Julie Fry's passion has always been for small business and building community. In her family, she's the designated event planner for birthday celebrations and milestone events, so she decided to harness her talents for the mom entrepreneur community. Find out how this mom became the owner of Business Among Moms, and what advice she has for buying an established business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey?
My entrepreneurial journey began the first time when I was 26 and was laid off from my job. I started a sales consulting firm and quickly fell in love with being self-employed. Back then I didn't have the responsibilities of kids, a husband and a dog as I do now, so it was a good time to test the waters of self-employment.
I knew I'd come back to it again someday.
Fast forward almost 20 years, and I was a national sales manager in the consumer products world, doing the corporate grind. And when you have two kids under the age of 4 and you travel several times a month, it is a grind. Ever since they were born, I would look on business-for-sale websites like buybizsell.com and websiteproperties.com for web-based companies that I could purchase that would offer me income along with a better work/life balance.
Where did you hear about Business Among Moms and its sale?
How are you making the platform your own?
When I purchased the company, it was a blog that primarily offered mom-owned businesses the opportunity to advertise on our website, Facebook page, and email list. After a year, I decided to change the business model and focus more on creating in-person communities for mom entrepreneurs. We now have 20 chapters across the country that host monthly networking events and an annual conference in the Seattle, Washington area.
How easy was it to monetize your platform since it was established?
It did require some hustling on my part. Since about seven months had passed between the time the owner had decided to put the business up for sale until the time I purchased it, many of the advertisers had lost interest. I also had to run several campaigns and try many different programs to see what was of interest to the community. Being completely new to the world of online business, I had a huge learning curve as well. I was able to monetize immediately. However, it wasn't as passive as I thought it would be.
Has it been easy generating traffic to the site, since it was already established?
I wouldn't say it has been easy, but having the large social media following that we do have certainly helped. I do focus on blogging weekly and sharing those posts on social media to drive traffic.
What types of marketing strategies have worked best for you?
Relationship marketing – focusing on my ideal client and speaking directly to her has helped attract the types of mom entrepreneurs that really make this a dynamic and fun community of women. I also focus on helping people when I meet them in person and trying to make a difference for a few people rather than worrying about reaching tons of people. I'm finding our community grows faster, and I get more personal fulfillment when I focus on the relationship.
What's been your biggest struggle as an entrepreneur?
Feeling scared, excited, freaked out, on top of the world and stressed, and knowing that this business is the right one for me and having all those feelings in the same day!
What advice would you give to other women who are considering buying an established online business?
Talk to other women who have done it, before you pull the trigger. I didn't think to do that, and I think it would have given me more realistic expectations had I met with two or three women that had purchased something similar. I'm happy to have a discussion with anyone thinking about it.
You put on an event called The Success Summit – tell us about it and who would benefit from it?
This is our 2nd annual conference, and it is coming up May 20 in Bellevue, Washington. It is a results-oriented conference with 11 sessions on small business. Presenters will cover networking, mindset, productivity, social media marketing, video live streaming, podcasting, marketing, public relations, and client attractions. Then we finish the day with networking with the speaker (and cocktails!) It's designed for women in business that want education, connection, and inspiration. They will take away nuggets they can put to use in their business right away. The event is www.bamsuccesssummit.com.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
Plan, plan and plan some more. I calendar my upcoming week on Friday with all work and personal activities. Every quarter, I also chart out the next 12 weeks and add milestones each week for my personal and work life. Google Calendar is my BFF.
Thanks to Julie Fry for sharing her story!
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