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Mom Entrepreneur | The Balanced Mom Magazine - Part 2

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Are you a busy stay-at-home mom, mompreneur or working mom who is usually on the go and doesn’t have a lot of time, but still has a desire to make healthy living a priority? Busy mom. I chuckle because the term itself is probably redundant. I mean let’s face it, what mom isn’t busy and constantly juggling a million things? We are the masters of multi-tasking. On the same token, every mom wants to get healthy, set a good example for her children and keep her family as healthy as possible. Yet we can’t seem to find the time for it. If you want to make a change in your health or your lifestyle, it doesn’t have to be hard. The key is to find new habits that will serve you better. But it does require a small amount of commitment and a huge desire to feel and look your best. The payoff will come in knowing that you are taking an important step to ensure that your family is healthy.

The good news is with a little preplanning and preparation, you and your family can maintain a healthy diet while keeping your active schedule.

Many busy families rely on the drive-thru or a takeout menu to get a meal on the table. Unfortunately, eating out often means getting too much fat, salt and calories, which puts you and your family at risk of health conditions that include heart disease and obesity. With childhood obesity – and indeed, the weight of many Americans – spiraling out of control, parents need to take extra steps to encourage healthy eating habits. Learning to eat healthy meals benefits the entire family and becomes easier with practice. Planning is the key to developing healthy eating habits. Here are a few tips for healthy living on the go:

Plan Ahead

Having a plan regarding what foods you will buy and prepare creates the opportunity to have healthy choices on hand. Don’t plan only for dinner. Decide what you will eat for breakfast and lunch too, so that you are prepared with healthy meals for the whole day. Write down each meal, and make a grocery list so that you have all the ingredients on hand. That way you won’t end up calling for pizza when you are pressed for time. Not every meal has to be cooked or prepared from scratch. Despite the fact that we live in an age where quick and easy is synonymous with greasy fast food, there are healthy convenient shortcuts available if you are shopping at the right places. Trader Joes is my favorite go-to spot when I don’t have time to cook. They have a ton of precut fruits and vegetables, pre-washed salad and easy microwaveable yet healthy options. There is no excuse not to have a salad on the table these days when all you have to do is open a bag and pour it into a bowl. When you do cook your meals, be sure to prepare enough so that you have leftovers that can be served on the nights you won’t be able to cook. Similarly, you may want to make an entire meal ahead of time and freeze it for later use. If your family members keep vastly different schedules, you can freeze individual portions that can be quickly heated in the microwave.

Snack Smart

Buy healthy snacks and portion them into individual servings so that you always have a grab-and-go snack for each member of the family. A snack between meals is important to keep hunger at bay and prevent binge eating. Students need snacks to help them concentrate and learn at school, and working adults who keep healthy snacks on hand are less likely to hit the vending machine in the afternoon. Good choices include nuts, string cheese, fruits and vegetables, yogurt, trail mix and dry cereal. Stay away from those 100-calorie packs. They may be only 100 calories but they are 100 empty calories and in most cases do nothing to fuel your body. I used to grab protein bars until I discovered that most of them have as much sugar as a can of soda. Now if I need an extra dose of protein I blend up a protein smoothie which literally takes me two minutes and is a quick and easy way to sneak in an extra serving of fruit. My kids love smoothies too. A homemade smoothie is going to be infinitely better for you than the sugar laden versions at Jamba Juice, McDonalds or Starbucks. Not everything that is seemingly healthy is. My protein powder of choice is high in fiber and low in sugar. Make sure you are reading the labels because not all protein powders are necessarily healthy and many brands can be very high in sugar. Lastly, bring healthy snacks along when you go to sports games, the mall or the playground to refuel without ending up at the nearest fast food place.

Eat From All the Food Groups

I confess. I’m a carb lover. If it were up to me, every snack would consist of something starchy. But I know my body doesn’t respond well when I eat only carbs and I am depriving myself of the natural fiber, nutrients and protein that my body needs. This can in turn lead to increased hunger and cravings and have a downward spiral effect on other food choices I make later in the day. By incorporating foods from all the food groups, you ensure that your family is getting adequate nutrition without overloading on fat, calories, salt, sugar or cholesterol. Include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, low-fat dairy foods and healthy fats. Indulge in the occasional treat to keep healthy meals fun and prevent feelings of deprivation. I try not to make any one food off limits. My kids enjoy treats and juice like any other but I encourage them to drink water and eat something healthy first.

Make Smart Restaurant Choices

As hard as we try, even the best plan can go out the window. There will be times when a busy family has to eat out, but doing so doesn’t have to derail your healthy eating goals. Choose the restaurant you will go to ahead of time, and use its website to look at the nutritional information for the menu items offered. In many areas, quickserve healthy alternatives to fast-food are becoming more available. In my local market we even have a pizza place that makes a pizza with healthier whole grain crust and has a special sauce with hidden vegetables pureed into it. The kids don’t taste the difference.

Schedule in Your Exercise Time

Life is always going to be chaotic. We have to accept that. In order to fit in exercise, your workout has to be scheduled into the day. No matter how crazy my day, I make my workout a priority for myriad reasons, not the least of which are my health and sanity. I almost never let anything get in the way of exercise. You have to be that committed or it will be the first thing you let go. Even if I feel tired one day or am not into it I still force myself to do it because it makes me feel better. I really believe that physical fitness will change your life. If I have a day with extra time, I will do a longer workout. If there is absolutely no time to go to the gym or squeeze in a run, I have a few of those quick 20-minute videos I can do at home. Sometimes people think that if they can’t get in a full workout they should blow it off altogether. Not true. Even a quick 10-minute walk, or a few squats, lunges and push-ups while your kids watch TV is better than nothing.

Healthy living doesn’t have to be hard. By taking a few extra steps and planning ahead, you will slowly be able to adopt these new habits until they become second nature.

Shira Adatto

Health & Fitness
Shira is a successful Mom Entrepreneur who runs Sheer Wellness and promotes the Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge. Read more about Shira here.

Has this ever happened to you? You have a list of things to do and all of them get done except that one big project. Day after day, you make your list and diligently cross everything off, only to find that one item lingers -refusing to get done, still looking up at you and waiting for you to take action. As the days, weeks and months wear on, you might begin to chastise yourself. You may even use it as proof that you are a procrastinator and chronically disorganized.

Or, there is another scenario. You’ve been building your business from home. You are getting on a roll and things are beginning to click. New marketing opportunities are showing up and clients and customers are finding you. And then, summer vacation hits OR a child comes down with the flu. During these times, it can feel like the progress slows and in some cases grinds to an ear-bending screech of a halt!

In these cases, it feels like nothing is getting done, or there isn’t enough getting done. Your project or business ceases to be a logical set of things to do. Instead, it has anthropomorphized into something that talks to you, calls you names and hangs over you. It’s the proverbial monkey on your back; a weight on your shoulders and the black cloud hovering overhead. We’ve all been there.

During these times, we might feel as though we are spinning our wheels and that all that spinning is on a stationary bike – getting us nowhere, fast. When this happens, the first step is to stop and figure out where the real challenge is. It is important to get specific about the challenge that you are facing, so that you can design a strategy around it and get yourself moving forward again.

Here are some common challenges that get in the way of us being able to move forward:

  • We don’t know what the next step should be. There are too many!
  • We don’t have enough information and/or don’t know where to get it.
  • We know what the next step is, but don’t know how much time it will take. We are afraid of falling into the black hole of time consumption. This can happen with troubleshooting computer issues or doing research. Or, as I just found out, setting up a business page on Facebook!
  • We just don’t want to! We don’t want to look through those piles of files because we don’t want to be faced with our past work, letters and the other unwanted discoveries lurking there.
  • Let’s face it. We would rather do something else. We answer emails, make phone calls, re-organize our list and make a nice big cup of distraction… I mean coffee!
  • We want perfection. Sometimes our own worry about something not being perfect, can keep us from even starting.

Any of these on their own, probably won’t stop us, but if a few of these are combined, we can freeze, get stuck and dig ourselves deeper with negative self talk.

The funny part is that we have been down this road before. We know that when we do complete these items, we will feel great – as if a burden has been lifted. We may wonder why we didn’t do it sooner. And then the spin cycle continues.

Here are some Coach Me Quick™ strategies for minimizing the time we are stuck and maximizing our ability to move forward with ease:

  • I don’t want to: When you don’t want to take action, commit to spending 15 minutes on the project or task at hand. You have no obligation to spend any more time than 15 minutes, but you may find that you are inspired to do more, once you get started.
  • Where do I begin? When you don’t know what to do, break it down into REALLY tiny steps. For example: 1. Step one might be open a file. 2. Step two. Call so and so. 3. Step three. Get the answer to this question.

You will know that the steps are small enough when you begin to feel that they are silly. Don’t stop until you have very silly steps.

  • Will work for chocolate! Promise yourself a reward for a certain number of steps completed – a walk, a cappuccino, hot bath or a nap
  • Give up perfection. It will not be perfect – adopt “good enough and embrace imperfection (see my imperfect gift to you below).
  • Stop negative self talk in its tracks and replace it with a clear vision of the value you will receive from completing the project.
  • Be flexible. Not only do we need to be more flexible to accommodate family schedule changes and activities, but we would like to take the opportunity to be with our children as much as possible. If they are all sleeping in, we might like to sleep in too. And if we view the big picture, taking the opportunity to enjoy our children during the short time that we have them, is a no-brainer.
  • Give yourself permission to put certain tasks on the back burner during busy times. Focus on the important business activities – the basic tasks required to keep your business moving.
  • Choose what is happening on any given day. If you find that you are spending less time on your business in order to be with your kids; embrace that as a choice and not something that is happening to you.

Give yourself the gift of staying in action. Celebrate your past achievements. Be excited about what is coming next. Enjoy each day. Watch your business thrive!

Jamee Tenzer

Jamee Tenzer is an Executive and Life Coach, specializing in empowering women to optimize their lives at work, home and play. In 2002, she founded CMQ Coaching, a private coaching practice with a focus on professional women and working mothers. Her coaching emphasizes working with her clients to integrate their professional and personal lives in order to make their vision real in the workplace without giving up the experience they want, at home. Jamee holds a PCC Credential from the International Coach Federation and is also a trainer with the International Coach Academy. S he is a contributor to numerous magazines and websites including No Makeup Required. She writes a bi-monthly newsletter Coach Me Quick! and manages “Executive Moms,” a 1500 member group on Linked In. In 2006, she co-authored 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, and in May of 2012 she published Balance Your Work and Family with Less Stress and More Fun! A s part of her commitment to supporting working moms, she has created a number of programs including: 7 Days To Achieve Peace Through Imperfection – a FREE video series, Game Plan For Your Business – a comprehensive guide to beginning your own “kitchen table start up” and 21 Days to More Joy and Less Stress! An e-Coaching program for working moms. O ther interests include; traveling, roller-blading at the beach and spending lots of time with her husband and 3 children.

Supporting and inspiring others to be the best they can be is what drives Doreen Matsumoto. An ultra-successful MonaVie distributor and the founder of Women In Networking, the fast-growing women’s networking group in Southern California, Doreen’s passionate energy keeps her busy by being involved with many community fundraising events, various charities and local groups

Doreen’s positive disposition, passion for life and compassion for others spans globally as she is a strong supporter and advocate for The MORE Project, a non-profit organization that fights poverty and helps feed children in Brazil.

Doreen shares with us her journey to success, what she does with it and the lifestyle she lives to balance it all.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Long Beach, CA and I do MonaVie as my business. I used to be in the bar and restaurant business. I have 2 grown-up kids and a granddaughter who is 14 months old.

Tell us about MonaVie and what it’s all about.

On June 29, 2006, I started with MonaVie, a nutritional product line. The year prior, a friend who was working with the company approached me and asked if I was interested in being part of MonaVie. At that time, I was in the restaurant and bar business and worked 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. I asked him how many girl scout cookies I needed to sell for this business and told him that I wasn’t really interested in selling anything or had no clue what network marketing was all about. So, my friend then asked me to just introduce people to him and he’ll talk to them for me. From there, I introduced him to quite a few people and we just kept building a business. We are now 40,000 strong. We’re international and the fastest moving network marketing company out there. It is debt free. We’ve created a millionaire every 25 days since its conception. The company has good morals and I just love it. I am continuously growing with it every day.

What do you love about the MonaVie business?

MonaVie is a 5 star opportunity. I get to share a great product with people and help with their health and nutritional needs. It’s the right time, because baby boomers are aging. MonaVie is convenient, because the products are available online and shipped directly to the consumer. I also like the binary effect in that they care about the distributors. MonaVie is led by the top leaders in this industry. So, we know we have the right people at the front of the ship.

What I’m also passionate about is MonaVie’s charity, The MORE Project, which began in 2006. They wanted to give back because that is where they harvest the Acaî berries. Initially, it was just about feeding the children in Brazil. Now we have an orphanage that house 2,500 children. My team supports the mom’s house with 60 moms and kids. The economy there is the same as the US but their welfare is $60-$80 a month. So, it’s so much different. They give their children up for drug trafficking and prostitution, because that’s how they think they can survive. Here in the US, we wouldn’t even stand for that.

MonaVie helps children in Brazil and teaches them how to use their resources, provides them education, teaches them some life-skills, shows them computers and demonstrates to them that they can have a better life. They might not reach every person but 100% of the donations go to The More Project. It’s a positive way for a company to help humanity. A lot of people look at what we’re doing and say, “Well, what about our own country?” But these are children and they don’t know what country they’re in and we need to help everybody.

I raise a lot of money for different organizations in the US and in our school district. I remember when someone asked me, “Well, what about here?” I stood up and said “I don’t have any children that go to this high school. I live in the area and I could turn my back away, but I want to help you and your school programs. If I only thought about helping my own people, I wouldn’t be here today.”

MonaVie has given me the freedom to help more people. We’ve blessed so many people’s lives. When you’re successful you have to know how to handle that success, how to give back and teach others to do that which is the most important thing for me. Giving and helping others is my passion.

I have two kids and a grandchild. It’s such a blessing to be able to spend time with them and be part of their lives.

MonaVie has given me that freedom and even my son the freedom to bring his wife home to take care of their baby and be a stay-at-home mom. In general, I think with network marketing that’s important. We need to teach people plan B so they can have a more quality life, have more time with family and pick and choose who they want to do business with. Network marketing has become something much bigger than just MonaVie to me.

In my Women In Networking (WIN) meetings, I always say MonaVie is my vehicle but I think it’s so important for us to help people along their route. It doesn’t matter the organization, or what product you’re selling or sharing, if someone needs help or ideas, we should be able to share our knowledge as leaders. If we do that, a lot more people will be great leaders in our community and change the dynamics of what’s happening in our economy.

What is Women In Networking (WIN) all about and what inspired you to create it?

A woman who was part of the MonaVie business got a bunch of us gals together one day and it was more of a Christian-based group. Everyone who attended thought it was a MonaVie leadership meeting, but it was really about faith. I sat back and thought it was a great idea to get women together. I started on Facebook, talking to women and sharing ideas. I had my first meeting at The Courtyard by Marriott and there were probably about 15 people there. Now, WIN has 450 people as part of our group. We have an Irvine, CA chapter, led by Jennifer Griner, a Long Beach, CA chapter and a men’s chapter, called Men that Win. We are an association. The money we collect is used for various charities, fundraisers and scholarships. It’s just been a blessing and people come to me about mentoring and ask opinions about generating a lead or approaching someone or how to deal with the “no’s”. That’s what’s great is we can come together to educate and inspire people. That’s how WIN got started. It was really about educating and inspiring. We have all different kinds of women, from various races and backgrounds, older, younger, moms, retirees, grandmas running different businesses. We’re sponsored by organizations, such as Chase, State Farm, and SoCal Curves. So, we’re backed by some really great businesses because they see what we’re doing. We’re about helping everyone around us – communities, children and the whole nine yards.

What challenges did you face while creating the WIN group?

It’s not about challenges. I don’t put that in my mind. It’s really power in numbers. When you get together with great people and great women, we can continuously do great things. It’s important as a networking/marketing woman, to go out and constantly network. In the WIN group, we’ve had people attend who can barely say their own name to introduce themselves in front of everyone. And now they have the confidence to say and talk about their business and feel comfortable in their own shoes. It’s just amazing to watch people grow.

What’s the top advice you would give women to help them effectively promote and network during your WIN meetings?

I always tell them to think of positive things and everything they’re grateful for. If someone comes to me and shares the trials in her life, I’ll ask her the one thing she’s grateful for. Even with these trials, what are you grateful for? You have a roof over your head. You have children. Always try to put things into perspective so you think positive all the time. Keep that good energy going. You can’t move forward if you’re carrying baggage.

What do you do to stay balanced on a regular basis?

I like to keep busy. Someone told me, give a busy person something to do and they’ll always get it done. The most wonderful things in life are my children. My daughter-in-law is very eco-friendly and she keeps me balanced by making sure I’m eating right and using the right [non-toxic] stuff around the house. She gave me a beautiful granddaughter named London. I just adore her. I didn’t have any clue that being a grandmother would fulfill me so much. My son and daughter-in-law will be married for 5 years in July 2012. As a mom, it’s really an amazing thing to watch your children grow. You always see them as these little kids with personalities and you remember when they played baseball or football or cheerleading. Then they become grownups that you’ve inspired all these years. Then they give you this sense of security that they’re okay and building a great life. I think that really balances me to think about that. I go to church and I’m very active in the evangelism team. I believe in buying in the USA and supporting our troops. I think we’re very blessed to be free in the US. We could be in another country where things are so much different. We’re so lucky to be able to do the things we do and the resources that are here in the US.

For me, to be balanced, you’ve got to have God, family and MonaVie. That’s how I live my lifestyle. God first, then family, and then business. Those are the most important things. You start mixing those things up and it could be a problem.

Do you have any advice for moms who are struggling to find balance in their lives?

God, family and business. It’s important because you need to be grounded. Everyone has his or her own needs and personalities. To find your center of what is important to you, you really need to think about how lucky you are. There’s a mom who has a son with Down Syndrome and he never ever cries. He’s so adorable and has a little smile on his face. I think that she’s so blessed to have this little one and the love they have together. A lot of people have beautiful children and they need to think about how lucky they are to have those children. They need to remind themselves. We’re in such a fastpaced world and we tend forget to stop and look around to appreciate what’s around us.

Could you share one thing about you that would surprise people who know you?

I’m pretty much an open book! Well, everyone knows I’m not a big eater. Most people know that I’m kind of a relaxed person. If I showed up in a fancy dress, people wouldn’t be used to that! It’s not my style. Most people know I took care of my in-laws until they passed away. I love dogs and I love cats. I think what surprises people is that they can call me and ask me something. And I never say that I don’t want to talk to them right now. The reason is that people are put in front of me for a reason. So, I need to stop and recognize people even if it’s asking how they are you doing, get to know them and shake their hand. They might be looking for something, not necessarily MonaVie, but a friendship, advice, or their heart hurts and they want someone to talk to. And I think everyone knows I’m a creature of habit – same church, same time, same bat channel.

To adapt to the challenges of the recession, to create more flexible work schedules, and circumvent the limits of a male dominated corporate culture, women are starting businesses and becoming self-employed. Women-owned businesses are growing in numbers at twice the rate of all U.S. firms (23% vs. 9%), and the ranks of women business owners are increasing by 23% annually, 2.5 times faster than the growth of businesses in general. “Women Rising: Five Predictions for Women in the Workplace—2012” is from the upcoming book Society 3.0: How Technology Is Reshaping Education, Work, and Society, by Dr. Tracey Wilen- Daugenti (Lang, January 2012).

Today’s society is pushing more and more mothers to go into the work force and provide financially for their families. Mothers are reevaluating their abilities and how they translate into the workforce once they have transitioned into motherhood. More mothers are opting to creating their own businesses in order to get the flexibility they want to continue to be a part of their family’s daily activities. Dr. Wilen-Daugenti also states that, “Women now influence more than 25% of the U.S. GDP and hold nearly 48% of all jobs. Without women, the U.S. economy would be 25% smaller than it is today.” Now that does not calculate the kind benefits of moms who are “at home” where 70% manage the finances of their family and reduce household costs by being “at home”. Basically, as Beyoncé states, “Who runs the world? Girls!!”

So how do you know if you are ready to take on the entrepreneur leap? What are the tools that you need to start being your own boss? Erika Anderson, creator of Proteus, wrote an article for Forbes Magazine in March and identified “What it takes to Create Your Own Business – Really”.

Anderson identified that passion is the most important element in creating your business; finding what wakes you up in the morning and moves your spirit. When we decided to create Transitions in Motherhood we identified motherhood as our passion and supporting mothers and their families in their journey through motherhood. Yes, we wanted both motherhood and career, which is a balancing act. But when you think about it – what isn’t? Everything is a balancing act and finding what that means for you is extremely personal. Literature can go from one extreme to the other as to women working “outside the home”, but finding what makes you happy is something that can only come from within you. Know there will always be someone who has an opinion one way or the other of your choices, but only you who will be living them.

Transitions in Motherhood would like to identify one more element that can assist in supporting your process in considering the entrepreneurial world. We would like to add self-reflection. We believe that making that leap also requires faith in self, so taking time to reflect on your fears that could potentially become roadblocks down the road is very important. We all have fears, but being able to face them and move through them will strengthen you as an entrepreneur. Having clarity regarding your fears will keep you from making decisions based on them. When you have a business that you are passionate about you can feel very exposed at times. So when you face moments when things don’t turn out the way you planned, being able to learn and move through those moments will be key.

We sometimes hear moms share that they feel like they “should” stay home if they have the ability to, but struggle with wanting to go to work once they do. And moms who want to stay home, but are returning back to work. If you could create your idea, what would it be? If you could create your vision and find/ follow your passion, what would it be? Research shows that when mom is happy, so are the kiddos…and partner too.

So whatever you decide or have already decided we wish you all that you could dream of and know that Transitions in Motherhood is a support for you along the way.


Emma and Tara are co-founders of Transitions in Motherhood, an organization dedicated in helping families, especially mothers, and their mental health.

Emma Santizo, LCSW

Transitions in Motherhood
Motherhood Balance
Read more about Emma here



Tara Farajian, LCSW

Transitions in Motherhood
Motherhood Balance
Read more about Tara here

 

Fall Gratitude - Editor's Letter

I believe life should be lived as a series of celebrations – big and small. Celebrating different levels of milestones, accomplishments, transitions and even baby steps taken each day. It is the focusing on the now, your purpose and living in gratitude that makes happiness and balance a real lifestyle.

The Fall season brings many reasons to celebrate, such as, surviving another summer and the first day of school for our kids. As we enjoy and anticipate the back-to-school “season”, take time to celebrate how the summer went. Make the first week of school a time for you as a mom to do something fun, relaxing and inspiring. Choose a Spa Day, get a massage, enjoy a mani & pedi, get your hair done a little different, sign up for an inspirational workshop, have a small Mom’s night out or even a date night with your significant other.

Yes, we have lots to do, but we also deserve and need time for ourselves to take care of our own health and well-being. Throughout all the interviews and features we’ve done for this magazine, the number one advice that keeps popping up is the airplane analogy. Place your own oxygen mask on before you put your kids’ mask on. Why do we forget to do this on a regular basis? Do we really need to wait for an emergency situation (i.e. a health scare, a break-down, family crisis, marriage crisis, etc.) to occur in order for us to put ourselves first so that we can be more attentive and effectively take care of our family and everything else?

This issue is a celebration of Mom Entrepreneurs as we boldly move ahead, charging forward and taking more control of our lives. It is about believing in yourself, being that role-model for your kids, living your passion and purpose and making a difference in so many people’s lives. It is also about living the dream in real balance and keeping your core values in place by leaving that “Super Mom” expectation behind to be the best Mom you can be.

The Mom Entrepreneur Success Conference in September will be an experience like no other. As working moms, we juggle so much to make things happen. This event gives moms the opportunity to meet other like-minded business women and to finally realize the strengths we already have inside of us and bring it out in our daily lives to attract success in our business and families.

After all, being a great mom is not about doing it all, it’s about being your all.

Jennifer Griner

 

 


Being the multi-passionate entrepreneur she is, Michelle Ghilloti is a marketing and branding expert. She also is a yoga teacher and a writer. She is currently writing her book, “How to Be a Walking Momtra™”, which is aimed at stretching the happiness of all moms and empowering them with tools to get rid of the story that they can’t do what they want in their lives.

The piece she loves the most is this mesh of coaching women on the nuts and bolts of business while also creating and building their brands. “We don’t call any woman’s business a “small business” at Michelle Ghilloti International, she says. “No woman is small in her ability and creativity and no business is small in possibility or success.”

Michelle shares with us her journey that led her to create the Walking Momtra blog, her experience with post-partum and how she finds happiness and balance throughout it all.

Tell us about your journey that led you to create the Walking Momtra blog and book.

I have this belief and passion to help mothers focus on creating balanced and peaceful lives, so they can really raise happiness. Our kids are such a mirror of us.

After I had my son, I went through the journey of postpartum depression for quite a while. I thought it’s what all moms felt and I was just going to come out of the other end soon. But a year later, I was still saying the same thing and I was obviously in a dark place. My son, Nolan had different issues, like sleep terrors. Over time, I found it hard to get out of the house or to start turning on music and dance in the living room, which was something I regularly did. I’m naturally a very joyful person.  So, when I didn’t really want to do the things that used to make me happy, I pushed myself to do them.  This is when I saw a change in Nolan. His night terrors lessened and we really adjusted to where a nice connection between us was forming. I think you have to go through the motions to come out the other side.

It really goes back to my childhood with my grandmother who raised 5 kids throughout a lot of trials and tribulations. She rescued us from an abusive home and took us to the United States from Guatemala. From that moment on, I lived under this roof of a happy, well-adjusted woman. This is where I realized the value of creating happiness at home and how it was probable for me.

When you were going through postpartum, how did your husband handle it?

He wasn’t saying much to me because it was very obvious. It was almost like we didn’t need to verbalize it. We were living in Amsterdam at the time and our friends were in the US. So, support was minimal. My husband would come home from work and find me crying on the ground with the baby. He would get on the ground and cry with me. He is the most supportive human being on the planet.

When we moved back to the states, I still had these feelings, but it was getting better. He would come home early from work, leave later in the morning or get up with Nolan so I could go to yoga or go for a run and be on my own to take some time for myself. And the key to doing all this is consistency. It’s great to do things a few times but the secret to success is to be consistent. How I got through it was the feeling of emotional support, lots of talking and the consistency of getting out and doing my own things.

How did your business, Michelle Ghillotti International, come about?

I was a corporate girl in advertising with big brands, like Nike, Got Milk, and Hewlett Packard. My husband and I like to travel and we moved around a lot. After moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I wanted to be mindful in the decision I was making. Did I want to go back to corporate in the way that I was or did I want to do something different? And through my self-discovery, I realized that I didn’t want to go back to corporate. I wanted to follow this desire to start my own business. So, I got started primarily doing design work and then expanded to branding and marketing. I now use my expertise and mesh that with what I love, which is helping women create what is at their core that really makes them happy in their business.

What do you love about your business?

I love so many things. I would say being able to gently and lovingly challenge my clients to be more visible, comfortable and confident being themselves and to express that in a unique and professional way. It’s not just making it a business, but also a human connection business. As women, we are so giving and so passionate that we need to be fully expressed. When we’re in that full expression, we’re just so much more magnetizing and we can attract ideal clients. It’s not as hard as we think.

Do you find it hard for your clients to be themselves in their businesses, especially when they’re first starting out?

Absolutely. I would say it is the number one conversation that I have with my clients. I get complete joy to see my clients confident and excited to express their uniqueness and convey that in their marketing, on their website and their blog. I had a client recently who said, “Michelle, thank you so much for making me see my own light.”

I just sat with that because we teach what we most need to learn. It’s a journey we’re all on. When I saw that message, I thought it was so beautiful. When people talk about branding, it’s so technical. However, it’s not… my version is not. It’s about chipping away at all the societal conditionings that has made us believe we need to be X, Y or Z, and knowing that we’re going to be a different version of ourselves at 25, 36 or 45. It’s ok to be authentic. When we are authentic, the skies open up, the sun comes out and everything becomes brighter and happier because we’ve given ourselves permission to do that.

What do you love about being a mom entrepreneur?

That’s an easy one. I love showing my son what it’s like to have a mom who is happy. I adore him and I love that I am so present with him and for him. After I’ve done something creative or come out of a meeting with a client, I have new stories to share. I have new energy and I feel like a new person when I’m nurturing these other parts that make up my complete self. I love that he has that example in a woman, in his mom.

What is the most challenging part of being a mom entrepreneur?

Let’s see. I would say it’s probably that guilt I feel the days when I’m really busy. Typically, after 3pm when I walk to pick my son up from school, I tell myself that I’m on mamma duty. When I can’t do that for myself and for him, and it happens, I get that weight that I feel and I really have to coach myself through it. I   communicate and explain to him what’s going on. Then, tomorrow is a new day and I work on my schedule to fit it all in. It’s hard and it’s not perfect. Most importantly, my son knows that he’s not less loved by me.

What’s your top advice to a mom who wants to start her own business?

Having your own business is so amazing and there’s such freedom, but you’re called a solopreneur for a reason. It’s almost like being a mom for the first time where you’re kind of isolated. So, from the get go, collaborate, collaborate and collaborate. Make sure you’re getting out and inviting women that you have chemistry with and network. Have others hear you and your ideas and visions and really listen to these women that you respect. Continue to polish the business and you’ll feel so much more confident.

The other one I mention a lot is to make sure you’re proud of the framework of your business, the way you’re presenting your business. It’s an extension of us. Many clients want to rebrand themselves with me. They’ve been doing their business for a while, but never loved their logo or appear shy when they hand out their business card. It’s the energy you put out there. It’s not about having the most savvy look. It’s expressing confidence.

You’re a busy mom. How do you stay balanced?

The first thing for me is doing yoga. When I first started it 7 or 8 years ago, it was a physical practice, but it quickly became everything but physical. It was quiet time for me. It’s not about the physical movement. I stay balanced by really quieting the mind.

Also, I go out on dates with my husband and that makes me feel very balanced. We have so much fun. We usually have a weekly date night. However, these last 3 months we’ve been so busy that it hasn’t been weekly.

In addition, I usually get up at least 15 minutes before anyone else. I’m so much more present when I’ve just sat there, read a meaningful book or worked on a task. And then I hear Nolan waking up and I go upstairs and I’m so happy and say “Good Morning!” I am more grounded this way.

What advice would you share moms who are struggling to find balance?

I would say start small. I know that many moms say go to yoga or do meditation. However, a lot of times for various reasons, that’s just not reality. The micro movements to meditation are reflections. Reflect at the end of the day or the morning by sitting for 5 to 7 minutes and reflect on how yesterday went and what you can do for yourself today that would change the mood or the flavor of the day. It’s a building block towards mediation. You’re not trying to do something that isn’t natural, like sitting still for 30 minutes. Starting small is huge. Micro-movements are worth a lot.

Share something about you that would surprise people who know you.

Juicy! I had a friend the other day come up to my room to show her around the house and she looks around with amazement. I put those huge Post-it Notes© all over my room. I take compliments from people and inspirational quotes and post them all over my house. They’re just reminders to stay focused on what I want from my life.

Another thing is I dance by myself a lot at home. I mean I dance like a 23 year old. If it’s a busy day or my energy is funky and I know that my brain needs to finish this project, I turn on hip hop and I go for it! I am very silly. My son, Nolan has gotten into the groove and he’ll see me dancing where I’m totally in the moment. My eyes are closed and I then look over at him giggling and he takes his hand and slaps his forehead like “oh my goodness”.