Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mompreneur ROI

As we work through our writing project about mom entrepreneurship I found myself thinking about ROI – or return on investment – the other day. There’s an ugly looking formula to figure out your ROI – I’ll include it here just to amuse ourselves:

Despite the fact that I made it through business school I’m not what you would call a quant jock – so anytime a formula is involved I start to feel a little unwell. But in our business we do measure and consider whether the things we spend money on generate returns.

We’re not sure that all small business people think about what their returns are. At a recent show we were next to a woman who did the most beautiful quilts and who lost money at a staggering rate throughout the show. We don’t blame her for that – you’ll never know how something will work out unless you try, right? But she’ll be back, and that’s the problem. She comes back every year. And she’s not the only one. So if we're talking about issues in starting a business we want to raise the issue of considering returns.

The thing is though that we’re talking about mompreneurs here – not your average Joe or Jo-Anne Entrepreneur. Many of us start our businesses looking not only for money, but for family time and balance as well. The returns may be different for us.

Here are some of the profits and (losses) in my daily mompreneur experience.

Yesterday I picked up my kids from the camp bus and walked them home. I sat with them while they had a popsicle and heard about their day.

(Later I shushed my son and visibly hurt his feelings when he tried to tell me something while I was on the phone for a work call.)

I’m taking a few days off next week to go camping with my husband and kids. And I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission.

(I’ll be a little stressed out about how far behind I am when I get back. I’ll disappear and leave the kids to their dad so I can catch up when we return.)

I have breakfast with my kids every day.

(My laptop is on the kitchen table sometimes.)

I get to decide when I work and where, and I love that freedom.

(I sometimes miss the companionship of a busy office. And I wouldn’t mind making more money either!)

I haven’t ‘missed’ anything as my kids have been small. I’ve felt every new tooth come in, seen them roll, crawl, walk and speak for the first time. I’ve soothed hurt feelings and kissed owies better.

(I’m not always as present with my kids as I’d like to be.)

So what’s the ROI on my mompreneur experience? Well, I’ve invested the last 7 years of my life (and counting), I’ve forgone both a lucrative career in the corporate world as well as being a full-time mum. But even though there’s a ‘loss’ for every ‘profit’ I’m still definitely ahead. I choose the positives even knowing that there are negatives and I know that the gains are worth more to me than the losses.

Maybe it’s time we wrote a new formula.

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