How 16 Mompreneurs in ECommerce Balance Work and Family Life
May 6, 2022
Running a business isn’t easy. Entrepreneurs must learn how to think outside the box, weigh risk vs. reward, and design their schedules in an effective way. A mompreneur – a female business owner that is also caring for children – has an even bigger challenge of juggling the role of CEO and parent.
For many moms, being an eCommerce mompreneur means logging on from home and building a flexible schedule that leaves room for family time. But it also involves sacrifice, both on the business side and family side.
We chatted with 16 inspiring eCommerce mompreneurs on how to balance work and family life while scaling a successful business. At 8fig, we love to celebrate passionate founders in the eCommerce space (and help them scale to new heights!), and these moms delivered. Here’s their advice.
1. Ditch the Idea of Perfectionism
As moms, it’s tempting to strive toward perfectionism to set a great example for your kids. But nobody’s perfect, both in entrepreneurship and motherhood, and what matters most is how you respond to failures and mishaps. Learning to let go of perfection will free you up for more learning lessons and out-of-the-box thinking, while also taking some unnecessary pressure off of your shoulders.
Dr. Wei-Shin, co-founder of AcousticSheep, finds simple ways to let go of perfectionism in her daily life as a mompreneur. “Don’t overcommit,” she advises. “While I’d love to cook healthy meals, I’ve embraced pre-cooked meals that are transparent about their ingredients.”
She also points out that there’s power in saying no. As a mompreneur, you can’t please everyone all the time, and that’s okay. “Before I had children, I was in a few different business and women’s groups. When I had a baby, I told them to not expect me back for a couple of years. It’s better to set a lower expectation of your time than to feel guilty that you can’t keep up.”
By letting go of perfectionism, Dr. Wei-Shin and her husband have been able to build a 7-figure business over the past 15 years and be at the forefront of the sleep industry. Their hero product is SleepPhones®, a soft headband to wear to sleep that lets people all over the world live and sleep better.
2. Celebrate Your Accomplishments
Nothing worth having ever comes easy, including founding and running a business. For Maryna Shkvorets, the mompreneur experience has been a bumpy road but the fulfillment in succeeding makes the ride worth it.
“My experience as a mompreneur has had its ups and downs, but I would never trade all the lessons I’ve learned over the past few years,” Maryna Shkvorets, founder of Mars and Stars Baby, said.
The idea for Mars and Stars Baby came after the Shkvoret family had their first baby. “My husband told me that he loves babywearing but it makes him sweaty. The next few months were an exciting blur of learning about product creation, web design, and so much more.”
From here, the hero product Breezy Wrap was born. Maryna designed the mesh baby carrier to keep parents sweat-free. She’s been able to build the business while taking care of young kids.
Walking an unpaved path and creating something new can give you a sense of pride that an office job can’t deliver. “The best part is that each win is your own – you’ve really earned it,” Maryna said. “I’m also proud of the example I’m setting for my kids.”
3. Take Advantage of the Flexibility
Many founders seek the creator career path to achieve entrepreneurial freedom. While starting a business isn’t easy, the payoff is huge in terms of flexibility and fulfillment.
Kelley Grace Quakkelaar, co-founder and designer of Gracie Designs, leans into this freedom to support a healthy home life.
“My husband and I now run a 6-figure business on our own and we serve over 1,000 wholesale accounts in all 50 states,” Kelley said. “Our schedule is very flexible, so we never miss a game or school event.”
Kelley’s office is a home studio in her basement, which makes it easy to log quality time with the family throughout the workday. “Sometimes my daughter Maggie comes down to hang out, while I work, or help out.”
4. Set Boundaries Between Work and Home Life
To effectively juggle work and home life, setting healthy boundaries is crucial. Brand founders have to wear a lot of different hats – marketing, bookkeeping, customer service, and manufacturing logistics to name a few – and these tasks can easily turn into a 24-hour job, if you’re not careful.
Nostalgic Drift sells personalized bags and pouches, along with hair bows, patches, and more. In the apparel industry, competition is fierce and product return rates are high, which means founders must spend a lot of time upfront strategizing on how to set themselves apart.
“What I have grown to learn is there is always work to do, so you need to set boundaries so you can achieve a work-life balance,” said Leona McGillivray-Jones, owner of Nostalgic Drift. “I set working hours and try to stick to these hours, like having a set time to engage on social media.”
5. Allocate Time For Rest and Replenishment
If it feels like you’re always on the go, you probably need to slow down. Burnout is a growing problem in the U.S. workforce, especially as rapidly changing consumer habits and the COVID-19 shift in routines make it harder to unplug than ever before.
“Being a momprenuer is all about balance and planning,” said Manna Kadar, Founder of Manna Kadar Cosmetics. “Time management is key so that your partner and kids get time, your employees get CEO FaceTime and of course don’t forget about yourself!”
Manna built a self-funded eCommerce beauty brand focused on affordable luxury. The brand has a cult following and it donates 10% of the company’s annual profits to a variety of organizations Manna supports year-round.
Despite the responsibility of running a large online brand, Manna still finds time to refresh every week. “Plan in self-care days to replenish on a Sunday so you can hit the ground running again Monday refreshed and ready to wear all the hats we do as moms in business!”
6. Set a Great Example for the Next Generation
As a mompreneur, you’re not the only one navigating your business. Your family is navigating it right there with you, and they’re watching how you respond to both your wins and your losses. Working from home means your family will be much more in the know with the ebbs and flows of your business, too.
This is why it’s so important to set a great example. “I am a mom of 3 boys and I run 2 eCommerce businesses from home,” said Heather Plouff, founder of Resell with Heather Elle. “Being available during the day is great, plus being able to show my kids that there are so many ways to be successful and still love what you do every day is a huge bonus!”
One of Heather’s shops, Little Pink Ladybugg Designs, is an Instagram online boutique she started in 2016. The other, ReSell with Heather Elle, is an eBay store she started in 2018. She also picks up travel agent work, so it’s safe to say that Heather’s tenacious and entrepreneurial spirit is setting a great example for her 3 children.
7. Create a Productive Home Office Setup
Prep for success by investing in a home office setup that promotes productivity. As a founder, you’ll need deep focus time so somewhere quiet, free from distractions, and full of feng shui will help you succeed.
This doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in one room of your house for 8 hours though. You can have different areas of your home dedicated to certain tasks. It’s all about finding what works best for you.
“I’m an entrepreneur, a jewelry designer, a CEO that works from home — a one-woman show working in a basement office studio, sometimes on my kitchen table, or in my backyard woodshop,” Vida de Oliver, founder of Vidart & Life Jewelry, explains.
Vida de Oliver has been designing jewelry for 20 years, starting in Brazil before she relocated to America. After getting married to her husband Jimmy and having two boys, she decided to dive back into jewelry design. Today, she is the CEO and designer of Vidart & Life Jewelry.
She considers herself a workaholic and admits it’s hard to leave the backyard woodshop when she’s in her groove. And even though the blend between work and home life gets messy at times, she loves the fantastic adventure.
“I pride myself on being a small business owner, and I think that matters. Because at the end of the day, I take it personally.”
8. Find Ways to Re-center
We’ve all had those bad workdays, the ones you can’t shake even after you close your computer and try to readjust. But loved ones feel that stress too, so it’s important to find effective ways to re-center and start anew.
Casey Simmons is the owner of Royal Locks Curl Care and a mother to two children. She explains how she finds restorative power as an entrepreneur, “I find work-life balance in several ways, like re-centering with music and making sure I have a weekend.”
It was Casey’s journey to motherhood that would lead her to Royal Locks Curl Care, which she now helms. “Royal Locks Curl Care’s curl enhancing products were built for simple routines, just what I needed when my hair turned wavy curly after the birth of my first child.”
9. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Lisa Lane knows a thing or two about working smarter, not harder. After all, she was a successful pharmaceutical sales rep with no intentions to leave the industry until she stumbled upon entrepreneurship through an “aha moment” in the shower.
Now, she has two inventions and two patents under her belt and she runs a 7-figure eCommerce business selling those creations. One of those inventions, Rinseroo, allows customers to instantly convert sinks and showers into bathing machines for pets. The simple idea turned out to be a great problem-solver for many, and proved to have mass-market appeal.
“I worked nights and weekends for a couple of years to make my dream come to fruition and I was eventually able to quit my pharma sales job and do this eCommerce gig full time,” said Lisa Lane, President of Lane Innovations & Rinseroo.
“I am a big believer that the key to work life balance is to work smart….not long. Take vacations, and learn from others who have been there, done that,” Lisa added.
10. Learn to Deal with Failure
The old adage is true: there’s no success without failure. As a business owner pouring your heart and soul into an idea, the weight of those failures will feel bigger, too. Learning to accept that things won’t go as planned and grow from lessons is what separates successful entrepreneurs apart from the competition.
Alison Ruks, the founder of Mobobaby Products Co. Inc., started her career in the corporate world. She was an executive for over 7 years in a male-dominated industry before burning out and deciding to forge her path as a mompreneur.
“I quickly learned that the road to entrepreneurship for moms has its own set of challenges that rival the corporate world,” Alison explained. “Entrepreneurship gets romanticized as the path to freedom but the reality is, the startup years can be brutal. Especially if you’re bootstrapping. Stress is high, and then you compound mom-stress in there, yikes.”
Despite the stress of startup years, Allison successfully brought to market the Mobobaby 2-1 Nursing Cover + Hat. This product was, according to Allison, the world’s first fashion-friendly breastfeeding hat and the only nursing cover on the market that the baby wears, instead of mom. Even still, she found herself having to learn her way through handling rejection, trolls, and countless difficult situations.
“Entrepreneurship involves wearing just about as many hats as motherhood. You can’t possibly be everything at once so you’ll need to prepare yourself for inevitably letting some people down. You will disappoint people. You will cry. It’s all part of the gig,” Allison said. “In the end, no one will write ‘Best mompreneur’ on your tombstone. It’ll be best mom, best sister, best daughter.”
11. Delegate Tasks to be More Efficient
As an entrepreneur, you’ll feel the pressure to do it all. And sometimes, it will fall all on you — especially in the early days. But learning which tasks to outsource is essential. Once you grow big enough to hire a staff, delegating becomes even more important.
Megan France, COO of Quantum Fuel Systems, advises using your maternal instincts to guide decision-making when juggling work and home life. “I have relied on my instincts to decide what’s best for my kids, my business, and myself.”
Remember that the role of mompreneur is constantly changing and adapting to both work and home demands.
“My experience as a mompreneur has been an ongoing evolution; those 24/7 work hours running a company turned into delegation of the day-to-day tasks,” said Megan. “There are days when the lines blur between work and life because being a mompreneur is not the same for everyone but it is important for all of us to make time for ourselves as well and tend to our passions.”
12. Get Inspiration From Family Life
While sometimes it may seem like work and home life are at odds with each other, if you can shift your perspective you might just spark some inspiration! Just ask Patti Varrelmann, CEO and founder of GGblue Luxe Sport. Her entire business idea was sparked by her daughter’s birth, along with the company branding.
GGblue Luxe Sport sells high-quality, stylish women’s golf clothes and sportswear. Before founding the brand, Patti worked as a flight attendant.
“My daughter’s birth is what inspired me to follow my dream and start GGblue,” said Patti Varrelmann. “My daughter, Georgia Grace, also inspired the name GGblue with her beautiful blue eyes. GGblue has since grown into a quality sportswear brand that empowers women of all ages to look and feel great.”
13. Be Intentional and Present
Mompreneurs don’t always need to move at warp speed to achieve success. There is power in being present and intentional with your actions.
Amanda Spencer is a mom and full-time RN, but she also runs an American History website called The Radical Agenda as a side hustle. As part of the site, she sells a planner which highlights important American history dates and monthly learning moments. The planner is self-published and sold on Amazon.
Some days, she sets aside time on her lunch break to write book reviews or research the next edition of the planner’s Monthly Learning Moments. “I am so thankful that I have been able to streamline my product so I can create the next one seamlessly.”
Juggling work and home life is a balancing act, but Amanda has learned how to reduce stress by slowing down and embracing intentionality.
“I have had to learn to be incredibly intentional to make time to be a present and engaged mom as well as an entrepreneur and get enough sleep at night so I don’t burn out,” Amanda explained. “The best things I have done for myself are to break each project into bite-sized goals and assign a time to work on them. Things might get done a little slower this way, but I have found that this is the best way to ensure I am in alignment with my goals, my motherhood, and my health.”
14. Share Learnings and Lessons
In entrepreneurship, passing along the wisdom you pick up along the way is one great way to give back to the community of self-starters you’re a part of. After all, you likely found an inspiring teacher or mentor that helped guide you.
Mompreneur and founder of Tree Snail Wellness Christine Glaser learned how to build her business at home with her kids, and today, she makes sure to share that knowledge with others just starting out.
“I learned how to create skincare products and build an online business from the ground up as a stay-at-home mom, and I am happily sharing everything I know on my blog so that others can do the same thing (but faster than I did!),” Christine Glaser said.
Leveling up at running a business from the comfort of your own home is a great perk to eCommerce entrepreneurship. Not only did Christine learn how to launch and market her products, she learned how to make them too.
“I have two little girls and I am SO proud to have built a thriving handmade skincare business during their nap times, weekends, and (very) early mornings…which still left plenty of time for the park, the zoo, and other daily adventures.”
15. Hire Great People to Help You Achieve Your Goals
In entrepreneurship and motherhood, it takes a village – especially as your business starts to scale. While you may have started out as a solopreneur or co-founder, if business is good and you are looking at expansion, bringing in great staff will make all the difference.
Childrens apparel company Sydney So Sweet was founded by Jen Greenless. “My business started as a hobby, and has now grown into a 7-figure, top-ranked online girls boutique,” Jen explained.
On top of being a CEO and founder, she’s also a mother to 5 kids. Jen understands that sharing this success with her staff who’s helped her get there is what it’s all about.
“The only way to find a work-life balance as a mom of 5 kids, and the CEO of a business is to surround yourself with a great staff,” said Jen. “Once I stopped trying to do everything myself, not only did the business flourish, but I also found that perfect balance of running a company and just being a mom!”
16. Know Your Why
When juggling a lot of tasks, prioritizing is key. Knowing your “why” will help guide that prioritization, so you can always put what’s most important first.
For Lauren Vacey, the Founder/Owner of ilaStrate, this means putting her children before everything else. “One of the reasons I became an entrepreneur in the yoga industry was to spend more time with my children, and have a more balanced lifestyle for my family,” Lauren explained.
Lauren also chose to sell a product that her family could use to improve their daily lives: ilaStrate sells beautiful, natural yoga mats. “We love yoga, nature, outdoor and physical activities. As a homeschool family, we have made yoga a part of our daily routine – this helps us all to stay focused and balanced.”
She also finds that planning and scheduling are great ways to stay organized, but that pivoting is also part of the deal. “As a mompreneur I have learned to be diligent about scheduling, but also accept the chaos!”
“My children are my world, and my why,” Lauren added.
Here at 8fig, we love highlighting the success of brand founders like the mompreneurs highlighted above. We also love helping fuel your growth and taking some stress away from your business by funding your entire supply chain (freight, shipping, logistics, and marketing).
If access to continuous and adaptable capital would help scale your eCommerce business, sign up for a free 8fig Growth Plan today. Our growth planning and funding platform is designed specifically for the needs of your growing eCommerce business. Onboarding takes less than 10 minutes and you can submit your Growth Plan for a funding offer.
Let’s forge a future without limits together.
Karlyn is an eCommerce writer and Content Marketing Manager for 8fig. She's on a mission to democratize online retail by empowering small and medium-sized businesses with resources and tools they need to compete in dynamic marketplaces.