10 May The truth about being a mom who is building an empire
Having a family was not top of mind for me – having a lot of money was my goal. After growing up poor I was very set on “making it”. I always envisioned I would have a child in my late 30s – after I achieved great success I could sit around and “chill” with my baby. That did not happen-I had a baby at the early age (by NYC successful women stats) of 27 -in the middle of building my now 8 figure brand Glam Seamless. I had to quickly pivot to continue to grow my business and be as good as a mom as I could be. Here is how I am surviving building an empire and being a modern day mom.
How come there is an exorbitant amount of advice and opinions on almost everything parenting, except for handling both motherhood and work? Let alone the harsh reality of building an empire – or simply choosing a demanding career (that yields a lot of success). We can’t find excessive opinions and advice on motherhood and work, and we rarely hear from uber successful #MOMPRENUERS such as Sara Blakely who has a 4 children, Sheryl Sandberg who infamously wrote Lean In, who is a COO with 2 children, or Kim Kardashian who has 4 children and many successful businesses. They all have empires and children, and also have female fans and supporters, but not one of them have given any advice on how they balance mother hood and build their empire at the same time. They are mostly tight lipped when it comes to how they build and run these amazing companies and how they are balancing motherhood (and their sanity and health). Since I am in the thick of motherhood (my baby Ava is 3) and 100% in charge of an 8 figure brand and a team of 15, I thought I’d share honestly I am balancing motherhood and building an empire.
I remember being (unexpectedly) pregnant and running Glam Seamless- Glam was a baby company, in fact I was still running it from my home and we had 3 team members including myself. There was this pit in the bottom of my stomach, that I wanted more for my unborn baby. Even though I was not a single mother, I knew I wanted to give my child an incredible life that far exceed an average one, and being the independent person that I am – I put it entirely on myself to make that happen. I was born to a single mother and grew up poor…it really scarred me, I still remember going to the food bank and my mom getting a box of free food after she lost one of her jobs. Her income was just above the poverty line, but she was still living paycheck to paycheck and one job loss knocked her off her feet needing temporary help. I did get lucky, at the age of 9, my mom enrolled me in to a boarding school for poor children, that school did teach me many things and pay for part of my college tuition. I realized how poor I really was only when I left to college, I attended a very high end (read: overpriced) private university. I realized I was poor only in the financial terms but poor in how I lived and thought ..it was so evident -I was from poverty – despite attending a boarding school for 9 years that helped me escape poverty (which it did) and with a scholarship to this expensive school- I was different from my peers at college. They arrived freshman year with BMWs, credit cards to pay for anything, and did not need to work and could just have fun and study. I on the other hand had a beat up car, had to work part time to even pay for books and a cheap spring break (there parents covered fabulous spring breaks). They had experience traveling, they ate healthier. It was clear-I had a poor mentality as well (not just my bank account). I decided from that point… I would never be poor, but I never thought about having a child. We are either motivated by fear or by pleasure, and for me, it was the fear of poverty or an average lifestyle for my child that pushed me to work incredibly hard and smart to build a sustainable company where I had my “freedom” -financial that is. Freedom does NOT exist running a business.
Running a business- with a baby:
I started Glam in 2012, and in 2016 the year I was pregnant – we were doing a few million in revenue per year- but I was still running Glam out of my home office! I knew I had to scale Glam fast and do the unthinkable. I wanted to build an empire, I wanted to build a brand for women to work at and have amazing opportunities, and I wanted my child to have everything they needed and then some. I wanted to show my child what running a business looked like and I wanted to contribute to the world and create amazing products.
My desire to be successful, provide for my child, and be a strong role model for her was magnified when I became pregnant. Glam was already doing well, but it was a small business being ran from home. I knew that when the baby came, I would need an office, need space to work, and I knew that even though I could make decent money and stay home with my baby, I wanted to work, I wanted to grow my company. Most importantly, I wanted to provide my child with the best education, opportunities, travel, and experience from an early age. But naturally, during pregnancy, I felt so conflicted and sick inside “I have enough money -shouldn’t I stay home with the baby?”. I had a business, a small team, and a warehouse outside of my home- I could just chill and keep Glam a small little business doing a few million in revenue per year. Fast forward, 4 years after bring pregnant – Glam is a 8 figure brand – with three locations – and I do not regret how I am (building (built?)) My empire (I am not wear near done).
The truth about being a mom and building an empire is -you have be to be willing to make the hard choices such as hiring a nanny so you can work. Giving up your free time at night to work on your business, instead of scrolling social media or watching Netflix, even when you are tired. You have to be willing to work as hard as you can in the early years of your child being small, so that you can have more free time and flexibility and be around when they are older. You have to be willing to put yourself last and accept that in the future, when your empire is set and you are free – that there will always be time to do the things you wanted to do.
So how do I balance it all? What about the guilt? Will my child hate me? Will I regret the time lost with her? These are the questions I faced.
Identify who you are early on in parenthood -and leave the guilt behind.
I decided early on in my pregnancy – I was a working mom, a successful woman, an independent woman, who wanted an above average life, and wanted my own identity outside of parenthood. Of course I read the mommy blogs, saw the perfect YouTube and Instagram moms spending all their time with children – waiting for their husbands to return. I knew this was not me, and I was ok with that. You have to come to terms early on you’re either giving up career or unapologetically striving for success-you must set identity – to get rid of the guilt early on. Or you will be torn and not crush it.
When you google motherhood and work – this is what pops up…related searches -“torn between motherhood and work”. Don’t be torn, make a choice for you and stick to it. Guilt free. Whether you stay home, it’s not bad, and if you work, it’s not bad. Your child will love you either.
I love that DVF finally spoke about motherhood (years after they were grown) – about her identity being very important to her – and communicating that to her children. Read her quote below – it really resonated with me. It is ok to have a life out of motherhood, especially when you are building a business that the child will greatly benefit from.
So how do I have a child and build an empire? Here are the tips that get me through:
Work as hard as you can in the early years
I remember my midwife (who has 4 kids!) told me “Your child doesn’t need you that much now, but she needs you when she’s older and she will remember.” That stuck with me, I worked as much as I could while pregnant and when she was a baby. I was working in the hospital, doing all that I could. Even breastfeeding, while she slept, answering emails on my phone – not all the time – but when it was a crunch time – I did. Sacrifice in the EARLY days your child’s future years – so that you can be there with them when they are 5 and 6 and older- when they need you at games, plays and more- they won’t remember 3 weeks to 4 years- GO HARD NOW while under 4 -before they remember – and work 6-7 days a week so that you can be more free and flexible after 5 and up when it counts. Work more – do not play it average now – the faster you scale your business, the sooner can you can afford to hire a team so you can work alternative schedule -DO note – you won’t ever work less even with a team and wanting to grow an empire. (growth is NEVER ending) -but you will have flexibility – and that is key.
Let the fear be greater than the pleasure of wasting time. I let the fear of not having enough money for my child for travel, college and other life changing life circumstances such as private school, motivate me over the pleasure of spending time watching netflix, scrolling through social. I pushed through the fear to ensure that I built a sustainable business. In order to balance spending time with the child, I cannot waste a lot of time, I give myself a short window for social and Netflix etc- but not much – I need to work – nights is perfect after the child goes down. Yes, it takes this level of dedication. This is ESPECIALLY true if you work a job and want to build a business-you have to work harder and use the free time to build and connect.
Whether it is a personal assistant, a nanny, a chef, housekeeper, or even a manager for your team – you need to hire help so you can balance motherhood, work, and self care. You cannot do it all. Now, if you are saying you do not have the money, you have to leverage friends or family who have kids and swap time so you can work. Get creative. If you do have the money, consider using it – do not be scared – the time you pay for will make you earn more money! Know this – again – without guilt. I remember when my mentor, who was in his 60s, realized that Glam was getting really big and growing fast, I was drowning and Ava was 6 months. He was über successful and chose to have kids really late in life – after his career – he said to me “hire two nannies”. At the time I thought he was crazy, but the “permission” to hire two nannies – when things got super busy was a good recommendation that I did follow. I had two nannies for a short period of time during a really busy season and it helped me reach some really big professional goals that were worth the achievement – and had a huge financial pay off. I even hired a night nurse when I first had my baby, I needed to work, and looking back I still do not regret the night nurse. Hiring help yields more money – and yes – as the kids get older- I see the using less help – but do what you can early on – hire help until you get to where you want to go.
Multi Task – with your child
I work all day and I have a nanny and my child is in Montessori school part of the day. I come home at 5- and it’s mommy time. I cook dinner with my child, we talk, cook, and I literally let her in the kitchen with me, chopping (safely) mixing etc. This allows me to cook and spend time with her. Getting two things done at once. If I have a deadline on the weekend, I sit her next to me to color and draw, and I work on my computer. Periodically drawing, talking to her – to stay engaged and work.
Block off mommy time
I literally block off the time that is it mom time and no work. That is daily 5-9pm and parts of the weekend. I try my best not to look at phone and to stay fully engaged. It is ok so to work, you are doing it for your child future.
Do not compare
Do not compare yourself to other moms (and it is really hard in the beginning) and do not listen to what they say or worry about what they think. They may have less demanding jobs, choose to stay home, that is OK. They are great moms, and so are you. If you are choosing to run an empire to pave the way for other women and build a brand that contribute to the world- you’re going after the 1% lifestyle – (READ-You must do/live/perform like 99% won’t). 99% won’t be able to relate to you- will judge you and will NOT understand what is takes. That is ok- accept this – and keep working! I once told someone close I was hiring two nannies during a 2 month period when I was hitting record sales and had a lean team – the business really needed me – and I had to go hard for 1-2 months with a part time weekend nanny…She said “omg she will be with nannies all the time”. She was judging me hard – and I then started judging myself- filled with guilt…Let’s just say- I work so hard will be able to pay for my child’s college and private school with cash – not sure she has or that option. To me, I want to provide jobs, build a brand that helps women, and have the cash and freedom for my family. This is the life I chose and I am ok with it.
Long story short- if you find yourself wanting more out of life (financially or even a better career) – and you have (or want) a child – go for it and do WHATEVER it takes- your child will learn a thing or two about hard work, sacrifice, and success. These early years working they will pick it up and become strong children themselves – making this world a better place. And your child WILL STILL LOVE YOU. Tony Robbins mom was terrible to him – he still loved her. My mom was always working, poor, and a mean and frustrated mom a lot – I still love her. Kids will love you, whether you choose to stay home or build a business or have a booming career or not.
Tell me – do you have or want kids? Are kids holding you back due to your career goals? Do you have or want a business?