-lenders such as Count Me In ( www.co
unt-me-in.org) and private nonprofit lenders such as
Accion USA ( www.accionusa.com) and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (www.microenter
There’s also an emerging group of financial
sponsors, such as WebMomz and Mom Inventors
Inc., founded, owned and operated by women entrepreneurs who are now in a position to give back,
through loans, sponsorship or cash prizes.
“Our Good Morning America Weekend’s Mothers
of Invention Challenge awards a $10,000 cash prize
to the woman who submits the best idea to our site,”
Marina W esterdahl
turned her concern for her
firstborn’s knees into Comfy
Crawlers, her own padded-knee pants business, and then
created Gissy Bella as a springboard for other would-be
“I loved the idea of getting
to stay home with my kids, and
wanted to offer other moms
the same opportunity,” says
Westerdahl. Gissy Bella (named
for her daughter, Giselle Bella)
now offers a commissioned
compensation plan for
independent mom representatives around the country.