Pregnant Entrepreneur Interview

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Please welcome Karla Trotman, owner of BellyButtonBoutique, which she started during the most uncomfortable nine months of her life. She offers some button-sized gems in this interview.

 

KarlaTrotman Pregnant Entrepreneur

What was your life like when it hit you that you were or were about to become a  pregnant entrepreneur?

I started my business at the end of my pregnancy, when you are feeling like the baby is going to fall out of you and that the pregnancy will never end.  So  it kept my mind off of those physical issues, but because my company is  about making pregnancy more comfortable, it provided me with great inspiration.

 

What was the one thing you wish you had known before you got pregnant? 

That it wasn’t going to feel good.  You don’t realize that the baby is going to be squished up against your innards like  that.  Its quite crowded.

 

Was there a really challenging part of your story, where you considered  closing or changing your business?  How did it turn out for you?

I’m blessed in the fact that I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur.  My father’s company is still thriving.  I remember my mom telling my father in the beginning, “we are going to      push through the 3 to 5 year mark, where most businesses fail.  If it doesn’t work out, then fine.  But we are going to stay the distance”.   There were times in the very beginning where there was NO money coming in, I had stocks of product and felt that I had done everything that I could to  make it work.  Additionally, I had two small children and was a bit frazzled.  It was then that I realized that I had to put my big girl panties on and push through.  Whenever you think that you have hit a wall, that is when you realize that you need outside help and/or advice.  So I became humble and asked my father for advice.

 

What was your maternity leave period like?  

During my leave, I launched my online store.  That was exciting.  You see, when you are working towards something that is your dream, its not work. I juggled it well because I had a supportive family.  Plus, I was up nursing and taking care of a baby at all hours of the night, so it all worked out.

 

If  you had the chance to trade your situation for the “corporate paycheck, kids in daycare” option, would you?  And why or why not? 

My kids always went to daycare and I still collect a check, per se.  Because my store is online, I am able to do marketing and special projects for my father’s corporation.  I really miss the interaction with my peers because my current situation is very isolating.  But this is what I was born to do.  And when mommy is happy, everyone is happy.

 

Do you have a funny story about being a pregnant entrepreneur? 

Unfortunately, I do not have any funny stories about being a pregnant entrepreneur.  My husband did think I was nuts signing papers  in the hospital and fielding calls from my attorney.  And there were all of those nights nursing my son while typing with one hand on my computer…

 

What  advice would you give to the independent young women who follow you?      

Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own.  Lots of people thought that my idea was dumb.  But based on my research and a spiritual directive telling me to move forward, I knew that it would work.  So I proved everyone wrong.  All roads to success aren’t paved.  Sometimes you have to get off of the beaten path and create your own trail through the woods in order to reach the goal.  And try to start you business before getting pregnant and having a family.  Sooooo much easier 🙂

 

Karla Trotman, Owner

BellyButtonBoutique.com

http://about.me/karlatrotman

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how to juggle a Ph.D., new biz and new babyPlease welcome Marissa, as she shares her story of adding a new life to her already very full life, twice!

 

I was in the last semester of a Ph.D. program when I found out I was pregnant. Luckily, I had most of my dissertation written, but I still had the daunting task of defending my research before an audience of professors. At seven weeks pregnant I can remember walking into the committee room at the university and facing my dissertation committee – with massive morning sickness. It felt like a miracle that I made it through the presentation without vomiting, but I managed to complete this last hurdle with grace. And, a few short weeks later at eleven weeks pregnant I proudly graduated with a doctorate in Educational Psychology.

I had done it. I had reached my life-long goal. I was ecstatic, overjoyed, and as elated as I always thought I would be. Only I hadn’t ever dreamed that graduation would coincide with pregnancy.

So, I had a new Ph.D. and a new baby arriving later that year. I’m not going to lie and say that this didn’t make me nervous. I had worked extremely hard — five long years of classes, teaching apprenticeships, research, writing, oh, and a full-time job – to reach this goal, and now what? Could I find a new job with a baby bump? Should I keep my current job and put my child in day care once she arrived? Or should I quit work to stay home with my baby?

In the end I made the difficult decision not to return to my job. In fact, never in a million years did I think I would want to stay at home with a baby, but there I was in my new found profession of “Dr Mom”.   I loved (and do still love) every minute of it.

But, I found that I did miss conducting research, writing, teaching, and most of all, working with children. So, I founded a blog called Land of Once Upon aTime, which is devoted to showing parents how to guide their child in learning, literacy, and development with the help children’s books. In 2011, my blog was nominated for a Bammy Award which recognizes excellence in the field of education, which was a proud moment for me. In addition to blogging and being Dr Mom to my daughter, I was freelance writing and teaching college courses in psychology (in my spare time).

As my daughter got older, I became ready to take on even more work, but I didn’t really want to go back to a corporate job. I wanted the freedom to be my own boss, work from home, and set my own hours so I could continue to spend as much time as possible with my daughter. After a little brainstorming, I came up with the idea for A First Foundation, which provides consulting to parents and education professionals to equip them with the knowledge they need to give the children in their lives the best foundation for a lifetime of learning.

As luck would have it, I found myself (happily) pregnant again as I was just setting the groundwork for A First Foundation!

Being a mom to a toddler and a pregnant entrepreneur wasn’t always easy, but I tried my best to capitalize on my bursts of energy and the “nesting” phenomenon. Now, after nine long months of pregnancy and planning, I’m ready to launch my ideas into action with a new little baby boy in tow.

 

Marissa Kiepert Truong, Ph.D. is a mom on the mainline, early literacy blogger, and early learning consultant. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. For more information about her consulting services, please email her at AFIRSTFOUNDATION(at)GMAIL(dot)COM.

 

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Welcome to Carrie Curry.  She’s the first guest this year eager to tell her story of being a Pregnant Entrepreneur.  I hope her experiences help you get through your special nine months!

carrie and baby-pepostWhen I became pregnant with my first child, I was working full time for a great non-profit organization. I did much of my work from home so I was able to sneak in a few naps here and there and rest when I needed to. I thought I was exhausted then…

After our precious son entered (and rocked) our world, I decided to stay at home with him full time. I loved watching him grow and explore his little world. But he napped a lot. And slept well at night! So I started to get bored, and needed an outlet for my creativity.

When he was around 1 year old, I started a cake business, Coastal Cakery www.coastalcakery.com. I had a strong passion for making beautiful cakes that tasted delicious – and there was very little competition in our area for it – so it became successful very quickly.

Soon enough, I was pregnant again. It was much different this time. I couldn’t nap when I was tired. I had a 2 year old to chase around and the cake business to manage on the side. I was responding to emails, planning cake designs, and shopping supplies during the days with my little helper by my side. After bedtime, I would bake and decorate until the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, most of my business was done Thursday – Saturday as most cake, cookie, and pastry orders are placed for the weekend. I was able to rest more during the week and was refreshed for the next busy weekend. I remember thinking on Saturday nights, “I can’t do this anymore!” but by the time I had the next cake to work on, I was ready to get my creative juices flowing!

When my daughter was born, I realized how much my life had changed. I got a call for a cake order the day she was born and non-chalantly told the client from my hospital bed, “Well, I just had a baby today so I can’t do it this weekend.”

Fast forward a few years and the creative outlets grew. I started a website and blog with my sister called Chockababy ( www.chockababy.com). And then, found out I was pregnant again. This time, something had to give. I passed on most of the cake orders to my assistant and the website/blog became a stand-alone blog.

This pregnancy was the hardest on my body as I had a hard time saying “no” to all the things I love to do. But, being my own boss, I was able to take breaks when needed and find assistance so as to not feel the stress of looming deadlines. The Chockababy blog has adapted over time as well. I was able to focus my attention from sharing about everything to my passion: being a supportive mom community and my life dealing with a child with food allergies.

As much as being an entreprenuer can be exhausting, it’s also so freeing to be able to control my own schedule. I think I would have a very hard time being a full time working mom outside of the home. Occasionally, I may feel like I work all the time, but I am doing things I love. And, over time, I have come close to finding a great balance – with hope that perfect balance will come soon! I think, the best thing about it is this one truth: you can do what works best for you and your family. It makes whatever you do “the best job ever!”

 

Carrie Curry lives in Milton, DE. She’s a blogger at Chockababy.com, owner of Coastal Cakery, and part-time math instructor – when not actively being “mommy” to 3 crazy kids. 

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