Being a mom and starting a business are very similar.
They both take determination, patience, and understanding. My journey into becoming a mom started at a very early age. I was 20 years old and still learning about myself. Can you imagine trying to navigate the world of motherhood? I relied a lot on my own mother’s experience to help me with even the most basic tasks, such as diapering and bottle feeding. I rarely went out and at times felt very alone because none of my friends were at that point in their own lives.
However, while having a child at an early age may have cramped my social style, I flourished in other areas. I suddenly became very determined. I went back to school, worked a full-time job, and graduated in four years, magna cum laude at that. I spent most of my free time with my son and became a nicer, more patient individual that I was prior to having him. In doing so I gave him the childhood that I always dreamed of having, which included daily walks, countless amusement parks, and a couple of dogs to name a few.
Likewise, the journey into writing started off with its own difficulties. The writing was the easy part. I noticed a cultural need in literature around the time my oldest (I now had 3 children) daughter turned two and discovered a love for reading. We read tons of books but there wasn’t a character that she could physically relate to. And while my daughter enjoyed picture books no matter who was on it, I wanted her to see herself in at least one of the books that we read together. I dreamt of developing a character that all little girls could relate to. So, I used my daughter’s experiences as a basis for each story. That meant I had plenty of material to work with. What I didn’t have was entrepreneurship skills. The task of turning those stories into books and then selling them was daunting!
I really didn’t go into this with a business plan so to speak. But what I did have, was a goal. I knew that I wanted to write a story based on my daughters, then turn our experiences into a book that I would be proud of. Growing up, I didn’t have an opportunity to read books with diversity, so I wanted to make sure my daughters were able to. It took some time to find people that were able to understand my vision and wanted it to succeed as much as I did.
Like motherhood, I flourished at certain tasks. I hired an amazing illustrator, who turned my character into a reality. I used the internet to locate editors, and they in turn helped me to develop and fine tune the writing style I have today. And finally, I gathered a great team of individuals that had more knowledge than me in the area of writing. They helped me focus on areas that I never thought about, such as libraries and mom bloggers, which was essential for promoting my book. There are so many ways to self-publish now a days, I think this is important for aspiring authors to know. Gone are the days that you have to be selected by one of the traditional publishing houses to be heard! I decided to create my own publishing company, that way I had complete control over every single project that I put out. That project is now Princess Cupcake Jones, a five-part series that shares valuable messages to children; complete with vibrant illustrations and captivating stories that instill important life lessons.
All in all, both of my babies, literally and figuratively only succeed when I am willing to put forth the necessary effort. Along the way, mistakes were made. But those mistakes are necessary for you to learn and grow as both a mother and entrepreneur.
Ylleya Fields is a contributing writer at Grit Daily. She couldn’t find a children’s book that reflected her own daughter’s experiences, so she wrote one herself.