start a business - Boston Moms

I decided to start a business when my firstborn was 6 months old. I’d just gone back to work, and I was still figuring out how to manage my basic responsibilities. It probably wasn’t the most ideal time to become a mompreneur, but I needed to birth my business.

I was thinking about it at all times. I was designing it in my head. I couldn’t let it go, but I also did not know where to begin. I didn’t personally know many entrepreneurs, and I especially didn’t know any moms who’d built businesses while raising young kids. As a result, I spent countless hours reading, bookmarking helpful websites, applying to participate in classes, and… doubting myself.

Do you have an idea for a business that excites you but also terrifies you? Are you afraid you don’t have enough time, energy, or resources to raise your family and run a business? Perhaps you’re right. But then again, perhaps you’re wrong.

The past year has taught me that tomorrow isn’t promised, and there’s never going to be a perfect time to invest in ourselves and our ideas. That said, 1) take a deep breath, mama, 2) watch this video, and 3) then click through the resources below. These resources helped me successfully launch and grow my business. Hopefully, they’ll help you as well.

1. Getting started

Forming your business entity, registering your business, and applying for an employee identification number are essential steps when you’re getting started. Some of the terminology you’ll encounter along the way may confuse you. I used a number of websites to help me through the business registration steps, but these were my favorites:

  • This site does a great job of clearly defining the types of business entities and breaking down the business formation process into manageable steps.
  • Startup Savant: From defining terminology to providing links to financial resources, this site has everything you’d need to file the paperwork to start your business and to find financial resources in Massachusetts.

2. Getting funding

Some businesses don’t require a lot of startup capital, while others may require a significant injection of capital to get off the ground. Whatever your financing needs are, it’s important to know your financing options. These resources helped me get access the capital I needed.

  • IFundWomen provides a platform for women-led businesses to access capital through online fundraising, access to small business grants, expert coaching, professional creative production, a collaborative entrepreneur community, and access to industry connections critical to launching and growing businesses. 
  • Hello Alice is a free platform that helps businesses launch and grow. It has a community of more than 100,000 companies in all 50 states. Hello Alice’s Business for All is a movement to lift up small business owners by supporting them through access to resources, mentorship, opportunities, and the chance to be awarded grants. 

3. Getting support

There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In business it’s important to seek out help from subject matter experts. You will save a lot of time and money by leveraging the free resources around you to get support with specific business problems and needs. Here are my favorites:

  • Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Economic Development offers a one-stop resource for all businesses in the city of Boston. They have two teams to help meet the needs of business owners: 1) The business strategy team aids companies and entrepreneurs across industries and can help you expand, move, or keep and grow your business in Boston. 2) The small business development team is Boston’s front door for small businesses. They have permitting and licensing resources, as well as technical help. They also offer certification for local, women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses.
  • The SCORE Association’s “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association comprised of volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories. SCORE counselors serve as free advisors and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. 

4. Gaining knowledge

In the beginning, no one expects you to know everything about running a business. The goal is to learn as much as you can along the way by reading, researching, and learning from others. I’ve gained a ton of knowledge from these resources:

  • Boston’s Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit that is the convener, voice, and advocate of the Greater Boston business community. They help members succeed by connecting business leaders to build meaningful professional relationships, informing the business community on the most important issues facing the region, shaping public policy, and providing leadership development programs.
  • Babson College has one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the world. They offer incredible classes, workshops, and accelerators for business owners. Their executive education courses for individuals equip participants to identify opportunities through immersive learning that encourage them to think and act entrepreneurially.

Starting a business while raising a family can be exhausting and terrifying — but it’s also not impossible. The world is waiting to meet your new baby. You can do this, mama!

Tracy Skelly
Tracy was born and raised in Southern California. In 2009, she relocated to Massachusetts for a master’s program and, for the first time, learned the real meaning of “cold.” With plans to move back home after earning her degree, she foolishly accepted an invitation to dinner from a handsome stranger. He swept her off her feet, and she never made it back to California. Tracy and her husband live in Boston with their daughter, Sophia. Tracy has spent the last 10 years working in operations and business development. She’s an active member of her church community. Her work within the church is focused on local missions — food security, education, homelessness, family care services, and nutrition and health services (something Tracy is particularly passionate about). Recently, Tracy started a small business. The Little Cocoa Bean Company is a social enterprise focused on baby and toddler nutrition. When she’s not working or mom-ing, you can usually find Tracy in her garden. Loves: baby snuggles, plants, musicals, her husband’s laugh, Black art, island vacations, gospel music, big windows, and snow storms Dislikes: weeds, scary movies, chunks in ice cream, laundry, and Mondays