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5 Top Biz Tips for New Entrepreneurs

Today I’m writing about my 5 top biz tips for new entrepreneurs to rock 2018. As I reflect on 2017 so many things come to mind – celebrating my younger daughter’s first birthday, starting a business selling postpartum mesh underwear, meeting a network of AMAZING women entrepreneurs and learning a crazy amount of new things. I am so beyond grateful for all of the new experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met!

Along with those projects, 2017 was also about family. I spent time working with my dad on launching the WindoShelf for indoor gardening – a vision that he had, designed and executed for years while most people thought he was crazy (even us as times, I’ll admit). I also cheered on my mom as she followed her passion and became the owner of Sara’s Bridal Boutique. 2017 was definitely a big year!

From all of those experiences I wanted to share my 5 Top Tips for New Entrepreneurs. Here goes!

  • Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe. I believe in this SO strongly. Your open mindedness and willingness to have new experiences makes such a difference in your mental state and the opportunities that come your way. I met SO MANY incredible women in a local mom entrepreneurs group and I am so thankful for that. The journey of entrepreneurship is challenging and will test your strength. The best way to get through those times is to have people around that lift you up.
  • Don’t Overspend. It is tempting (and necessary at times!) to spend money on your business. There are SO many resources out there – especially for new entrepreneurs. Be mindful of where you spend your money and what you are investing in. It’s easy to lose it all quickly in monthly subscriptions or the latest tools. Decide where you spend your money by asking yourself what you intention is and how this expense will get you to where you want to go. I am continuously critical of how I spend/invest my money and I think that is part of what has allowed me to get to the next level in my business.
  • Practice Self Care. I feel like there are a lot of buzzwords for entrepreneurs around mindfulness, self-care, etc. They became buzzwords because of realities – fast paced environments, technology always at our fingertips and pressure of keeping up with the Jones’ (perfect Insta pics, anyone?). Taking time out and time off from your business is essential. Break away and take a break. Come back refreshed and rejuvenated. Your biz will thank you for it and so will your family.
  • Plan Your Time. The times that I felt the most lost were the times that I strayed from my plans. It is easy to get lost if you get sidetracked. Getting sidetracked can quickly turn into overwhelm. This isn’t about big picture plans/goals. I’m talking about straying from the daily tasks. Consistency is key so planning out and executing against your plans will keep you on track and moving towards your bigger goals. As the year went on I got better about planning my time. I still get sidetracked – doesn’t everyone?! – but I’m able to identify it earlier and set myself back on track much more quickly than when I first started out.
  • Keep Learning. Part of running a successful business is being able to grow and change with the times. I was able to grow exponentially this year by leveraging all of the information I consumed. Learning from mentors, coaches, peers, and experts by reading articles, listening to podcasts and attending conferences are all great ways to grow. Finding your favorite way to consume information and fitting it into your schedule will help you stick to your plan and grow at the same time!

With those learnings, I’d like to add a special note to my husband – who probably won’t even read this because he’s not on social media – thank you for all of your support, for believing in me, for calmly dealing with my stressful moments and for being an amazing father to our two girls. Without you, I would not be where I am today. May we have many more years on this crazy journey together.

Happy New Year, Friends! Here’s to a great 2018!

Have a top biz tip from 2017 that you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments!

5 Top Tips for Pumping Breast Milk at Work

pumping breast milk at work

Photo credit: Laura Legg Photography

On the blog today are 5 top tips for pumping breast milk at work. Going back to work after having a baby can be a pretty crazy and stressful time for new moms. Add breastfeeding and pumping to the mix and it makes it even crazier.

I’m not a fan of mom judgment and all of that nonsense. Don’t women have enough to deal with? We’re running a household, caring for children, being a wife, mother, sister, friend…the list goes on and on. We need to support each other as best as we can, and to me that means not spreading mom guilt. I mention that because people have very different opinions on breastfeeding and formula. I’m in the camp of fed is best. What if someone can’t breastfeed? She might have had an illness, no milk came in, or she just wasn’t up for it at a time when so many other things in her life were changing (let’s face it – breastfeeding can be pretty damn hard). Who are we to judge?

I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with both of my girls until they were 5 months old. After a few visits to pediatricians and lactation consultants, we learned that my first daughter wouldn’t transfer milk while breastfeeding. She was latching, but for some reason wasn’t strong enough to pull the milk out correctly. Knowing that a lot of my friends breastfed their children and feeling the stress of wanting to do what was “best” for my baby, I made the decision to pump exclusively. This meant being strapped to a pump for quite a large portion of the day. As my daughter grew, she needed more milk so I needed to increase my supply by pumping more often. I have so many videos from when she was young where I can hear the whirring of the pump in the background. Anyone that has pumped before knows what I’m talking about.

Looking back, I realize this was a way for me to keep my focus on something that I could control during such a turning point in my life. I do feel happy and proud that I was able to pump and provide her breastmilk for 6 months. Looking back, however, I see that I put an extraordinary amount of pressure on myself and likely missed some fun moments with her as a result (being strapped to the pump and all that…).

I did pump for about a month after I went back to work. My job provided me with a mother’s room, which included a comfortable chair and a small refrigerator to store the milk. I’ve heard about quite a range of places that mothers have had to pump in – either at work or when they are out. Depending on your state the employer requirements for providing a room to pump in may vary. Also, some jobs have a little more flexibility for making a schedule that fits your baby’s needs. It may be a little more difficult with a job such as nursing or teaching. Another option is to supplement with formula when you’re away from the baby.

Here are my top tips for going back to work while breastfeeding/pumping:

  1. Keep all of your pump parts in a bag and pack them the night before. Anything to save me time in the morning helped tremendously. Packing my pump parts the night before allowed me to grab my bag and go in the morning.
  2. Grab an ice pack in the morning to put in your bag – especially if you don’t have a refrigerator available to you at your office. This will keep the milk cold during the day until you can get back home to use or properly store the milk.
  3. Keep extra pump parts in your desk, otherwise, be ready to go to the baby store. The day will come when you forget a piece of your pump parts. For me, I always forgot the little white membranes. A small piece, but the pump doesn’t work at all without it. I eventually kept a small pack of extras in my desk so that if I forgot to put them back on my pump after cleaning it I still had some extras to use.
  4. Set a schedule. If you have an office job, block your calendar for the times that you plan to pump. That way you can keep your supply consistent by pumping at the same time every day.
  5. Store the pump bottles in a Ziploc bag. While you’re at work you most likely won’t have time to wash your pump parts. Keep them in a Ziploc bag and store them in the refrigerator. This will keep the leftover milk that is in the bottles cold and you can use the same parts for your next pumping session.

As with pretty much all areas of motherhood, remember to do what works best for you and your family. There’s no right or wrong way to go about this. If you’re trying to do something that is extremely stressful, it could decrease your milk supply and also be hard on the baby. Babies are very aware of their surroundings and their mother’s feelings so if you are stressed, they will be stressed too.

Here are some other great resources about going back to work when pumping:

https://www.workingmother.com/game-changing-pumping-hacks-for-working-moms#page-4

http://redtri.com/bump-baby/new-moms-survival-guide-for-going-back-to-work/

http://www.workpumprepeat.com/

Did you go back to work after having a child? How was your transition? Share your tips in the comments below!

Maternity, Working Mothers and How Postpartum Underwear is changing my life!

When I found out that I was pregnant, each phase brought new joys as well as challenges and believe it or not one of these joys was postpartum underwear. After my daughter was born, going back to work was one of those challenging times. For any working mothers out there, I hope you can relate to this new blog series: Working Moms.

If you’re not a mother yet or don’t plan on becoming one, you may still learn a thing or two by reading this section. At the very least, it might give you a little more insight into what new moms are juggling when they go back to work. Who knows – you might have one of them as a coworker at some point and wouldn’t it be great to have a glimpse of where they are coming from?

It’s complicated and tough to be a working mother, but it’s also great. I honestly believe that. There are endless decisions to make, and you need to do what works best for you and your family.

While I love my children, I also enjoy going to work. It gets me out of the house and I get to talk with other adults. I went back to work when my daughter was 5 months old. I was lucky enough to spend time with her during those early months and I’m so glad I did. If you have the opportunity to do that I highly recommend it. I know that this isn’t the case for most working women and I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity.

As I adjusted to my new normal of being a working mother, I thought about my recovery struggles, adjusting to constantly changing routines, what I’ve learned so far and how I could help other women. I found it was the small things that got me through – including the comfortable, postpartum underwear. Those postpartum underwear were so special to me – they were helpful in a time that I needed it most. I had a few extra pairs from the hospital and when they ran out I couldn’t find more. As I thought of ways to help other moms I decided that making these postpartum underwear more readily available would be a way to provide a small comfort during a significant time in a woman’s life.

This series is going to cover a range of topics including pregnancy while working, going back to work with a newborn and tips from moms. I would love for you to share your tips with us as well.

Welcome to the blog. I hope you enjoy it!