The Mother Love

In 2012, I left my career as a Clinical and practicing Midwife for two very important reasons. One, I was totally burned out and the only way to stave off life-threatening illness or total body-soul destruction was to quit and reassess if I should return when I was well again. Two, I knew and had known for years that we (the care providers of the US) needed to take better care of our moms. 

The maternal health impresario and advocate in me knows this because there is mounds of data telling me that the US is in 50th place of all the developed nations for maternal health outcomes. The health of maternity care is an indicator for the overall health of a nation's medical system. Knowing this basic fact, I couldn't stop the loud voice screaming at me to find a way to make what we currently have as a maternity system better.

The Mother Love, the name of my coaching program, was born from my work as a Midwife and witnessing the massive disfunction that we've created in our Maternal Health System.

After watching, practicing, and taking care of thousands of women, I’ve witnessed (to mention only a few):

  • Massive alienation and no place to share about motherhood
  • They lacked postpartum support or education
  • A mix of terror and love as they became moms
  • No safe place to grow as a mom 

So, after I quit my clinical job, I still needed an income. Much to my utter intuitive and physical resistance I became a cog in the wheel at a Medical School to ‘sess out’ if it was my next step. Took me two weeks to know I could still do better, even if modern medicine is going to great lengths to help find cures for diseases…we still forget about mothers. 

In March of 2013, I finally gave into B-School and found that Marie Forleo is a leader for women like myself - know you have more to offer the world and you have to find the right vehicle to do it. Marie mentioned something about Seth Godin during one of the talks, and I started researching and I was hooked.

You see, as a healthcare provider, my nose was buried in two places. One, maternity care and medical journals of various countries so I could figure out how to prove that we need to take better care of our moms from the inside, out. Two, any book that would inspire me to leave the practice and follow my vision, dreams, and passions to inspire, educate, and support women in the transformation from woman to mother. The latter was harder to admit than I thought...

I devoured anything I could from Influencers and Entrepreneurs whose content and souls resonated with mine, and I began. I decided to start a business that combines my expertise as a Maternal Health Provider, advocate and writer. 

To learn more, you can visit the website here (I have not done my branding, being my bootstraps are tight right now). The blog is visited regularly, as well we have a weekly email that goes out on Monday morning that is very supportive for moms. Our list is 97% female.

The project I am presenting here was born on a night last June, at Project Exponential. It was in me all along, however the support and excitement I received from other entrepreneurs that evening launched to another degree.

I am welcoming of your feedback, constructively, as you read along.

Disclaimer: The one piece I won’t share here is the prospective partner spreadsheet, which was a great exercise for me to lay out all my thoughts of people I want to work with and why. WHY is huge for me, because it’s where I’ve operated from for years.

For instance, I run ultra-marathons. I didn’t do it because it was cool. I run ultras because they allow me the space to get out of my immediate world and get into the mountains, and connect to a spiritual place that isn’t easy to access when I’m down here on the streets and in the city. I run because it’s my soul-food and it lifts me to new heights.

So on I go with the work…

Business Model

The business (my name: Rebecca Egbert), exists because we deeply believe that women deserve to thrive as they become, thrive and live as moms. 

We are an online business, currently providing coaching services to women who are ready and want to thrive in their lives, as moms, career-hearted women, and want to be the healthy nucleus of their family so all of those around them can grow healthy in their lives and pursuits. 

Public speaking events are integral in our business model and a fun way for us to get our message out to moms and businesses around the US.

We also partner with two non-profit organizations, Every Mother Counts and Global Midwife Education Foundation. We donate a percentage of our profits from program sales to these two organizations. We trust and work with these organizations, because they too are improving health outcomes for girls and women globally, and they support Midwifery education which we believe to be a primary functioning mechanism in the healing of maternity care.

We work with clients to improve her physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual health with our envision (the story), engage (individual health) and expand (she brings this health to her family, career, community and the world) method. It was something I saw working in clinic in regards to keeping women having healthy birth outcomes, so I brought it over to the postpartum years. 

She comes to us because she wants: to heal, receive incredible tools and education, and to feel inspiration in her life. 

What I have that others don’t offer, what makes us scalable? Currently, there are no businesses that are truly modeling like ours for moms. There are heaps of ways to lose your baby weight or address psychological disorders of the postpartum period, but there is nobody that I have found online who has unique background or such an offering for mom. 

Right now, I have something others don’t. With the start of this business, however, many of my former colleagues have “been inspired” by what I’m doing and want to start similar businesses. It teaches me to be on my game, and commit to truly offering something others don’t have which is currently my secret sauce.

We will always be able to add more value to our programs and will work diligently to be leaders in our industry, from bottom to top. 

Working on the lifetime value of our customers has been the most engaging part of this section. It got us thinking outside our box and further into the future of the ways we can inspire community organization and connection of our customers, keep our former customers connected to the current customers, and encourage healing of others who deeply desire the access to a healthy, fun, bright and loving community. 

One way we will always stand out, we work to improve the health of one woman to inspire her to go help others in her community so healing and growth spread and benefit maternal health outcomes. 

Freelancer vs. Entrepreneur

As an Entrepreneur, this business can only achieve and improve outcomes if I hire people who believe what we believe and support - deeply and passionately. I also want to empower my hires to do what they do best, but in the tune of improving women's health and lives. 

At first, I want the business to be primarily women until we are ready to launch our dad branch of the business. I totally recognize dad’s need as much support, but I am focusing on women’s health because it’s what I do best. 

When I graduated from Midwifery School, I prepared a speech so I could "give away" the graduate whose name came after mine and she was a dear friend. The one thing I forgot to do, was a prepare a gratitude speech for myself which the administration had instructed us to do. Winging it was my only option.

The first thing that came out of my mouth, "What I have learned most about the profession of Midwifery and delivering babies (and moms) is that none of this is about me...It is about everything that goes into improving the lives and outcomes of a safe birth, healthy moms and a healthy babies." This still rings true for this new business.

This work is not about me. It is about a deep desire to see us do better in our medical system, specifically in the Maternity Care System. When I hire additional staff to improve our involvement, this work will include them and what they bring to our clients. I will empower and support their ideas, as long as they are in agreement with the "Why" of the business.

Together, we will all working to improve one woman's life, so she will take health into her hands and go forth into her community and improve the lives of others women. 

Funding

This business started differently than I started any other business...true bootstrapping this time around. I committed to a solid marketing schedule, online, and clients are starting to roll-in. There is more mental excitement right now, then whipping out credit cards, but I keep trusting in this work.

Recently on a vacation, I was talking with some family friends who offered me a small angel investment for the first year. After much discussion and debate, and the investment being one from a woman who struggled during her postpartum years and FEELS that this work is deeply needed, I accepted the small offering. No strings attached offering, more collaboration. Accepting the money feels good. 

I use this asset currently for receiving education and support on how to run a small, online business (rather than a medical practice). In the near future, I will use this funding for scholarships to my programs.

Fortunately, I don't have overhead and am operating lean to make more impact and this business scalable in the near future. I don't ever want to sell this business, and sure it's reproductive but what I offer to moms is experience and a network only I can give. 

I'm in the is for the long haul, and willing to shift and fail and get up and start again and commit deeper. To answer Seth’s question, I am committed to being a smaller business these first 6 months and having only paying clients, and actually I will extend that through the whole life of my business. I don’t want business loans or big investors. 

The money will be there, I trust and commit to this deeply. 

Hiring

I’ll go back to “why” as if I was a broken record playing Simon Sinek again and again, if future hires just want a job with us because it’s cool then we won’t hire them. If they want to work with us, because they know they can offer, promote, play with, love-up-on and improve maternal health in the US with their unique talents and skills…HIRED. Boom.

I started this business with the intention of building a small empire. One where people are stoked to come to work, because they passionately believe in the work they're doing and want to see women transform into moms with more grace, more support, more love. I want our staff to be inspired and happy, even after challenging days.

Naming

The Mother Love has received the most interest and excitement over the first few months of marketing, so we’re sticking with it.

The Mother Love, for us, represents the feelings, experiences, changes, and evolution moms undergo during the transformation from woman to mom. It is the place of combined love and terror, recognition that your responsibilities in life just became profoundly different than you ever imagined, and it is a time during a woman’s life that she needs extended support, education and love to navigate through to feel vibrant and healthy.

Partnerships

Making my spreadsheet for the funding section of the program was hugely valuable. I haven't yet laid out in one place: who/why/what/how/for how long and even add some dream prospectives. Thank you for the guidance, Seth, on this section. Huge. 

Cash Flow and Pricing

Cash flow: best way to grow the business is to have customers fund it. 

In regards to the Mother Love program, I want to grow it to be a one-time a year program that people won’t want to miss, because having access to meaningful expertise and content and care from providers will mean so much to the improvement of their health and happiness. 

I watch my content evolve each week, to meet the new energy of our community as it expands and we’ve recently taken a turn in how we address our customers. Why? I was on a plane finishing up Tribes and I realized how I was starting was good, but I wanted to not only gently speak to these women but I wanted to get inside their brains, hearts and bodies. I started focusing on the women who have started to strengthen their lives, but only want to get stronger and healthier. With this change of tune, the audience grew almost instantly. My sales are still slow to grow, but back to that commitment to being smaller for this first 6 months than I intended for good reason. 

Pricing: when I did my pricing, I based it off experience, expertise and value. This was back in August. At the time, I still had my full-time job so just getting used to selling was my evening job. When I quit my day job, because I had some clients and energy and savings, I started questioning my pricing because I was not getting more clients.

Then I learned, I am choosing the hardest market to sell to in the universe - moms. Slowly, I am learning what it takes to add value and ensure an “roi” for the demographic; and, I am learning that because addressing that having access to care in the postpartum years is such a new concept that patience is a virtue to add to my expertise. 

I’ve held steady with my pricing, yet examining where I can add value to my content and programs. I am adding value, because the signal my price is sending out is that of expertise (which I am) but only the women who are “ready” to do the work are signing up eagerly so they too can add value to their lives. It’s quite a cycle. 

Positioning and Storytelling

I am working on my axes as we speak…I did this back in March of 2013 when I didn’t really have a clue of what would come of this business…(I'll get back to the project when this axes is done and try to upload it for y'all)

But wrapping up on a story note...2013 changed my life.

The life I led during the year was of pure intention to be healthier, stronger, living for love and getting to the heart of what I want to do in the world. I have known since I was young that I wanted to make an impact on the health of peoples lives. However, when you're burned out like I was the possibilities of living in such a manner was really low, impossible actually.

In 2013, I cleaned up my diet and slept a lot. I let my adrenal health, my thyroid health and my blood pressure try to return to normal (I'm still working on blood pressure, which used to max out at 96/58...it's still coming down). Meditation, something I've been practicing since 1996, became an everyday non-negotiable ritual. I practiced active rest and returning to my endurance roots, daily. Starting this business brought me to many edges, and every one I have lept off...Not all graceful landings, let me ensure, but I've been caught.

In August, a life love passed away in an abrupt accident. His was the 5 death I'd experienced of a close one or a career-related death including my father's, since 2009. First, I said to the universe, "In 2014 I want something really good, please bring really great." But I know I'm really good at holding space for both life and death, so if something comes this year - I'll hold space for it as well.

His death also let me know it was time to launch my business. I would have to dive in, wholeheartedly, and do the work that I was meant to do as a medicine person, healer, and fiercely-independent woman for the love of women and their transformation into mothers. 

The string of deaths, since 2009, also taught me that by taking action when my intuition was screaming at me to "STOP," I have bi-passed chronic disease (knock on some pretty big live oak tree wood) by taking care of my physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual bodies. If this form of integrative healthcare has taken one woman from burnout to vibrant health, then I can sure as hell TRY to inspire another woman to do the same in her life and feel the life-long benefits in her life. She will truly be a leader for the next generation of moms, once the Mother Love seeps into her life. 

I bring to my clients an exceptional model of care that still needs some love, attention, evolution, time and exposure in order for US culture to really catch on.

Thank you for being here if you check in on this project. I want to know what you think and invite your feedback. To be amongst a crowd of people driven by inspiration and love, and yes we all have it in us, and leaders who will impact lives is truly a blessing and something to be grateful for each day. 

XO, Rebecca

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