Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kansas City Mompreneur Changes The Way We Say "Thank You"

There just wasn't enough time to book a face-to-face interview with Amy Marin Carlson, founder of Kansas City startup Growing Gratitude.  However, I was lucky enough to snag 15 minutes or so on the phone with the passionate mompreneur during her kids' nap time.  But between the shouts and laughter from her kids in the background, the deadlines Amy was hoping to hit for her startup's new Indiegogo campaign and the need to get dinner on the table, it wasn't necessary for me to meet Amy in person.  I could tell just from chatting for a few minutes that she was a busy, successful mompreneur, proving that some entrepreneurs can really do it all--with a little patience, of course.

What is Growing Gratitude?  
Growing Gratitude is an iOS and Android app for sending personalized, authentic and creative thank-you videos in a fun digital format.  "I want to change the way we say thanks to one another," says Amy Marin Carlson, founder of Kansas City startup Growing Gratitude.  The startup, which launched its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign just a few weeks ago, hopes to raise $42,000 by November 19, 2012.

Great Ideas Come From Strange Places
As many entrepreneurs know, great ideas come from strange places.  Who would have thought that the idea for a mobile app would come out of a 2 year old's birthday party?  While throwing her son's party, Amy realized how difficult it would be for her son to thank everyone for the gifts (without having her write the thank-you cards herself).  Now, children of all ages can thank party-goers and gift-givers with a simple recording on Growing Gratitude.

But Growing Gratitude isn't just for children. The app could be used professionally, for instance, thanking someone for a job interview.  It could be used by nonprofits, newlyweds, graduates.  The possibilities are truly endless.

Advice for Mompreneurs 
It's hard enough being an entrepreneur.  But it's even more challenging to be a mompreneur. So how does Amy do it?  How can someone juggle 2 kids, a husband, at-home responsibilities and a growing startup without getting stressed out?  According to Amy, the key is dividing up her time.

"I thought multitasking would be key," says Amy.  "But in reality, this is all crazymaking!  Now that I've been doing this full-time for 6 months, I have learned to divide my time wisely.  I work during naptime and I work late at night after the kids have gone to sleep."

Why Mompreneurship?
Why did Amy decide to become an entrepreneur?  As a previous public school teacher and vice principal, leaving a secure job was risky.  But Amy knew it had to be done.

"I saw my idea realized," says Amy.  "And I know I can do it better than anyone else.  As soon as the idea was under my skin, I had no choice but to move forward with it.  I know I'll do it the right way.  I love this project."

Mompreneurs in Kansas City
There's no doubt about it--Kansas City provides the perfect fusion for a mompreneur like Amy.  Not only is Kansas City a great place to raise a family, but its entrepreneurial and startup scene is growing faster than any other region of the country.

"I just started networking and the people are so great," says Amy.  "I am so grateful for Kansas City's low cost of living and the opportunity to try something new with a smaller risk. The local press in Kansas City wants to see entrepreneurs succeed--there's a lot of local pride here.  Not to mention, a lot of great startup resources."

Interested in contributing to Growing Gratitude's Indiegogo platform?  Visit Growing Gratitude's page and give as little as $5 or as much as $5,000--every little bit helps.   

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