Mompreneur: Kit Bennett
By: Deirdre Uria
Kit Bennett, mom and step mom to four fabulous kids, is the founder of AmazingMoms.com, a site that is part of the Kaboose Family Network. Bennett started AmazingMoms.com in 1999 as, “an Internet resource created by parents, for parents,” she explains. With over twenty years experience in the parenting industry – she taught music, art, and self-esteem to children in both classroom and seminar environments – Bennett is a star example of what a mompreneur is. She took an idea that would benefit parents in every walk of life, and has been successful. Read on as she answers some tough questions about her life and work experiences.
Q: What was your big idea, and how did you translate it into a product or service?
A: AmazingMoms.com was, and is, the culmination of all of the things that bring me joy and/or that I do well -- being a mom, planning parties, turning the mundane into something fun, and being creative. I had been volunteering at schools, helping friends and coming up with ideas for years, when I finally decided that I wanted to figure out a way to make money by sharing my ideas. At first I thought what I did was easy for everyone and not very valuable. Once I realized not everyone looks at a simple household object and thinks of a game or craft, I realized I could inspire moms.
Q: What was the process that got you to where you are today?
A: It’s been a very long hard road and I’ve learned a lot about myself. First, I did a lot of research. Ten years ago the Internet was a new thing and there wasn’t a lot of legitimate support out there. I came up with the domain name – AmazingMoms.com, then the mission statement, and eventually a basic business plan.
I bought the first web-site software available to the masses and just started playing with it. AmazingMoms.com has grown and changed a lot with the market, and with what my visitors were interested in.
Then there is the hard part --- 3 years of 10-12 hour days and no money. I guess I’m pretty tenacious and knew that if I hung in there it would work. Luckily there were little “wins” along the way which kept me going. When Kaboose contacted me to be part of their company I was ready to no longer do it alone. All along the way I had to be open to learning new skills and going outside of my comfort zone, such as learning software, developing marketing strategies, participating in radio interviews, negotiating contracts, and more.
For me the hardest part of the journey has been my self confidence.
Q: What kind of support did you need to make your dream a reality? Who was your support system?
A: I needed much more support than I started with -- technical, financial, internet research etc. Most of all I need emotional support. My husband and I started this together, but he had to work a 9-5 job to pay the bills. He’s continued to be a great sounding board!
I received the most support from my husband, kids, family, and my faith. Not necessarily in that order, though.
Q: How old was your child (or children) when you became a mompreneur? How old are they now?
A: I became a mompreneur when my first child was a baby. By the time Amazing Moms.com was created we had four kids in the house… they were 5, 9, 17 and 18. They are now 16, 20, 28 and 29 – I’m even a grandmother to a fabulous 1 year old!
Q: Do you find the balance between work and home life difficult? Did you find it harder when they were younger? How did you cope?
A: It is difficult to find a balance but for my personality it’s easier than juggling a 9-5 type of job and family. I work best when I can create my own schedule. It was definitely more difficult when they were younger.
The hardest part is learning to say “no.” Friends, family, school, and church tend to think because I’m home that I’m available. For me it wasn’t a matter of coping, entrepreneurship has always been a better fit for me than working for someone else. But I did have to learn to set limits with my kids and teach them that when mom is typing or on the phone, I’m working. I worked at night a lot, and my husband was great at taking the kids out for awhile so I could focus.
Q: What is it like to be a mompreneur, both professionally and personally?
A: I LOVE IT! Like anything it life it has its ups and downs. The downside: I get lonely working at home and wish I had colleagues around me. Also, the stress I have knowing that I am responsible for our financial survival totally freaks me out!
However, the positive aspects far outweigh all of that for me. I’ve found an outlet for my creativity, built my confidence, and have learned more than I ever could have doing something else. Starting a business is like creating a sculpture! You start with a mound of clay and work with it until it becomes the vision you have in your head.
Q: What about your career brings you the most joy?
A: Two things just fill my heart: when the AmazingMoms.com visitors take the time to tell me I’ve provided them inspiration, and when I hear my kids brag about what I’ve accomplished!
Q: What advice could you offer to other women who have an idea, or have even started a small company, but want to grow and develop, as you did?
A: First know that not everyone is built for entrepreneurship, really look at yourself first. Wanting to avoid daycare is not enough to make it work. Some people just do better with the security of a job. You have to be a risk taker and often live outside your comfort zone.
Be prepared to work 60 hours per week, get frustrated, tired, make sacrifices, and expect to wait 2-3 years before an income is produced. If you think you can do all of that, then go for it and don’t give up. But, also seek and take help when needed.
Q: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
A: For starters, I would have had a clearer business plan and more capital to start with, as well as a few business partners.
Q: What is the hardest part about being a mother?
A: Watching my kids make the same mistakes I did, getting their hearts broken, and struggling through tough times. I just wish they would take all of my advice, haha!
Q: What is the easiest part about being a mother?
A: Loving my kids beyond what I thought possible!
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