Ladies, please meet Melanie Notkin, founder of SavvyAuntie.com, the award-winning community for cool aunts, great-aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. How great is that!?
Not only is Melanie busy growing an incredible community with over at SavvyAuntie.com, but she just happens to have launched her very first book! I had the pleasure of speaking with Melanie on the day of her book launch – what a day indeed!
(BONUS: Melanie is an amazing business woman – get her best tips to building a thriving business!)
SG: Melanie, what does today, the launch of your book, mean to you?
MN: It means a beginning, a real opportunity, to share this concept of aunt-hood as an integral part of the American family village. Today, 46% of American women do not have children, in 1976 that number was 35% – women without children should still be a part of the fabric of American families.
MN: Many women don’t realize how many women are just like them, whether they are child-free, childless by choice, haven’t met the right man, whatever the circumstance. I try and create an ‘auntourage’, to show we really have a very influential role. And that influence doesn’t just extend to our immediate family, it’s when a mom has to leave early at work to take care of a sick child, a woman without children will generally be the one to step in and stay later or work over the weekend. We are all contributing in one way or the other to the American family village. I hope the book begins the important conversation we have to have in America. We tend to point the finger at women without children when they get to their mid-30s we tend to point the finger and say “You’re a career woman” as if having a career were a choice; it’s time to look more positively as these women.
I don’t use the word child-less, I use child-full, because we give our love and often discretionary income, to these children. There are so many ways to revere moms, this isn’t a pro or con motherhood movement. Instead, the message is that women without children aren’t less than, in fact they contribute to children’s lives with complete and utter generosity. Aunts are a gift to parents, children, everyone.
SG: Why do you believe the number of women that choose to be child-free is increasing?
MN: We don’t know with certainty, but we can take a guess. I believe it goes back to career. I don’t concentrate on the negative, choosing career, but in fact what career does give us is revenue and income so we don’t need to get married, we can wait for the right guy. We are having children later even when we are married, and single women are waiting and having babies later; in fact, 14% of first time moms are age 35 or over.
1. Start! Often we get muddled in what it takes to start. Women are natural gatherers, so we can get caught up in gathering all the pieces it takes to start, the software, tools, opinions…we get bogged down in not moving forward. I suggest, keep going – see your goal on the horizon. Yes, you need a plan, but you don’t need a 30 million page business plan at this point. Have a plan, one sheet, and go!
2. Know who your audience is and build a business around them. Know their characteristics, where they shop, how they spend, a lot of that you can get on the U.S. Census or other resources; build a niche around your audience.
3. Invest in your product. If you don’t invest in your product of service, don’t expect your customers to. Build a quality product, service, website – your customers deserve it so make sure you give it, otherwise they won’t come back.
4. Use your personality and use social influence. Every tribe needs a chief, make sure you give your audience that, – be the chief. Know that if you are a positive voice for your business and people will know, connect and follow your voice. We used to say business isn’t personal, but today with social media, it’s personal. Get social.
SG: Those tips are absolutely on par! When you step into each of those it’s amazing how doors open up! Are you already thinking ahead to what’s next?
MN: Always three steps ahead! Coming soon we’ll have Savvy Auntie products, books, and a whole host of opportunities, very exciting!
Melanie, thank you for giving us a voice; a community for me, and the many HerExchange women like me, that are proud to be fabulously savvy aunties!
Are you giving LOTS of love to the amazing children in your life?? Join the Savvy Auntie community for great ideas and to connect with their ‘auntourage’.
-Stephanie Goetsch, May 2011