Oak Park's own Jill Salzman knows a thing or two about being a "Founding Mom," but now the entrepreneur-slash-author is out to make sure others do too.
Her forthcoming book on the subject, Found It: A Field Guide For Entrepreneurial Moms, hits book stores Jan. 12, but first, Oak Park-River Forest Patch caught up with Salzman, a 33-year-old mother of two (she's married to Oak Park trustee Adam Salzman), to talk about her most recent entrepreneurial venture, her latest work and giving up on finding the elusive "work-life" balance.
Patch: What is it like to see all your hard work come together like this for one concise volume that other women can pick up and read to better themselves?
Salzman: It was not until my editor sent me the final manuscript that I got pumped. And reading through it one last time before it hits the presses, it's exhilarating to put out there not only what I think women should be doing to better build their businesses, but to read all of the tips and tricks of fellow Founding Moms that are included in the book.
That, and it feels like a summary of the hundreds of Founding Moms' Exchanges I've hosted and what's been discussed there. I really hope that women find this guide helpful to them and put my suggestions into practice.
Though the subject may be tackled in your book, personally speaking, what do you believe is the most important aspect of starting one's own business?
Confidence. It's the trait that is most lacking in entrepreneurs-to-be that I meet. And whether you're at the point of ideation, of launch, or of year number two in running your business, it's actually this emotional component that can push you in the direction of profitability or loss. Having the confidence to move forward is really the strongest force that you need to move forward. The rest will follow.
What compelled you to start this newest entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms?
I started The Founding Moms out of selfish reasons — I merely wanted to meet other women who had their own companies and who were raising kids at the same time. After starting the first Founding Moms' Exchange here in Oak Park and having 200 women join in a matter of 6 months, I was astonished and knew I was onto something.
It's now grown to 30-plus cities around the world with thousands of members — no small feat for wanting to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs offline. And clearly I'm not the only one who wants to connect with other mom entrepreneurs. To your question, speaking and writing has grown out of The Founding Moms, but at the core it's about connecting with others and helping each other.
Can you relay a few tips you can give to entrepreneurial mothers who may be reading this article, perhaps a quick top five?
1. Value your sleep and try more of it. You will function better and everyone else will thank you for it.
2. If you're not there yet, get on Twitter.
3. There's no such thing as balance. Stop seeking it and you’ll feel a lot better about your day.
4. Try out a schedule on a sticky note. Start with the family commitments and hours your kiddos are with you. Go from there—it’s amazing how creative you can get.
5. Don’t work around your kids, work with them.
How does Oak Park, a place that prides itself on thriving local business climate, play into this? It's sort of your home base for your current endeavors, but what is it about the village that helps entrepreneurs thrive?
Since Oak Park is a village, it's on the smaller side and it's easy to get to know fellow entrepreneurs easily and quickly. There's an incredible amount of entrepreneurial talent here in Oak Park and finding mentors, friends and business advocates locally is pretty easy.
You can walk right into a local establishment, introduce yourself and add that person to your network. Quite inspiring, actually, to be a business owner in Oak Park, what with all the support everyone gives each other here.
Found It: A Field Guide For Entrepreneurial Moms will be available at in Oak Park on Jan. 12