When Vivian Frankel was organizing a conference to help other stay-at-home mothers establish and grow their own home-based businesses in 2004, she made sure that mentor Jerry Earle of Los Angeles SCORE was on the agenda.
“SCORE is such a great resource, and I wanted to ensure that mom’s who were thinking of starting their own business knew about and utilized their services,” Vivian recalls, offering herself as the perfect example. “This was my first attempt at hosting a conference. I wanted to discuss it with an experienced professional to make sure I’d thought of everything.”
“It’s so easy to get caught up in your idea and think nothing can go wrong,” she says. “You need to go to someone like a SCORE mentor who’s objective and has seen it all before. He or she will spot errors or opportunities you might miss, and help you with them.”
Vivian’s conference proved highly successful, leading to numerous requests for her to stage similar events in other parts of the country. Reluctant to be separated from her young son—the very reason she’d organized the conference in the first place—Vivian took her own advice and called on Earle for help in morphing her conference concept into a Web site called Moms Making Money, which would provide specialized counseling on business planning and financial organization, on-line classes, informative podcasts and other resources. She also envisioned the Web site as the hub of a network of Moms Making Money chapters, where members could talk one-on-one, invite business experts for talks and presentations, and network with other entrepreneurial moms in the local community.
Vivian reports that the Moms Making Money Web site has become a national phenomenon, providing a mix of workshops, consulting resources and confidence that women need to maintain their self-esteem and identity while also tackling the challenging new role of mom. Regional MMM chapters also have been established from Southern California to Connecticut.
Although Vivian has taken on a partner to help her manage Moms Making Money, she still works with Jerry Earle and SCORE. Of his many roles in helping her build the business, Vivian considers “cheerleader” as the most important.
Jerry Earle served as a sounding board for Vivian’s ideas for Moms Making Money, helping iron out her business plan and offering advice on various issues. He also arranged contacts with specialists who could serve as resources for Moms Making Money. One was a fellow SCORE client, Dr. Dorene Lehavi. She is a business coach and author who has become one of Moms Making Money’s expanding staff of professionals.
“Whenever I had an idea or had a problem, I talked it over with Jerry,” Vivian says. “He kept me focused, but also made sure I thought everything through.”
“Without his encouragement, especially through my second pregnancy, I don’t know if I could have continued and grown the business to the level it is today,” she says, adding that SCORE is a valuable resource for anyone starting a business.