Top 50 Mompreneurs, 2011
They cook, they clean and, between naptimes, they run kickass companies. For those who run their own mom-centric firms, the responsibilities of motherhood are only half the battle. Babble is running our first ever salute to the top 50 mompreneurs who pull all-nighters, suffer enormous financial set-backs, and balance business and baby every day to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Here's how they did it.
- Christina Couch
35 / 50
Jennifer Manriquez | Bilingual Fun
Company: Bilingual Fun
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Children: Son, 6, daughter, 8 â¢ Age: 37
Inspiration: When Manriquez, a former Spanish teacher, started raising her daughter bilingually, word spread fast. In 2005, she hosted a Spanish-speaking playgroup in her living room and noticed that more and more kids started coming.
Perspiration: Manriquez started offering language classes for toddlers, with her two children in tow. What began in her home soon spread to rented commercial space. In 2006, Bilingual Fun won a $10,000 low-interest loan from Redbook magazine, which gave her enough money to launch the company’s first teaching video. But as the business grew, so did Manriquez’s stress levels. “I was trying to offer classes and raise my kids and do everything for this business. It makes you feel frantic in all areas of your life,” she explains. “We didn’t have family nearby or anyone to help, so it was all on me. I was working in 15-minute bursts with a baby on my hip. I felt like I was running on empty.” After nearly a year of the hectic work schedule, Manriquez forced herself to stop, prioritize and work smarter. She got a sitter for a couple of hours each day and set specific times for work-related business. “I had to say, ‘When I’m at work, I’m 100 percent at work. When I’m with the kids, I’m 100 percent with them,’” she says.
Success: Bilingual Fun currently has 85 Michigan-based students and two DVDs sold nationwide through Borders. It’s poised to go national in 2011 once Manriquez finishes licensing the curriculum this January.