It's the age of the mompreneur. More women than ever before are choosing to put on their entrepreneurial hats and start their own businesses in the ultimate pursuit of work-life balance. In fact, a Harvard Business School study proved kids benefit from having a working mom. Why? Ivanka Trump put it brilliantly when she said, "I feel that having a fulfilling career makes me a better wife and mother, so I am present at the office and work hard knowing that at the end of the day I get to go home to my family." Trump's not the only one that thinks this way. Two New York mompreneurs, Amri Kibbler and Katya Libin, are empowering more like-minded and talented mothers to fulfill their dreams with their networking hub and website, Hey Mama, aka the cool moms' club. Since launching last year, the ladies have garnered a massive and loyal following (they have 35,000 fans on Instagram) of cool, creative mamas from around the globe with one mission: to connect, encourage, inspire, and support all women to fuel their passions and show "how mamas can change the world." We spoke with Kibbler on the origins of Hey Mama, how it works, and her advice for working moms. Scroll down to read our chat and be inspired to start your own business.
MYDOMAINE: When did you start Hey Mama, and why?
Amir Kibbler: In the beginning, a little over a year ago, Katya and I were just looking to make friends with other interesting mamas we had things in common with. We quickly realized that what we had in common with these creative women was our passion for our careers and the desire to find our purpose. We wanted to create a place for these women to collaborate and inspire each other.
MD: How has Hey Mama changed your life?
AK: There is something so rewarding about building something from the ground up and figuring things out as they come along. It's given us a real sense of self-confidence to see what we've built. For me though, the most rewarding thing has been getting to create Hey Mama with my best friend, Katya. We get to brainstorm and create something together exactly the way we want, not run through the corporate red tape we both come from. It's such a privilege to get to meet the women we come across breaking down doors and building their businesses with so much style and grace. It really gets us excited for what's to come and how mamas can change the world.
MD: What are some of the biggest misconceptions about working moms?
AK: I think some people are hesitant to hire moms thinking that they have so many demands on their time and won't be able to deliver, but we have found the opposite to be true. Moms are really great at time management and have great incentive to get things accomplished so they can get home to their families.
MD: Career women are often asked how they balance motherhood, career, and family life; do you think this is a fair question?
AK: I think balance is a myth for anyone, really, once you throw kids into the game. We never really achieve a daily "balance" between all these things; it’s more of a mental balance, being at peace with the compromises that we decided to make each day. One day I may be more dedicated to my job and another, more to my family. It's impossible to be all things at all times. I think we should stop asking everyone about balance and ask them questions about the things they do to spend quality time with their kids and what makes them thrive personally. It's more about making sure that you have something for yourself, so that you can have something to give your family, and be able to focus at work. Exercise and taking care of yourself certainly play a large part in being able to accomplish much in your life.
MD: How does Hey Mama connect fellow mompreneurs?
AK: A large part of our community lives on social media and connects via channels like Instagram. For our members, we host events to get our community together in person. Katya and I also love to connect people in an old-school way via the personal introduction of members, especially when we think they would be a good match. We're such believers that one email can change your business and really, your life. Our community is full of creative and entrepreneurial women building brands and businesses, following their dreams. They are designers, stylists, photographers, content creators, chefs, CEOs, you name it. Interesting successful women are everywhere.
MD: What are some of the ways Hey Mama is empowering moms?
AK: We try to highlight the inspiring things women are doing to let other women know they can get out there and do anything they want to. We aim to provide advice and tips from women who have already made the leap of starting their own business and share stories and articles that others can learn from. We're super excited to be partaking in our first conference this spring (details to come) where women from around the country will gather to learn, inspire, and connect in real life.
MD: How do you shake off the fear and doubt to do what you really love?
AK: The fear is what holds you back. Don't look at the giant task ahead of you to create your own business. Just get started and take things day by day. Ask lots of advice, and just keep going.
MD: How can we stop the mommy guilt and shame around moms not being with their kids 100% of the time?
AK: We need to recognize that it’s the quality time you spend with family that counts. If you are there all day physically but not really there because you feel unfulfilled, it's not really working. It's important to have something for yourself that invigorates you so you can give all of yourself to your kids. You come to the dinner table with things you're excited to talk about and share with your family. You also make a conscious effort to shut off and focus on your kids when you have a limited amount of time with them.
MD: You’ve interviewed some super-inspiring women; what are some of the best things you've learned?
AK: That is so hard. There is so much great advice we’ve heard, but here are few:
“Even more than the money, you have to put in the work. The most important things are free; the relationships you build and the people that are going to help you along the way.” — Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked
“Passion really is the key to success (along with the work ethic to match!)” — Ivanka Trump
"Staying focused is one of the hardest and most important things as an entrepreneur. You have to be very disciplined. There are so many shiny objects out there to distract you.” — Christiane Lemieux of DwellStudio
MD: What advice would you give to new moms wanting to start a business or get back into the workforce?
AK: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. People are usually flattered that you admire them and more than willing to help or give advice.
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To learn more about Hey Mama and its community of creative women, visit heymama.co.
Do you think it's important for moms to connect with each other? How do you network as a mompreneur?