My guest today is on a mission to help mothers get back to feeling like themselves again through confidence and mindful eating. Karen Brein is a nutrition and wellness coach that used her own experience after kids to help other mamas feeling the same. We start talking about her life pre kids and company and how she came to find her passion as a coach to other women. She talks about how to form habits and her approach with her clients that TRULY help them succeed and maintain their goals.
Karen also touches on imposter syndrome, which so many founders (and people in general) face. We also dive into how she got her first clients, when she realized she needed to set boundaries and the hardest part of starting a business. I loved hearing Karen talk about the harder parts of building a business – especially one that is built around a method YOU created. Make sure to check out her site and feed for tips and insights.
We also have an exclusive deal for our listeners — 10% off any offer with code CHAOS10.
Happy Mama Nutrition provides nutrition & wellness coaching for moms who want to feel and look their best by eating mindfully and living intentionally. Individual and group programs are offered to help moms live their healthiest and most fulfilling lives without food restrictions or traditional diets.
Dana: Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your baby’s first I would have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings. My name is Dana Graham, and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 Hour Workweek cycle either until I did. As the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans. I made the terrifying and totally bizarre leap from health insurance broker to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and newborn into but I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds like doing it all amidst the chaos
welcome back to another episode of amidst the chaos I am here today with Karen Brein, We have so much to talk about in her journey and entrepreneurship and I am so excited to welcome you. So thanks for being here.
Karen: Thank you so happy to be here.
Dana: So give us a quick idea of what you do currently in your business and what it looks like right now.
Karen: So I am the founder of happy mama nutrition which is a nutrition and wellness coaching service for women primarily for moms.
Dana: I love it I love when whatever guests I have on their actual career and their actual business really blends into the mom life because I feel like we’re getting business advice and mom advice from you. So I’m so excited to hear your story. So talk to me about what your life looked like before you were an entrepreneur. What were you doing career wise, like pre kids? What did your life look like?
Karen: Yeah, so I’ll in college I started working in nonprofit fundraising, which is very different from my life. Yes. I kind of fell into that post college because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I did that for about seven or eight years until I had my first child so he was born about seven years ago. Because I went through my former employer under the best but I worked for a university that was all about women empowerment, making sure that women could have careers and families however, that was not my experience working for them. They were very much. You know, I was a salaried employee, but I had to be at my desk from eight to five within one hour of lunch break and just was very not family friendly. So after I had my child, I took my maternity leave and decided not to go back to that job for a variety of reasons, but that was one of them. And so I stayed at home with my son, and then I had my daughter 20 months later and it was a yes to under two was very crazy. And when she was a couple months old I really was craving something more beyond being a stay at home mom, which I loved. But I you know it’s so weird. When you become a stay at home mom, you go from your identity being your job. That’s a huge primary identity to then being a mom 100% And it’s, I think really hard for almost all moms to really grasp that and find themselves so this was kind of the beginning of my will talk about my business which is very personal, kind of me fumbling around to find myself again. So I went back into kind of part time freelancing in the nonprofit space, which is what I had been doing. My heart wasn’t really in it, but again, I just wanted something for myself. So I did that on and off. I got pregnant with my third child and so I had her about four years after my first was a lot. Yeah, that’s a lot of kids. A lot of kids in a short amount of time. Yeah. And, you know, at that point, when she was an infant, I wasn’t working, but I was floundering. I I had time technically I guess because I wasn’t working. I mean, I was you know with the kids but with all of their schedules. It just my self care went out the window. I really didn’t put any energy or effort into my own self and I I struggled. I really didn’t like how I looked and how I felt, you know, I with all three of my pregnancies I gained about 25 pounds and I lost that weight. But then throughout the time, you know, I kind of gained five to 10 pounds, you know in between so by time I had my third you know I was up in weight from my first I think a lot of moms can probably relate to that for sure. So I technically had lost the baby weight after my third child, but I was probably 1520 pounds heavier than I had been before my first and I just didn’t feel but it was not just about the way it was about how my body still It wasn’t trading. Well. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and not because my my kids weren’t sleeping through the night. I was just staying up too late on Instagram, or at revenge bedtime procrastination, which is yes. In the news recently. It’s not really new. Because I was doing it way before. Yeah, well that’s the thing is like, how do you where do you find the time to just have for yourself and people are like, Oh, sleep is so important. Get your sleep, get your sleep and it’s like, but I also need time to like just live in a different world for five minutes. You know where I’ve been like touched by kids all day long. Like I just need some time to live it a different, you know, 100% I mean, I realize now looking back that I would put my kids to bed and then I would go on the couch with like some kind of snack and numb out it was my way of totally silent like I wanted the silence to envelop me and not have anyone touching me like you said and just see it myself. But that wasn’t really a healthy behavior. You know, there are healthier ways to achieve that. So when my youngest was about six months old, I looked at myself and I thought something has to change. It felt like a mountain to climb. I felt kind of stuck. But I had this epiphany that I could make small changes and over time they would add up to large changes. So I kind of went through my own personal kind of weight loss journey but also wellness journey I you know, I started with journaling with a gratitude practice with meditation. And then did my own research spent hours about learning about nutrition, and, you know, exercise and different wellness modalities, kind of transformed myself and then realized that I wanted to help other women and other moms do the same thing. So I went and got a formal certificate in nutrition coaching and just kind of went all in on starting this business to coach other moms in the same way that I had coached myself and that’s what I do today.
Dana: I love that so Okay, so let’s go back to you sitting on the couch and scrolling. So what So you obviously realize that that needed to change but at that point, that’s a habit right? You’re now you’re doing that every single night. So how did you first break that habit and start to spend your time you know, meditating and doing all the things that you just talked about? How did you make those little shifts add up to something bigger because I’m one of those people that it’s like, oh my gosh, I have a problem. I have to change everything about this right now. And that’s not sustainable. So how did you take that habit and turn it into small little things to make your life better?
Karen: That’s such a good question. And so much of my practice with myself and with my clients is about habit formation, and habit change. And you’re right that when you try to change things too quickly, you might find initial success, but burnout will happen and it’s just not sustainable to kind of go all in on a big change. So for me personally, I started by setting time limits, so I would give myself time to scroll to look at my phone, but I would put a timer on and say okay, it’s not going to be an endless scroll. It’s going to be 30 minutes and then you’re going to go read a book. Or if I’m watching it watching a TV show, okay? You’re committing to only watching one. You’re not going to stay up all night binging whatever it is. And and one thing that I allowed myself and this works so well with my clients to is when you are trying to change the behavior, allowing yourself to have a little bit of it. So you know One example is if I’m working with a client on going to sleep earlier working on sleep, hygiene. Okay, so committing to seven nights of a 10pm that time is going to feel very punitive. Right, because your internal teenager is going to push back like, what are you doing to me? I don’t want to so Okay, how about five nights a week you go to sleep at 10 and then two nights you say all right, I’ll I’ll stay till 11 go wild. Crazy, right? Yeah. So you know, kind of giving yourself a little slack to be flexible because you’re still a mom. You know, you still have all these things that you’re juggling, and you don’t need to be perfect. And that’s kind of my philosophy with the nutrition side, too. You know, my practice my coaching practice, it’s about it’s about weight loss in some sense, but it’s about so much more. I think that’s kind of what sets apart my business from a lot of other kind of the weight loss industry is that, you know, it’s about setting a foundation for your life. And what I tell my clients is, hey, you’re a mom. You are not a bodybuilder. You’re not a professional actress who’s trying to get cut weight for a role or for you know, a show or whatever it is like if someone comes to me and they want to get down there like I want to get down to 110 pounds and had this much muscle mass. I’m going to say let me refer you to Mike to my colleague because I don’t work with with people like that which is not bad. It’s just not my philosophy where you can have a little wiggle room because that’s going to make it manageable and sustainable for the long run.
Dana: I love that and it’s so true because if you can’t find sustainable practices, and it’s just not going to stick like that’s, that’s the whole definition of sustainable like it is just that’s just it just doesn’t work for people. Okay, so So you decided that you wanted to teach other people how to do what you’ve done, but obviously starting a business is something very different than just you know, obviously your career beforehand. So how did you you know, you went about getting your certification, but how did you then find other moms? who are interested in your services? How did you spread the word about your business and get your first clients talk to me about about that?
Karen: Yeah, so I, you know, I’m privileged that I had the time I have, you know, the kind of startup money for my business was limited, but that I was able to try this out, see if it was successful, see if there was really a market for it. But I just kind of went into you know, I had some imposter syndrome at the beginning. You know, how why am I qualify? There are so many other people who do this, blah, blah, blah. I tried to push that away. By focusing on my gratitude. I journaled on this because I’m a huge fan of journaling, you know, especially with these kind of icky emotions. And I just kind of said, Let’s just let this be an experiment. You never know what’s going to happen. So I am a huge consumer of social media. And I’ve never really been a you know, I never wanted to be a content creator. But I kind of thought, let’s try to go into content creation mode. Let’s just put this out there on social media and see what happens and that’s really how I got my first clients. So I started my own Instagram account, and I also promoted it on my personal Facebook account on my personal Instagram and just encouraged my friends to come over to my business account started posting content. I reached out in some Facebook groups. I’m a really active peloton user and a lot of my clients are also peloton user. So I kind of in not not reaching out to get businesses to saralee but to give advice so anytime I would go into a Facebook group and someone would ask a question about nutrition or kind of lifestyle changes I would just you know, give them my honest feedback and advice on how they could get started. Then I would mention if it came up organically that I’m a coach and they can follow me on Instagram or check out my website if they want to learn more but no pressure. I really just want to help people which I do. And so I got my first clients through this. Some of my clients were old acquaintances or friends of friends and then through there, it’s kind of picked up a lot of word of mouth. It’s so interesting being a business owner, especially in the online space today. There’s so much competition and I’m constantly learning about marketing. And though it’s a struggle to keep putting yourself out there, especially for a business that is as personal as mine is, I think for a lot of women entrepreneurs, our businesses are personal no matter what it is we I think as women we put so much of our own emotions and passion into what we do. And so that can be hard as a business owner when you put something out and you think like, oh, wow, this is such a great Instagram post or a great email to my list and then you hear crickets.
Dana: Yep. You know, anyone who’s listening who’s a business owner, can relate to that, I’m sure, but you just kind of have to keep going and that’s the same lessons that I learned through my kind of weight loss and wellness journey. I put into my business journey of you know, transformation and putting yourself out there keeping 1% better each day. Keep showing up even when you don’t want to and just trust the process that eventually you will get to your goals. If you keep trying. I love that and it’s so true. Because you know, running a business on social media is so tough because even once you’re up and fully running and everything’s going great, like there’s always going to be somebody new you’re always gonna find somebody who didn’t know existed that does something very similar to what you’re doing. And especially in the service based industry that we both are in. So there are some serious pros to starting a service based industry, right. It’s a lot less startup cost as you kind of mentioned funds are limited there but like if you have something that you can offer somebody as a service, it is going to be such a better option for somebody whose cash flow is limited to start a business and I love that you kind of mentioned that because the point of this podcast is trying to try and find moms who have started companies and startup businesses.
Karen: First off a want a desire to do it. Something that they can offer somebody else but to you know a need to find something that is good for them. That is something that they can share and that makes them feel better about whatever they’re doing tape today, but also something that they can do sustainably with their kids and family in tow. So talk to me about how you grew your business with having three young children like what did this look like on a daily basis for you? So I started this business, you know, I kind of opened my internet doors in October or November of 2020. So it was a wild time to start anything. My kids were I mean, gosh, you know, hybrid school or not in school and it was very crazy. But I think that’s just kind of how I always do things just dive in and figure it out. Totally. I will say that this year has been easier since they’re all in school full time. But last year when they were doing who knows what with COVID I just kind of tried to fit things in when I could. I was realistic about how many clients I could take on you know, my my husband works a pretty demanding job and I am the primary caregiver for the kids. So that was also part of it kind of adjusting my expectations because when I started my knee jerk reaction was I’m going to build an empire and I’m going to disrupt the the nutrition and weight loss space and, you know, show people that it’s so much more than counting calories and all this stuff. And then I quickly had to dial back my dreams because totally okay, I have a whole lifetime to to do that. And we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and I have three kids under six and yeah, so, you know, at the beginning my boundaries weren’t great. That’s something I definitely had to work on. I would get clients and they would say, Oh, well, I worked full time and I can only talk on Sunday and I would say oh great, because I was just so happy to have someone Yeah, so then I’m like, running home from the soccer class to go take a client which is not again, not why I started the business to pray that you said or you know, I would taking clients you know, at 6am because they were I’m on the West Coast. They were on the East Coast and that’s what worked for them. Now I have much better boundaries. My kids are in school from you know, 830 to 330. So my working hours are nine to three and occasionally I’ll take someone on I had a client who lived in Asia so of course I met with her you know at in the evening because it was during the day at her time and that was fine but for the most part I have much better boundaries now you know a year into my business about when I’m going to meet with clients. I do check my emails at night but I try to not check my emails when my kids you know, when I’m with my kids after school, that’s something I also had to work on. You know, not checking my mess my DMs or checking you know, my client emails, understanding that if there was true emergency, you know, someone would be able to get in touch with me, but that from you know, 330 to eight when I’m with my kids, I want to be with my kids and not be so distracted with other things.
Dana: Totally. And that’s such a hard lesson to learn it really is especially when you’re in that growth period and at the beginning because you’re so excited to keep that needle moving you know and to keep getting the new clients and do the best service you possibly can but that leads to burnout so so quickly.
Karen: It really does.
Dana: I love what you said about you know, quickly dialing it back and I just want to say that so many people don’t say that, like so many people don’t say like I wanted to start an empire and then I quickly realized that that wasn’t possible right now and that there’s a lifetime to do that. I just want to applaud you for actually saying that and it’s so true like you do just to start a business doesn’t mean that you have to start an empire like it really doesn’t you can have a perfectly success successful business that works for your family and for your schedule and for you and not have an empire like it is okay to not want to have an empire and people really don’t highlight that enough right now. Like right now it’s like this like go getter girl boss, like do it all be at all but like, is that what you want for your life? And if it is, that’s great. But if you want to have a balanced life, and that was the original goal of you starting your business, it’s okay to just have a normal business and I love love that you said that. That’s so, so inspirational to me.
Karen: Thank you Yeah, I mean, it’s so hard with social media because, like you said, it’s all well fine. It’s the highlight reel of everyone’s life in businesses. So who knows really what’s going on behind the scenes, but it’s, you know, oh, you have to, you know, make seven figures or 10k months and you get swept up in that. And kind of these things that don’t really matter. I mean, of course money matters, but very right. But there’s so much. There’s so much more to life than money. And especially since we’re still in COVID. You know, a few weeks ago my daughter had an exposure at her school so she was home for a week. And my clients were really understanding when I had to move things around or you know, put her in front of the TV while I had a meeting with them and sometimes she would run in and of course all my clients are moms or want to be moms one day so they all they all are. I had the best clients they really didn’t care but I was I was thinking like, Wow, if I had an empire right now, I would be in trouble.
Dana: So so much trouble.
Karen: I wouldn’t be able to run my empire since I’m running my mini empire. Of at home right now.
Dana: Right Right Well that’s the thing to like. You are Yeah, exactly. You are running an empire like multiple empires. Like raising the children building the business. It’s just a lot. So what are your What are your days look like? As as the company is growing? Right? So are you spending tons of time like with your clients? are you marketing like where are you putting tons of effort into your business and how do you see that paying off?
Karen: Yeah, so it really kind of ebbs and flows. There are some, you know, months where I have a lot of clients and I’m doing majority client work and then there are some months where you know, like in December not a lot of people are starting kind of like their like wellness weight loss journeys in December because of the holidays.
Dana: So true. It’s definitely a slower month just industry wide. And so for those months I can definitely do more marketing. One of the cool things about being a you know, solo entrepreneur is that I can be really nimble and try on different things and sometimes it feels like throwing spaghetti at a wall and kind of seeing what sticks and that can be good and bad because it can be frustrating when something you know something you think is gonna work and then it is a dud. And then the thing that you thought was like, Oh, well, I’ll try this because it’s not a lot of effort. And then that’s, that’s what brings in all the leads. You’re like totally, you know, constantly trying to do market research to see what people really want, you know, kind of shift my messaging. So it’s exciting that I get to, you know, do things differently every day. I love meeting with clients. That’s definitely my favorite part of the job. I’m not really a marketer. It’s not what I love. And ideally, one day when I do get to scale a bit, I would love to, you know, have someone to help me with that. But right now, it’s all me. And so I’m just you know, figuring out day by day and then also, you know, taking care of my own self. I really prioritize my own self care. So during the hours when my kids are at school, and I consider this part of my work is you know, getting in walks and doing exercise meal planning because I have to model that behavior for my clients and you know, do it for myself also.
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Dana: Absolutely. So tell me about your business in general. First, tell me what you what you do actually offer in terms of services and then talk to me about how you narrowed it down to that because there are so many things in the health and wellness field when it comes to working out and proper nutrition and talk to me about how you decided what you are going to serve your clients and how that has kind of evolved throughout the growth of your business.
Karen: Yeah, so my kind of signature service if you will, is a one to 113 week program called the happy mama method where we I meet with my clients weekly over zoom and then check in over email and it’s really the goal of this program is to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. And so in the beginning we talk about what the goals are for the majority of my clients that is weight loss but for some of my clients that come to work with me for more weight maintenance or you know better habits more sustainable habits. For example, I have some clients who come to me because they want to get pregnant in the next few months. So they’re not really looking to lose weight, but they’re looking to to get great habits before they get pregnant before they have a kid and their lives are so hectic. They want their habits to be kind of almost perfect, so that they don’t have to think about that when the baby’s here or when they’re dealing with working and having morning sickness or whatever those are kind of my favorite clients to work with because they really get it so my clients come to me we talk about their goals we talk about their lifestyle, how they can fit in, you know, exercise, self care, working on their sleep with their busy schedules because no matter if you’re working or not you are busy all women are really busy. So and then you know we look do a deep dive into current nutrition practices. Where can we add in more protein, more fiber? How do you get more fruits and vegetables, lower sugar and sodium you know, I’m obviously trained in the nutrition aspects so we work on that but also eating behaviors. So anytime someone talks to me a client or not, you know on social media or just talking to them on the street and they say they want to lose weight I asked them where where are you struggling behavior wise, like really be honest with yourself? Is it because most people have at least one kind of thing that they could change behavior wise that would really make a big difference and a lot of people like the popular trope right now is I got to cut carbs. Or I have to intermittent fast. Those two are are asked to go keto. You know, those are like really in right now. And in my opinion, that’s just a bandaid because it’s not going to solve the root cause of whatever’s going on that’s making you gain weight or not lose weight. Because yeah, you can cut carbs, but are you going to cut carbs for your whole life? Are you going to be keto for the next several decades or intermittent fast? I mean, you could but I just don’t see that as a realistic way to live or a really happy way to live. And I believe that there is a way to find balance and be able to eat some carbs. In fact, your body needs carbs and not have a weight problem because most people gain weight because they’re just eating too much because they might be snacking at night which is what I was doing. Or having problems with good portion sizes or finishing their kids meals. You know, like how many times have you your kid leaves their plate half empty or half? Yeah, careful. Either way, and you know, you’re used to catch yourself kind of picking up a macaroni and your cheese and you’re like I don’t even want this. Why am I eating this cold gross fish stick when I should be eating my own food. And so kind of really identifying what is the behavior that we have to change? Is it the snacking? Is it mindless snacking is it you know two big portions is it you know emotional eating, and then really diving into that I have a background in psychology as well. I majored in psychology in college so I really put that into my coaching to to get the whole picture of the nutrition plus behaviors. To nail in these good habits. For for the 13 weeks and I intentionally made the this at least this initial container 13 weeks because sometimes things will be going really well and eight weeks in my clients are like I feel on top of the world’s like, I don’t even know like I don’t even need to keep doing this. And then like the next week, they’re like, oh my gosh, like my kid got sick or had a really stressful week at work and like I’ve gone back to my old habits and I can’t do this anymore. And then we have the opportunity to regroup and get back on track and I want to be there with my clients when they fall off the horse so that I can quickly get them back on track and prove to them that they can get themselves back on track in the future when they’re doing this alone. That’s so great. It is so true because just because you have a new habit right and it’s you’ve you’ve been doing this for a week straight and everything’s good. Like that does not mean that it’s gonna be solidified there forever. Like it really doesn’t and to have somebody that’s walking you through like okay, well, let’s evaluate what just happened and why it happened. Gives you a chance to kind of see, okay, how can we prevent this from happening in the future? How can we make sure that these habits are so solidified that it’s not going to happen again, and I love that you recognized about how long it generally takes for that to happen. So this 13 week program was this something that you knew from the beginning you wanted to do? Or was this something that you saw kind of through your clients like this seems like it would be a better timeframe
Dana: I love that. And I feel like it’s so encouraging to hear somebody in a service based business who doesn’t make all their clients do exactly the same thing, right? So you’re somebody that’s recognized, like, Hey, this is great for some people, and it’s gonna really help you but it’s not a one size fits all and so many people are so different, that I feel like it’s amazing and it probably sets you apart pretty big time from your competitors because it is difficult and as a consumer, if anybody’s a client is listening to this, like from a business perspective, it’s very hard to coach people with different methods, right? It’s, it’s harder on you to have to do it multiple different ways and to really cater to your clients. So talk to me about what are some of the struggles of your business so if somebody is very into nutrition, maybe they even have a nutrition certificate at this point, and they’re thinking about going into coaching what are some of the struggles of this industry that you have gone through and how have you overcome them?
Karen: Well, I would say the biggest struggle is just the competition. Because when you have big names like Weight Watchers, and new and you know lots of MLMs that have nutrition programs, it’s hard to compete with those because they are lower cost. You know, I try to educate people when I talk to them if they’re interested in coaching that you know, if you have a lower costs, if you choose a lower cost service, you’re going to have less personal attention. And that’s not a good or bad thing. You just have to be honest with what you need. And then there’s so many private nutrition coaches, and especially in the online space, the competition is really fierce. So I think going into it you need to know that. It is hard and it is hard. Also to not compare yourself. I think you mentioned like you might see someone online and you’re like, Oh, you do exactly what I do. And that can be triggering sometimes but you know, it’s important as a business owner to stay in your lane to know your worth. Know that your people will find you that’s another thing that I yes really honest about. You know, I say this on. I’ve done the Instagram lives about this before, like how would you find a nutrition coach or really any person? Do your research? Be honest? You really vibe with because most of my clients I I consider them to be friends because I feel like all of us we could go like get a drink or I have a client local to me and she just had a baby and like we’re planning on going for a walk together. And it’s just so great when you can have that relationship because at that, at least for me, that’s how I relate to people. And I encourage my clients to reach out to me frequently via messenger email during the week because the more communication we have, the better I’m able to serve them. But not everyone likes that. You know, some people want to say I just want you to tell me what to do. Tell me what to eat. Give me the meal plan. Tell me exactly what to do. And don’t talk to me during the week. And like if you want that, that’s cool. Like you’re not for me, probably.
Dana: Right. Well, and that’s and that’s great, too, that you’re so honest about that. And I think that’s so true as a consumer is when you’re talking about finding somebody that’s going to provide a service to you to make sure that there’s somebody that you would hang out with on a regular basis. Like for me as a photographer, it’s the same thing with the competition, like do you know how many photographers are in a, you know, 30 mile radius of Washington DC? It’s like a bajillion like it is many. Granted now that I live in Turkey I don’t I’m like the only one that speaks English within a 30 mile radius. So it’s a little bit different but but it is so true. But for somebody that’s, you know, gonna take pictures of your newborn baby in the hospital 24 hours after it’s born. I feel like I want to pick somebody that I feel like I could be friends with you know, like you really want to do your research and see and if I would also say to somebody that is going to hire someone to provide any sort of service for them. Don’t make a rash decision. Do not say like log on to Instagram, find somebody that’s a nutrition coach and be like, yep, figured it out. I’m going to do it. Like it is not so urgent that you need to make that decision. The first time you log on Instagram and search for that person like you can absolutely take a couple of weeks do your research before you hire somebody. There’s never going to be as well. I won’t say never but there’s usually not a situation where you’re hiring somebody to help you with something you know asleep consultant for your baby. Let’s say you’re totally sleep deprived, and you’re going to hire a sleep coach, do research, make sure that that person and their values align with yours because once you pay for it, that you’re doing it, you know, you got it, you got to commit to it. So I definitely recommend, you know, really researching into that person and seeing if it’s going to be a good fit for you. And I love that you’re honest about who your perfect clientele is. And I think that that probably makes you love your job a lot more and it makes your clients love you even more.
Karen: Yeah, and I will say for anyone who’s looking to start any service based business really, you know, one mistake I made the very beginning is it okay to say no, to someone who wants to work with you if you know it’s not a good fit? Totally. You know, I was at the very beginning I was you know, almost desperate for for clients because I really wanted to make the business work and yeah, and I took on someone who it just wasn’t a good, like you mentioned values, it wasn’t a good values fit. And, you know, it was fine in the end like she had a positive experience, but it was really hard for me. It took a lot of work. And, and in hindsight, I think I knew that it wasn’t a good fit for us to work together. But I did it anyway because I wanted the client and if that were to happen now if she were to come to me now I would probably refer her out to someone else who was better fit for her because now I know better but I think most business owners have to make that kind of mistake. Yeah, that’s just what I have one piece of advice. I’m sure as a photographer, you’ve had that experience to where, you know there’s demanding clients are just not their vision is not your vision. Maybe their style is different from your style. And it’s just not a good fit.
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Absolutely and you know what I will also say to like if you do end up in a situation as a service based business where you’re early on and you kind of get a feeling like oh this I probably shouldn’t do this but I really need to to one grow my business to get experience three get the money like there are lots of reasons to do it. It’s okay to do it. It’s okay you are going to learn from it. It might not be the best experience of your life but you you now have grown from that right now. You know like okay, this is the type of these are the red flags for next time. I know right? Next time you go these are the red flags for a client that won’t be a good fit and you do learn from it. And it’s the same thing with any service based business. So if you’re listening to this and you’re a business owner and you’re like I have one of those right now, just know that you are going to learn something from it for sure. 100 It’s a good learning experience. So tell me about you know, kind of what your family thinks about you starting your own business and doing this you know, with three children and how has the support from your family and friends been in your entrepreneurial entrepreneurial journey?
Karen: Oh my gosh, everyone has been so supportive. My parents are entrepreneurs. So my they’re kind of serial entrepreneurs. And actually my mom, she’s a hypnotherapist, and she’s been doing it for 15 years or so. And I feel like if she if social media had been what it was when she started she could have gotten really big. She did actually even have like a online weight loss program at one point, but she you know, he never had took off which is totally fine because it was a different era. When Tony’s doing it. It was like the very beginning of you know the internet but I feel like that’s kind of in my DNA, I guess the entrepreneurial spirit. So of course they were like Oh yeah, and they’ve been great kind of mentors for me and how to think of growing a business and market and kind of deal with the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. And my husband has been totally supportive because he just sees how happy I am doing. So he’s going all in and I think at one point when I first started he that he said something like, you know, I noticed that that the house isn’t as clean as it used to be. And I was like, Well, yeah, I don’t have as much time now to create if it was like, okay, like that was the that was the end but it was an observation. I was like, Yeah, well, I have other things to do with my time and on a business. I have to get better, you know, making it all work but of course there are times when my house is a complete disaster. It is funny also how some people from my past have become my biggest supporters in my business. I’ve had friends from high school who I haven’t talked to in over a decade, come to be clients or refer their friends and really be my biggest cheerleaders. And I think becoming an entrepreneur has really shown me who my true friends are. Which has been which has been interesting. I mean, no one’s been unsupportive, but the people who really show up and cheer you on when you didn’t expect them to means a lot. So I have you know, really cheer on your friends who are entrepreneurs because it can be lonely sometimes. It is very lonely well, and it’s true to like, you know, you start a business and you and nothing you expect but I feel like so many people think that you start a business and everybody you know is going to be like sharing your stuff and singing your praises and bragging on you and spreading the word and blah blah blah and like that’s not the case. Like not everybody first off has the time to do that. But a lot of people just don’t think about it right? They just don’t realize like what a huge difference that that can make for a friend to just share. One thing or probably one story slide on Instagram or you know, talk to anybody that will listen to them about it like it’s just not and it’s something against the friends. It’s just not ingrained in them and they don’t really realize what a difference that they can make. And it is something that I have taken personally in the past but you can’t take it personally you have to recognize that like not everybody has the same priorities as you and they might not see this as something that is super important or super valuable. You know, and I think that you recognizing that and being okay with it is first off easier said than done was something really important. To recognize as a small business owner. Yeah. And, you know, I I’ve met some fellow entrepreneurs, you know, online through different business groups. And that has been really invaluable to me to have that support from others who are, you know, going through the same things and you can kind of share ideas or just check in like, Hey, how are you doing? You know, what’s what’s been working for you? My sister in law also is a she’s a career coach. And so and she just had her first baby about seven months ago. So that’s been fun too. Yeah, her business for a few years. But now that she’s a working mom, and having that common with her now has been really fun. It’s been really exciting to watch her kind of come into her own as a mom, entrepreneur, and then sharing ideas with her. Yeah, it’s a totally different world like it is it is so very different like when your kids are especially that little like especially in that under one age and like trying to grow a business and sustain a business with kids. That little is really a struggle. So I’m glad you guys have each other because it really is hard when you don’t have a ton of entrepreneur friends tonight. I will encourage any entrepreneur or anybody thinking about starting a business. If you don’t know anybody who has started a business or starting a business, find somebody and reach out to them and make them be your friend. Because not having anybody in the entrepreneurial space that is somebody that you can reach out to and just chat with when you’re feeling down or need a boost or need some advice like it is truly invaluable.
Dana: So absolutely find your find your people and find somebody that you can at least talk to because it’s it’s can be really really lonely. Well, thank you so much Karen. I’m I’m so appreciative you coming on and sharing your story. I love these service based industries that we’re starting to share here on the podcast to because I know somebody is is in similar shoes to you several years ago and thinking that they could help somebody and to hear somebody who’s made it work in a you know, private fully your own nutrition company is really, really inspirational to so many people. So tell us where we can find you your website social media, all that good stuff.
Karen: Yeah, so my website is happymamanutrition.com and on Instagram I’m at Happy mama nutrition. Also on Facebook, but the Instagram stuff just goes directly to my Facebook Instagram is really where where I hang out. So yeah, I would love followers and if you are looking to get into nutrition coaching or starting any kind of entrepreneurial business, please you know send me a DM I love interacting with other women business owners and happy to you know, provide any insights. I’ve talked to a lot of women who I’ve connected with on Facebook in different groups who have seen that I was a nutrition coach and asked me about different programs. I’m always happy to chat and help guide you because not only are there so many nutrition coaches, there are also so many nutrition coaching companies that certified pushing coaches as well. So look, we’re all out there.
Dana: So anybody who’s listening to starting a business you now have two entrepreneurial friends right here so you and you have a built in friendship already. So whole Karen, thank you so so much for joining me and coming on the show and I am so excited for everybody to hear this and we’ll talk to you soon.
Karen: Okay, thank you, Dana.
Dana: I am so honored. You spent any minutes of your day listening to me babble about living this entrepreneurial life amidst the chaos of any mom’s normal day to day. If you love what you heard any more snippets of knowledge about this mob boss life, head over to our website at amidstthechaospodcast.com show notes and links to anything mentioned in today’s episode. If you’re really feeling inspired during the world to me and my family if you take the time to read it thanks for joining me amidst the chaos