Making the Change

Three years ago, almost to the day I met my now business partner. I had a six month old and she a 10 month old. We both were on maternity leave from jobs we had in downtown Toronto. I had just moved to Aurora from Toronto and was so happy to have a group of four other women who I could drink coffee with and discuss our new lives as mothers. I didn’t know at the time that one of these women, Anne-Marie, would become more than a friend, but, three years later, I would actually make the leap into entrepreneurship with her! But how did we get there?

Maternity leave ended for the both of us, and back to work in Toronto we went. It was a struggle. It was hard! But I honestly don’t think there is a scenario where going back to work after a baby is ever super easy either. It is all about doing what is going to make you the happiest and able to be as close to that sweet spot of your ideal work/life harmony as you can get. If anyone has reached that perfect sweet spot, please tell me your secret!!

In the back of mind, through all my years working I had always thought, as most do, how amazing it would be to be my own boss. This time last year, Anne-Marie and I decided it was time to make a change. Our second babies were both seven and eight months old and we just felt like it was now or never. If we waited any longer, we wouldn’t do it. It was time to make the leap to be our own bosses; mompreneurs!

It has been a whirlwind of a year. We officially launched in February of 2017 and we have had some exciting jump up and down moments and then the opposite where we question things. But the best idea was doing it together. Like everyone else, we have those moments of thinking, “Wow, what did we get ourselves into?!?” but together we push out of those moments and come out even better and stronger!

Nobody said starting your own business from scratch while having two small kids and a husband working crazy hours was easy, did they? Having a balance is incredibly difficult, and sometimes things slip. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]You alternate from being mom of the year to a hot mess pretty quickly. But no one is perfect, and you have to just remind yourself that when your kids are a year old and three years old, you are pretty darn perfect to them.[/inlinetweet]

One thing I can say, is the support you get as a female entrepreneur and mompreneur is incredible. So far on our journey, we have been lucky to have met women who want to support us and in turn we want to support them. Finding that kind of group is so important in this life and just an amazing feeling when you have so much support behind you. Maybe you don’t have a formal business partner like we do, but there are some amazing women’s networking groups around like The Business Women’s Network of York Region who are so supportive and welcoming to all that join. We joined our local Chamber of Commerce and have met some amazing people that way who have either helped with referrals or just become great support systems. Lastly, we attended a great symposium earlier this year and probably met our biggest supporters right there. Seeking out these groups and events is how we have begun and continue to build our amazing support system. I can’t stress the importance of this!

I cannot wait to see what happens in the next couple of years as we watch our business and children grow filled with pride in the knowledge that we did what we wanted to do for ourselves and our families.

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Overwhelmed by the transition to entrepreneurship?

I’ve been there. When I left the corporate and small business worlds to start my own business, I didn’t know what I was in for. I saw other women living lives that I wanted to be mine, and wondered, “How are they doing it?” Knowing something had to give, I totally changed the way I’m running and building my business.

As a mother, blogger, mentor, speaker and business owner, I am used to balancing the demands of many roles. It is hard to “do it all,” and I have learned how to adjust to those expectations. Stick with me and you’ll be diving into your business with fresh eyes and a growth-centered mindset faster than you ever imagined!

It all came to a head in the Fall of 2015. With my daughter’s autism diagnosis and my postpartum depression following my son’s birth, my Spring/Summer that year had been pretty rough. I was feeling pretty kicked around — to say the least. As I was crawling out of the dark and twisty places life had cornered me in that year, I knew that everything had changed.

For many reasons, I couldn’t go back to my corporate life. One of the biggest reasons was that my perspective on how I was going to live my life had changed. A shift had happened. My time away from my children was going to be spent doing things that I was passionate about. Doing things that got me pumped about life. In May of 2016, I went out on my own and started my business. It was great. I was finally doing things that had me pumped about my time away from my kids. I had the flexibility to spend more time with them. At the end of the day, I had the energy to work in my household and my marriage.

But, while I was living my passion and excited about my life again, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Previously, I was a teacher, a sales professional, marketing leader and client services manager. By setting clear objectives, I succeeded in each role, even though they were in different industries.

But being an entrepreneur was a whole new world. I felt the loneliness. I had self-doubt. I didn’t know where to start…and I wasn’t the only one in this boat.

Whether I’m out speaking to a room full of female entrepreneurs or leading a workshop, one of the things that I hear over and over again from these amazing women is how great it is to be out from behind their desks and surrounded by a group of like-minded women. And as our conversation continues, it becomes clear that they are looking for a tribe of women that they can connect and collaborate with regularly in an environment that is welcoming, encouraging and safe enough to let their walls down and share. I needed a community like this too. One that encourages fellow members as they conquer fears, overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. A tribe that leaves me with a new comfort level and the confidence I’m craving to expand my growth and limits — both personally and professionally.

And most importantly, I wanted a place that would offer me more than inspiration. One that would give me the actionable advice, education and mentorship, support and accountability that we all need.

And from these conversations and my own needs, Fempire Builders was born.

You see, it’s not just me. And it’s not just you. We are not alone. And when we come together, it’s a powerful thing. With the Fempire Builders community supporting me and holding me accountable, I have experienced the business growth that previously I had only dreamed about.

Just as it has been for other Fempire Builders, it will be the same for you, too. Wait and see!