The 40:20 from a Woman Entrepreneur

A few weeks ago I did a post about the importance of maintaining your financial independence and planning your future.   As a follow-up I’m sharing specific stories from 40-something women on how they insured their financial independence, particularly from an entrepreneurial standpoint. Even in today’s economy, more and more women are starting their own businesses. During the last five years, the number of women-owned firms increased by 50 percent – a rate of 1 1/2 times the national average


On the cusp of this is a woman whose advice I’m sharing today. Isabel Kallman is the founder of Alpha Mom, a parenting website and new media company that provides editorial, advice, and resources for new moms as well as a forum to connect moms to companies who want their opinions.


Since Isabel founded Alpha Mom in 2005, the mom blogger industry has taken off. In the past five years we have seen the transformation of “mommy blogs” from a place to post pictures and mark your child’s growth to a place where moms share information and spread their influence.


Isabel found herself at the forefront of this movement when her natural business instinct took over where her natural motherhood instinct left off.  With the arrival of her newborn son everyone told her that motherhood was a natural instinct. But for her it was not. As a result she turned to the Internet.  It was in the course of researching every imaginable topic on motherhood, that she was inspired to launch Alpha Mom. She knew there were other moms out there who needed advice and support and reassurance they were not alone. Not all mothers know what to do naturally and they don’t all feel comfortable asking their moms – or other mothers next door for that matter. Today Alpha Mom is a leading parenting brand and has been cited as a top mom resource by Parents Magazine and Forbes. Most importantly, it has an extremely active mom community. They came out in spades to help 40:20 Vision answer a question from a young mom-to-be and lawyer on work/life balance.


Isabel has been able to marry home life and work life — not without its ups and downs but with the knowledge that she was more emotionally invested in being home when her son woke up everyday than getting up at 5am to make money for someone else down on Wall Street. She also knew that regardless of a stable marriage and leaving a successful career, she needed her independence.  She was the source of the quote that inspired my original financial independence post:

If independence is what you want, money is a big key to it. Financial success equals independence. It doesn’t get better than that. All the rebellion or individuality in the world is nothing if have to rely on others for support.”


She says in a Huffington Post article on fearless women that the thought of starting her own business was both exciting and scary.  Being a child of immigrant parents drove her to work hard and achieve success on Wall Street but still left her doubting herself and playing down her achievements. Now she has learned that she has “earned the opportunities that come knocking.”


So what else has she learned? Here is her 40:20 on staying connected to your financial future.


On fear…

“It’s okay to be both fearful and fearless. You probably need both to start a business.”


On having many roles …

“You can be an unapologetically ambitious business woman and a caring and loving mom. I have lots of roles, as do all women and mothers.”


On what you need to start your own business…

“You need to be very single minded.”

“If want to start your own business don’t quit your day job. If you are passionate about it, start to work on it at night and on weekends. If you can stick with it and you can’t wait to do it on weekends and at night and you’re willing to give up sleep for it, that means you believe in it.”

“Approach your current job as an education. If you look at your job as a job, it’s a missed education. Think about what can you learn from your current job that will help you start a company if that is what you think you want to do. From investment banking I learned how to be a great professional. I learned how to trouble shoot. I learned how to  interact with CEO’s. I learned to understand financial statements. Due diligence. I realized I can go anywhere with these skills. You should be able to spin any job with education learned and apply to future


On needing support (and that doesn’t mean dependence)…

“My husband and I were both very focused on our careers and very independent. We respect each other and we are both intellectually curious. I don’t necessarily like the music business and I’m not passionate about music. But I am fascinated by the business aspect of it.  By the same token, he doesn’t care about the nuances of my business but he enjoys hearing about the overall growth of my business and what I do.  I think because we were both independent and yet not constantly questioning each other, it allowed us to both focus on our careers and helped our success.”


On miscellaneous…what I wish I knew….

“If you are worried about being able to have a career and relationship then you are working too hard.” I’m not saying it’s easy but you can do it”


“I’ve learned you can’t count on anything. Life happens. I used to be that type A person. I had my life all planned out on a timeline. But you learn life just doesn’t happen that way and you only stress yourself out and set yourself up for disappointment.”


Thank you Isabel!


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