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Want to become a mom entrepreneur? Jill Salzman will make you a #GIRLBOSS.

It is fitting for moms to become entrepreneurs — by raising a child, they are part of the entrepreneurial sort already.

Want to become a mom entrepreneur? Jill Salzman will make you a #GIRLBOSS.

Jill Salzman is founder of Founding Moms, a Chicago-based network that connects thousands of mom entrepreneurs with one another through a digital community, online learning and in-person events around the world. (Find a city near you here.)


We talked to her as part of our #MotherlyMakers series, highlighting the women remaking our world.

Our big takeaway? You'll never know if you can do it—until you try. ?

Why did you believe you needed to create Founding Moms? What was going on in your life—and the culture at large?

I started the very first meetup for mom entrepreneurs purely out of self-interest. I was running two unrelated businesses at the same time and was pregnant with my second baby.

How on Earth was I going to run two businesses with two babies in one home office?

I was mortified, scared senseless, and needed to know how other women were doing it because I didn't know a single one.

When 15 women attended the first meetup and then that number grew each month that we got together, I knew I was onto something and followed attendees' desires from there on out.

That's essentially how I built The Founding Moms and how I continue to grow the brand — I base most of our decisions on what the collective of mom entrepreneurs needs. We went from 15 women at that first meeting to nearly 10,000 mom entrepreneurs worldwide (nearly 50 cities in 10 countries.)

So there's that.


Was there a single moment when you decided to take the leap?

About six months into hosting a neighborhood meetup for mom entrepreneurs — where I strapped my baby to myself every time — I did have one of those lightbulb moments. A woman asked me to open a second chapter so she wouldn't have to drive so far. I agreed. When I sat down to open up the second chapter, I realized that I could open up a chapter in any city — not just the one she wanted — because the Internet is a wonderful thing.

So I did.

I kept opening up in cities where I could find a fellow mom entrepreneur who believed in our mission.

And I still do.

Why is it that so many women become entrepreneurs after motherhood, even in the mom and baby space?

Building a business and raising a family are very much the same thing. It involves feeding, growing and nurturing an unknown. A thing that can literally throw something in your lap at any minute. Something that can vomit all over itself or throw a tantrum or give you stress or joy or pain or abundant love at any second of the day.

It's a wild and risky ride that all moms are familiar with to some degree.

So it is fitting for moms to become entrepreneurs — by raising a child, they are part of the entrepreneurial sort already.

I see more moms becoming entrepreneurs in spaces that they're familiar with—lawyers, accountants, marketing experts, etc. — but plenty launch mom- or baby-industry businesses because they are in it all the time after they give birth and they're passionate about it, too.

TEDxNaperville - Jill Salzman - Why Moms Make The Best Entrepreneurs

You have started several successful ventures, all while raising a family. What are your secrets for integrating work and family?

But it's not a secret! I'm doing what I see most mom entrepreneurs do. I don't strive to integrate or find that silly “balance" thing.

I just do it.

I integrate my work with my kids and don't feel guilty about it (anymore) and don't make up excuses to other people about it. If I have to get to an emergency email or phone call, I hand my kids the stapler and paper and have them staple “important things." If there's a sick kiddo and a meeting I just can't miss (which is extremely rare,) the kiddo comes with me. As long as my kids are involved, they feel attended to and loved and I get my work done.

On the flipside, I try very hard not to do any work around them if at all possible, especially since it is easier now that they are school-aged. But they know mama needs to work and that she is a happy version of herself because of it.

We love hearing from other women about how they make it all work. Can you give us a little glimpse into a day-in-the-life?


At 6: 30 am. . .

I am still sleeping. And if you so much as breathe loudly I will be very, very unhappy with you.

At 7:45 am. . .

Making sure that my kids are eating their oatmeal so they can throw their clothes on and get into the car for school.

At 10:00 am. . .

I'm working out, prepping dinner and getting household stuff in order before diving into work.

At 1:00 pm. . .

Diving into work. This is usually the start of my work day — taking meetings, phone calls, doing the big kid stuff we founders are supposed to be doing.

At 3:00 pm. . .

still working.

At 5:00 pm. . .

picking up my kiddos from their after school program, heading straight to dinner, bath, bed.

At 9:00 pm. . .

back at work, filling out interviews for incredible series like Motherly Makers.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

Raise your prices. (My podcast partner, Brad Farris, tells me this often and repeats it in our weekly podcast, Breaking Down Your Business. He's a genius.)

Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to that's helped to shape you as a woman and a mother?

Too many to count. Every member of The Founding Moms is an inspiration to me and has pushed me in a direction that has helped me build a brand and land me where I am today.

And Stephen Colbert.

Tell us about your daughters. How have they transformed your career?

I have two girls, now in Kindergarten and the third grade. I used to feel so guilty when they were babies about doing the work I really wanted to do. I pushed through that—and by talking to them about what I do and how I work hard to make sure they feel included—they have helped elevate my sense of self-when-at-work and have been such positive lights in what I do that I can genuinely say I couldn't do this without them.

I want them to grow up to be incredible mom entrepreneurs, too, so here's hoping I can be a solid example.

What gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you inspired and excited about life?

My alarm clock gets me out of bed and my members keep me going. They are awesome. Really.

We'd love to hear—what would you tell other mamas who want to turn their passions into their professions?

Just do it. No hemming and hawing. You won't know until you dive in and try it, and you can very easily talk and plan your way right out of ever getting going. Just do it.

What are your big dreams for Founding Moms?

That we become a central hub for mom entrepreneurs to help each other build businesses, make money and grow local economies in every city around the world. We need the support, and there are so many of us dreaming big, why not do it together?

What do you hope your daughters learn from your career?

That they don't have to choose between two things they love.

What does it mean to you to be “Motherly"?

To be motherly is to nurture externally — whether it be a company or a family — while simultaneously nurturing yourself.


My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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