Rather than turning to traditional at-home employment or entrepreneurship, moms now have an opportunity to begin leveraging their own money and their marketplace knowledge to make money with their minds, instead of their sweat. By Lacey Moler (Co-Founder, Belly Ballot)
Many moms have probably considered starting their own business or finding a job that will allow them to work from home. As children age, moms often find more free time on their hands, or perhaps there are financial pressures, which have made extra income a necessity. In last 10 years, moms have been incredibly successful at closing the mom/professional gap. In fact, stay-at-home moms have created some of the most successful digital blogs, publications, and startups.
But where do we go from here? What other opportunities are available for the aspiring professional mom with diapers in one hand, and a business plan in the other?
Say hello to "The Mommy Investor".
In my own experience as a private equity analyst, mother of three and now entrepreneur, I have noticed a huge opportunity for moms to work in the high stakes, high payoff world of startup investing. Rather than turning to traditional at-home employment or entrepreneurship, moms now have an opportunity to begin leveraging their own money and their marketplace knowledge to make money with their minds, instead of their sweat.
This type of investing (known as "Angel Investing") is where individuals provide funding and advice to companies that are just starting out. These companies will typically have a business plan, and maybe a prototype, but need money to build out the product, hire people, etc.
Angel investing can be riskier than other investments, but can also provide huge returns of 10x-100x on the investment. For example, we all think of Google as the multi-billion dollar success story we see today. Even their co-founders started out of a garage and needed initial angel investment to get the company started. A $50,000 angel investment at their early stage resulted in billions of dollars of wealth.
So why are moms so perfect for this field?
The daily responsibilities of motherhood require skills such as budget management, operations and planning, making them perfect for scrutinizing business plans and balance sheets. Also, there isn't a single demographic on the market that better understands consumerism. That's a huge advantage in determining winning and losing companies. That makes moms inherently prepared with the skills to be incredible early- and late-stage investors.
In addition to providing vital insights into consumer trends, the "Mommy Investor" often has professional skills developed over a lengthy corporate career, which can be quite useful in the early startup environment.
Many stay-at-home moms are former professionals like myself, who have extensive experience in Corporate America, who've run successful businesses, and now those skills lie dormant. By acting as angel investors, they can provide valuable business advice based on their hard-won workplace experience to assist small startups, and yet still remain full-time moms.
It's a big hill to climb for women to assert themselves as competent and successful angels though. Women (and moms even more so) are currently highly underrepresented in this field. Only 5% of women are involved in startup investing. Although wealthy men currently dominate as investors, I see a huge change coming for the reasons I stated above.
As a testament to these observations, my startup Belly Ballot, a fun new twist on naming your baby, is limiting our angel funding round to "Moms Only". Not only are moms are our ideal investor, but we understand how important it is to set an example that will help raise awareness of the Mommy Investor among moms and startups.
We need to start somewhere.
Can you see yourself being a qualified startup investor?
I'd love to hear your feedback.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest bloggers? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Lacey Moler is the Co-Founder of Belly Ballot, a new social startup that allows parents to choose their favorite names and invite friends and family to vote via Facebook and Twitter. Founded in Winter of 2012, Belly Ballot draws thousands of expecting parents every month who search for the perfect name and share their choices with friends online. Lacey is a mom of three and former private equity analyst. Follow her on Twitter at @bellyballot.