AN INTERVIEW WITH A MOM: HOW TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS WHILE WORKING A FULL-TIME JOB. GET THE REAL STRUGGLES AND PATH TO SUCCESS.
Hello, Treva. Tell me a little about your business venture.
I have been with my last employer for 10 years. Then I made the big leap and did my own thing, this past January.
Officially I started my business two years ago, but I don’t think I really got into motion until a year ago. So I started my side business while I was still employed which gave me time to build things up. Most importantly, I was able to build up my confidence.
How did you know this was your passion?
My Corporate background is in technology. And I have been a software developer for 15 years. So it has always been something that I love; I have a passion for all things technical. Technology is my thing.
How were you able to manage a side hustle with a kid and a full-time job?
It was extremely hard. Thankfully I have a very supportive husband, who is in the background cheering me on through hard times. Because there was definitely those times where I was almost ready just to give up or saying I don’t have enough hours in the day. He was always there to cheer me on.
Also, another thing that helped was planning and taking the time to get organized. Because when I first started, I was just like go, go, go. There was not routine, so I was staying up until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, trying to build my business. Then I had to turn around and wake up at about 6 or 7 to get my son ready for school and get off to work. I did that probably for a few months which eventually lead to burnout. It became it hard to get out the bed because I was doing too much.
I actually had to slow down, regroup and get organized to move forward.
Was there anything that helped alleviate the stress and overwhelm at that stage? Please share…. us moms needs to know.
Something that helped was getting focused. I had to clarify what I wanted to do and the type of business I wanted to have.
I also had to come to terms that it’s not going to be something that happens overnight. At that time, I was so frustrated with my job that I just wanted to make things happen quickly.
Then I had to realize it’s a process. So I needed to slow down and come up with a plan. I’m big on like doing a 90-day plan. I chose 3 months because often things can change so drastically in a short period of time. So 90 days is a good balance since it’s not so far out that you can’t handle change, but not so short that you don’t see the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish.
So what I do is break out month 1 what the BIG thing I want to do and the steps that are required. Followed by month 2, the BIG thing I want to do and the steps that are required. This 90-day plan really helped because I was able to focus on 1 thing per month and know that I was making some progress. Whereas before I was trying to do everything at once and wasn’t really getting anywhere.
How many children do you have and how old are they?
I have one son who is 13. Our focus right now is academic. I enjoy helping him with his homework which also our 1 or 1 time too. He is also in tons of activities so trying to manage that was definitely hard at first. To be honest, before I started my business I was attached to him at the hip with his homework, but as time went on, I was able to set him up to be more independent. So now he would get started, and I would check it instead of sitting there with him and having him ask me “is this right, is this right?” I love the independence he has grown.
What made you feel it was the right time in your life to shift careers? How did you know NOW is time to give up corporate and start your own business?
I was a point in my life where I was really frustrated with my job. I love what I did, but it became too political for me. It was taking a toll on my emotional well-being.
I no longer wanted to feel like my career was being defined by someone else. Or what anyone thought my abilities and capabilities were versus me being able to dictate where I want to go and what I want to do. -Treva Marshall —tweet this.
Besides I am the type of person that knows what they want and like to go after it. On the other hand, Corporate American controls what you do, the task you take and the amount of money you can make.
What mindset barriers (fears, doubts, struggles) did you have to face taking the leap?
As a mom, it seems hard to put yourself first.
I had to tell myself…. It’s okay for you to pursue something that’s special to just you. Because for so long everything I did, for the most part, was built around my son, what he needed, what my husband needed and everything about the family. I really didn’t think about Treva and what I wanted. I was going through the motions to make sure the family was running smoothly. It wasn’t until I was so fed up with my job that I convinced myself that it was ok for me to be happy and fulfilled by stuff that’s outside of my family. I also understood, if I’m like totally stressed out that’s not going to help the family.
Then there was the doubt I had about my age. Am I told old to try to do something for me? Or has that ship sailed for me now? I still reflect on myself and wonder if it’s too late or if I’m too old.
I have to always remind myself that “you only live once and if you want to live your life to the fullest then keep moving” because the more I contemplate on starting or making a change, the more time will pass by me?
What are the biggest challenges you face running a business and having a family?
The number one challenge is time management of course. But now that I am full time with my business, it became better since I can set my own schedule.
One tool I love for organizing my business and my busy day as a mom is Trello. It’s the central Hub of my business. It allows me to see the big picture of everything that I have going on in my business in one spot. If you ever get Trello set up, it’s a life saver. I have a board for each aspect of my business. And each board has details on the topic of the board.
One board I have is called THIS WEEK so Monday through Sunday is set up so I can see the tasks that need to be completed each day. I love that it gives me a big picture of what I need to do for the week as well as the details of the task all in one place.
Here is a screenshot. The left side shows the boards I created that pertain to running my business. The main screen is my “this week” board that I use to plan out what I want to do each day of the current week.
Did you have any guilt with going to work full-time, building a business on the side and allocating time for your family? How did you deal with guilt?
Dealing with guilt was hard. Especially not being able to sit and help my son with homework step by step. However, at some point, I told myself I couldn’t do these things for him because he needs to want this for himself. So during the time, it was hard, but in hindsight, it taught him how to become an independent person.
What keeps you motivated in continuing your business?
I always go back to remembering why I left my job and why I don’t want to go back to Corporate America. If I am feeling frustrated my husband would say “do you want to go back to work” and that motivates me even more. It’s my WHY that keeps me focused and motivated.
I’m sure these benefits with working for yourself? Please share the benefits of having your own business?
There are so many benefits to having my own business such as…
1. I enjoy being more available for my son. Now that I am home I can set my own hours to work around my events and KNOW I will be there. Opposed to when I was working, I couldn’t make promises that I would attend every game or school activity.
2. I am glad I know longer have to notify my boss if sick, need to tend to my child or have an event I would like to attend. I feel free that I don’t have to do that anymore.
3. I enjoy picking and choosing the projects I want to work on.
So overall, the biggest plus for me is planning my work around MY lifestyle.
What are the goals for your business moving forward?
My goal is to grow my business and hire a team. I will be able to accomplish so much more once I’m able to delegate tasks.
Do you get lonely from being at home alone all day?
I heard people say that before, but I said: “I like being by myself” ( I’m an introvert). Now I realize it does get really lonely.
You take for granted working at a job where people are all around you all day.
Some things that increase social interaction is to…
1. Attend an in-person workshop at least 1 a month. There are places such as Eventbrite or Meetup to link up with others.
2. Join a program for entrepreneurs such as a paid Facebook group which gives a sense of community.
These a few options that allow you interact with others. It’s a great way to connect with others that have been in your shoes. Also, they can offer insight, bounce ideas off each other or just a place to find others who can relate.
Interview with Treva Marshall, Founder of Marshall Web Studio. She a mom, wife and business owner. She has a passion for helping busy entrepreneurs, grow their audience and maximize their profits using website design and optimization strategies. She helps entrepreneurs who are bogged down by website technology. As a lover of tech and analytics, she can handle it for you. You can find me at MarshWebStudio on FB, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.