Heather Allard

- Founder of The Mogul Mom
After having her first child, Heather invented Swaddleaze, a wearable swaddling blanket and sleep sack, and Blankeaze, the first wearable blanket with leg openings for "active sleepers." Swaddleaze was featured in Pregnancy and Consumer Reports magazines, and on 'Access Hollywood' in a re-creation of Suri Cruise's nursery. Today Heather heads up The Mogul Mom, a website dedicated to helping mothers start and run their own businesses.

What's new for 2012-2013: The Mogul Mom just celebrated its five-year anniversary and is now home to a new marketplace featuring over 100 moms in business. Next up is a site redesign and two new guides, 'Get Started' and 'Get Social,' to follow our top-selling 'Get Retail Ready' and 'Get Famous.'
What inspired you to start your business?
Heather: The main catalyst for every business I've started (three and counting!) has been the same thing -- staying home with my children. Even before I had kids, I knew I wanted to be an at-home mom. I didn't want to put my kids in daycare -- I wanted to be there for every precious minute. But I also knew I would have to contribute to our household income. So, I got creative to be able to do that and stay home.
How long have you been in business?
Heather: I started my first business as a freelance copywriter in 2001, my second as a baby products inventor in 2004, and my third as an online publisher in 2007. So I've been in business for a decade!
Many people have business ideas, but are overwhelmed at how to get started. What was the first thing you did to propel your dream into a reality?
Heather: The first thing I do whenever I have a business idea is to Google it. You can find out so much information that way, and I highly recommend it for anyone with a business idea. If you have the tendency to get overwhelmed, it might also help to break down your business idea into bite-sized chunks of "to-do's" that you can check off one by one. For example, register a business name, find a web designer, call the bank about opening a business account, etc.
How long did it take you to get your business off the ground?
Heather: My first business didn't take long to get off the ground at all. I read Peter Bowerman's book 'The Well-Fed Writer', followed every one of his recommendations, and had my copywriting business off the ground in under a week. My second business took much longer because I was bringing a product to market. From sketch to store shelves, it took about 10 months.
What was the most challenging part emotionally?
Heather: As a mother, I find the most emotionally challenging part of running a business is the guilt about the time I spend away from my kids, working on the business. It's something I've only recently learned how to handle by being very open with my children about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, how it makes me feel and how they can help me. That way, they know that I'm not just fooling around on the computer or worse, ignoring them. I also think it will help them see that moms can be successful at both motherhood and business.
The most challenging part business-wise?
Heather: Trying to build and run a business with kids in tow. Seriously. Two of my kids are in school but one is still home with me. I swear it takes me double the time to do anything because even when I say, "Mommy has to do a bit of work now," he still asks for snacks, has to blow his nose or go to the bathroom, wants me to put on a DVD, etc. I always say that if I had 10 uninterrupted minutes, I could rule the world.
Was there a moment when you thought, "I've made it. This is going to work."?
Heather: There have been several moments when I've thought that. Usually, I was wrong. [LOL.] Yes ... I've thought "this is going to work" many times but I've learned that every business I've had is constantly evolving, growing, changing.
What are your biggest challenges with work-life balance? Any wisdom you can share?
Heather: Well, when you're running a home business with kids in tow, you have to be very realistic about your workable time (and usually the younger your kids, the less workable time you have) AND have a firm but flexible daily schedule so you can maximize every bit of that workable time. Also, the household isn't going to run itself just because you're working. Make things easier on yourself by creating weekly or monthly meal plans, wear a "uniform," take advantage of grocery delivery and outsource anything you can (like laundry, cleaning, etc.).
What's your favorite thing about running your own business?
Heather: The fact that I haven't missed a moment of my children's lives. I love being home with them while earning a very decent income. I love, love, love being my own boss and building businesses from the ground up. I love the fact that I'm showing my children that they can be parents and entrepreneurs. I'm not sure I could ever work for someone else again.