Recently, I noticed a change in one of the email newsletters that I had been receiving for while. She started sharing little bits of her life and I found that I was RIVETED. This is someone that I follow for business reasons, but now I almost enjoy reading them more to find out more about her. She’s someone that I can really relate (mom, business owner, kids roughly the same age) so I’ve enjoyed the glimpses into her personal life over the year.
It got me thinking…you might want to know a bit more about me, so it’s time to meet the Chief Mom Officer of Business Among Moms.
My Past Life (Before I was Chief Mom Officer)
After having this realization that I liked knowing more about the people behind the companies I follow or get their newsletter, I felt pretty stupid.
You see, my professional background is sales and one of the areas where I was really successful was delivering what customers wanted. I had built a relationship where I knew them and they knew me, which made it a lot easier to ask them questions about what they needed.
I was a sales manager for 15 years in the pet industry before purchasing the website www.businessamongmoms.com My favorite question to answer when I was traveling to visit customers was, “What do you do?” When that was asked by the suit-wearing guy reading the Wall Street Journal, I’d tell him, “I sell dog toys” and he’d promptly return to his reading and there would be no more conversation the rest of the flight.
The other response was the one I loved, “you sell dog toys? What kind?” And then I’d describe the toy that throws a tennis ball a long way and they’d say, the “Chuckit!” You sell the Chuckit?” and then they’d tell me all about their dog.
I actually loved my job. I got to travel the world, meet lots of interesting people, and honed my sales and negotiation skills. But once I had kids, the travel wasn’t as much fun and the demands of my job where pulling me away from my family, plus I had a ton of guilt.
I daydreamed all the time about how I could create a different life. I tried interviewing for other jobs that weren’t as demanding, but I realized I was just trading one dissatisfaction for another, I’d have the same issues. We couldn’t afford to have me to quit to be a full time stay at home mom and starting from a business from scratch can take months or years to become profitable, so I began looking for a business to purchase since my income was really important to our family.
It took several years, but I finally found this website, Business Among Moms. I bit the bullet, quit my job, and wrote a big check. This was in May 2013 and I enjoyed a summer of waking up without an alarm clark. It was glorious! Until I realized that running a blog and having zero contact with human beings was not personally fulfilling to me.
Pivoting My Business
I found that by doing work that wasn’t feeding my soul, it was making me depressed and I was feeling isolated. I realized that I would need to make a major change and do it quick. I considered going back to work full time, which depressed me even more after the freedom of running my own business. So I looked at how I could pivot this business to make me happier.
I identified the two things I was missing. Community with other mom business owners and education on running a small business. So I started hosting networking events for mom entrepreneurs with an emphasis on small business education. I just looked looked at what I needed and created it.
My hunches were right! When I wanted to start networking for this business – I found other meetings were at super inconvenient times like early morning when I’m getting kids off to school or the membership organizations were too expensive. There was room in the market for my idea – victory!
My passion has always been for small business and building community. In our family, I’m the designated event planner for birthday celebrations and milestone events, so I decided to harness my talents for the mom entrepreneur community. We provide support, education and networking through live and online events for women.
I remember our first event had 5 people. It was intimate and awesome. Real relationships in real life were being created and I was helping to facilitate it. The more of these events I did, the more it fueled me. We created a membership platform, with benefits and I started getting testimonials from members about the connections they were making and what they were learning to drive their business forward. I was feeling great!
Some Bad News
Later that summer, I went to the doctor to get some answers on issues I was having with my health. My lymph nodes had been swollen for months without me being sick, so I knew something was wrong.
After a few visits, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). It’s a wide spectrum in terms of stages of the disease. Many people live with it for decades without needing treatment and some have a more aggressive form that doesn’t respond to chemotherapy, so newer treatments are being researched to help the people that fall into that category.
I tell you this because I had some big decisions to make about my business when I received this diagnosis. Since I fell into the higher risk category. (My oncologist actually gave me my diagnosis over the phone and said “you have a not so good prognosis).
After talking with my husband and my family, I decided to keep moving forward. I was being monitored every 3 months and physically I felt pretty good. The realization that everyone has challenges that may affect our work life; aging parents, kids with learning disabilities, deaths, divorces and our own health issues fueled me to keep on.
Almost 3 years later, I’m still living with the disease and things go up and down. I’ve been on and off treatment and continue to be thankful for the amazing research being done in this field that provide me with options that didn’t exist five years ago. My health goes up and down and I’ve learned a lot about living with cancer and want to be an advocate for others that face this same challenge.
The BAM Mission
The BAM community continues to thrive and grow. Our mission it to help women entrepreneurs grow successful, thriving businesses and recognize that they don’t need to do it alone. We are on the cusp of going International and opening a chapter in Spain! Women love our live events because of genuine, welcoming vibe and the general helpfulness of all the attendees (plus the business referrals). The networking continues between events in our Facebook group and with our online events and webinars.
I love hearing from other women on their journey of juggling motherhood and business (and women with no kids – we actually have many members that are not moms in our community). So I invite you to reach out, tell me what you want from a community – or maybe you are running a business while dealing with a big challenge – I’d love to hear from you. Email me at julie (@) businessamongmoms (dot com)
Lightening Fun Facts:
I met my husband online and we bought a house together after 2 months of dating. We’ve been happily married for almost 13 years.
Kids: Maggie (10) and Adam (8) + Roger the dog (5)
Favorite vacation: Traveling in Turkey on my own for 3 weeks
Fear: I’m deathly afraid of heights and my most traumatizing experience was doing an indoor skydive (sadly it was captured on video)
Favorite TV Show: I’ve been watching SNL since back in the day
I love laughing, sunshine and being surrounded by people I love!