Becoming an Accidental Entrepreneur
By Kathy Zucker
I have started four companies in the last six years. One of them, a beverage company, went to #1 in nationwide grocery sales on Amazon.com and is being sold in high-end retailers like the Ritz Carlton and Wynn Las Vegas.
I never intended to become an entrepreneur. After giving birth six years ago to my first child I planned to return to my full-time corporate job in healthcare marketing. A combination of health issues, child care complications and the demands of two high-powered careers led to me staying home.
To keep my career alive and earn some much-needed cash, I started freelancing in healthcare marketing. I had child care one day a week so I could get out of the house for client visits. The bulk of my work was done during naptime and in the evenings after my husband came home.
One of my marketing clients liked my work so much that he brought me in as a partner in his new beverage company. Up until that point I had no experience with consumer products. My two partners had decades of experience in entrepreneurship – they have collectively launched over 20 companies.
During the 18 months we worked together, I received a crash course in company creation. From liability insurance to incorporation, contracts and retailer negotiations, I learned in the best possible way – through hands-on experience. I also got to exercise my marketing skills to the fullest by writing business plans and press releases while working with vendors to create print and digital marketing materials.
Working at Apex Beverage took me into completely new territory as I put together trade show booths, and went to flavor laboratories and bottling plants to research an all-natural product line. Timing and cost were constantly under evaluation. As I watched my partners make decisions, I thought, “I can do this.” So I did.
Two years ago, I created Metro Moms Network, L.L.C. to recreate the experience I had partnering with experienced freelancers and entrepreneurs – our core products are:
- Consulting Network: 1,300 members, free monthly meetings and career transition bootcamps
- Biannual Expos: Attendance keeps doubling, with close to 1,000 people registered for our Healthy & Green Halloween event
- Magazine: monthly readership of 7,000
The current economic climate is full of uncertainty. New companies are hiring fewer people, relying heavily on contractors to do work on an as-needed basis. In the meantime, established companies do not want to train people. Networking is incredibly important to acquire the skills you need to transition to a different job or industry.
The Metro Moms are holding a free networking and mentoring brown bag luncheon this Friday, October 12, from 11am-1pm at Sky Club Fitness in Hoboken, NJ. Join us to hear about what other parents are doing and to pitch your business idea to experienced freelancers and entrepreneurs, you can RSVP here. Kids are welcome – I hope to see you there or at the Healthy & Green Halloween bash later this month, there are still some spots left here.
MetroCareers: You Can’t Have It All
When Job-Creation Engines Stop at Just One
Kathy Zucker, CEO of Metro Moms Network, mother of three young children and winner of the New York Life Keep Good Going Shorty Award, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. Read her MomCondoLiving blog, follow her on Twitter (@KathyZucker), friend her on Facebook and watch her on Youtube.
Tags: career transition, entrepreneur, freelancing, networking