Sometimes, it takes losing everything you thought was important to discover what you’ve really been missing all the while.
So discovered Sharon Cowell, founder and owner of Mama’s Lil’ Guide, after her high-powered job in the mortgage industry disappeared in the midst of the country’s economic woes.
“I was laid off and found myself without this job that had been my identity. Not only was I without an income, I was trying to figure out who I was,” Sharon says. “I couldn’t find a job and I had no idea what I was going to do.”
After a light bulb moment that had her literally jumping wide-awake from bed one night and scribbling ideas on a notepad, Sharon decided that what she would do would be start her own business, producing a magazine-type guide to promote businesses and services to other mothers and women.
“I had no real experience in the advertising field, but I had helped to put together the ad books for my son’s football league. I realized that I could do the same thing for local businesses,” Sharon adds.
The result is Mama’s Lil’ Guide, a community based publication touting numerous area businesses throughout Bucks and Montgomery Counties offering wonderful products and services to customers. The conveniently sized bi-monthly magazine not only features ads from women-friendly businesses, but makes it a point to get personal with advertisers.
“I want to know people’s stories,” says Sharon. “I enjoy giving our advertisers an opportunity to tell us in a published article who they really are.”
Consequently, throughout Mama’s Lil’ Guide, readers will find informative pieces telling the “back story” behind the businesses featured in its pages.
Sharon has just celebrated the publication’s first anniversary and reports that the journey has been nothing short of life-changing.
“I didn’t like who I was before this. I was playing a part that wasn’t me. Now I feel real. I’ve met so many amazing people and it’s wonderful to be able to promote community and bring people together.”
To that end, Sharon also coordinates networking events via Mama’s Big Network, with the goal of being a resource for busy women—mothers, community leaders and business women—to connect with one another. But don’t think it’s all business; these gatherings are also about having fun. The last event was a holiday shopping night held at a local restaurant and featuring goods and services from Mama’s advertisers. Membership to the group is open to all for either an annual fee of $120 or a pay as you go charge of $10 per meeting.
As if that weren’t enough, Mama’s Lil’ Guide also boasts a website (http://www.mamaslilguildeonline.com/), home to all of the happenings in the magazine as well as a calendar of events loaded with things to do for moms, families and women of all ages.
Sharon has found that her newly creative life has fostered other changes as well, including giving up cigarettes, taking up running and finding a closer relationship with her three children.
“I love my life now,” Sharon says. “Women need to know that the time is now to make a change and reinvent themselves if they want to. If I could pick a time of my life to freeze, I wouldn’t choose to be young again. Right here, right now. That’s where I want to be.”