If any two groups could claim the titles of Most Overworked, Time-Strapped, and Underappreciated, it would have to be entrepreneurs… and moms. With her newest endeavor, Elena Taylor-Bagger has risen to the challenge of catering to both groups, and helping her fellow mom-preneurs along the way. The Innovative Mom (I.M.) is an online platform that provides connections, resources, education, and support for moms at every step of their journey.
“I felt as if there needed to be a source of encouragement, resources and events for moms to assist them in reconnecting with self, tap into their creative side, and have fun during this time,” says Taylor-Bagger, who has five children ranging from adult to junior high. After surviving some some serious ups-and-downs in her life (at one point working multiple jobs and raising her children without a place to call home), she founded I.M. to use technology to help other moms in any manner of situations feel they have a safe place to go.
Through a blog, video blog, social media connections, and more, Taylor-Bagger has reached moms as far as Kenya and Egypt. She took a moment to sit down with Hype to talk about her own varied background, why moms need this type of resource, and the tech tools she uses to stay on top of everything.
What is the Innovative Mom?
My current project is building a network/partnerships of resources, events and support— both here within Atlanta, as well as globally— that simplifies the process for moms to get out and explore many areas to tap into their creativity, reconnect with themselves, and the things that they love and want to do in life while being a mom. There are 5 areas within The I.M.: Wellness, Outside 10 (changing your atmosphere by going 10 miles outside of our home radius to explore, enjoy and expand your mindset), Broaden (explore other cultures virtually or physically), Be Innovative (developing skills), and Give Back. I also am working on an interview series/vlog about moms for moms.
How did you get the idea for this project?
I founded The Innovative Mom because after going through many phases and circumstances during motherhood, I realized that we are mostly the same. Whether we’re homeless, divorced, in the suburbs, working, single, we tend to joyfully put a great deal of effort into others and have a tendency to not be present for our own lives and development.
How does your background weave into where you are and what you’re doing now?
I’ve taught Survival Skills for Women for a local agency, served on the Board of Directors for Georgia Legal Services for years, been a Patient Advocate, as well as taught parenting classes for United Way. The common thread was moms and the need for support, encouragement and self love and care. I’ve been through many phases while parenting my children. During my 21 year marriage, I was a stay-at-home mom, overnight working mom, lived in an extended stay hotel for several years, divorced mom, single mom of five working 7 days a week, a disabled mom after surgery, putting kids through college as a single mom while working, school and parenting, and now to Entrepreneur Mom. Even at my lowest financially and emotionally, I had to remember that I had five children and I was determined to show them that things would be better.
I introduced them digitally to countries around the world, I took them to neighborhoods, events, and environments that were different from our situation even if we had to go an hour or more away. When I felt stuck, I explored different places where I could go to clear my head and encourage and stay connected with myself, my hopes and dreams.
How do you use technology to spread your message around the world?
Everything digital is important. I use FB Live, Zoom, Instagram, and You Tube to connect with moms in different countries. Through these I’ve talked to moms around the world (Kenya, Egypt, Korea, and more). I’m able to talk, record, and post interviews so that other women globally can see how other moms function and interact with them. My goal is to have an online mentoring system for moms around the world. Technology allows me to connect with them and get their perspectives, advice and provide encouragement.
What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
My biggest challenge so far has been funding, marketing, reaching out for help and reaching a full audience. I’m still a single mom of 5, working, and finishing up real estate courses, all while building The Innovative Mom.
I believe so much in what The Innovative Mom stands for in supporting moms, their dreams, expanding their mindset, that I feel my biggest challenge so far is not knowing and planning enough to build and monetize this incredible resource that encompasses everything that I envisioned for moms.
How have you taken the drive to become an entrepreneur and run with it?
By personality, I’m a nontraditional worker so my desire to own my business and help others has ignited a sense of responsibility. I’ve built relationships with people and companies that believe in my vision for The Innovative Mom and are willing to help. This provides more resources to our audience and allows them to enhance their lives.
What are your top productivity hacks and/or tools for productivity?
Meditation— being still in the midst of my mind coming up with ideas all the time is my top productivity hack. It helps me center my thoughts, and instead of being in hundreds of places in my mind at once, it gives me the clarity to be more productive with my time.
Two of my top software/app/site productivity hacks are project management tools Trello and FreedCamp. Trello is app ready and can be used on your phone. These two have been the most useful in maintaining organization of my thoughts, projects, to-do lists, and future ideas. They are free or a very low cost per month. Whereas I used to keep multiple day planners (up to 7 one year) with different subjects in each, these two sites have allowed me to consolidate and keep everything in one easily-accessible place and is easily accessible. Mailchimp is a savior. Hootsuite has served me well in allowing me to plan/schedule for future postings on the main three social media platforms that I use.
I have to add that Coursera.org has been a quick and easy learning tool for when I need to learn something quickly. I’m a knowledge junkie so if I need a quick intro to anything it’s usually there, it’s free, and I can get more detailed information than from just searching multiple sites on the web.
What is your best tip for any who wants to be an entrepreneur?
Stop, evaluate your priorities, and decide what’s important to you. . Then move forward unapologetically.