WHO SHE IS: Rachel Olsen, Founder, Best Mom Products & author of Shark Tank MOMpreneur
LOCATION: San Diego, CA
SUCCESS STORY: Being an early adopter of video podcasts in 2011, I saw the value in bringing this medium to mom entrepreneurs. Creating Best Mom Products and providing the female perspective of building a business is my success story. Now, in 2014, podcasts have become the norm for any business to get their message out.
WORK SCHEDULE: M-F 9am-2pm, then nights
KIDS: Addy, 6 (and a half) Stella, 4 (and a half) — the half is a very big deal
SANITY VICE: Huge Tazo Iced Chai Tea every morning + gummy candy some afternoons (depends on what kind of day it has been)
RECENT SMART READ: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: For summer, take the kids to the pool and have them shower there and change directly into their pajamas. Makes everyone happy : )
GO-TO TECH: AnyList App — awesome for grocery shopping.
BETTER WAY TO SAY WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Nourishing all the parts of your life and being. Don’t let anything starve and don’t give more than you need to.
1. What is a Shark Tank MOMpreneur?
A Shark Tank MOMpreneur is a mom entrepreneur who has been on Shark Tank.
2. You’ve been interviewing “mompreneurs” for some time now. Why write this e-book?
I wrote Shark Tank MOMpreneurs because I had interviewed four women who had been on the show over the last 3 years for my Best Mom Products show and podcast (where I have interviewed 50 mompreneurs about starting their business and the lessons learned). I had been following these women on their business journey, some before and others after, they had been on Shark Tank. As a reporter and a fan of the show, I wanted to learn more about what really happens behind the scenes and what the real results are years later.
It was really out of curiosity that this book began and as it took shape, I realized how valuable these stories would be to other solopreneurs or entrepreneurs in the myths and realities of media.
3. I’ll admit I’m fairly obsessed by the show. What’s the main takeaway from the moms you interviewed?
Don’t go on the show for funding, though none of the mompreneurs say it explicitly despite all landing deals. Shark Tank is a reality competition and like all reality television, viewers tune in for the entertainment value. When you are a contestant, you will be edited to look like a hero, a villain, an idiot or some other type of character. They need the characters to appeal to a mass audience. This was a big risk all the mompreneurs took.
They all had compelling, authentic stories for why they created their product and decided to start a business. People don’t buy a product, they buy a story. They buy the way something or someone makes them feel. The producers know this and who doesn’t love a mom dedicated to creating a product their kids needed while raising a family?
4. Isn’t it all about PR?
Yes, getting PR and having 8 million viewers is one reason folks go on the show, but the real reason many go on is to find a partner who can take their business to the next level — and that is through funding and partnership. Over the past year, many do go on for publicity but a few years ago when these women went on — that wasn’t the case.
5. Speaking of PR, with the book and Best Mom Products, your objective is to teach moms the art of pitching a product. What are three keys to success on pitching that could also be extrapolated to pitching yourself in a job interview if you’re not an entrepreneur?
(a) Know your target audience and understand the role they play. On Shark Tank the entrepreneurs are talking to investors so they prepare heavily on their financials. In a job interview, maybe you’re talking to the Human Resources manager so prepare by thinking about what a HR person is interested in — your job history, gaps in employment, salary. Save the specifics of code development on the latest app you built for the hiring manager. Stay on point and align with their interests.
(b) Know your story. What product (or skill set) are you selling and why? Why did you leave your last position? If it was because you had children, needed more flexibility and are now looking to go back full-time, think about their concerns and tie those into your story. They may ask how has your situation has changed? Why now? If you are feeling unsure about anything, this will come through in the interview. If you are uncomfortable answering any question, practice it over and over again until it sounds natural. Know your story and get comfortable.
(c) Authentically present yourself in the best light. What benefits do you bring to the table? You took time off but you are highly skilled, kept up with your industry while out, taking online classes, attending conferences and will hit the ground running. When you are excited about an opportunity, it shows.