The Most Entrepreneurial Mom

Meet Dianne Linderman, of Medford, OR--teacher of business to children, and owner of six of her own businesses. Oh yes, and author of six books.

I met Dianne staffing her booth at Book Expo America, where she was promoting books to teach entrepreneurship to children, under the imprint " The First Mom's Club press." Her newest title is The Entrepreneurial Moms' Club: Life is an Adventure. She also has several titles geared directly at kids starting specific businesses, such as My Cookie Business and My Pony Ride Business--and a cookbook for her restaurant.

"There's nothing out there [on entrepreneurship] in the book market for children. I did some research in public schools. I asked kids from kindergarten to 12th grade what they wanted to be when they grew up, and if they've ever had their own business, and if they ever had an interest in starting their business. Kindergarten through 6th grade had vision, passion, and hundreds of ideas. 7th-8th graders started to lose their passion. 9th-12th had no ideas, no vision. They'd say airline pilot or something else way beyond the reach for their education. I realized our schools are turning out employees, not employers. America stands for entrepreneurship. It's frightening. My own children, 7 and 9--I've taught them to be entrepreneurs. We give them no money, they have their own business, their own bank accounts--and they make incredibly intelligent choices when they buy things. We as a nation have to teach children the skills of business. Without it, we'll have a welfare nation.

"My son Luke is a passionate pocket knife collector. He can make $100 a day selling knives at garage sales, knife shows...he's an incredible salesman. I go with him because he's only 9" and almost no one can say no. "My daughter, Alexandra, 7, bakes cookies. She markets them door-to-door and at a concession stand in my store/restaurant, the Country Cottage.

"These kids have a vision, ideas, passion. They have the spirit of entrepreneurship forever; I don't have to teach them. It's going to keep them out of trouble. They've got the skills."

Linderman, together with her husband and business partner David, also operates a storefront called The First Moms Club, Entrepreneurs Marketplace, where moms can lease space in a co-op, put in a work shift every now and then, and have Linderman sell their wares, and an online division at the www.firstmomsclub.com, which includes brokering web design, publishing, and other services, selling resources, ideas to start businesses, and more.

With 20 years in counseling, she sees herself as an expert on parenting and relationships who teaches parents how to avoid daycare and be home with their kids, as she has been. She's currently writing a new book with the working title, "Honorable Relationships."

Tired just thinking about juggling all of this? You haven't heard the half of it. "I have two restaurants--Country Cottage Cafe and Bakery, with online scones at www.countrycottagecafe.com, a publishing company, a vacation rental business, a retail store, and my husband and I are administrators of a private school that teaches entrepreneurship. I teach women (or anyone) how to find their passion, I inspire them, and I show them how to have as many businesses as they want [while being] at home with their children. It takes a support team. Single women can do this, but I have an incredible husband. We've been partners in all of these business."

Shel Horowitz, Editor of Down to Business, is the author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World.


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