For Holly Hurd, 2012 means inspiring more moms to venture out.
Last time Hurd spoke with It’s Relevant, she had close to 70 featured VentureMoms on her site VentureMom.com—telling the success stories of women from Connecticut and across the country. Now with 3,000 followers, Hurd’s “big push” for the year is her “venture hour”—a new method of helping women figure out what they’re “good at doing.”
“A lot of women will say ‘finding a business course equals X amount of dollars,’” said Hurd, “‘but finding out what I want to do is priceless.’”
Before the venture hour takes place, Hurd sends the mom a questionnaire to fill out, which will clarify their interests and any limitations such as other jobs, children, or certain time constraints. Hurd will then have an hour over-the-phone consultation with the mom for a $197 fee, to discover interests or hobbies the mom can generate a business with. The venture hour also includes a free copy of Hurd’s 12-step book titled “12 Week Mom to Venture Mom.”
“These moms are doing something right now they can charge for, like this one woman who makes homemade ice cream cakes," said Hurd. "I just love doing this."
One venturous mother is Leslie Josel, who has run a business called, Order Out of Chaos, since 2004. It is a service that assists individuals, families, and students who have had a life long disorganization struggle. Josel said she met Hurd last spring at a networking luncheon.
“Women are smart, and natural relationship builders,” said Josel. “Holly does that. She is extremely knowledgeable in helping women find what they need.”
Hurd’s site grants a directory of resources for women to use—such as contact information for a graphic designer or coach. Her new directory is “more sophisticated” and provides Google Maps. While Hurd said she wouldn’t necessarily call herself a “coach” she does claim herself a “venture detective.” She helps women, who are looking to get back into the work force, figure out what they want to do.
“In this dismal market, there are ways to make money,” said Hurd. “When I started, I didn’t even know how to cut and paste a photo. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you just have to get started.”
That’s just how Rowayton resident Sarina Galu got her business going—by putting her idea out there. When Galu’s four-year-old son Tucker was having a string of nightmares before bed, she created a solution.
“A cute pillow with a pocket where he could jot down happy thoughts in a journal that could deter him from negative things,” Galu said became her new project.
After Galu realized the pillow gave her son a sense of security, she opened her business, Tuackadream, in August. Her pillows are now sold at holiday boutiques, Graham’s Toy Store and Hair Salon in Greenwich, and Darien Toy Box. Since meeting Hurd in the fall, Galu said she has felt motivated to move her business forward.
“It’s hard being a mom business owner, but I really believed in the product—kids love it,” said Galu. “It’s hard juggling the kids and starting a business, and seeing these profiles helped inspire me.”
Each week, Hurd sends a free newsletter to her followers and showcases the story of a VentureMom.
“Holly highlights women who are true professionals. They have taken unique ideas and a lot of sweat equity has gone into building these businesses,” said Josel.
Currently, Josel has a guest blog on the site.
“I’m not a publicity hound in any way, but I think I have a great story to tell,” said Josel.
Josel embarked on her organization mission eight years ago when her son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She said after the diagnosis, she started re-arranging her son’s room—removing doors and replacing his dresser with clear, labeled bins.
“When I started my business, my intention was to work with that population. You become the trusted advisor when you sit down with parents,” said Josel. “It becomes much more personal.”
Now Josel has grown her business into a place where students can organize their schedules with an academic planner and where her employees reach out to senior citizens who need guidance moving into assisted living. Josel has also made guest appearances on TLC’s Hoading: Buried Alive. Hurd says her site includes a diverse group of moms, like Josel, in terms of the size of their business, location, and interest.
“I can tell you about a mom who cleans dogs’ teeth for 25 dollars or a teacher who tutors during her lunch break for 100. There’s one mom who created a phone app. and has nine people who work on it up in Boston,” said Hurd.
The lead VentureMom has also been writing a book that will contain the stories Hurd has gathered from her entrepreneurship. Hurd said she’s currently looking for an agent and publisher.
“Moms can’t afford to leave their kids. My message is to create your own job, then you can have the flexibility and I’ll give you examples of women who have done it,” said Hurd.
Learn more about VentureMom in the Its Relevant article Entrepreneur Helps Moms Venture Out.