My Mom Had Big Ideas

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It struck me the other day, when Yvonne and I were talking, that my mom was a solopreneur. I don’t know that I’d ever given much thought to all of the crafts she did and the craft shows she attended to sell her wares. She was also a garage sale maven and ran her garage sales with the skill of a Wall Street exec.

During my childhood my mother worked for a brief time at Fisher Price Toys and at a company that made swimming pool solar covers. For the most part though I remember coming home from school to fresh baked cookies or bread or my mom in front of the television watching General Hospital and ironing laundry.

It was only later that she picked up crafting. She knitted blankets, sweaters and slippers. She made crafts from plastic canvas and she embroidered the most elegant tablecloths, table runners and doilies. In addition to this she made a craft that was of soft felted disks that held a doll in the middle and the disks created her dress. The finished product would sit in the middle of the bed like a wonderful centerpiece.

My mom had a notebook that she kept with her at all times. If she saw a craft at a sale, she’d make note of it and sometimes purchase it and recreate it with her own unique flair. She made note of how much she spent on her craft items. She tracked the hours she worked on them. She named and numbered each item and listed them in her notebook along with the price she’d sell it for and her profit.

When she bought space at a craft fair, that information went into her notebook. She noted the price of the booth, the size of it, the number of people who stopped by it, how much she made and if there was a profit.

I remember her spending a lot of time with her notebook, her numbers and literally crafting her next big idea.

When I was growing up, the words “solopreneur” or “entrepreneur” were never uttered. My dad was a blue collar factory worker. My mom was a “stay at home” mom or back in those days she was called a “housewife.”

Dad played his role in my mom’s business. He built racks for her to display her crafts, he carried her crafts into the shows she attended and he helped her pack the items back up. They would go out to dinner after the show had ended. Mom noted the price of that dinner in her notebook — even though dad paid — she considered it a “cost of doing business.”

Was my mom ahead of her time? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe, like me, she preferred to be the captain of her own ship. She preferred to work for herself rather than for a boss.

When I think about my mom I wonder if, by osmosis, I picked up her entrepreneurial spirit. Is she the reason I left “jobs” and pursued my dream of business ownership?

Did my mom instill in me the thought of making my own “big ideas” happen? I honestly think she did. I wish she was still here so I could thank her for giving me the knowledge that I could do anything, be anything and pursue anything or any big idea I had.

Who inspired you? What inspires you to pursue your big idea? Are you still struggling to uncover your big idea? Email me. Let’s talk!

The author, Robbi Hess, her mom Marlene, and Robbi’s children, Nicholas and Alexa.

The author, Robbi Hess, her mom Marlene, and Robbi’s children, Nicholas and Alexa.