Nicole Feliciano knows what it’s like to be her own boss. She also knows what it’s like to be her own boss while raising kids. As the founder of the lifestyle site MomTrends and an NYC mom of two daughters, Feliciano has been learning how to balance family with entrepreneurship since 2007, when she left her executive job at Ralph Lauren to run her own business. This fall, her first book, Mom Boss: Balancing Entrepreneurship, Kids & Success, hits shelves. The book tells the stories of other “mom bosses” who run the business they love while also making time for their families. We caught up with Feliciano to talk about the book and what she hopes business-minded moms can learn from it.
What was the process of writing the book like and where did you find other “mom bosses” to interview?
The publisher came to me last year with the opportunity to write a book. It’s not a thing that I had been actively pitching or had a big marketing plan around, but the more I thought about it and sat with the idea, the more I thought that my entire business has been built up on empowering women and helping them live their fullest lives after kids came along. I’ve done a lot of venturing with other women in the digital media space…[and] I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to put together my past experience and create a guidebook for women entrepreneurs… I reached out to my network of business owners… With each one of those interviews I would ask: “Who do you know that’s an inspiring mom boss?” In all I talked to over 100 people.
There are interactive elements in the book, like a quiz to help moms decide what kind of business person they are. Where did that come from?
I’ve always loved quizzes in women’s magazines. I find them really engaging and thought-provoking… I’m hoping the quiz forces women to take a breath and really look at what has worked for them in their work lives, what’s been successful, where they find the most joy, and how they’re going to create this business and carve the time out. Asking questions before you jump in is essential to success.
Of the three business personality types—Solo Artist, Team Mom, and Brand Builder—which do you think you are?
I think I’ve always been a Brand Builder. Even when I picked the name of the website and form the first bits of blogging that I did back in 2007, it was never meant to be an intensely personal blog… And as I’ve brought on other layers and brought on other team members, it worked out to my benefit to have it set up that way. I also really enjoy managing other people. We have 11 employees, and I love mentoring the new ones who start with us, I love challenging the ones who stay with me for years and grow something new.
How does the book tie in with MomTrends?
The website has always been a resource for busy moms. It started out as a style resource, and then over time we’ve really started teaching more and more entrepreneurs looking for new businesses. We think that after you have children you still want to be fabulous, you still want to tap into that place you had before with your friends and your interests… Modern women who do go the entrepreneurial route after having children do it because they want to have more control over the way they spend time with their kids.
Who are some mom bosses that you look up to?
I love Carley Roney’s interview in the book. Carley was one of the co-founders from The Bump and The Knot, and her viewpoint on being true to your community and putting them before everything else is really inspiring… She’s got three amazing kids who she has great relationships with, and she was still able to run this great business that was thriving and exciting.
What do you hope people will get out of reading the book?
I hope that they understand that there’s so much opportunity in the land of start-ups. There are so many problems that have yet to be solved, and that’s really where great start-ups fit in. I hope they also understand the amount of work there is to a start-up. I don’t want them to go in blindly thinking: “This is going to be fabulous, I’m going to make millions in the first year,” I want them to have realistic expectations. I also want them to go in with a really thoughtful plan of action.
To learn more about Nicole Feliciano & her book, visit momtrends.com/momboss-book!