Tisha Marie PelletierCorpNet is in the business of helping people start a business – and if you’re trying to decide whether to take the leap into self-employment, there’s no bigger inspiration than hearing the stories of real entrepreneurs who are succeeding.

We’d like to introduce you to some entrepreneurs who decided to start a business and have never looked back. One of them is Tisha Marie Pelletier, a busy entrepreneur and mom (with baby #2 on the way, as of press time) based in Phoenix, Arizona. Tisha has started three companies: Simply Put Marketing (a marketing consulting firm), Details Event Management (an event planning firm) and The Mom-e Club, a networking and professional development organization for mothers who run their own businesses.

Tisha decided to start a business back in 2004, when she launched her own consulting firm, Simply Put Marketing Communications. She had gotten some good professional experience from working at a marketing agency, but decided that she wanted to pursue more freedom, flexibility and income potential by starting her own business instead of working for an employer. Even though Tisha and her husband did not have any children yet at the time, family was also a big consideration in her decision to start a business.

“I knew down the road I wanted to start a family,” said Tisha. “I expected that having my own business would give me the best of both worlds – the freedom and flexibility to spend time with my children, do what I love, and still contribute to our family’s income. I love that I have control of my own destiny, and no one else decides my fate. When you own a business, there are no limitations to what’s possible.”

CorpNet CEO Nellie Akalp has also written about how women can “have it all” by starting a business, and many mothers (and fathers) decide to start a business to have a greater degree of flexibility than a traditional employer can provide.

As someone who meets regularly with other entrepreneurs and small business owners, Tisha Pelletier sees small businesses as being an ideal fit for the current economic climate. At a time when many big organizations are laying people off and/or are “too big to fail,” entrepreneurs can carve out big opportunities even in a competitive market.

“I see more and more people becoming entrepreneurs due to a lack of jobs in America,” said Tisha. “Small businesses really are the backbone of the economy. I recently heard that over 90% of the businesses in Arizona alone are small businesses. Even though times are incredibly tough, small business owners always find a way to survive and push forward. While others are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts, I find comfort in knowing that this won’t ever happen to me. It really is up to me to determine how far I take my business.”

After seven years of running her own business, Tisha Pelletier has no interest in going back to the corporate world. “There have been days where I’ve wondered if I should work for a large company and my answer always comes back to ‘no,’” she said. “At this point, I truly cannot imagine working for someone else.”

In addition to running her own businesses with Simply Put Marketing and Details Event Management, Tisha Pelletier hosts an annual event called The Annual Mom Entrepreneur Celebration®, which awards the Mom Entrepreneur of the Year award. This is a gala dinner in Phoenix that recognizes mothers who are also entrepreneurs. Tisha decided to start this event because she wanted to put the spotlight on amazing women who are raising kids while also running successful businesses. Any entrepreneur mom is welcome to apply for the award, whether or not she belongs to the Mom-e Club, and the award winner is chosen by votes from a nationwide audience.

Tisha is hosting the 3rd annual Mom Entrepreneur Celebration® at the Ultra Luxe Lounge in Scottsdale, Arizona on Thursday, May 10, 2012, just in time for Mothers Day.

The Mom-e Club originated from Tisha’s realization, after her son Caleb was born in 2008, that there weren’t any networking groups for moms who also ran their own businesses.

“When my son was six months old, I was looking for a specific networking group to meet my needs both as a mom and as an entrepreneur,” Tisha said. “What I found were two extremes – moms’ clubs dedicated to stay-at-home moms or business networking groups, which were highly structured and somewhat impersonal. I felt like I didn’t fit in with either type of group! So, feeling frustrated, I blogged about it. What I didn’t know is that by simply venting on my blog, that it would lead me down a path I had never imagined and open the doors to more opportunities.” 

A writer with The Arizona Republic, the main newspaper in Phoenix, read Tisha’s blog post and contacted her to write a feature story dedicated to mom entrepreneurs.

“Once the article hit, I received numerous calls and e-mails from other women in business that were looking for the same support,” said Tisha. “There are a lot of mom entrepreneurs who want to talk with other people in their shoes who truly get what it meant to balance work, life and family. You could say that this article paved the direction for me to help others.”

The Mom-e Club first launched in 2009 and is a place where mom entrepreneurs are encouraged every step of the way in business and life. The group is comprised of aspiring and established entrepreneurs in various businesses ranging from product-based businesses to direct sales to independent consultants. Some moms in the group are just starting a family while others have grandchildren.

Many people would love to start a business, but they fear the possible downsides – the risks, the financial costs, and the possibility of failure. Tisha said that from her experience, the benefits outweigh the downsides.

“There are definitely risks in everything you do, but you have to take fear out of the equation, have faith and go for what you truly believe in,” said Tisha. “Everything will fall into place.  If you’re passionate about something, you will do whatever it takes to make it work. Running a business is not easy by any means, but there is a greater sense of accomplishment that comes with being your own boss.”

Ultimately, running a small business is a labor of love, and it comes down to passion. When you decide to start a business, you are embarking on a journey that will change your life, and you need to feel a deep well of enthusiasm for taking that step.

“I believe that inside all of us, there is at least one thing, or maybe multiple things if you’re like me, that we’re truly passionate about,” said Tisha. “If you currently have a job, but don’t like it, or recently lost a job, I would encourage you to find that passion and explore a way to turn it into a business. Figure out what’s important to you and map out how to make it work.”

In entrepreneurship, even failure is not the end. Failure is nothing to fear, it’s just something that requires a few adjustments.

“In The Mom-e Club®, I’ve seen several mom entrepreneurs whose businesses have struggled due to the economy, and so they’ve decided to take on a part-time job to supplement their income,” Tisha said. “These business owners are often embarrassed when they have to look for income outside of their own business, like it’s a sign that they didn’t succeed. This can happen, but even if you experience a setback, or even if your business doesn’t grow as fast as you want, you’re still working on your passion. Ultimately, family comes first and you have to do what feels right to make ends meet.”

Many aspiring entrepreneurs worry about giving up a steady paycheck, and Tisha Pelletier agrees that this lack of stability can be challenging. “When you’re running your own business, personally for me, the most difficult aspect is that lack of stability,” she said. “One month can be extremely profitable, while the next can be pretty bleak, and most small business owners can’t anticipate what each month will look like. Being a small business owner takes a considerable amount of smart planning to get over the humps when business is slow. Not knowing when or where your next client or paycheck is coming from can be hard, but it will always turn around. Opportunities will continue to materialize if you put in the planning and the effort.”

About the Mom-e Club

Members of the Mom-e Club do not need to be moms to join since technically, your business is your baby and poses a lot of the same challenges. Chapters meet monthly to discuss business topics through a roundtable format in an informal, calm environment. While there is structure to the meetings, members can share as much or as little as they like. All of our members and guests leave the meetings feeling educated, supported and motivated to keep growing their business.

About Tisha Marie Pelletier

Tisha wrote a book about her journey to entrepreneurship, “When the Universe Throws a Curveball.” Read more about the book and about Tisha at http://www.tishamariepelletier.com/

Follow Tisha Pelletier on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/tmpelletier

Follow The Mom-e Club on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/mom_eclub
Friend Tisha Pelletier on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tisha.m.pelletier
Become a fan of The Mom-e Club on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mom.eclubaz