Bette Nesmith really needed the job. That’s why she took it, even though she probably shouldn’t have.
Recently divorced, Nesmith, who had a young son at home, snagged herself a job at a bank as a secretary (back when banks still had secretaries.) It was altogether pretty surprising, given that she didn’t type very well. That didn’t stop her. Nope, Bette didn’t give a squat that she was a bad typist; she had a family to feed.
Confidence and bluster aside, Nesmith had a problem right from the start, given her propensity for typos and all. Bad typing notwithstanding, she was a talented artist, and it was while painting the bank’s Christmas windows that she realized that if she could paint over her mistakes on the window, why couldn’t she do the same on a letter? For a few years, she actually snuck tempera paint into the office and secretly “painted” over her typos.
Eventually, Nesmith realized she had stumbled onto a big idea. She would work at the bank all day, come home and care for her son, Mike, then late at night in the kitchen, she would experiment and mix different concoctions of paint and primer to create a breakthrough product she dubbed “Liquid Paper.”
Fast-forward a few years, and Bette Nesmith (mother of Mike Nesmith of Monkees fame) sold her company and product to Gillette for about $50 million.
During this time of year when we get to celebrate the moms in our lives, it is especially important to recognize the mompreneur. Mompreneurs are unique in that they not only run a home and family but an office and business, too. They are dedicated, creative, multitasking whirlwinds of productivity. They don’t really care about what they are supposedly too busy to be able to do.
Who becomes a mompreneur? Is there a “typical” mother prone to starting a business? According to a new survey by the on-demand design marketplace 99designs, mompreneurs are a unique breed indeed:
- 57% waited until at least the age of 40 to start their businesses.
- 80% waited until after their first child was born.
- 95% have a partner who brings income into the household.
Maybe the most interesting and impressive stat is this: Almost three-fourths of the women (71%) were not only entrepreneurs, they were also the primary child-care provider for the family.
It is an inspiring balancing act. Female-owned businesses account for almost a third of all privately held companies in the USA and will create upward of 50 million jobs this year. For the moms in charge, apparently, it’s not enough that they run a home, care for the kids and raise a family; in their spare time, they are able to raise the funds, launch a business and grow that venture. too.