Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
Some people say that no entrepreneurial journey is a straight line and mine is certainly no exception to this idea. I started my first business in college, selling my paintings in galleries and private collectors. I loved the idea of getting paid to pursue my passions.
When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I worked in a hospital doing art therapy in the pediatric unit and was really touched by the guilt that many of the parents felt when their children were hurt in accidents or became ill. I wanted to do something to help these parents, so I collaborated with an emergency room doctor to create a video that would educate caregivers about what to do in emergency situations.
A few years later, I wrote Secrets of the Safety Goddess: A Modern Safety Guide for Busy Parents, a book that became a bestseller on Amazon.com. Along with winning awards and appearing on television came a realization that although I was passionate about child safety, it was not my life purpose.
The time spent away from my family was hard on us and I found that parents didn’t want to pay top dollar for child safety information (it wasn’t a priority for the majority of parents), so I decided to take a break and reassess. I took a few weeks to figure out how I could create a business that was based on my passions and would really allow me to have the lifestyle I wanted to live. After 2 months, Work Smart Mompreneurs was born.
I developed a systemized 3-month process for entrepreneurs to create a profit-driven lifestyle business based on their strengths, skills, passions and values combined with their personal and family goals so that they could create and implement an action plan to live the lifestyle of their dreams. At first, I worked with a select number of clients so that I could really focus on guiding them to achieve results (this generated a large number of referrals), which lead me to a point where I noticed some common themes.
After working with a number of private clients, I decided to create The Life Success Map and the Lifestyle Business Plan based on the information that my private clients needed most. These programs include downloadable tools for people to achieve results without the hefty price tag of private coaching.
This year, we rebranded Work Smart Mompreneurs as Work Smart Lifestyle to match the audience of men, women, moms and dads who want to learn how to create the lifestyle business they have always dreamed of. In addition to the rebranding of Work Smart Lifestyle in 2011, I co-founded Social Media Girlfriends, a social media community for women around the world to connect and support each other 24 hours a day, as they pursue their dreams.
What did you do before launching your own business?
I have my BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and my MA in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University. I had a job as everything from a receptionist to a design assistant to a costume designer for film before I realized that I was a much better business owner than an employee.
How did you fund your business?
I originally funded my business with loans from family members, but I believe that you can start and build a business with as little as $100.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?
I work about 20-30 hours a week from home. When I am writing articles, working on deadline or launching something new, I may add about 5-10 more hours.
How would you rate your success?
This is an interesting question because while I am not running a 7-figure business (yet), I have hit every goal I have ever set out to achieve. So, I feel extremely blessed to have won awards for products I have created, written bestselling books and been flown across the country to speak and appear on TV. On top of that, I have built a solid reputation and made amazing friends along the way. So, as far as success goes, I feel really good about what I have achieved so far and I can feel big things still coming.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
I think one of the biggest challenges any business faces is being profitable. When I first started my business, I had a good amount of funding, so I blew through that in a hurry. Then, I had to figure out how to operate on a lean budget and get to the point where the business was cash flow positive.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
One of the biggest secrets about generating a profit in business is to spend less than you make! Sounds intuitive, but it is amazing how many people ignore this. For new entrepreneurs, I would say that you should expect to make mistakes as you go along and these are not failures, they are growth opportunities. You have to make mistakes in order to learn. Just make sure that you are paying attention to them and don’t repeat!
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