WHO SHE IS: Brenda Bazan, Co-founder of MoolaHoop, Crowdfunding for Women Entrepreneurs

SUCCESS STORY: Redefined herself as an entrepreneur after a long and successful corporate career

WORK SCHEDULE: Up at 5:00am for yoga and meditation, start work in my home office early. I take a break each evening to spend personal time with my husband or to take a walk or swim. Weekends also still include work nearly every day, but also include a break for family, exercise and friends.

KIDS: Six kids: 2 daughters, 32 and 25, and 4 boys, 24, 22, 20 and 19, plus a wonderful son-in-law, 32

SANITY VICE: Red wine, chocolate and Jimmy Fallon short segment videos online

Brenda and her family.

Brenda and her family.

BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Delegate. The kids can do much more than we give them credit for: dishes, laundry, feeding the dogs. Let everyone understand how they can help. It requires lowering your standards on some things, but it’s a great trade-off against going straight-up crazy. Make sleep a bigger priority over a perfectly clean office or house.

GO-TO TECH: iPad Air. It enables me to travel much lighter. By using cloud-based storage for documents and attachments, it’s easy to use the iPad as a more productive substitute for a laptop

HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE? 7.5…not bad for a new business founder

5+ Questions for Brenda

1. Tell us about MoolaHoop and its mission.

Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 12.06.17 PMMoolaHoop is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform created by women to help women leverage the “power of the crowd” to grow their businesses. MoolaHoop enables female entrepreneurs, business owners and managers to garner financial support for their projects by reaching out to their customers, offering rewards in the form of special pricing on their products and services and unique experiences. Our mission to help close the gap that exists in access to capital for women owned businesses.

2. What’s been your personal experience that motivated you to start this site, particularly focused on women?

My entire career has been focused on small businesses. I find small businesses exciting and their owners inspiring. While at IBM, I created programs to help IBM identify market opportunities and develop solutions that were sized for that growing segment of the industry. Later, when I retired, I worked in microfinance helping hundreds of women in Africa and the Middle East start businesses that changed their lives and the lives of their families. My firm belief was there was a way to use the foundations of international microfinance to lift up and empower women in the U.S. This was my hope!

3. Why do you think women are starting businesses at such a rapid clip?

First, some women are disillusioned with pay, promotion and flexibility in corporate jobs. Many women simply want to have more control over their economic and professional future.  Second, aging population and increased diagnosis of children’s learning challenges are placing profound pressures on families. We see many women leaving corporate jobs to start businesses because they need the schedule flexibility of self-employment, but cannot afford to live without a second income. Third, the economic downturn left many women jobless and with no alternative but to create an income for themselves. It’s heartening to see women facing the enormous challenges of modern life and deciding to rely on themselves. I want to be a part of making that happen for them.

4. You have six children. Did you take breaks during your career? 

We are a blended family, so not all six children were born to me. I did take breaks of over three months for my daughter and my adopted son. I took breaks later when we moved to Europe, when I separated from their father, and then when I remarried and we were blending our teenage children. I have really benefitted from taking time at different critical moments in our family life to be present. But also, for me personally to help myself through the transition.

5. What’s the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?

There is entirely too much conversation around the “choice” women make to work or stay home with their children. Seriously!  That conversation is the luxury of families that can make it on one income…or that even have two people to generate income. The largest proportion of moms in this country must work. It is not a choice. Once we realize that, then the conversation needs to be far more focused on the services these women need to support this necessity: daycare, subsidized preschool, food assistance and higher wages. 

5+. What advice do you live by as a working mom?

No matter what meeting you miss, no matter what deadline slips, if you have to take your child to the doctor or make that little league game or dance recital… go. I promise you that the world will not stop revolving on its axis and the continents will not collide into each other. The work will always be there.  But they will only be this age once. If more of us drew a line and made these decisions, then companies would stop expecting us to be available 24/7. Arianna Huffington has it right — it is not all about money and power, but what makes you #Thrive.

Bonus advice from Brenda (we couldn’t get enough!): I believe that you have to build your work so that it doesn’t own you. Place boundaries and then live with the consequences, such as unanswered emails, adjusted deadlines and  dropped balls. Get enough sleep, have interests and hobbies that draw you away in a healthy manner… and then, most importantly, love the life you have. In all its imperfection. Don’t compare your life, your career or your “balance” to anyone else. Choose the life you want for yourself and then decide to love it with all you have. Trust me… Home and Garden is not coming to do a photo shoot in your home tonight. They better not be coming to mine!

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