March 12th, 2013
10:09 AM ET

'Leaning in' on her own

By Libby Lewis, CNN

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(CNN) - Bonnie Roskes is 43, the same age as Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook and the woman who's essentially re-booting a new effort to get working women into more leadership positions.

Roskes is smart and educated. And she’s taken a very different path by forming her own company that produces educational materials that teach anyone how to create with 3D.

It started with one book and now she has whole series of books: 3D projects, geometry projects, and there’s an interior design book.

Bonnie Roskes’ creations are used by architects, designers, engineers, and educators in dozens of countries around the world. One of her books on 3D modeling techniques was a bestseller on Amazon.

Her own business has let her raise her five children – and given her freedom – and it’s given her creativity in her work.

[2:39] "My six year old Benjy comes home and says, 'What did you make today that I can play with?'"

What it hasn’t given her is big bucks. Her husband Sandy, a vice president for a solar energy company, is the family’s primary breadwinner.

[3:06] "What would make this perfect is if we had the money rolling in. We’re doing fine – but it would be the icing on the cake."

That’s typical of way too many women owned businesses, says Nell Merlino, entrepreneur and founder of Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence.

Great ideas, great products, hard hard work – and not enough money.

Merlino thinks the issues for women running their own businesses are not so different from those Sheryl Sandberg raises about women in the corporate world.

[3:58] "It’s progress, in that women only got the right to their own business credit in 1974 – and now we own close to 40 percent [of businesses]. But we still aren’t making the money. So where I agree with Sheryl is, if you’re going to do all this hard work and be better than everybody else…let’s get paid for it!"

Merino’s group has a program called Mine Mine a Million Dollar Business. She wants Bonnie Roskes to get in touch.

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