Brandy Cummings, owner of Pivotal Origins, describes herself as a mama, food fanatic, lover of Sherlock Holmes, Functional Nutritionist, and aspiring archer.
“Shows I've binged watched include Dexter, The Office, Wentworth, and The Mentalist. I'm a huge fan of making lists (well, more like a fan of crossing things off lists). Observation is my superpower. I choose where to vacation solely on what food choices are available. I used to be a blackjack dealer, and have a very irrational fear of whales,” she says.
She loves working for herself because of the time it gives her to be with her daughter.
Brandy originally opened business as a generic holistic nutrition practice in 2016.
“After several ER trips to the hospital as a teenager (where they freely handed over narcotics and sent me on my way), I had to spend a decade figuring out that what I ate had a profound impact on how my body felt. I thought, this shouldn't have taken this long to figure out. I need to help others.”
When she was starting her family she realized the gap in care that happened during the entire preconception to postpartum period. “I experienced no support when I miscarried, no support during the first trimester after becoming pregnant again, no nutrition advice from a holistic or functional perspective, was told breastfeeding had failed on day two of my daughter's life, and spent the next six months suffering with postpartum anxiety,” she explains.
That experience led her to talk to other parents and realize her story and struggles were not unique. She decided to refocus her business to support people through their entire pan-natal™ phase of life (preconception to postpartum) so that no one had to feel like she felt. This purpose has been her guiding principle ever since.
Brandy says she admires JJ Virgin, creator of the Virgin Diet. “She launched it sitting next to the hospital bed of her son Grant while he was fighting for his life from a tragic car accident. Her family was depending on that income and she was committed to getting her son back to 110% when every medical professional was telling her it was never gonna happen. She succeeded in getting him to 110% and has since gone on to create a community of functional and integrative practitioners and her new mission is to change the lives of a billion people. I have no doubt she'll meet and exceed that too,” says Brandy.
She says her biggest business struggle has been time management and the challenges that come with working from home with a toddler during a pandemic. The lack of childcare and juggling all the things that need to happen at home. Brandy says the key to making it work is communication and strategy.
She would advise a new business owner to focus on revenue generating activities first. “When you sit down at your computer, it's amazing how fast 4 hours can go and all you did was check emails, pay bills, and other admin duties. Those are important too, but do something that can pay you back first. Write a blog, make a video, social media post, meet with clients, or book a session,” she explains.
When things are challenging, Brandy says she remembers her purpose and her why. “When I look around, our population is not heading in the right direction. Rates of chronic disease are going up, autoimmunity is at an all-time high, children are getting chronic illnesses younger and younger. The health of a person when they become pregnant can have a direct impact on their grandchildren through transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. To me, the ultimate in preventative care is to catch people two generations before they're born. If we want to turn this ship around for our grand- and great-grandchildren, the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work is now,” she explains.
Brandy says her ideal referral is someone who is already following a natural/holistic lifestyle or is open to moving towards that and someone who is interested in optimizing their chances for a healthy conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum by doing everything they can before they conceive.
She also works well with those who have struggled to get or stay pregnant, those with an autoimmune disease or other chronic illness, and those interested in how to best support their reproductive health.
She often works with people who have felt as if traditional western medicine has left them with fragmented bits of information that no one can seem to put together to help them figure out what’s happening in their body.
Brandy prides herself on being a practitioner who looks at her clients as whole people and can help them connect the dots and have a clear picture of their reproductive health.
When asked what impact being a MOB Alliance member has had on her business, Brandy says “I have met some amazing people through the MOB. I have met people I will probably be friends with forever. This relationship building is so different from other networking groups and I really love it. When I rebranded, it was pretty much all amazing MOB work. My logo, social media templates, website, and photos all came from the MOB. I may be biased, but I think they look amazing!”
Her favorite MOB Alliance benefit is being able to attend so many virtual meetups.
Her offer to MOB Alliance members is:
10% off all my services and 15% off therapeutic-grade supplements
Connect with Brandy:
Each month the MOB Nation collaborates with a different MOB Alliance artist. The featured artist is asked to share a piece that shows what the MOB means to them. This art piece is placed on limited edition mugs in the MOB Shop that are only available during the month they are featured. Go here to see Ruth McCabe’s art mug.
April’s artist of the month, Ruth McCabe, came to creating art later in life. She was able to use art as a way to channel fear, frustration, and helplessness while her family dealt with a major mental health crisis.
“I needed something that I could pick up (or put down) at a moment’s notice. It turns out, doodling was good for that,” she explains.
Ruth retired from her job at the end of 2020 and is using her new free time to pursue her creative dreams. She says she would tell her younger self to keep putting one foot in front of the other, just keep moving, tell the story of where you are because someone else needs to hear it. It gets better.
Ruth says being a part of the MOB Alliance has pushed to further than she would have been able to go on her own.
“I have always been a ‘I’ll do it myself’ kind of person. One of the things that the MOB has brought to me is a group of trustworthy women who have demonstrated showing up for me. I didn’t even know I needed that,” she says.
She also says she loves the virtual Meetups! “I’m an extroverted introvert in a rural-ish area and in person meetups were unappealing to me. Getting up, showered, dressed, then driving an hour or more? I was likely to just stay home. But the virtual meetings have been a blast! Ladies from all over the country in my studio while I drink coffee in my PJs,” she explains.
When things are challenging Ruth says she remembers that whatever is happening will not last forever - both the good and the less good.
Ruth and her husband, Bob, live 45 minutes outside Portland, Oregon, enjoy traveling with their travel trailer, and have six kids they refer to as their “blender-family.”
March 31st is Trans Day of Visibility. The MOB Nation supports LGBTQIA+ and is open to anyone who claims the title of "mom". You can view our Statement of Inclusivity here.
This guest post is by Kaleigh Boysen-Quinata, LMFT. Learn more about Kaleigh at the end of the blog post.
Family support is critical for trans children. Trans kids have a higher risk of suicide and depression than their peers. They experience higher rates of bullying. Having a parent who is supportive and safe can make a huge difference in a child’s life.
Many parents of trans kids aren’t sure how to best support their child or may still be learning to understand their child’s gender identity. As a family therapist who has worked with many trans children and teens (and their parents), here are some ways that parents can provide support:
Respect your child’s identity and pronouns and ask others to do the same
Affirming your child’s identity shows that you respect them. It’s OK if you mess up - you might be very used to referring to your child by a certain pronoun or name and it may take time to change. Just catch yourself, quickly correct and move on. Same if a relative or friend misgenders your child or teen - just gently correct and move on.
Stand up for your child by calling out transphobic behavior or language
Kids don’t always know how to navigate potentially painful or challenging situations when relatives, friends, or strangers make transphobic comments. Don’t be afraid to correct others or provide some education, and have a conversation with your child ahead of time about how they would prefer to handle it.
Learn more about the transgender community
Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG have great resources for parents. (A list of resources can be found at the end of this blog post)
Advocate for your child or teen at school
Make sure that they have access to a bathroom they can comfortably and safely use. Help your child make a plan for how to communicate their pronouns and preferred/chosen name with teachers. Talk with teachers and school leadership about how they can be more inclusive in their policies and language.
Many parents express concern that their child or teen’s gender identity is “just a phase” or that they are “too young” to identify as trans or understand gender.
Research shows that children develop an understanding of gender from preschool age. Some children identify as trans from a very young age and some come out as trans in their teen years or later.
Your child’s gender presentation and expression may shift over time as they learn more about themselves and feel more comfortable sharing their identity publicly, and that is OK - it doesn’t mean that they are confused or that it’s a phase.
Your role as a parent is to support your child’s process and to trust and accept them when they share their identity with you.
Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Non-binary Youth
Transgender and Non-Binary People FAQ (a good place to learn terminology and basic 101 information)
Making Your Feminism Trans-Inclusive
PFLAG - Opportunities to connect with other parents of transgender youth
Being an Effective Advocate for Your Child
Family is Still Family Campaign from National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Mom, I'm Not a Girl - a short film about raising a transgender child
Kaleigh’s mission is to help parents understand their young children’s frustrating and challenging behaviors and teach them new tools and skills to connect with their children and foster the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in life.
She is trained in Child Parent Psychotherapy, a counseling method focused on attachment and healing parent-child relationships after exposure to trauma or violence in children ages birth-6.
Connect with Kaleigh at Family Roots Therapy.
We're excited to welcome Colleen Salchow, financial coach for kids and parents, to the MOB blog! Learn more about Colleen at the end of this blog post.
March is Credit Education Month, and many parents and caregivers are looking for ways to explain this topic to their children. For many individuals, money is a topic that was not discussed in their home growing up. There can be a wide range of emotions and personal experiences with money that cause adults to avoid this topic all together. My mission as a financial coach is to empower my clients to succeed financially. Understanding what creates a credit score and where credit comes from is part of the financial education I offer.
Debit vs. Credit
Most of our children, ages 18 and under, have watched as we make purchases with either debit and credit cards. Since these cards look almost identical explaining the difference between the two forms of payment is important.
Debit cards are connected to money in a bank account, typically a checking account. When people use a credit card the money has been loaned to the card holder, and if that money is not repaid in full by a set date the lender can charge an interest rate.
In 2021, almost any place of business that accepts a credit card will also accept a debit card for payment. As COVID-19 safety precautions increase, more businesses are only accepting card payments. Studies from shown that American families have an average $14,564 of credit card debt.
In 1989, the credit reporting company Fair Isaac Corporation created the general purpose FICO score. This score is calculated by looking at a borrower’s relationship with debt.
There are five categories that are reviewed to determine the score:
Payment History (35%)
Amounts Owed (30%)
Length of Credit History (15%)
Credit Mix (10%)
New Credit (10%).
However, the FICO website states, “Your credit report and FICO Scores evolve frequently. Because of this, it's not possible to measure the exact impact of a single factor in how your FICO Score is calculated without looking at your entire report. Even the levels of importance shown in the FICO Scores chart above are for the general population and may be different for different credit profiles.” That’s pretty confusing.
There are other credit scores depending how the scoring model is used and who’s reporting the information. Those different reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, and those three have their own credit score called a Vantage Score.
A Vantage Score can access someone that has had credit for a short amount of time. The FICO score is the most referenced credit score and when people are discussing this topic they refer to the FICO Score and the credit score as the same thing. Regardless of what score is looked at, do you need a credit score? No, and I teach my clients how to avoid all forms of debt.
Living without Debt
My husband, Richard, and I were married in 2011, and within a month of our marriage we realized that we had $60,000 in debt, $100 in savings and $9 in our checking account.
We were scared, overwhelmed, but seeing those numbers on a spreadsheet was the motivation we needed to change our relationship with money. That $60,000 was a mixture of student loans, credit cards and car loans. Richard was stationed at a military base that offered a free financial planning course, Financial Peace Military. We learned how to create a budget, track our spending and we paid off all of our debt within two years.
Since November 2013, we have lived debt free. When we travel, we use debit cards. Be sure to call ahead to hotels or car rental companies before traveling to confirm how much of a security deposit will be needed. We have bought our vehicles with cash. The dealership we worked with in California accepted a personal check.
Be Honest with Your Kids
Regardless if you are in the “Credit is Good” or “Credit is Bad” camp being honest with our children is necessary when discussing the topic of finances.
n this day and age, we talk with our children about several topics that were considered off limits a few decades ago. If you can talk with your kids or teens about race, politics, or religion, then consider discussing personal finances.
Explain why you are making certain purchases and not others. With many of us shopping online, model how you are selecting purchases with a specific goal.
Americans have on average $35,000 in student loan debt. If you have struggled with paying off school debt, talk with your children about what you wish you had known before signing up for those loans.
Learn From Others
In 2019, Chris Hogan released his book “Everyday Millionaires.” The book reviewed the surveys from over 10,000 individuals with a net worth of a million dollars or more.
95% of those interviewed saved up for large purchases. 92% of millionaires developed a long-term plan for their money. 70% of millionaires saved more than 10% of their income during their working years.
However, one of the most memorable statistics was that 73% of the individuals in the study had NEVER carried a credit card balance in their lives.
Let that one set in. Being intentional with your money is a skill that takes practice, but there is no better time than now to start.
Colleen teaches her clients how to organize their finances and take control of funding their future goals.
As a former middle school and 4th grade teacher, she specializes in working with teens and their parents showing the young adults how creating a plan for their time and money now will positively impact their futures. She also works with couples that are sick and tired of being broke. Connect with Colleen.
When it comes to business funding the topic of crowdfunding almost always comes up at some point. It seems easy, straightforward, and low risk, but is more complicated than it seems at first.
If you're considering crowdfunding to raise money for your new business or next expansion, this blog post will walk you through the ten key steps you need for success.
The podcast version of this blog post can be found at the Adventures in Marketing podcast here.
Validate Your Product or Idea
Your friends and family are usually your best supporters, but they may not be your ideal audience. Once you’ve shared your idea with people you know, make sure you go outside of your immediate community to get solid feedback and suggestions.
Be prepared for people to not like or understand your idea. That is completely normal. Take the best suggestions and ideas from those who are your idea customer and let the rest go.
Pick Your Platform
Although Kickstarter has become almost synonymous with crowdfunding, it isn’t the only platform. When you’re looking at options be aware that each crowdfunding platform has its own pros and cons including different fees, processes, and payment schedules for each one. Here is a quick breakdown of the different platforms and how they compare to each other.
Most crowdfunding platforms have some kind of onsite training to help you be successful on their platform. If you’re looking for a crowdfunding site with a robust support and mentoring system, IFundWomen is a terrific crowdfunding platform that also includes a grant program that is free to apply for and a division to support women of color.
Nail Down Your Messaging
If your audience isn’t clear about why you are crowdfunding, what your plans are, and why they should support you - you’ll lose them.
No matter how excited and invested you are in your new product or service, you still need to be able to communicate the details to your would-be backers. Your messaging is more than your tagline or promotional video - it will run throughout every piece of your crowdfunding campaign, so dig into what you are creating and why.
This is another place you’ll need feedback from strangers and those who don’t know you, It is important to remember that, if things go well, you’ll reach an entirely new audience during your crowdfunding adventure and you’ll want to make the best possible first impression.
Make Your Rewards Pop
Let’s be honest - You’re backers want to support you, but they also want something for themselves. Once upon a time a $60 t-shirt was a fine reward, but those days are long past.
You’ll need to get creative to come up with rewards and reward packages that both entice and reward your backers.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
66 Killer Indiegogo and Kickstarter Crowdfunding Reward Ideas
How to Design Great Crowdfunding Rewards
10 Crowdfunding Rewards for Your Backers
96 Reward Ideas from the Kickstarter blog
Plan Your Promotion
Crowdfunding for success means you need to take time to plan and prepare.
When done well, crowdfunding can feel like an extra job - so treat it like that from the beginning. Set regular times to prep, launch, and promote your crowdfunding activities.
Make any graphics you’ll need ahead of time. Write copy, create videos, gather early testimonials, understand your rewards - all in advance so you don’t feel as if you are scrambling to get things done or miss deadlines because something else came up.
Giving yourself extra time means you’ll have time to expand your reach by sending press releases, connecting with press, and others who can help you share your crowdfunding project.
Gather Your Team
All of those friends and family who swear they are ready and willing to help you? This is the time to put them to work.
However, don’t expect them to be mind readers or understand how they can best help you. Unless they have a marketing background or experience in crowdfunding they likely won’t know what to do beyond sharing a link.Don’t be shy about putting them to work!
Treat your biggest fans like your mini army by giving them clear instructions about how they can support you, exactly what you need from them, and when you need it. Some may prefer to have you provide them with copy or talking points (especially if they are shy or nervous) while others may want to do it on their own.
Build Interest Pre-Launch
A big piece of succeeding in marketing something is showing up. So make sure you are talking about your upcoming crowdfunding adventure frequently.
Build a buzz and keep it going by sharing the journey along the way on social media pre-launch. Let your potential backers see how excited you are to share this new product or service you are launching.
Resources for building buzz pre-launch:
Create Your Crowdfunding Success Plan
As excited as crowdfunding can be in the pre-launch and launch phases, it can be a stressful sprint to the finish line.
If you’re feeling fatigued, you aren’t alone. Even when your crowdfunding campaign is humming along and doing create, promoting one thing so heavily when you’re not used to it can be draining. This feeling isn’t unusual and is why pre-launch prep work is so important.
If your crowdfunding campaign has stalled, don’t give up! Here are ways to help revive it and get you back on track!
How to Give CPR to Your Dying Kickstarter
Six Steps to Revive a Stalled Crowdfunding Campaign
What to Do When Funding Stalls
Get Your Second Wind
You’re almost to the finish line - just another week or even a few days to go, but you’re exhausted and you’re convinced no one wants to hear even one more word about your project.
What do you do? Find your second wind and keep going to help push your campaign to success!
Reach out to all of your supporters, make a final campaign update, get everyone excited one more time and the last hours and minutes tick by.
What to Do in the Last 24 Hours of Your Crowdfunding Campaign
The Final Push of Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Celebrate the Outcome
You did it! You made it to the end of your crowdfunding project. Hopefully your planning, promotion, and hustle paid off and you reach your goal. If you don’t, know that you aren’t alone. Only 22% of crowdfunding campaigns reach their goal.
Whatever the outcome, celebrate the wins and successes along the way. Don’t forget to celebrate yourself, too. You’ve done something unique and challenging and put yourself and your business out there in a brand new way.
However, you’re not quite done yet. You still need to wrap up your campaign, thank your donors, and plan your next steps.
How to Wrap Up a Crowdfunding Campaign
23 Lessons Learned from Crowdfunding
The first full week in March is Women in Construction Week. This is a chance to highlight women in construction and their contributions.
Women in Construction Week was created by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).
The NAWIC was created for many of the same reasons the MOB was created - it gave women a chance to network, learn, and receive both personal and business support.
This week, we're thrilled to highlight MOBs (mom owned businesses) who are also in the construction industry!
Heather Sánchez-Gibson, Evolution Remodel
”I feel really powerful being in this male dominated industry. It is Girl Power at it’s finest and I am excited to be an inspiration for my own girls and other women out there. Life is what you make it so if you want it...go get it, girl!”
I am a wearer of many hats and love the spontaneity and adventure life has to offer. I am a mother of three, a wife, a realtor, a property manager and a contractor. Life is never dull and I prefer it that way!
In my spare time (and yes, I allow for spare time every week), I love to read, go for walks, seek out new restaurants, travel, dance, cook and laugh until my stomach hurts with friends. I stay grounded with meditation, music and movement.
What Heather loves about the work she does:
I love to find new projects and meet new people. I am always learning in every situation which I appreciate and anticipate as I grow as a professional and individual. I really love seeing the finished product and the happy look on people’s faces. I am honored to be a part of beautifying someone’s space.
Heather’s advice to her younger self:
Networking is key! Meeting other professionals, uplifting them, and referring business to them will energetically propel you forward. Keep giving and it will come back to you.
About the impact the MOB has had on her business:
I have met some amazing women in my industry and I am so appreciative of this. Not only do we refer business back and forth but they are a great support system and encouraging group. This brings a lot of joy to my life and business.
Tricia Johnson, PDX Arrow Painting & Construction LLC
“In the MOB I am around strong 'Go To' women that have the 'like mind' that has always set me apart. Finally I can have a community around me that gets my passion and desire.”
“I am a mom of 4, my eldest daughter is 26 and married. My sons are 20, 14, and 9. I love being active especially in Portland area with great trails and hiking. I started riding bikes with my boys. I love being in Portland for all it offers like trails, hiking, art, and beautiful scenery. I also own PDX Arrow Painting & Construction here in Portland. I started out painting apartments and quickly moved to residential homes. Over the 23 years I have adjusted to managing and operating my company. I have had experiences from fine finish work, gold leafing, steeple jacking, commercial work and always residential painting and renovation.”
What Tricia loves about the work she does:
I love the creative side working with clients on style and design. I also love creating order. Taking spaces from the before to the after; not only takes organizing my team and scheduling, it transforms a space to a new order. I aim to make the remodel and painting process feel smoother. There is so much emotion that happens when, especially interior spaces, become chaos. Organizing the schedule for this to feel more comfortable and being understanding to my clients living in a transitional phase of their home.
It has been my goal to create connections, support and improve my community, and offer a company experience that leaves people feeling calm and respected.
Tricia’s advice to her younger self:
There are so many moments that give doubt. It's a part of working in a competitive field. I live by the idea that there is always enough work for everyone. I aim to get the projects that fit my company and that means some projects are not meant for me.
Learn to budget, set aside project money, and reinvesting back into the company so you can better balance your income. Set goals and decide how growth will look for you.
About the impact the MOB has had on her business:
I run a women-owned business in a man’s field. It leaves me working around a lot of men. As a single mom, I don't have time outside of work to socialize or really have friends when I am working a lot. The MOB has connected me with women who have become social and business friends. I am in a community of moms and women that give me some connection with my feminine side. I love how the women in the MOB want to support each other and even when we are in the same field can be supportive of each other - there is plenty of work for each of us!
Hannah Woods, Serenity Windows LLC
“Being able to do things the way I want. Having that control in my life has been life altering; it has empowered me and stimulated an abundance of personal growth.”
I am a hardworking, work from home, homeschooling, mother of four. I’m a persistent overachiever who is still learning to embrace self care and how to say no. I was raised in the construction industry but never thought I would stay in it. I have been a licensed general contractor for nearly a decade and have done everything from the ground up. When I made the switch to only windows and doors it was one of the hardest business decisions I have ever had to make; I only wish I had done it sooner. I am now able to focus and grow my company in a solid direction that aligns with my personal goals.
What Hannah loves about the work she does:
I started my first construction company so that I could be a stay at home (work from home) mom. Being able to be home with my children has always been my driving force. And my children are who eventually pushed me to find my path to windows. After a pregnancy scare with my youngest child, I had to face the fact that I was working myself into the ground and it was time to make a serious change. That change took time, and a lot of back and forth; which led to opening my new company during a global pandemic. It has been quite an adventure to say the least. And throughout the chaos I have started to find my new calm.
I have always enjoyed helping people. Windows aren't just something you want; they are something you need. They dramatically increase the comfort of your home and atmosphere. I enjoy bringing that serenity to people's homes. From picking out the product; to the install, I am there every step of the way helping my clients have the best possible experience.
Hannah’s advice to her younger self:
Don't be afraid of change - with growth comes change, new dreams, and so many wonderful possibilities.
About the impact the MOB has had on her business:
As a woman in a male dominated industry the MOB has given me so many great connections to other women in the industry who I have built wonderful relationships with.
Ashley Ortiz, Bella Vista Painting & Drywall
“Others in the same industry are not your competition/enemy, they are your community. Unify it. Lift it up together!”
I own Bella Vista Painting & Drywall with my husband, Luis. I have 3 beautiful children, two boys, 13 and 9, and one girl, 12. I live in Vancouver, WA and love all things black, shopping, food and MOB-ing!! I love to support other women in business and help lead them to the right places to network!
What Ashley loves about the work she does:
Meeting people and wowing them with the transformations.
Ashley’s advice to her younger self:
Don't underprice yourself! Price your worth and the right clients will come.
About the impact the MOB has had on her business?
The MOB has literally grown my business from day one!! My very first client was a MOB and I will always be grateful! I track my sales referral source and everything always ties back to MOB! My largest supporters/referral always ties back to the MOB!
Alison Brown, Roof Rite Services, Inc.
“If you feel inspired to do something, do it!”
I’m a nearly 40 year old, adventurer at heart, Oregonian, mother of 3 and wife to Trent, the other owner of our business. I love being independent and in control of my own destiny.
What Alison loves about the work she does:
We love being able to interact with so many people and provide such an essential and important service.
Alison’s advice to her younger self:
Don’t be afraid to take risks, but be wise about it. Stay out of debt! Take networking seriously and use it to grow your business.
About the impact the MOB has had on her business:
The MOB has been key to helping us grow our business not only through customer referrals, but in finding a lot of other services to grow our business in addition to the educational opportunities available.
Michelle Maryatt, Budget Blinds of Central Portland
My first loves are my three kiddos and my amazingly supportive husband. One is in college, one is in high school, and I have a first grader who keeps me young and on my toes! I have owned Budget Blinds Central Portland for 16 years. Started in partnership with my parents, who are now retiring, we have an office and showroom in close-in NE Portland. If not designing and managing the business, you can find me at the Oregon Coast taking long beach walks and hunting for agates.
What Michelle loves about the work she does:
I love helping clients make their house a home! We do more than just cover a window. We provide privacy, light control, security, warmth and beautiful design. You can change the whole look and feel of a room with window treatments. Being invited into someone's home to help them is such a privilege. I don't take it for granted!
Michelle’s advice to her younger self:
Keep true to your vision. Ask for advice from those whom you trust, but always know that you have the answer in you. Always to the right thing and stay on point with your moral compass when dealing with clients. Take the difficult things first and don't procrastinate. Last but not least- learn how to delegate the things you can! You got this!
About the impact the MOB has had on her business:
I love being a part of a group of like minded empowered mom's. We are a force to be reckoned with!
Maria Amador, Rip City Roofing & Exteriors LLC
I'm so thankful to be in the MOB. It truly is life changing. I was ready to give up and then the MOB happened. I love learning about other MOBs and helping out as much as I can. I thought it was just me in the contractor business, but it turns out there are many of us and I love it!
I’m 29 and a mother of four boys. Family is everything to me. I love to learn about new things. I like challenges. I've had my company for three years. I just learned about the MOB and it has been life changing. I'm excited for what's to come!
What Maria loves about the work she does:
I love that I can offer good quality labor, my foreman has more than 14 years of experience, and I know what is happening 100% of the time. I love that I control my business. I decide. I'm in charge. I'm the boss. Roofing is all men so I like that I'm different and can connect with women without feeling belittled by men. Knowledge is power and my powers are strong. My business has so much potential I can see it. I’m ready to grow.
Maria’s advice to her younger self:
Pay attention to marketing. I had no idea the difference marketing can make in a business!
About the impact the MOB has had on her business:
Since I joined the MOB in January, I've done five jobs and have three more starting this week. The MOB is a blessing.
Heather Stephens, NorAm Financial Services, Inc
Mrs. Stephens received her Accounting Associate of Applied Science and Business Administration Associate of Applied Science degrees from Clark College—and has more than 15 years of accounting experience. Mrs. Stephens is a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, IRS tax returner preparer and is a National Notary Association-certified notary.
She also has extensive experience with certified-prevailing wage payrolls, as well as construction- and manufacturing-specific job cost bookkeeping. In her spare time, Mrs. Stephens tries to keep up with her ever-growing (extremely active) daughter Brooklyn, enjoys watching Formula 1 racing, plays tennis and has started golfing.
What Heather loves about the work she does:
I love being able to provide financial clarity to my clients. Showing them how important it is to budget, job cost, and read financial reports brings such a sense of accomplishment when it all clicks.
Heather's advice to her younger self:
Focus on what you bring to the table. It’s okay to outsource things in your business so you can build your business.
About the impact the MOB has had on her business:
The MOB network has been instrumental to my business health and community. I’ve met some amazing colleagues and they believe in community over competition.
Anyone juggling running a business with raising kids is doing two of the most challenging (and rewarding!) things a person can do.
Here at the MOB Nation we support all ages and stages of mom business owners - from expectant moms to grandmas, from just starting out to closing multi-million dollar deals. We know MOBs need a come-as-you-are community paired with the resources, connections, and support they need to reach their next big goal.
We're inspired by the way MOBs show up for each other, their businesses, and themselves and we're sharing some of that inspiration with these quotes!
Don't just stand for the success of other women, insist on it - Gail Blanke
As one of our MOB members likes to say "There's plenty of pie for everyone!"
Beyond making space for other women to succeed, how can you directly help them?
1. Keep them in mind for connections and referrals.
2. Share what they are doing.
3. Send them a note of encouragement.
There is no royal flower strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it, for whatever success I have attained has been the result of much hard work and many sleepless nights. - Madam C.J. Walker
Raising babies and growing businesses? MOBs know a little something about hard work and sleepless nights! But there is nothing like the satisfaction of reaching that next milestone.
No matter what, expect the unexpected. And whenever possible be the unexpected. - Lynda Barry
Technology issues? Babysitter canceled? The dog ate the charging cord? A client wrote the wrong meeting date? Your vendor application got lost?
MOBs are prepared for the unexpected because they've experienced it all.
Never underestimate a MOB - they also show up, win awards, close big deals, and impress the heck out of clients with their skill, dedication, and ingenuity.
When I’m not feeling my best I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me. - Beyonce
Even Beyonce has an off day. This reframe is a great way to get back into your groove.
“Trying to do it all and expecting it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. - Sheryl Sandberg
Let go of perfection and anyone's expectations but your own. Then decide what works for you, what you can hand off, and what isn't important.
When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. - Michelle Obama
Collaboration and over competition is one of the most important pieces of MOB Culture. We've built our own table and there is plenty of room for everyone.
The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up – Serena Williams
Feeling inspired by another woman? Tell her!
In fact, cheer yourself on, too!
Surround yourself with women who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities.
What would it mean for your business if you were surrounded by women like this? How would it change your life?
Don't forget to be the one mentioning other women's names, too!
Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It's the mastery of fear. It's about getting up one more time than we fall down. - Arianna Huffington
That thing you're not doing because you're scared it won't work? What if it did? What if it was amazing?
The most successful entrepreneurs I know are optimistic. It’s part of the job description. - Caterina Fake
Its not that MOBs don't have setbacks or get discouraged, but when you have a community that is rooting for you to succeed, it make it easier to stay flexible and optimistic.
People don’t take opportunities because the timing is bad, the financial side unsecure. Too many people are overanalyzing. Sometimes you just have to go for it. - Michelle Zatlyn
There is no perfect time to start a business as a mom because mom life is ongoing and always changing. Instead of waiting for the right moment, take the plunge!
We need every woman on the front lines lifting each other up for the good of all of us and the women who come behind us. - Gabrielle Union
We change the world by supporting women, ensuring women have more income and purchasing power, have more voice in big decisions, and have the space and opportunity to grow.
Each month the MOB Nation collaborates with a different MOB Alliance artist. The featured artist is asked to share a piece that shows what the MOB means to them. This art piece is placed on limited edition mugs in the MOB Shop that are only available during the month they are featured. Go here to see this Dianna Fontes MOB collaboration mug.
The March Artist of the Month is Dianna Fontes, artist, creator, and astrologer.
Dianna lives in the Pacific Northwest and is mom to her daughter, son, nephew, and three black cats. She loves collaborations, event planning, reading, gardening and tending to her compost bins & worms.
“I’ve always been an artist/creative person and that comes with flying from project to project. I've owned my own business for over 20 years but that business had morphed and changed. Being a professional creative, astrologer, and witch is me in my purest form. I feel like I am finally doing the work I am meant to do. I love helping others connect to their unique work (I call it WeRK) and gifts. It's so Magical to be able to validate that we're all creative and Magical," she explains.
Although Dianna is now inspired by Astrology, and how it connects to everything, she has always been an artist. She says she is inspired to capture those astro energies in all of her art pieces. Her biggest inspiration is her daughter who is also an artist and creative.
“I am also really inspired by Amanda Drew's from Buzzy's Bees because the program she's created is so healing and magical. She is a great creative collaborator, especially since the work I create for Give Grief a Voice is so huge,” says Dianna.
When asked who she looks up to she names her longtime friend and MOB founder, Aria Leighty.
“It might seem cheesy but I always look up to Aria, in all the ways but especially creatively. She's so inspiring and motivational generally but as far as my art is concerned I know I wouldn't be here doing this WeRK if she hadn't been there for me the last few years. Everyone else in my life has given up on me or encouraged me to get a "real job" but she always kept pushing me to keep going, to keep pulling up new layers of my creative self. I love and appreciate her so much and we're all so lucky she's here doing this empire building for us.”
When things are hard or challenging Dianna says knowing her own birth chart helps her see that she is here to compost pain and struggle into art and expressions that help others. She says “ I am here to make the dark times easier to walk through. When I am struggling I can always come into my studio and find a project that helps me pick apart what's going on and process it. That usually ends up creating some pretty awesome art, too.”
She would advise her younger self to work with professionals instead of attempting to do it all herself.
“Hire professionals to set you up. Do not DIY everything. It is NOT cheaper. It's not. Collaborate with others in your industry more and lean on those people as friends, too. There is a lot of distrust in capitalism and that distrust has been woven heavily into women especially. Seeing so many women trust other women and to see those old systems broken down has been so healing for me and I think for a lot of women In the MOB. We're so much stronger when we work together and support each other.”
Dianna says she wouldn’t have her business, AstroArtistry, without the MOBNation because of the support and referrals she has received as well as the ongoing support and space to be herself.
“Building a unique, extremely WOO business like mine is hard. Really, really hard. Not just because our culture struggles with Magical things but it's literally hard to get a merchant services account when you're categorized as a "psychic services" business. The fact that so many MOBs have supported me, given me referrals, and shared my work far and wide is the reason I have been so successful. I know a lot of other professionals in this business and they struggle without all the referrals I get regularly. Nevermind all the goods and services I purchase in support of my own health, wellness and business. I have everything I need right here.”
Dianna says her favorite MOB Alliance benefit is the virtual Meetups. “I love Meet Ups, especially the virtual ones. I love that I've made these friendships all over the country that I never would have had without the virtual sessions. But obviously I love the education, the endless expert advice that everyone is carefully sharing so generously. It's priceless really,” she explains.
Connect with Dianna:
Website - www.AstroArtistry.com
Learn more about her ComMOONity membership - https://www.astroartistry.com/moon-scopes
Each month the MOB Nation collaborates with a different MOB Alliance artist. The featured artist is asked to share a piece that shows what the MOB means to them. This art piece is placed on limited edition mugs in the MOB Shop that are only available during the month they are featured. Go here to see this Lea K. Tawd's MOB collaboration mug.
February’s featured MOB artist, Lea K. Tawd, describes herself as an artist, author, and Reiki Master. “I love to combine energy healing with art! I use Reiki ("Ray-key," a form of energy healing) to help me connect more easily with the Muse, and I infuse all of my artwork with it. I also love to guide my clients to find their own creativity and let go of creative blocks by offering them healing and making art together, “ she says.
Lea’s art is heart-centered and focused on the spiritual exploration of the Divine Feminine. She uses acrylic and mixed media on wood panels. She explains “I leave the wood grain exposed (but stained to stand out) as the skin tone of my figures. In this way I get to display the original beauty of the wood and offer a more diverse interpretation of many of my figures.”.
In addition to being an artist, Lea is also a married mom of two who has lived in Portland, Oregon since 1997. She creates her art in her studio which stands in the back of her property and looks out onto a magical apple tree.
When she’s not working she loves to read, wander the neighborhood with her six year old, and have meaningful conversations with her friends.
Lea has always been creative and has written poems and short stories. Despite being shy, she even did poetry readings in high school. In college, she double majored in art and writing. She later dropped writing when she moved to Portland due to her new college not having a creative writing program at the time.
She knew making art was in her soul, and despite how difficult it was to get started she was determined to be an artist. She worked all kinds of different jobs from catering to working in a grain elevator, until tendonitis forced her out of traditional work in 2006. At that point she started an eBay business with a friend and over the years has lots and lots of side gigs helping other artists and artisans make their products. Working for herself gave her the time and space to heal, to be home for her oldest when they needed her, and to very slowly grow her art business.
“I could have quit so many times. When I started, it was before the internet was much of a thing and I learned nothing about actually making money as an artist when I was in school. But I always knew there was something in my heart that I had to share with the world. Not to mention the fact that if I don't make art often I start to get very grumpy! I always had the sense that the more time I could focus on my art, the happier I would be and the more good I could do in the world. When I began to study Reiki a few years ago, that feeling increased even more.
Fast forward to 2020, and I found out that was true. After struggling for so many years, ironically this strange and difficult year proved to me that my art and my Reiki practice were not only my life purpose but that they are needed by the world and fully sustainable. I wrote and self-published my first book, "Creativity Unstuck: a toolbox for making more art," and substantially grew my art and Reiki practices,” she explains.
Lea says she looks up to her parents - all four of them. “My parents divorced when I was four and I have step parents, too. My mom was a single mom and I really look up to how hard she worked to make life good for my brother and I. She also always left out crafty projects for us and encouraged our creativity. My dad and stepmom are artists and have always been such an inspiration to me! I have been really lucky to have so many creative and supportive people in my life.”
She says supportive friends and family and being stubborn have kept her going when things are challenging. “If you knew how little money I made at this for how many years, you would wonder why in the world I kept at it! I just knew that it was my calling, and I couldn't ever imagine doing anything else.”
The advice she would give to her younger self is “Don't wait so long to let go of everything that's holding you back, and just dive in!! Find a mentor who is already doing exactly what you want to be doing and ask for their help so you don't have to keep reinventing the wheel. Also, you are right! All of your hard work will get you right where you want to go.”
Lea says the MOB makes her feel like a rockstar. “Since joining the Alliance in July, I have felt so incredibly supported. Every new thing I have to offer is well received and my sales have shot up. I have been able to collaborate with several other MOBs by cross-promoting each other's work, doing giveaways, creating products together, sharing heart-felt testimonials for each other's businesses and so much more.
This is the most supportive community I have ever been a part of, and I am especially surprised because the diversity of women and types of businesses is so vast. I have been inspired to support more MOB businesses, and use less big companies for as much as humanly possible. The MOB is not only an incredible support system, but has helped me become more aligned in my business,” she shares.
Her favorite MOB Alliance benefit is intangible and shows up in the form of having access to an incredibly talented and big-hearted group of women that are all focused on lifting each other up. She also loves the Meetups and educational aspects of the MOB.
Order Lea's MOB mug here.
Connect with Lea:
Jenelle Woodlief describes herself as a “multi-passionate badass raising two boys and fighting for what I believe in.”
She says she’s never been one to believe there are limits to what she can accomplish. "My mantra is 'I will figure that out'. Gentle and kind, I will also challenge you and occasionally give you a kick in the pants,” she explains.
Her business, Jenelle Woodlief Empowered Massage in Portland, Oregon, is devoted to helping people feel better in their bodies.
Over the past nine years, she has developed a unique bodywork modality where East meets West, science meets intuition. She uses traditional Thai massage and structural bodywork to focus on restoring balance in the body, relieving pain and discomfort, and preventing injuries. Jenelle also incorporates massage, deep muscle compression, movement, and stretching for a full-body holistic approach to bodywork.
Her clients work with her primarily in two ways. Single bodywork sessions which relieve pain and muscle tension and her Transformational Bodywork Series, a nine week program where she guides people through physical transformation. Weekly bodywork sessions are combined with postural/structural assessments, education on self-massage techniques, and video support.
Jenelle prides herself on offering bodywork that resonates with people underserved by traditional massage services. “Because my clients are clothed on a mat on the floor, my bodywork resonates with trauma survivors, those with body image struggles, and those uncomfortable being undressed. And because I can use my whole body to apply pressure, many men find that I can very effectively work out muscle tension,” she says.
She was inspired to start her business in order to live a life of passion and purpose, and inspire her boys as well.
“As an empath, I feel very deeply, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It took most of my life to harness that as my superpower. Now I use it to change lives. After a lifetime of caring for everyone else around me, I accepted the universe's invitation to recreate my life. I began to see possibility and opportunity wherever I looked as soon as I embraced choice and stepped into my power.”
Like many business owners, the biggest challenge in her business over the past year has been the impacts of COVID. Jenelle’s business was shut down for six months. “Navigating a touch-based services business amidst a global pandemic has been challenging to say the least, but it has also strengthened my passion for healing others,” she explains.
She is also passionate about creating and evolving her business and actively seeking new ways of showing up for others by first showing up for herself. She adds that there is tremendous power in saying NO. “As women, we're conditioned to say yes to everyone. But when we say yes to others, it usually means that we say no to ourselves. So I ask you: what can you say no to so that you can say yes to yourself?”
She would advise new business owners to be brave, make wise investments in yourself, and seek out guidance. Jenelle believes coaches are the best investment you can make in the future of your business. “The coaches I have hired and learned from have propelled my business farther than I ever dreamed possible in such a short amount of time.”
When things are challenging she relies on her community to support, inspire, encourage, and challenge her. “Connecting with one of them, taking a nap, and getting out my planner, I bring myself back to center by mapping out my ideas and goals. Then I eat a popsicle and go to bed early.”
Her ideal client is someone struggling with pain and/or chronic discomfort who feels discouraged. They are ready to invest in true transformation and eager to engage in their healing journey. Usually they feel underserved by traditional massage services, either they feel uncomfortable being naked or being on a table. They are open to a new healing experience and willing to learn new skills to care for their bodies at home. I love to serve those recovering from trauma and those who feel uncomfortable getting a massage because what she offers is different.
Jenelle says joining the MOB was my first step towards believing in herself. “I joined the MOB early in my very tumultuous divorce when I was struggling to believe in myself. Being in a community of moms figuring it all out together and supporting one another changed everything for me. I began to see what was possible and I learned how to begin.”
She also says one of her favorite Alliance benefits is the private MOB Alliance Facebook group.
Jenelle loves working for herself because she is free to follow her passions and evolve her business as her heart and soul also evolve. “I love that my business is an authentic representation of who I am and of everything I love to do.”
Jenelle offers MOB Alliance members 10% off my Empowered Group Coaching program and 10% off massage services.
Connect with Jenelle: