As we approach Mother’s Day, we’ve been thinking about how motherhood has been part of our journey as business owners. We’re both mothers of three, and when we started The Scout Guide back in 2010, our children were still fairly young (the oldest was 10; the youngest was 3). We were passionate about Charlottesville, Virginia, the town where we had both chosen to raise our families, and felt like in order to help the small businesses that made it so wonderful succeed, we needed to celebrate them and help forge bonds between the business owners themselves and the community that they serve. So we teamed up and launched our first city guide—with six kids in tow.
We’d each already owned our own businesses and appreciated the relative flexibility they allowed us. Starting The Scout Guide was by no means a small undertaking, but even as we produced our first guides we were still able to pick up our children from school and maintain a level of control over our schedules that we very much desired. Sometimes they came to work with us, and we’d find tasks for them like helping to distribute guides when school was closed for a teacher workday. They’d attend the launch parties celebrating our new volumes alongside the local business owners featured in the guides. It was important to us to show our children the value of work and finding balance in the everyday and supporting small businesses.
In the early years, we often used family-related terms when talking about the business. We welcomed new franchisees to “the TSG family,” referred to the book as a “labor of love,” and frequently said launching a new guide was like giving birth. Using family-centric phrases when discussing the business is not unique to The Scout Guide. Throughout the years, we’ve noticed that many small business owners (including our franchisees) refer to their staff members and longtime clients as family, and the business itself as their baby. The notion that local businesses and their customers—and employees—grow and evolve together is part of why we think supporting them is so important, and a concept that we’ve experienced firsthand as business owners ourselves. Over the past year, we believe this has been particularly important and poignant. Staying connected, offering support however and whenever we can, and showing up for one another have never been more critical.
Currently, The Scout Guide is entirely women-owned and operated, with a number of our editors/owners balancing both motherhood and business ownership. While we doubt any of our franchisees would characterize the balancing act as easy, and each woman’s experience is entirely her own, we hope that, like us, they find it rewarding, and that they feel supported by our headquarters team and each other. And speaking of headquarters, we’ve welcomed more babies than we can count at TSG HQ (we lost track at 15; the newest addition is due any day now).
We’re proud and honored that so many women—mothers of all kinds—have chosen to make TSG part of their career path. And to all the women out there who are taking risks, caring for others, building a business, striving for balance, and contributing to communities in countless ways, we hope you feel supported and celebrated this Sunday and every day.
If you’re interested in learning about becoming an editor/owner of The Scout Guide, we hope you’ll get in touch.