This Billion Dollar Founder Says He Gets His Inspiration From His Mom

Here’s an interview I should be doing every Mother’s Day. I can safely say that many small business owners give credit to our mothers for inspiring us. For me, my mother, Carole has inspired me to always do my best at work and be kind to people.

On The Small Business Show this week, I spoke with Mike McDerment (and his 80+-year-old mother, Claire), who is the co-founder of FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting software designed exclusively for freelancers and owners of growing service businesses.

Nearly 10 years ago, Mike built FreshBooks for his design firm, then moved into his parents’ basement for over three years to get the new business off the ground. Since then, more than 30 million people have used FreshBooks for their business.

Mike’s mother, Claire, inspired him to found and scale FreshBooks into the multi-billion dollar company it is today. She launched several non-profit projects while balancing life as a mother of four.

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In my interview with Mike and Claire, we discussed:

How Mike’s mom supported and helped him bring FreshBooks to market. Claire secured a loan in her name to help fund her son’s startup and allowed Mike to grow the business from her home.

As a nonprofit entrepreneur and lifelong volunteer in the community, Claire instilled in Mike a “giving spirit” realized in FreshBooks’ mission to help small business grow and through employee programs such as volunteer days.

Claire also identified the importance of stress management in children and founded the Transitions organization, the first program to help school children cope with stress, now deployed in school districts across Canada.

Mike also credits Claire with how to network for resources and how to rush to build a business. He remembers that as a child his mother was constantly on the phone to form business partnerships.

Listen to Mike and Claire during their interview on The Small Business Radio Show.

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Image: Mike McDerment

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