June 10th, 2019
Editor’s Note: Lee Da-rang is a graduate of the Campus for Moms program at Campus in Seoul, a hub run by Google for Startups where entrepreneurs can discover a supportive community, work on their big idea, and gain access to resources like mentorship and technical training. Recently, the author and six other Campus for Moms graduates published a book about their experience.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed as a new mom. I found it hard to reconcile my former work as a counselor with this new role as a mom, which I felt ill-prepared for. I blogged about my experience and found a community online, which became the inspiration for my business. My idea was to create an online community for parents that offers training and solutions to guide them through the many choices, challenges, and joys of parenthood.
But growing an idea into a successful online business is not easy, especially with my hands full as a busy mom. I had no idea where to start. One day, I happened upon Campus for Moms, a program operated by the Google for Startups Campus in Korea. The program provided training and mentorship to help you start your business, but they also gave us support, like childcare services, so that parents can fully dive into their work, while having their child nearby. It was just what I was looking for. The Campus for Moms program taught me different things every week—from customer outreach and marketing, to product development and investment. Little by little, I received the training and feedback to help my little business idea flourish.
The part of the program I remember most vividly is going out onto the streets of Seoul and interviewing potential customers as part of the market research training module. Talking with strangers on the street about my potential business was no easy task. But the feedback from these everyday people, and the survey data I collected during the program, provided invaluable insights. And perhaps more importantly, by explaining my business to others, I eventually developed the courage needed to actually make my idea a reality.
Today, I’m the CEO of a flourishing business. Growing Mom has more than 40,000 social media followers, and we employ regular data management and analysis to constantly improve (a bit more sophisticated than my woman-on-the-street interviews!). We work with trusted psychology and education professionals to provide parents with information in a creative and approachable way. In the future, I want to provide more services and offline experiences that further build community and provide support for parents.
I’m sharing my story for other new mothers who might have an idea, but feel like they don’t have what it takes to grow it into reality, especially while raising their own children. It was Campus for Moms, and the community that shared the experience with me, that gave me the courage to take that leap, and the skills I needed to grow into the mother and the CEO I am today.