Tamara Monosoff's entrepreneurial efforts as the founder of Mom Invented and author of five books on entrepreneurship have made her a leading voice for business owners. Now, Monosoff is taking that one step further with her own website dedicated to helping other aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.
Tamara Monosoff knows what it takes to run a successful business having founded Mom Invented a decade ago. Now Monosoff is attempting to help other aspiring entrepreneurs in the best way she knows how to, teaching them from her experiences. That is the thought process behind TamaraMonosoff.com, which offers tips and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. BusinessNewsDaily spoke with Monosoff about her entrepreneurial journey, how she is trying to help other entrepreneurs and the biggest mistake she sees young entrepreneurs make.
BusinessNewsDaily: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Tamara Monosoff: An airplane pilot.
BND: What did our parents do for a living?
TM: My father was a psychologist and my mother was a marriage and family therapist and an artist. They often worked together.
BND: Can you talk a little about your businesses and how you got your start?
TM: I have two businesses —Mom Invented an online community for women product entrepreneurs and a consumer products brand and TamaraMonosoff.com a mentoring website dedicated to offering specific educational resources for entrepreneurs. When I started my business in late 2003, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had held a number of professional positions and had recently completed my doctorate.
I was home after the birth of my first daughter when she started unraveling the family toilet paper. It was cute until she starting clogging the toilet with it. It seemed that the only baby-proofing device not sold was something to prevent this problem. So, without any experience or knowledge, I invented my first product. I had to learn everything from scratch. Through the process I found that others valued the lessons I learned along the way. I have since launched dozens of products and written several business books for entrepreneurs.
BND: What’s the best part of owning your own business?
TM: Freedom and control. For 10 years I have never had to ask anyone if I could take the morning off to take care of a sick child or to attend their school play. Now all decisions are mine. There are no political challenges or internal debates. If I want to do something, I consider it, discuss it, and then decide.
BND: What’s the biggest mistake you have made as an entrepreneur?
TM: I over extended myself and my company. The longer I have done this, the better I have gotten at saying no. Focus is critical and not even large, well-funded companies — which I was not — can be good at many things. So, learning to resist distractions and focus on just a couple things has been a major learning experience for me.
BND: What was your main motivation in starting this business?
TM: My first business motive was creativity and excitement. I got so excited by the process of taking an idea from concept to peg hooks in real stores. I also loved the process of building a national brand and community.
BND: What previous experiences helped you in that journey?
TM: All of them! Being an entrepreneur has forced me to draw upon nearly every experience I have had. And, different people find different ways to tackle the challenges of entrepreneurship. I have always had an interest in "how to" books. So, the process of taking a product to market became a "how to" process for me. I was then able to leverage my formal educational training to write books. In addition, parenting and managing a family has taught me patience and stamina which are relevant skills for running a business as well.
BND: What was the biggest challenge you encountered and how did you overcome it?
TM: The recession. When production and transportation costs rose at the same time and consumer demand declined, we were strongly affected. So, we shifted our business model by licensing our brand to much larger companies that could tolerate these changes in the economy.
BND: What is the best bit of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?
TM: Over the past 10 years, I have met thousands of aspiring and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. While you need this type of energy to bring a product to market, the one danger that entrepreneurs face is their propensity to: launch, plan then research. The advice I have is to reverse this order, even if it means that they will need to pause for a few short weeks, which is a brief time in the history of a company, and instead: research, plan then launch.