Today is our third entry in our series interviewing moms who have successfully achieved their goals. In the first article, I interviewed two single moms who were able to make full-time income freelancing and were therefore able to stay home with their kiddos. You can check out their stories here.
Last time we met a mom who found a balance between working a full-time job and raising her daughter. She loved her job and loved being a mom so she found a way to make it work. You can find her interview here.
Today we are talking with two mamas who have created their own businesses after becoming parents. Both of these amazing ladies had a passion to help other people with their knowledge and skills and were able to find a way to do it even while being busy moms.
Maria was able to start her own tutoring business and Natalie created a design studio. Their stories are so inspiring. Maybe they can help you start the business you’ve been thinking about.
So, without further adieu, meet Maria and Natalie!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY
Maria: I am a teacher at heart. Probably always will be and I love to inspire others into thinking differently. I am married to an avid outdoorsman who loves to garden, hunt, and fish. We have a 3 year old daughter and a baby boy on the way!
Natalie: My name is Natalie and I'm the mom of two littles. We spent almost fifteen years in Washington, DC, but recently moved to rural Pennsylvania. We love the outdoors, creating together, and playing board games. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, but was never sure how to use these skills profitably. Before having kids, I tried lots of different career routes from political fundraising to teaching second grade. But none of these jobs used my creativity quite the way I imagined. Once we had kids, suddenly daycare costs made continuing to teach out of the question. I decided to use this opportunity to put my entrepreneurial skills to work and start my stationery design studio. It gave me the flexibility that I needed to be a mom and own a creative business at the same time.
WHAT IS ONE MAJOR GOAL YOU WERE ABLE TO ACHIEVE, PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL, AS A MOM?
Maria: One major goal I achieved is starting my own profitable tutoring business, a blog, and drafting a book all within the three early years of becoming a mother.
Natalie: The major goal that I accomplished since becoming a mom was starting my own design studio. Many of our friends thought I was a little crazy bringing home a baby and trying to launch my first big business venture at the same time. But, I actually found more energy from becoming a mom and my newborn inspired my creativity.
WHAT WAS THE WHY BEHIND YOUR GOAL?
Maria: The why has always been about time, and the freedom to spend it how I please. Before I became a mother, I worked in a school district an hour away from my home. I was in the car at least 2 hours every work day. Time became extremely important after I had my daughter and I realized I needed to get smart about my skills and talents and utilize them in a way that I could make more money in a shorter amount of time. My tutoring business is not my full income. I also decided to take on a work from home job as an online teacher, but it pays less than an in classroom teacher. The tutoring business has been my side hustle to boost my current income level.
Natalie: I wanted to create a creative business that could be independently profitable by the time my little reached Kindergarten. This way I could continue to have a flexible schedule when my littles were in elementary school. My parents worked a lot of hours when I was a kid and weren't really around for things - especially school events. I wanted it to be different for my own family. By creating a lifestyle with a flexible schedule, I would be able to support my kids in whatever ways they needed. I also knew that building a business would take time and I didn't want to rush to the finish line. Working on my business through my kids' early years gave me the time I needed to grow my online shop slowly.
WHAT KIND OF PLANNING AND TIME MANAGEMENT TACTICS DID YOU USE TO ALLOW YOU TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL?
Maria: I wake up before my family gets up every morning. This keeps me sane and allows me to get the really hard tasks done first thing in the morning. I am also really good at prioritizing. I prioritize all of my tasks for the day and knock them out by order of importance and difficulty. As far as planning goes, I have found that I love a good plan, but I can procrastinate when nailing down the details. My mantra now is "done is better than perfect." I aim to just complete tasks instead of ruminating over minute details that won't have a significant impact.
Natalie: I have had to become very efficient with time over the years since most of my work time was done at home. I discovered early on when my most creative time of day was - the mornings. I tried to block off time every morning - either with school, babysitter or neighborhood co-op - so I could design in my studio space. As long as I could be creative at least a little bit each day, then I could spend the rest of the time watching the littles. Also, I figured out that my early mornings were my most productive time of day for business tasks. I get up very early every morning and work on different business tasks. I get my have to dos out of the way early so they aren't bothering me the rest of the day. I also use time blocking now that I have more time to work. I schedule the tasks I need to do in chunks. This let's me focus on creating new listings, scheduling social media posts, etc., all at the same time. I get less distracted when I work this way and complete an entire set of tasks in one sitting.
DID YOU GET HELP FROM OTHERS, FAMILY MEMBERS OR FRIENDS?
Maria: Yes, I had to learn to ask for help. I live close to in-laws and it took me a while to reach out and ask for childcare help, but they were more than willing to oblige. I also sought help from close neighbors when needed. As moms, we have to ask for help and get comfortable receiving help.
Natalie: I found friends with kids and dreams of their own very helpful. We would exchange babysitting services and support each other whenever possible. Also, preschool is your friend. I needed extra help since our family all lived out of town. So, the first money that I earned from my business was reinvested into preschool opportunities. Securing just a few quiet hours a week made a huge difference in how much work I could accomplish. Having a husband who considered running an online business work even before I made a profit was also important. We share the childcare and household responsibilities well. Being a team has really helped my business grow even as a busy mom.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU FOUND ESSENTIAL TO ACHIEVING YOUR GOAL?
Maria: Recognizing when you are overwhelmed. It took me about 6 months to recognize that I needed to be asking for more help. I took on too much and was mentally and physically exhausted. It's okay to set a goal, and then recalculate. I'm still reaching and learning about a lot of goals I set, but I'm not going to sacrifice my personal health just to reach them.
Natalie: Staying focused. I can't say I always knew what to do next when it came to growing my shop, but I always had a vision of what I wanted it to look like in the end. Draw a picture for yourself. Make sure you know what you're working towards from day one. Even today, as my shop starts to change based on our customers new needs, I have a new vision of what I want it to look like. This vision helps keep me motivated even when I don't think my shop is growing fast enough.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BLOG AND WHERE WE CAN FIND YOU.
Maria: My blog is found at literallysimple.com. We write about wellness, minimalism, and financial literacy. We write for women who want to improve the quality of life inexpensively through practical and simple habits. We'd love to have you join our community!
Natalie: I recently started a blog called Honestly Nat. It's my happy spot where I inspire other business moms to start and grow their online ventures. I've really enjoyed connecting with other creatives who want to turn their passion into a business. I also continue to run my stationery shop - Katarina's Paperie. My shop gives me the opportunity to continue helping families celebrate together. And I enjoy creating designs that make childhood wonderful.
I just want to thank Maria and Jennifer so much for taking the time to share their stories with us. There were so many golden nuggets in their about getting help, prioritizing, and not rushing the process.
Let me know in the comments below if you like these kinds of inspiring posts so I know to keep them coming. I have several more interviews that I would love to share with you all.