Meet the Founder, Theresa Ceniccola
Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a mentor to moms who are running a business that supports their values of faith and family. As president and founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she empowers and equips moms to build profitable businesses through training courses, membership programs, masterminds and private coaching.
Theresa has successfully run a home-based business as a freelance writer and marketing consultant for more than 20 years in Virginia Beach, Va. In 1994, Theresa discovered she could get paid to write…on her own schedule…in her own home…while wearing yoga pants. Now, with a steady flow of clients, she is officially unemployable. She considers herself blessed to make a living doing what she loves and working with other women who are passionate about faith, family and business (in that order!).
A self-proclaimed recovering control freak, Theresa is on a mission to encourage moms take imperfect action and let go of guilt and fear so they can experience the blessings of running a business while raising a family. You may have seen her writing on Catholic Mom, Crosswalk, the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs or MarketMommy.
Theresa has a problem saying “no” to any project that nurtures confidence and creativity, which explains why she’s been a Girl Scout leader for the past six years, a Destination Imagination team manager for three years and a volunteer coach and board member for Girls on the Run South Hampton Roads since 2010.
Fueled by an adventurous spirit, Theresa loves to hike, run, bike and explore nature’s beauty. But she is happiest at home, laughing with her better half and college sweetheart, and their three imperfectly wonderful children.
Theresa’s Story: Journey of a Christian Mompreneur
So what does being a Christian have to do with being a mom and an entrepreneur? To me, everything. My faith is the foundation for decisions I make in my life as a wife, mother, writer and business owner. It’s actually taken a lot of courage for me to call myself “The Christian Mompreneur.” I felt uncomfortable wearing a label like that but I find that it accurately describes my priorities of faith, family and business. And I’ve also realized that there is something very powerful about working with others who share your values.
I am one of those women who is always taking on a new project — running a marathon, raising money for my favorite charity, learning to paint, launching a new product at work, taking a Bible Study course, starting a new business, organizing a book club, becoming a Girl Scout leader, taking up yoga, and the list goes on. Friends say to me, “I don’t know how you do it all!” And I confess, sometimes I don’t feel like I’m doing it all very gracefully. In fact, I work very hard at creating habits and implementing systems that help me avoid that feeling of overwhelm and keep me on the right path. I constantly check in with myself to ask that important question — why? And sometimes it takes me awhile, but eventually I find the answer and adjust accordingly. Because ultimately my answer has to be in line with my purpose, which is to create a world in which my work supports (not controls!) my life.
I am a recovering control freak.
Ask my family and they will gladly recount the details of my militant behavior in my twenties. I excelled at planning my life (and everyone else’s), accomplishing a zillion things at once (without really knowing why) and blowing up when the world didn’t conform to my will.
By the time I was 26, I discovered the world of entrepreneur-ship as a freelance writer and corporate communications consultant, which gave me the opportunity to further develop my independent thinking, courage, creativity and obsession with organization. These skills were perfected in my thirties as I entered the journey of motherhood and I naturally assumed I would take on my new responsibilities with ease. Wow! I had no idea how those little gifts from God would transform my life.
Ten years and three babies later, I have finally accepted that I don’t have all the answers and I can’t control the universe. (OK, so maybe it doesn’t take everyone that long to reach the same conclusion, but I was REALLY, REALLY good at being a control freak, so it was a tough habit to break.) But I had to pass through a rocky passage first — within a three-year time span I experienced the grief of losing a loved one, finally acknowledged and sought therapy for a lifetime of classic eating disorder beliefs and behaviors, and found myself in a financial crisis when I lost my one and only client during a recession.
Anxiety and depression were familiar companions.
I was tempted more than once to take the safe and practical road by joining the ranks of the corporate cubicle dwellers after 16 years of self-employed freedom and flexibility. But that’s not a life suited for me. I longed for personal growth, independence and the kind of creative living that can only be found as an entrepreneur. I can’t help it; the entrepreneurial spirit is in my blood. The gentle whisper in my heart guided me back on the path I was meant to follow. The path that led to joy, fulfillment and peace. I credit my slow but deliberate transformation to my spiritual journey with Christ.
My faith opened doors for me.
Today, I walk with Christ on my path as a mother, wife, writer and business owner. He is leading me to serve others using the gifts I am blessed with and the experiences that have shaped my life. He opened the door for me to create a purpose-filled life in which I am able to work from home and help other mom entrepreneurs grow their businesses in a way that supports family and faith. You see, after running my own business for more than 20 years and working from home while raising three children, I am familiar with some of the challenges and obstacles my clients experience: like overwhelm, guilt and lack of support to name a few.
The joys and challenges of the mompreneur.
It can be difficult to commit to a business and take it seriously when there are so many conflicting demands, distractions and expectations. But, despite all these challenges, I’ve managed to balance and enjoy the life of a work-at-home mom in a home based business. I am incredibly fortunate to realize what many women don’t allow themselves to dream: that it is possible to run a successful, profitable home business that fuels my mind while allowing room in my life for the things that fuel my soul.
Balancing work and family in a home based business.
Over the years, I’ve discovered two simple strategies that have helped me in my career and my journey of motherhood. The first is that I need to surround myself with the brilliance of other positive, creative and faith-filled women in order to live life to my fullest potential. Second, I require a gentle balance in my life as I gracefully flow from one role to the next – mother, wife, entrepreneur, athlete, writer, friend and sister. This often elusive sense of balance is easier to achieve with the support of my sisterhood of working mothers.