Rebecca Flanagan is a Portland business, tax, and estate lawyer. “I am the proud child of two small business owners -- a veterinarian and a log home builder -- and granddaughter, niece, and sister to many other small business owners. It's in my blood that I'm my own boss,” she explains.
She is also a third-generation Washington State University alumnus who continued the family tradition of meeting her future spouse while at college. She and her husband, Andrew, recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary, and have two little boys. As a family they enjoy finding adventure hiking, skiing, camping, biking, and exploring Mount Tabor.
Rebecca describes herself as a self-confident woman that seeks to better her community, and a lawyer who seeks to use her unique background (working poor family as a child to middle-class as an adult) and privilege (white, educated family) to lift-up those around her.
Giving back to her communities is important to Rebecca. She runs a free tax site that prepared taxes for low-income and elderly taxpayers, volunteers with her sorority mentoring college women, coordinates the endowment of two academic scholarships, and serves on local bar association committees
She went to law school with the goal of helping people like her parents - hard-working individuals that are masters of their craft. While at law school she found tax law intriguing. “I learned it can impact every aspect of a small business from entity formation to growth decisions and employee matters to sales and marketing. I also realized that to serve small business owners, I would need to understand estate planning as the family assets can all be held within the business. That's how I came to the beautiful trifecta of my service offering: business, tax, and estate,” she explains.
Her clients range from professional service firms to construction companies, household employers (aka parents that hire a nanny) to educators and artists, individuals to corporations, LLCs, S-Corps, partnerships, and sole proprietors.
Rebecca says she looks to mentors that foster growth in different phases of her life. “My mother, Dr. Maurine Dufault Fritch, is a role model for managing a successful career, motherhood, and running a business. My tax mentor, Valerie Sasaki, literally taught me all I needed to know about state and local tax to thrive at my first legal job -- tax associate at KPMG -- when she was an adjunct professor during my final semester of law school. My leadership mentor is a dear sorority sister, Angela Guillory, past national president of Sigma Kappa Sorority; she challenges me to be a better leader, a stronger leader, a compassionate listener, and a creative problem solver.”
Her biggest business struggle has been managing her own expectations. “I am a perfectionist by nature and strive for flawless execution in all I do, from baking cupcakes for my bon's birthday to drafting a legal document and presenting a workshop on intersectionality to constructing a balloon arch for the Walk to End Alzheimer's. There are instances where 95% isn't good enough (legal analysis for example), but many times it is more than enough (public speaking, sewing projects), and sometimes 80% is plenty (balloon arch).”
She advises new business owners to focus on progress over perfection. “I adopted this mantra in the early days of starting my business, when I felt as though I was ‘drinking from a fire hose.’ Even as the extreme hustle of building the foundation of my business wanes, I still return to this phrase.”
Her ideal referrals are family business owners who are ready to do those tasks that need to be done - transitioning from sole proprietor to a corporation of some sort to limit liability; drafting an estate plan that syncs up with their business succession plan; working through a tangles tax issue be in multiple years of unfiled federal returns or how to apportion income between multiple taxing jurisdictions; setting up a system that ensures all nanny compliance tasks are completed in a timely manner; or even a review of business contracts to ensure enforceability.
Rebecca enjoys being a part of the MOB for the support and energy. “That synergy that comes from having a group of passionate women empowering each other. Even amongst MOBs of the same industry, you see the building up, supporting, cheerleading, sharing best practices, and support. This is rare in the professional world. By lifting each other, we are making a real, tangible difference in bettering our community,” she explains.
Working for herself allows Rebecca the opportunity to help dreams become a reality for other small business owners and build genuine, sustainable relationships. “In serving clients that are also my neighbors, I am relieving them of a stress or burden which in turn allows them time to engage with their family, commit to growing their business, or volunteer in our community. The ripple waves radiate out from the work I do with family owned businesses to impact the broader community. Additionally, I am setting an example for my little ones. My two boys will watch their mother further her career, build a business, serve with integrity, and grow relationships through genuine and authentic communication. As mothers our actions when parenting have a great impact on our children, and our actions when not in the active parenting role (e.g., at work, volunteering, interacting with our adult friends) are also influencing what they learn about the world, how we interact with those around us.”
Rebecca’s exclusive offer to MOB Alliance members is a free 30 minute consult via phone or in person at her office.
Connect with Rebecca:
Let's face it, being a mom is hard. Owning a business is hard. When you combine running a business and being a mom, you might wonder how anyone does it.
There is no one secret to balancing work and motherhood, so we asked several entrepreneurial moms to share their tips for planning your 2019 and beyond.
Choose to be you!
Melissa Jensen, owner of Legacy Images
"People buy from those they know, like and trust. So I'm putting myself out there, and stepping into this new year with boldness and confidence. I started the new year with my own personal branding photoshoot, which can be a rare thing for a introverted photographer like me to get in front of the camera!
I have started planning out weeks of social media captions, all with the goal of letting my followers get to know me better. I will be sharing personal insights, behind the scenes, how I stay productive, what motivates me, and my "why", because customers connect with these type of stories, not sales pitches.
What sets you apart are all the unique things that make you you. By showing up as our authentic selves we are able to build connection and trust by allowing people to get to know us."
Use Your Calendar
Jessica Hansen, the Systems Magician
"When you’re a MOB, life and business lines often are blurred and you’re doing both momming and businessing at the same time. But there are a few things that can help you take control of your calendar.
1) Put EVERYTHING on your calendar. Electronic or paper. Scheduled or listed. Write it down - if you don’t, you’ll forget.
2) Pad your schedule. Especially as a mom, you know doing things with kids in tow really does take twice as long as you planned. So don’t schedule your appointments or errands back to back.
3) Forgive yourself when something goes undone. We’re under intense pressure to do all.the.things, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. Apologize to yourself, and start over tomorrow. You got this!
Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First
Dr. Alicia Hart, Vitality NW
Take a minute to check in with your body.
Are you tired? Put yourself down for a nap. Sleep is nonnegotiable, and so often the first thing to go to the backburner. Adults still have to sleep, ideally 7-10 hours every night. At least 4 of those hours need to be in a row to count as a decent chunk of sleep.
If you’re consistently not getting enough sleep because of kids, you might consider some creative sleeping arrangements like sleeping at a friends house or swapping childcare nights with your support network. If the kids are sleeping but you’re not- maybe it’s time to check in with your doctor to rule out other causes of poor sleep like thyroid issues, sleep apnea, anxiety, blood sugar problems, etc. Getting enough sleep is critical for your health!
Setting the scene for sleep can be an important first step to getting some zzz’s- routine is key for many. Have a bedtime, and actually go to bed! Try to avoid using screens 1 hour before bed, as the blue light disrupts brains making the sleep hormone, melatonin. Soft music or white noise can be a helpful buffer, as can listening to a guided meditation via an app like insight timer, or an audio book.
Did you eat something healthy? What do you need to eat to get strong? You can’t make a body out of missed meals and stress chocolate.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you need some low sensory input space so you can think? A glass of water? More movement? Less screens?
What things are you telling your kid to do for their health that you’re not following as guidelines at all?
Make a habit of treating yourself like someone worthy of care, because you are.
Picture Your Future
Selena Maestas, Life Coach and Speaker
"Creating a plan is like having a map to your gold treasure. And we all want to find our treasure! Like any good adventure, the most important step is believing you will make it. Now, before you roll your eyes at what sounds like “magical thinking”, understand that when you believe in yourself, your service or product, and your client, you will have laser focus to allow you the most direct growth.
One of the most powerful ways to guide your planning is to use the perspective of the woman you are trying to become. What will this woman look like, act like, think like, speak like, and what will she believe about herself and her business. Once you have her in mind, you can begin to create goals and find the belief to take massive action! She’s got your back! Cheers to your best year yet!"
Outsource Where You Can
Jamie Schertenleib, 503 Clean
"So many mom business owners are trying to juggle every aspect of business and family life and seem to be barely treading water.
Many women have found that by outsourcing things such as house cleaning and other tasks they can free up more time to be able to work on things that can keep forward momentum going for the growth and profitability of their business.
Remember while outsourcing helps free up your time you are also provided with the opportunity to help support another local mom owned business in the process!"
Susan Bender Phelps, Odyssey Mentoring
"Most of us have multiple competing commitments.
We run a business and have a family - BOOM! We might also have a day job - BOOM! If we are doing either of the above and taking care of a chronically ill child, spouse or parent - BOOM! If we have our own chronic health problems - BOOM!
Thinking we can balance it all is a nasty myth. It’s easy to achieve balance, but once you do, you can only sustain it if you stay absolutely still. If you’re really talented, you can move but veeeeerrrrry slowly. Trying to balance it all causes more stress and reduces our focus to standing still. Harmonizing keeps us in motion. When you are planning and taking action – consider how what you want to accomplish can be done in harmony with your life. The freedom will be worth it!
Prioritize Self Care
Sarah Nelson, Ancient Fern Medicine
No matter what your goals are for 2019, you can bet that planning ahead for your self care will go a long way in helping you achieve them.
I recommend scheduling ahead as many aspects of your self care that you can. Waiting until you're sick, in pain, or suffering from burn out to schedule care for yourself often leads to injury, illness, and a resulting lack of momentum in whatever it is you're hoping to achieve.
Sit down with your calendar and schedule weekly things like exercise, social time, quiet time, and any other ongoing aspects of your self care routine.
Schedule weeks and even months in advance for appointments like massage, acupuncture, and follow ups with your doctor. Not waiting until last minute to schedule will ensure that you stay feeling energized and ready to take on whatever you have planned for 2019. Future you will thank past you for prioritizing your self care.
We're excited to welcome Gwen Montoya, marketing strategist and MOB Nation CMO to the MOB blog. You can learn more about Gwen and how to connect with her at the end of the blog post.
Are you finally ready to get a handle on your marketing in 2019? Let’s look at the six steps you need to ensure your 2019 is as fantastic as you want it to be!
Define Your Audience
If I ask you “Who is your audience?” and your reply is “Everyone!” – it is time to narrow it down. Your audience isn’t everyone.
Although that may sound scary (are you turning money away??) it is actually a good thing. You can’t talk to everyone, but you can talk to your very specific audience who is eager to hear what you say.
How do you define your audience?
Sometimes you can look at demographics and understand that some ages and personalities are more interested in what you sell – it makes sense to then target your marketing towards that expected audience.
But you can also look at that same information and see who is being overlooked and why. That ignored demographic may be exactly the right fit for your business!
Ask yourself who YOU want to work with – what kind of client would make you jump out of bed the morning of your appointment because you are so excited to work with them? Reach out to those people through your words and images and you’ll have a calendar packed with clients who put a smile on your face.
Make a Plan to Reach Your Customers
Once you’ve determined who your audience is – how do you want to reach them?
Which social media platforms will you use?
Will you blog?
Will you need Pinterest?
Will you need to make videos?
Will you use Facebook advertising?
Do you need to meet your people in person?
Or, more importantly, where do your ideal people hang out? What inspires them? What makes them pay attention? How do they take in information?
Go back through the list of marketing options listed above and ask yourself if the people you want to work with are hanging out in those spots.
If your people aren’t on a social media platform, you likely don’t need to be there either. If, on the other hand, your people love (and I mean LOVE) a platform – it makes sense for you to invest some time there.
Create a Content Calendar
Before you get sweaty palms thinking about a content calendar, let’s break it down into what it actually is – a plan for what you’ll post and when.
That’s it. See? Not so scary, right?
Think about what kinds of content your favorite people to work with would enjoy. What will make them click on your link or video?
Is it “how to” types of content? Is it humor? Is it something that makes them think?
Chances are, it is a mix of all of that and more.
Start collecting, or creating, things your ideal person would respond well to and start scheduling it out via Facebook and other platforms.
Create Long Term Fans
It is one thing to work with someone once. Or have them buy your product or visit your business. It is something else entirely to create a fan who can’t wait to work with you again and tell all their friends about you.
Your service needs to be memorable. That doesn’t mean fireworks, balloons, and grand gestures. It means standing out from what anyone else around you is doing. Be thoughtful. If you were in your client’s position, what would you want from someone who does what you do?
How can you be just a little bit better than you were last week? How can you improve the service, communication, or experience of the NEXT person you work with? And the one after that?
Look for Collaborations
Your business shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Collaborating with another business is a great way to support another business and expand outside your own audience at the same time.
When thinking about who would be a good collaborator for your business, first pick someone who is just as invested in the collaboration as you are.
Then work with them to create a collaboration that is beneficial to both you. Be aware of any extra time or money required to make your collaboration work.
Show up Consistently, Not Just When it is Easy
Finally, one of the keys to marketing is simply showing up consistently. I know it sounds too easy, but it is true!
If you are consistently planning your marketing and thinking ahead throughout 2019.
If you are consistently reaching out to your audience and listening to what they have to say.
If you are consistently looking for opportunities to connect and grow.
If you are consistently striving to improve different aspects of your business.
Where do you think you’ll be in a year?
Gwen Montoya is a marketing strategist who is passionate about making marketing not scary for small business owners.
When she's not meeting with clients, you can find her hanging out with her kids, her dog, and the neighborhood peacock, Steve.
Connect with Gwen:
Kelley is a Portland native who loves sandwiches, ice cream, the Great British Bake Off, and struggling through beginning ballet for adults. She is also mom to two little boys and a writer.
She says she has always been a writer and editor at heart. “I was a freelance writer on and off for years, and a blogger just as blogging has been a thing. But after looking at my skill set and the market, I decided to focus on copywriting for small businesses. Now I get to build other women up, help small business owners thrive, and do what I love at the same time,” she explains.
Her biggest business struggle is a common struggle among MOBs – lack of time. “I'm a writer, and my husband is a musician, so we juggle childcare. Our schedules are different every week. I have to be careful to prioritize and spend my work time wisely,” she says.
She advises new business owners to make the leap, but also ask for help. “You can’t do it all on your own, so allow yourself to offload professional concerns like marketing, design, childcare, house cleaners... whatever you can afford, as well as personal ones. Find a network (like the MOB) to help expand your skills, business, heart, and mind.”
Kelley’s ideal referral is a business owner with a marketing budget who has a website but wants it to be rewritten to attract their ideal client.
Beyond websites, Kelley can help anyone who wants their written communication to be clear, helpful, and inviting.
She says the MOB has impacted her business because of the support she receives. She says “You can be yourself as a mom and business owner, be vulnerable, have questions, and celebrate successes. It's awesome.”
Kelley loves working for herself. “When I was at my last desk job, I would have KILLED to have one Tuesday morning where I could take a walk with my kids in the park or sit in a coffee shop working. I was stuck at a desk for 40 hours a week, answering the same email over and over. Now I get to make my own decisions about how I spend my time, I get to help people, and do what I love to do.”
She has an exclusive offer for MOB Alliance members – a Content Quick Fix for just $79 (usually $125-150).
Connect with Kelly online: