Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
For almost a decade I was a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). I did try to start a recruiting business right as the recession hit… that coupled with not very well thought out childcare plan was a set-up for disaster. I had a marvelous woman & mentor (who relaunched her business when her daughter was 13) tell me to quit while I was ahead and explore all my options. So, that is what I did. I looked into going back to work traditionally and non-traditionally, and I found that starting my own gig was the best choice.
Originally, I was only going to pursue my inventing aspirations, but the blog organically grew and from that I realized that my true passion was inspiring others. I am heavily involved with getting my products to market in 2012, but I am also growing my blog and consulting business to help moms flame their sparks of ideas into realistic options. This was something that I would have loved to find for myself.
What did you do before launching your own business?
I have a Master in Social Work, and I worked in a Psychiatric Clinical Outpatient Setting with women, families, and children. I also worked for a while in retail (spent my WHOLE paycheck every month) and did outreach for a number of non-profits. The retail was a nice break for me from the stress of therapy work… and I loved sales. I should say that for the 10 years that I was a SAHM, I stayed super-involved. I kept up with technology, took computer classes, organized WAY TOO MANY women's events on a volunteer basis, and was a certified volunteer and pet handler for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh until I had to retire my aging dog among just the few things that I did.
How did you fund your business?
I have funded my business through personal savings until this point. I try to do a lot myself to keep costs down and I have set up a few barter arrangements that have worked out well. The funding is the trickiest part. I wish that I had a magic answer for this, but I do not. I like the idea of crowd funding and peer funding, and I may try it at some point.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?
I do not try to calculate my hours… some weeks are MORE and some weeks are LESS. This is the beauty of being a mompreneur. I have flexibility when I need it, but I do take advantage of when the kids are at school or camp, and I work like a mad woman during those times. I spend most of my time in my home office or in my kitchen which has a lot of windows. I love this part – dogs at my feet, coffee brewing, and my UGG slippers – makes work great. I work a lot of off hours to get everything in – early a.m. and late at night.
How would you rate your success?
Another thing I hate to calculate – my own success. What I will say is that I am happy beyond belief so that must mean that I am hugely successful – right?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you describe your financial success?
When I look back at the cost of starting my business AND all the work that I put into it myself, I rate my financial success a 7.5 because I was able to keep set up costs low. Although my costs were low, I did not value myself enough in the beginning and placed my rates too low.
Now that I am experiencing higher demand, my rates are going up just a little bit (I still want to make my services affordable), but that is helping the bottom line. The one financial point that I am proud of is that I was able to set up my consulting business to generate revenue which I am investing in my 2nd business of developing products (must be secretive at this point).
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
I went from no businesses to starting 2 businesses, and what I struggle with the most is the business plan. You got to have one, but I would rather write an amazing blog for my audience rather than guts of the biz plan. I do it, but I don't like it.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Pace yourself. About once a week, I need to slow myself down, take a deep breath and remind myself why I became an entrepreneur – to write my own rules and success. Sometimes that means taking my time, loving my family, and putting something off until the next week. Remember — “life is a marathon, not a sprint.”
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
My calendar is my life – color coded with alarms and reminders and every slot filled. I write everything down where and when I want to do it.
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