Dainty Mom’s “Mompreneur” feature is where I interview an amazing working or work-at-home moms. In featuring these awesome ladies, I hope to empower other moms out there with stories of real women who have taken what they love to do and turned it into a living. Today’s featured mom is Kirsten Bischoff, one of the co-founders of HatchedIt, an online dashboard that helps families manage their home life.
Dainty Mom (DM): How did you come up with the concept for your business, Hatched It?
Kirsten: HATCHEDit is an online dashboard for managing your home life.
The concept for the business came up because I am a single mom and I rely a great deal on my family for extra help in getting my daughter places. I’m very lucky to have so much support, because I have always worked and so my parents and siblings have helped get my daughter to daycare when she was young, and to afterschool activities now that she is in middle school. In my life it really has taken a village to raise this child!
On the flip side– my sister-in-law, Megan (who is also my business partner), has a one year old and when she was on maternity leave from the financial institution she worked at (and unable to access her work Outlook). She and my brother discovered that they really did not have any easy way to coordinate schedules or manage their home.
We both discussed our needs for online tools and did a lot of research on the existing tools out there. There are some very nice calendars available online, but none that would let us easily share the information we wanted with people outside our immediate family in order to coordinate plans, invite people to events, and keep track of things like nieces and nephew’s special events (recitals, soccer games, etc).
DM: Can you also explain the intriguing name behind your business?
Kirsten: It is very hard to find good domain names these days! **laughs** So we came up with HATCHEDIt.com because we are trying to help people schedule their own life and their family life. When you are scheduling things the first thing you have to do is “hatch your plan”. Then we want to be the tool that helps you manage and coordinate those plans.
DM: The Hatched It system looks very professional–What made you think of applying it to moms and home managers, specifically?
Kirsten: Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, chances are you have – at some point in your life – worked in a business and utilized tools for scheduling, management, and organization. We didn’t know why those tools had not been created for the home — because let’s face it — your family is a business. We wanted to deliver that type of technology, and yet, still have it feel familiar.
We found that almost everyone we knew and asked had that one space in their home that was their home base for organizing. It tends to be a desk, a bulletin board, a whiteboard or the refrigerator. We wanted the site to have the same home feel as those physical organizational tools, but the ability to be mobile and to be able to share easily with extended family and close friends. That’s also why we developed HATCHEDit as not only just a web site, but as an Android and an iPhone app as well (and all are free).
3. What’s a typical day for you like, as a mompreneur/work-at-home mom?
Megan and I work out of her house. Typically I drop my daughter off at school and then head over to the “office”. We usually take an hour walk first thing in the morning. It’s been a big help in keeping us feeling energized and focused. We do our best brainstorming on our walks and come up with all sorts of ideas and schemes. We have been really lucky to have such a mild winter because we have been able to do our walks almost every day. I think those have been a big part of our keeping our sanity as we stress out over the usual things like money, time, and other pressures.
We keep a white board in the office with a running “To Do” list on it. After our walk we will take things off and add things to that list and decide who is doing what. Then we set to work.
Usually we both work on separate projects and occasionally ask each other advice/feedback on what we are doing. In addition to managing the site and the business aspects of running HATCHEDit, we also oversee our own social media, and the site’s blog — Freshly-Hatched — so we also both try and make sure one of us is posting to those places throughout the day.
When we get tired or need a break Megan’s one year old Maddie (my niece) is home during the day – so we can always use her as stress relief. That’s been another great thing about being a mompreneur. Megan and I both work more hours and with greater intensity now for HATCHEDit than we ever did at our previous jobs. We typically put in 9/10 hour days and usually find time to work together over the weekends. BUT, the ability to choose the hours that we want to spend with our kids is something that I would be hard pressed to ever give up again. I would say it is a big contributor to our drive to succeed.
Then at 2:15 I leave to get my daughter from Middle school and take her to her afternoon activities, and Megan finishes up work in the afternoon. We usually touch base on the phone once I get home in the early evening and then I am usually working until 12:30/1:00am and then set my alarm and do it all over again the next day!
DM: What are some tips you can give for aspiring mompreneurs who might want to put up a similar business?
- I would say that the most important thing is to try and find a partner. Megan and I have been so lucky. When I am depressed and think things are going awful – she always cheers me up – and vice versa. I don’t know how any one person can have the sustained strength to get through the startup phase on their own. I know it can be done – it is just such a relief to have someone who as invested in succeeding as I am.
- Second, I would say that setting goals for what you want to accomplish makes a big difference. Megan comes from a more corporate background than I do – and she has a lot of experience with this type of approach to business and has forced me to do it from the beginning. Even setting small goals for a month, or 6 weeks or 6 months away – lets you focus on what you want to achieve. It also lets you slowly, over time realize what you can expect to achieve so that you can set smart goals that you can reach and that might just push you that little bit harder.
- Goals are also a way to force yourself to realize when things are not going the way you hoped. Starting a business is not always easy and the road is very bumpy. When you aren’t reaching your goals and that fact is staring back at you in black and white – you have more incentive to try new approaches and to weed out strategies that are not working. I think sometimes its too easy to think of your business as your baby (I know at times we do) and as moms our instinct is to want to protect it – instead of pushing it to do more.
Kirsten Bischoff, CEO & co-founder | www.hatchedit.com HATCHEDit is a dashboard of tools that not only allows you — as a mom — to handle your personal schedule; it lets you better leverage the social collaboration aspects of the Internet, too. Kirsten and her partner, Megan, have created online productivity tools that can help you better manage your time, schedule and family events, all in one useful app. Download it FREE on your Android and iPhone, or set up an online account today!