October 30, 2014

My favorite resources for busy moms in business

Filed under: Biz Mama,Small Business — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 3:38 pm

Coworking…with a toddler

For moms running a business, life can be a whirlwind. With all the daily work and family responsibilities, it’s easy to lose touch with friends, not to mention business connections.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to find groups and resources that have helped me learn, get inspired, and make beneficial business connections and friends.

Resources for busy biz mamas

Founding Moms
In-person and online events, including local meetups and the annual Founding Moms Conference.

MomBiz
In-person and online events, including the annual MomBiz Retreat, weekly #Mombizmondays tweet chats and the MomBiz Solutions weekly podcast.

The Mogul Mom
Super informative blog, plus a business resource Market.

Working Mother Magazine
Nice print magazine, plus online resources, the Working Mother Radio podcast and annual conferences.

For Chicago locals*

Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN) has a very active Moms in Business group with in-person events and a Facebook group. Founding Moms has 5 local chapters (find yours here).

There are also several coworking spaces—some even owned by moms—such as Enerspace Coworking (owner Jamie is a past featured Biz Mama), Collide Coworking, and Free Range Office.

*Thanks to my awesome Moms in Business group for helping out with suggestions!

What are your favorite resources for moms in business?

September 2, 2014

Featured biz mama: Kristin Graham of LivLo Designs

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured biz mama: Kristin Graham of LivLo Designs

Kristin Graham always wanted to be an entrepreneur and take a product line she was passionate about to market. So, after having her two daughters Olivia (Liv) and Lauren (Lo) she decided it was time to change the direction of her life and chase her entrepreneurial dreams. She started her entrepreneurial journey in her early forties by taking one step at a time. Her work experience had primarily been in the field of education, but she considers herself to be a creative person who has always loved fun prints—so why not create her own.

She also wanted LivLo Designs to make a difference in the lives of women and/or children so a portion of the sale of each of their products is donated to a charitable ‘sisterhood’. Their slogan is ‘Spreading the Strength of Sisterhood—one sister at a time with every bag sold’.

Kristin Graham of LivLo Designs

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

My current business responsibilities are to grow my e-commerce business, work social media, write blog posts, market LivLo’s products and just basically try to let people know that my company exists.  This takes a lot of work, but it is interesting to find out the different ways that Biz Mama’s can promote their businesses from the comfort of their own homes.  I also am very particular about customer service and starting a conversation with my customers and those who have joined the ‘LivLo Sisterhood’.  Building relationships is extremely important to me…..my happy customers are my best promoters.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

My daughter Olivia is 6 and a half (can’t forget the half!) and my daughter Lauren is 5.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started LivLo Designs after I had my children.  My daughters inspired me and gave me the courage and the strength to just do it.  I also wanted to show them that having dreams is important and following them nothing to snicker at. Dreamers are cool.  🙂

Describe a typical workday.

My typical work day begins as I drink my first coffee in bed and check emails and social media posts.  Then I am an incredibly fortunate woman who is able to walk her children to school.  As soon as I get my children off, my day is composed of 5 hours of busyness.  I may be at the post office doing some shipping, I may be writing a blog, or perhaps working with my graphic designer to discuss a new print idea.  I try to tackle the jobs I am least interested in first thing in the morning so I can feel good about myself for the rest of the working day.  If I have some situations that I am trying to figure out, I will sometimes sneak in a run or a bit of gardening to give the answers time to come.  At 3:30 I pick up my daughters and we do the ‘after school’ thing which could be lessons of some kind or play dates….you name it.  I normally spend some time online at the end of the day as well…..after the girls have gone to bed.  This is also when I will write out my list of things I want to accomplish for the next day.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

One tip I can share with other Biz Mamas is to keep moving forward—one day at a time.  I also keep a book filled with the things I have learned and my accomplishments since starting LivLo.  I find this book saves me on days when I wonder what in the heck I was thinking…..because let’s face it, we all have days where this is the case.

LivLo Designs

Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
livlodesigns.com
Twitter: twitter.com/livlodesigns
Facebook: facebook.com/livlodesigns
Pinterest: pinterest.com/livlodesigns
Instagram: instagram.com/livlodesigns

August 4, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 10:00 am
Biz Mama Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE

Janine Vangool with her son and the latest issue of UPPERCASE magazine

Janine Vangool‘s  background is in graphic design and she worked for a dozen years freelancing for arts and culture clients. In 2009, Janine founded a magazine. It started out as her own side dream project and quickly took over! UPPERCASE is a quarterly magazine for the creative and curious with content inspired by design, illustration and craft.

I met Janine by being a fan of UPPERCASE (I recently gifted myself a subscription for my birthday!) As a fellow designer, I admire and am inspired by her work, not to mention the feat of being a mom and magazine publisher.

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I publish, edit and design UPPERCASE, a quarterly print magazine for the creative and curious as well as books on illustration, craft and creativity. It’s a one-woman operation, so I’m also customer service, distribution and subscription manager and tech support/web development. I wear far too many hats.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

My son is 4.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I’m lucky that I began the magazine before Finley was born! It would have been impossible to do things the other way around. My hope was that the magazine would become a stable income that could support my family.

How did your business life change after having children?

I can’t even really remember what life was like before having a child! It seems so long ago; everything is different in that my focus has both shifted and intensified at the same time. For his first year, I stayed at home and worked on the magazine from the basement. As he grew older, I’d bring him to the office sometimes—but it wasn’t until he was three three that he started to really enjoy coming to the office with me and actually requesting it! (This is my dream come true, that my child would enjoy spending time in my studio… and let me get work done… most of the time!) But he spends most days with my husband Glen Dresser, who is a stay at home dad and novelist. Without Glen, I wouldn’t have the time to concentrate on my many tasks!

Describe a typical workday.

I wake up when the dog wants breakfast (hopefully my son keeps sleeping for a little bit after that). I check email and shop orders and then get breakfast ready for Finley. We have breakfast together and then I walk to the office. My walk is about 40 minutes so lately I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts during the commute. Once at the office, it is full-on multitasking with everything from design, writing, lots of emailing, filling orders, customer service, planning and so much more. My child might join me for a few hours while Glen gets some writing done at a nearby coffee shop. I’m hope by 6pm and I spend the rest of the evening with my family. I might do a bit more work on my laptop while Finley watches some bedtime tv.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Don’t view your working life and motherhood as separate entities: they’re both integral parts of who you are. I think it is important that my son sees and understands the hard work that I do to support our family. He’s growing to appreciate the time and effort it takes to get things done. In a sweet moment last week at bedtime, he offered to do half of my work. He said he would draw a diagram to explain this for me—one big heart representing me and a smaller one for him. Maybe someday, my company will be “UPPERCASE & son”.

UPPERCASE Magazine

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
http://www.uppercasemagazine.com
Twitter: @uppercasemag
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/UPPERCASEmagazine
Shop: http://shop.uppercasemagazine.com

The Summer issue of UPPERCASE featuring all things colorful is now available! Browse the issue and find stockists here.

June 30, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Sheri Kiss of Wonderland Press

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured biz mama: Sheri Kiss

Sheri Kiss is a published author of both children’s and adult books. Dream Write is the first in a series of four books that offers kids the opportunity to face any emotional and physical challenge using the power of their imagination and writing/self-expression. The next in the Dream Write series is Feel Write. Each of the four books in the Dream Write series includes a writing prompt.

Past biz mama Rachel Teichman of OOGIAH told me about Sheri and her book. Since I’ve been working on my own children’s book ideas, I was excited to meet Sheri and feature her on the Biz Mama blog.

Sheri’s books are available on Amazon.com.

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

Wonderland Press is a small publishing company that Dr. Suzanne Mouton-Odum and I created after growing disenchanted with the traditional route of publication. Our non-fiction book, Out of the Rabbit Hole (under my pen name Bloom), offers tools and inspiration for tackling the common yet often unspoken anxiety disorder, OCD. Out of the Rabbit Hole has won first place by both the OCD Foundation in Texas and most recently by Indie Reader (1st place in the self-help category). Our publishing company is geared to offer readers books that inspire, engage and we hope empower people of all ages.

There are many hats one wears as a writer and business entrepreneur: marketer, publicist, accountant, editor, creator, secretary and entertainer (I typically perform a puppet show based on Dream Write and give speeches and TV/radio interviews for Out of the Rabbit Hole).

What are the ages/genders of your children?

Our oldest son, Aden is turning eleven this July and entering middle school (How did THAT happen??) in the fall. Our youngest, Elie (short for Elliot) will be a second grader this coming academic year.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started Wonderland Press after I had children. Writing was something I did all along. When I landed my first and then second literary agent, I naively thought “I’ve arrived!” Little did I know that this was just the first in a series of many literary hurtles. Wonderland Press is the figurative “baby” Dr. Mouton-Odum and I gave birth to once our kids were in elementary school, a natural manifestation of our growing desire to gain more control of our work.

How did your business life change after having children?

Before I had children I worked as a middle school English and theatre teacher. I was fully committed to this career but can still recall the hours upon hours of grading 125+ papers on a regular basis. I also continued to work in theatre (on stage) both in NY and then continuing to do so in Houston. Once the kids arrived, time morphed for me. Sleep-deprivation does that, I suppose! I still managed to squeeze in a theatre production here or there, but it was nothing like before children. My primary focus and priority became (and still is!) about our children. Still, I always tried to make sure that I carved out some kind of creative time for me. Writing offers a wonderful opportunity to retain our inner muse: the hours are flexible and our imagination is limitless.

Describe a typical workday.

Drop the kids off at camp (currently) or school. Feed the dog, clean the kitchen, feed myself. Pop in the never-ending load of laundry. Check email. Then write, write, write. This can be anywhere from twenty minutes to three hours–depending on what the day allows. Exercise (typically 20-30 minutes) and then it’s back to Domestic Land: food shopping, carpool, homework, dinner, kids’ shower/bath, snuggle/read time and bed time.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Follow your bliss. Life is too short to fill it with shoulds. We moms tend to allow our dreams to percolate but often don’t act on them. A dear friend once told me: “We underestimate how much we can do in ten years and overestimate how much we can do in five.” Baby steps, five minutes here, five minutes there, add up to the manifestation of our vocational dreams.

Wonderland Press

Houston, TX
www.dreamwritebooks.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=532860293467605&id=128238773929761
Blog: http://houstonpsychologists.com/features/dr-suzanne-mouton-odum-blog/

April 8, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured Biz Mama: Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design

Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design is that rare breed of designer and developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. Jill is passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences. As a freelancer for over 12 years, she loves typography, code, and WordPress. She lives in the Atlanta suburbs and enjoys hanging out with her husband and 4-year-old son. And cat, Peanut, the chief paperweight. She tweets @JillLynnDesign.

I heard about Jill through a mutual friend and was impressed with her website (great advertising!) so I reached out to her and was pleased to learn she is a fellow mom of a boy.

Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

As a freelance web designer/developer, I make websites for creative businesses including graphic designers, copywriters and agencies. My favorite thing to do is to take a design and make it come alive on the web.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have a 4 year old son, Quinn.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started my freelance design business before having Quinn. My first freelance project was in 2002. For the first 5 years, I ‘moonlighted’ while working a full-time job. In 2007, I made the plunge to full-time freelancing, and Quinn was born in 2009.

How did your business life change after having children?

It has changed tremendously! When I first started freelancing on the side, I worked nights + weekends since I had a full-time job. Yet, even when I transitioned to full-time freelancing, I didn’t really change my ways. I just worked more. I worked between 9-5 pm and nights + weekends because that’s what I was used to. My most productive times were at 10pm.

Then I had Quinn in 2009 and my life completely changed. I, personally, couldn’t keep late night hours. Strangely, I became a morning person. My most productive time is now at 10am.

Describe a typical workday.

After I drop Quinn off at preschool around 9am, I head to my home office where I design and build websites all day and drink coffee non-stop. The day ends around 5:30pm when it’s time to leave and pick up my kiddo. I try not to schedule any client work on Mondays as those are ‘Marketing Mondays’ and the day that I work on my blog, newsletter, social media, and overall content marketing. Plus it helps me get over the Monday Blues (I’m always sad when the weekend is over) and gear up for the week.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

It is okay to ask for help. You don’t have to do it all. My son started going to daycare when he was 6 months old because I am not the kind of person that can do 2 jobs well at the same time. I can’t be a web designer and mommy at the exact same moment and be good at both. I need to be 100% one or the other. And that works perfectly fine for my family.

Jill Lynn Design

Dallas, GA
http://JillLynnDesign.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JillLynnDesign
Facebook: http://facebook.com/JillLynnDesign

March 24, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured biz mama: Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Biz Mama columnJennifer Guimond-Quigley is a family law and estate planning/probate attorney located in Chicago’s West Loop. Her law practice is about helping families. Whether she is helping her clients navigate challenging and life-changing situations such as divorce, custody, adoption, or the death of a loved one, or whether she is drafting estate plans for clients so that they can protect their loved ones in the event of their death or disability, she never loses sight of the reason she started her own practice.  Superb client service through constant communication and knowing the importance of listening to and empathizing with her clients is the cornerstone of her business.

Jennifer and I met through a mutual friend (thanks, Lulu!) and found that we both had West Loop offices—and toddlers of the same age.

Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

As the owner and sole attorney of a busy law practice, I am responsible for everything from day-to-day case management to administrative functions (ie business development, accounting, clerical tasks, etc…).  I do have some great individuals on my team who assist with some of the administrative tasks; otherwise I don’t think I could do it all.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have a 2 ½ year old daughter.

Did you start your business before or after having children? (explain why, if applicable)

I started my business in 2009, two years before my daughter came along. My husband and I waited a couple years after I started my business to have her so that I could focus on building my practice to a sustainable level before her arrival. The timing worked well for us, although I was still answering emails and phone calls during my maternity leave, so I would have liked to have more “uninterrupted” time with her those first couple of months. I ended up going back to work part-time (four days per week) when she was nine weeks old and slowly moved back to full-time by the time she turned one.

How did your business life change after having children?

I definitely got much choosier about any business development events or meetings that took me outside of regular work hours. I also became more of a night owl, finding that sometimes the only uninterrupted block of time to focus was after my little one was in bed.

Describe a typical workday.

 I get to the office by 9am unless I have one or more court appearances, in which case I will usually get to the office around 11:00am.  I catch up on my emails and phone calls and then I will typically have a client meeting or lunch with a colleague or other professional contact. Afternoons are usually spent doing drafting work, meeting with clients, or attending court hearings.  I try to return any emails and phone calls the same day I receive them, so before leaving the office I will catch up on those. After work, I may go to a business networking event or to a Flying Solo meeting (a solo attorney resource group that I started in 2010). Most nights of the week, however, I am home by 6pm to spend time with my husband and daughter and recharge before it all starts again the next day.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Keep a work-life balance.  This formula is different for everyone, so it’s about finding out what works best for you.  I find that the more stressed and busy I get, the more important it is to force myself to turn off the computer for those few hours after work and on the weekends and be totally present with my husband and daughter.  If I don’t get that time, I am miserable and then I’m no good to anyone!

Law Office of Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Illinois
www.gqlawoffice.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Law-Office-of-Jennifer-Guimond-Quigley/105151696228824?fref=ts
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=30593837&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
Avvo: http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/60661-il-jennifer-guimondquigley-1949879.html

March 10, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Alexandra Eidenberg of The Insurance People & Friends of Alexandra

Featured Biz Mama: Alexandra Eidenberg

Biz Mama columnAlexandra Eidenberg is the co-founder and President of The Insurance People and an IL 4th District US Congressional Candidate. She has been a licensed insurance agent for over 8 years and educates people about their options and the market so they can make the best decisions for their families and businesses. Her passion to help others is evident in everything she pursues and the networking community of Chicagoland knows her well for her bubbly personality and giving nature.

Alexandra makes insurance fun, inviting and understandable. Her company, The Insurance People, is contracted to over 120 carriers to serve their clients needs. As a brokerage their commitment is to the client and not any particular carrier. You can be assured your needs are the #1 priority. The Insurance People offers products and services to every day families and businesses that want great insurance at the right price.

Many know Alexandra for her community involvement and work with eWomenNetwork, a professional organization that supports men and women in business. She is on the Board of the Small Business Advocacy Council and is endorsed by Stand Up, eWomenNetwork, Founding Moms and more! Alexandra is passionate about the community and helping others. She is an advocate for her clients, colleagues and friends and works hard to ensure that others succeed and have access to needed resources.

Alexandra and I met through eWomen Network. When I recently saw her at a Founding Moms meeting, she had her twin babies in tow. Now that’s a biz mama who can juggle!

Alexandra Eidenberg

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I run an insurance practice with two awesome business partners—Carmen and Jorge Londono. We have two locations—one in Chicago and another in Park Ridge. I do everyone’s favorite boring things!  Car, home, business liability, workman’s comp, life, health disability, long term care! You name it, I do all that fun jazz. My personal specialty is health insurance. I love helping people find the best coverage at the right price.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have Identical Twin Girls that are 9 months old.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started my business before having children. My business is my first baby! Being a business owner has afforded me the opportunity to be a more hands on mom. I am super grateful for it!

How did your business life change after having children?

I work constantly and live life most passionately when working like crazy. I started running for public office while pregnant with the girls.  Working an insurance practice full time, running for US Congress in the IL 4th District and being a mom is fantastic! Our schedule is always full and the girls come first! I often take them along to meetings, networking events and of course along the congressional race they have been with me the whole time—from in the womb dialing to now attending events in our community.

The biggest change since having the girls is that they are the priority and everything else falls in line from there. If clients don’t like it then it is not the right match, if it does not work for the voters then they are not the target constituency—being a mom is #1 and I surround myself with amazing people that support that mission and cause.

Describe a typical workday.

My day starts with a focus on my girls.  I stay at home until 10 am so I can coordinate their wake up, breakfast and getting ready for the day. I get to my office around 10:30 am and kick butt getting as much done for both The Insurance People and my political campaign, Friends of Alexandra.  I coordinate applications, follow up with clients on benefits, claim processing and more, interview with various publications, focus fundraising efforts, check email throughout and of course pump several times to make sure my girls have milk for when I get home around 5 pm.

I cook and feed the girls dinner when I get home.  Mir and Anna love being in the kitchen with me and we have a great time sampling varies vegetarian foods I love making!  By 7 pm they are in the bathtub getting ready for bed and then I repeat this every day Monday through Thursday.  I take Fridays off to be with the girls and work during their noon – 3 pm nap so I do not fall behind on my work.  We all thrive on our routine and love it!

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Get a routine going that works for you! Your kids and spouse will appreciate it and it will create normalcy that you and your business need.  You will likely never get the entire to do list done so focus on the urgent then work down the list to the important. If people do not respect your schedule and how you work then move on to another client that is better for you. Owning your own business is about working with people that see eye to eye with you.  You grow together and thrive together.

More about Alexandra’s campaign for US Congress

I am excited to be the voice of women and small business owners.  My campaign for US Congress has been momentous and thrilling.  Being a mom, wife, small business owner, community activist and leader has given me the strength and joy to take on this level of service for our community. We are looking forward to a big win on March 18th for the Democratic Primary. Please help us win by volunteering, donating and voting!  Women supporting women is the key to us winning. Please vote! Vote to support our rights and help women serve.

Alexandra Eidenberg
The Insurance People, Friends of Alexandra

Chicago IL
www.insuranceppl.com
www.alexandraeidenberg.com
Twitter: @ACEidenberg
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexandraeidenberg
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alexandraeidenberg/

March 3, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Tina BarOn of Wild Dill

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured Biz mama: Tina BarOn

Biz Mama columnTina Bar is the founder of IMA Design Imports and the owner of the online boutique www.WildDill.com. IMA Design Imports is a specialty importer and distribution firm for design focused, eco-friendly, baby and children’s products from Israeli designers. Wild Dill is her second business, acquired in 2013 as an e-commerce venture focusing on Organic, Fair and Natural clothing and toys for little ones.

Tina and I met through my business typebaby and found that, besides having the children’s apparel business in common, we also have toddler boys of the same age. She, however, lives in a much warmer and sunnier place (Chicago has had a rough winter).

Tina BarOn of Wild Dill

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

My business is very multi-faceted in that I source products, import, wholesale and do e-commerce sales across my 2 businesses. The hardest part is keeping everything organized and on track.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have one little boy, who is now 2 ½.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

As most mompreneurs he was my inspiration to start my own business. We were on a family trip to introduce my son to his family in Israel and I went shopping to see what cute baby gifts I could get abroad. I was blown away by the quality and modern design that I found in baby products and was inspired to import them to the US. I spent the whole trip either online doing research or having my husband drive me around Tel Aviv to track down designers I could meet with and give my pitch. Luckily a few of them were as enthusiastic as I was and some great partnerships resulted from that visit.

How did your business life change after having children?

I now have so much more appreciation for the challenges faced by moms. It is impossible to balance everything but luckily in this space you work 99% of the time with other parents and they are very understanding about middle of the night e-mails and kids in the background on phone calls.

Describe a typical workday.

A typical workday is about 1 hour in the morning before my son gets up reading and responding to e-mails. Then I’m off to my day job and my businesses don’t get attention again until around 9 pm after my son is in bed. If I have wholesale or retail orders to get out it can be a long night of processing orders, or it can be time on the computer for lead generation and outreach to stores.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Make sure you are always having fun! The pace can be hard and balance is nearly impossible to find but it’s all worth it if you have fun. I treasure and enjoy every milestone I hit whether it is a new customer, great press or a new vendor relationship.

Wild Dill

San Francisco, CA
www.wilddill.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/wild_dill
Facebook: www.facebook.com/wilddill
IMA Design Imports:  www.imadesignimports.com

February 17, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Author Kate Hopper

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured Biz Mama Kate Hopper

Biz Mama columnKate Hopper is the founder of Kate Hopper, LLC and the author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Kate holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Brevity, The New York Times online and Poets & Writers. She is an editor at Literary Mama. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Minneapolis, MN.

Kate teaches writing online and in person; leads writing retreats for women; provides editorial support and mentoring for writers of all ability levels; and offers writing consultation services.

Kate and I met through a writing workshop in Chicago. She has inspired me to “use my words” and start writing my stories. I highly recommend her book Use Your Words to moms—especially new moms.

Kate Hopper

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I began working with mother writers in 2006 when I developed a class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis for women interested in writing about motherhood. My own daughter had been born prematurely a few years earlier, and I remembered the desperation I had felt during those long, isolating months after her birth. I remembered the way I had craved stories that would reflect some of the conflicted emotions I was experiencing as a new mother. And so I launched my class, Motherhood & Words, as a way to offer support, encouragement and guidance to other women wanting to process their motherhood experiences through writing.

I still teach, but now I also offer editorial and mentoring support to writers, primarily women writers. I help them write the stories they need to write. I work alone, so I’m responsible for all marketing, developing relationships with potential clients, developing curriculum, and keeping track of scheduling and bookkeeping. And then I shut my laptop so I can meet my daughters at the bus at 2 p.m.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have two daughters. Stella is ten and a half and Zoë is almost 6.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I had been teaching and doing some editorial work before Stella was born, but her premature birth was the impetus for my classes and retreats geared toward mothers. Helping women write their truths, about motherhood and life, has become my passion.

How did your business life change after having children?

I’ve done a number of different things since becoming a mother. I’ve worked in development and nonprofit communications, and taught on and off. It’s always been a balance to earn enough money and still have quality time with my family. I was able to quit my nonprofit work this fall when Zoë entered kindergarten. Now I work from home and I love being able to focus more of my energy on the work I love.

Describe a typical workday.

The girls and my husband are out the door by about 7:15. I’ve started doing ten minutes of meditation after they leave, then I make my coffee, and turn on the light in my tiny pantry office. Sometimes I write first, before I let myself log on to any social media or email. (That’s ideal.) And then I turn my attention to responding to messages, scheduling, editing, etc. Right now I’m teaching an online class, so I spend quite a bit of time following and responding to the discussion threads and preparing lectures. Ideally, I exercise or take the dog for a walk mid-day, then come home and shower and work a little longer before I have to get the girls at the bus stop. I try to log off in the afternoons, but there are some days that the work isn’t done yet, so if Stella and Zoë are busy with homework or reading, I’ll turn back to my computer.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Having the support of my spouse and family is really critical, so I try to communicate openly about my work, and especially if I need extra work time. Then I’ll head out to the coffee shop for a couple of hours on the weekend. But I also think it’s really important to try to compartmentalize your work so it doesn’t spill over into your family time. When I feel myself reaching for my phone to “answer one more email,” I know I need to step back and reprioritize again.

Kate Hopper, LLC

Minneapolis, MN
www.katehopper.com
@MNKateHopper
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateHopperAuthor
Motherhood and Words Blog: www.motherhoodandwords.com

January 27, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Rebecca Kempton of Baby Sleep Pro

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured Biz Mama: Rebecca Kempton of Baby SLeep Pro

Biz Mama columnAfter graduating with a B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth and an M.D. from Cornell Medical School, Rebecca Kempton worked for several years as a medical director for healthcare technology and pharmaceutical companies before becoming certified as an infant and toddler sleep consultant and starting her own pediatric sleep consulting business, Baby Sleep Pro.

With three children, ages six and under, along with hundreds of clients nationwide, she has honed her sleep coaching skills.  Using a variety of behavioral techniques, she customize sleep solutions based on what she learns about you, your child, and your family’s goals; she works with clients nationwide by phone, video chats and email.

Rebecca and I met through the Neighborhood Parents Network Moms in Business group and since I have a toddler who avoids sleep, I was thrilled to find out what she does. She hosts a weekly “Sleep Talk Sunday” sleep chat on her Facebook page.

Rebecca Kempton of Baby Sleep Pro

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

My business goal is to educate as many people as I can across the country and globally about healthy sleep habits for infants and toddlers. Since I am a one woman show, I have to wear every hat, so my responsibilities range from sales to marketing to client relations, to implementing and maintaining the books—there is never a dull moment!

What are the ages/genders of your children?

Timothy is 6. Sebastian is 3 and Fiona is 15 months.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started my business after my 3rd child and after I had spent 8 years working as a medical director in healthcare IT and pharmaceutical companies. Those jobs took me here, there, and everywhere and while my business skills broadened as a result, my quality time with my family suffered. At that point, I knew I needed to take the reins and figure out something to do where I could better balance my work and family life and feel fulfilled.

How did your business life change after having children?

My children have been accustomed to me working and traveling since they were born, considering I had all three of them while I was still working a busy job in the healthcare industry. Since I worked from home, I was able to see them and have some flexibility on days when I wasn’t on the road. However, there was a point after my third child when I realized running around the country like a nut just wasn’t going to give me that balance that I craved and that’s when the “mompreneurial” itch hit me.

 Describe a typical workday.

Thankfully, no two days are alike. I spend a lot of time talking/meeting/emailing with current and potential clients. Since I’ve plunged into social media headfirst (kicking and screaming along the way), I spend a significant amount of time posting, updating, and finding relevant content to share with my fans. With a variety of regular blog posts for parenting sites and companies, I also spend at least a few hours each week creating content of my own for those submissions. I also like to set aside time each week to brainstorm creative ways to build my business—this is one of my favorite parts as the possibilities seem endless.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and if there are items on your “weakness” list which can be outsourced, then do it. I have so much on my “to do” list every day that I had to figure out what parts of that list would be better or more efficiently accomplished by someone else. For example, I knew early on that creating a website and building a social media presence were going to be essential to my success, outreach, and client acquisition. But I also knew that writing code and posting updates on Facebook were not my fortes, so I found someone to do both of those things for me so I could focus my attention to growing other aspects of my business.

Baby Sleep Pro

Chicago, IL
babysleeppro.com
Twitter: @babysleeppro
Facebook: facebook.com/babysleeppro

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