by Stefanie Ryan
Give us a little snapshot about yourself.
As an entrepreneur, I wear many hats. I’m the Market Director and Franchise Owner of Ladies Who Launch in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. I’m also a CRAVE Los Angeles partner and a co-owner of Back 2 Our Roots, a business development and consulting company. I’m a TV host, a professor at FIDM, an author, a budding artist, a wife and mother to two adult daughters.
How did you get involved with Ladies who Launch?
I’ve been involved in entrepreneurial pursuits all my life. I grew up with an entrepreneur and then married one. As an entrepreneur, I was always thinking of ideas. I had my own company with my husband and several other businesses. I was really involved in interior design.
At the time, I lived in Boulder, Colorado. I read about Ladies Who Launch and it sounded so great that you had the opportunity to be with other women to share ideas and resources, get inspiration and find that support. I’ve always worked on my own and even though it worked okay, I liked having my girlfriends around. But even when I had girlfriends, they didn’t necessarily always understand what I was doing. After reading about this group where you can flush out ideas, get support and resources, I signed up to take the workshop. I also signed up my oldest daughter who had a couple of ideas of her own. We took it together and it was amazing to have that kind of environment, an incubator to work through your ideas and to get clarity.
At this time as I was working on my idea, my younger daughter lived in Los Angeles, California to pursue acting and I wanted to find women in LA that are like the Ladies Who Launch group in CO. About three years ago, I found an opportunity to get involved in a much bigger way. Since I had started a business with my sister providing consulting, sales and marketing services, I thought this Ladies Who Launch opportunity in Los Angeles and Orange County would be the perfect fit. And it worked out really well.
When you go out and speak, what is the top question women ask you?
Where do I start to get my business going? How do I get the money? How do I find out what it is that I need to do?
The best place to start is with an idea. The next step is to flush out that idea to make sure it is solving a problem and/or filling a need. T his is something very important because their idea must be marketable.
Once they get clear on their vision and ideas, the most important thing is to take action. There’s a lot of talk and dreaming at this point. But the next important step is to take action. To put one foot in front of the other and do one small thing so that the y can actually accomplish this goal at some point. I also help them find resources to get them what they need. My workshops are reciprocity based where people help each other because you never know who knows someone that can help with what you’re doing.
Is it difficult to find time for home and work life?
That is the age-old question. I think recognizing that all those things are super important and if one isn’t working then it’s going to be the domino effect. It’s all going to eventually fall. So it’s important to take time and carve out that time whether it’s for yourself, your family, husband, friends and work. Whenever you put everything into just one thing, it burns out .
I have my hands in a lot of different things and I enjoy all of them. But I also make sure that I take the time to focus on me as well as the other people in my life. Even if it means that I take a walk for 30 minutes every morning, which gives me a chance to clear my head and really be by myself. I take time to be with friends and have fun. I also watch mindless TV sometimes and I go out with my husband on a date. I also spend a great deal of time with my children even though they’re all grown up.
What advice would you have for moms who are struggling to stay balanced?
Many times we just feel like our children are everything. Growing up, my mom made her children her priority and I loved having that attention but it also made me r ealize that she didn’t put herself first at all. And sometimes it’s a burden for children to have all of that attention on them. When that’s all you’re focused on, that doesn’t make you a very interesting person or as interesting of a person. In the end, when you make yourself a priority and do things for yourself, that will continue to replenish you and help you be a better mom, entrepreneur, wife and friend.
Balance to me doesn’t mean giving everything equal time because some things take more time than others. But recognizing that it’s so important to carve time out for all those things in your life and assign them the necessary time for you to get what you need. If not, essentially you’ll burn out, get resentful and feel like you want to jump off a bridge or something.
Set a time for yourself, whether it’s a date night or every night, no matter what, you’re going to have dinner with your family and every Saturday you’ll go to your son or daughter’s soccer games. When you make those priority-type things, then you’ll learn to schedule around it with your work and family.
Every woman can be what they want to be and I don’t look at it as being a “Super Mom.” We are able to have it all. It’s like someone saying she wants to have chocolate while doing all these other things. The thing is you don’t have to have the whole chocolate bar at one time. You can have a bite everyday and you’ll still doing great. Just don’t overindulge in one thing. If you don’t overindulge in any of it, then you are able to have it all and that’s the way you maintain that balance.