Interview with Lacy Moler – Co-Founder of Belly Ballot

Lacey HeadshotTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.  

I live in Austin, Texas and we have three awesome kids, ages 4, 3 and 7 months. I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last 4 years and loved every minute of it (except maybe for a few moments here and there involving major kid meltdowns :))! I was born and raised in Austin, and I love living back in my home state and raising my own family.

My entrepreneurial journey began during my baby shower for our second little one.  We created written ballots with our top five boy and girl names and a “Belly Ballot Box” where our friends and family submitted their votes for their favorite names. It was a huge success and everyone enjoyed being involved in the naming process. I thought it would be a great idea to take the concept online and add a social media twist. We have been asking others input on baby names for years, but we wanted to make it more modern and social. From that, Belly Ballot was born! Expecting parents can now go online, search our extensive lists of names, and create a virtual ballot where friends and family all over the world can vote for their favorite.

What did you do before launching your own business?

Before kids, I worked at Accenture as a technology consultant, traveling the US every week. It was an exciting and rewarding job, but I got burned out from the travel after a few years. I then took a job in New York City as a private equity analyst.  I had never lived outside of Texas, so it was definitely a new adventure for me!

How did you fund your business?

Our initial funding came from friends and family. They have provided incredible support beyond equity, which has been amazing. We recently opened up the idea about having Angel Investors, and decided we would only take funding from other moms (http://www.women2.com/a-growing-angel-investment-trend-the-mommy-investor/).  Women, especially moms make great candidates for Angel Investors.

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?

My hours have fluctuated during the different stages of our start-up, but typically around 20 hours a week. I spend almost 100% of that time at my home “office”.  And by office, I mean kitchen counter, dining room table, couch, or sometimes even my desk!

How would you rate your success?

I think we are doing great! Nothing ever seems to happen as quickly as you would like, but we have hit some key milestones and have received amazing feedback about our site. Mom blogs and pregnancy sites have raved about us and we are currently highlighted in the September issue of Parenting magazine!

What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?

Probably for me, and a lot of other moms going back to work, it is transitioning from mom mode to working mode. I have been talking and dealing with babies and toddlers for 4 years, and I seem to have lost some of my cognitive skills and vocabulary! It is slowly but surely coming to back to me, but it has been frustrating in the meantime.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

Put together a good team – you need a support system that will stand the test of time. I love everyone I work with and we are supportive of each other through all of our differences. And be patient. Very patient. Everything takes longer than you might have hoped.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities? 

Honestly, we just try and take it day to day and keep up good communication. Also, I am a visual person, so we have a rather large calendar hanging in our kitchen, color-coded with all of our business and personal activities. It helps keep us all on track!

Connect with Lacy Moler and Belly Ballot…

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