Julie is the mother of five adult children (three by birth and two bonus children), soon to be grandmother of one baby girl, and is approaching her first year in business as a Partylite consultant.
She is also a software engineer at Microsoft and an advocate for women and children. After a rough first marriage and pushing herself to complete her education as a single mom of three young children, while also working full time, she feels compelled to give back.
Her daughter remembers when Julie first graduated from college:
“Soon, after much sacrifice, and many Subway visits, she obtained a programming internship with a local software company and graduated with her bachelor’s degree. I recall before she deployed new software, she would work long days in the office. Sometimes, she would bring me with her and I would get to press buttons and type random things to try and “break” her programs. A few years later, in the days of Geocities, I began making fan pages and blogs as a hobby. These moments helping my mom and being a “fangirl” truly inspired my blossoming interest in computer science. To this day, I am so grateful for my mom, the first person to truly inspire me in computer science.”
As a software engineer. Julie works primarily with males. However, she had a desire to be more involved with women and their causes, including the MOB NW, Code.Org and Girls Who Code Inc. She sincerely wants to help others and inspire young girls to strive to do anything as well as opening doors for the next generation. Julie enjoys talking with women and girls to inspire them and encourage them. “Together we truly can do some much good and have success together,” she says.
Julie was inspired to start her business, LiteItForward.com, by the Give program through her employer, Microsoft in which charities receive matching donations when employees donate to charities. Partylite candles have been a relaxing enjoyable stress-reducing part of Julie’s life, and her vision was to sell candles and donate proceeds.
She also regularly donates baskets for raffles and candles for gifts to charities. Fundraisers are also something she loves to do because the charities can receive from 40-60% of sales, depending on charity status in Give program.
You can find Julie at bazaars, private homes, and coffee shops bringing candles to her customers and allowing them to hold and smell the candles in person.
Julie counts the moms in the MOB NW and her daughter as her mentors.
Her biggest challenge is living up to her own expectations of what customer service should be, “I never want to sound like I am selling and trying to ensure customers know I do what I say and say what I do – ALWAYS,” she says.
She advises moms opening a new business join The MOB NW and to believe in themselves and their abilities. “Tell yourself every day you can do it,” she says.
Julie’s ideal referral is someone who loves candles, desires excellent customer service, and is interested in helping others at the same time.
She says her biggest accomplishment is the work she does through Microsoft’s Give program she says, “This year I have donated with help from Microsoft.com over 3,000 dollars to charities!” In fact, the thing she loves most about working for herself is her ability to give back while maintaining her job at Microsoft.
Julie loves being a member of the MOB NW because of the moms and connections she makes at the meet ups. “I love each and every MOB I’ve met,” she says.
You can find Julie online at:
Gwen Montoya is a single parent, a homeschooling mom of two, and a digital marketing consultant. She describes herself as a “giant geek, a marketing nerd, and I have a lifetime obsession with advertising, musicals and old movies!” Gwen says she has always been curious and enjoys understanding why and how things work. “I’m probably dating myself, but the day I discovered I could pull up a website in Scotland while I was in Beaverton was life changing. I love to dive into research and suddenly the whole world had opened up!”
She says she was inspired to start her business because she has witnessed small business owners struggling to understand marketing and the new technology that comes with it. She also knows business owners struggle with the costs associated with marketing. “I’ve seen them struggle and get frustrated to the point of giving up. I’ve seen them be taken advantage of because they didn’t understand what they were paying for (or weren’t paying for). I realized that this marketing thing that is really clear, fun, and neat to me, is not fun for everyone,” she says. Gwen says her clients are often stuck between doing nothing and trying to do it all themselves. “They have a business to run, a family to care for, and they are trying to wrap their head about marketing on top it. If they were bigger, they could hire a firm, but they aren’t there yet. We work together, they get the knowledge and confidence they need to move forward, and they know I’m here if they need help in the future,” she explains.
Gwen tells us she doesn’t have a specific mentor she looks up to, but has always inspired by strong women being bold. “I’m inspired by women like Julia Child who discovered their passions when they were a little older, and by women like Lucille Ball who broke through a lot of ‘firsts’,” she says.
Gwen says her biggest challenge is balancing work and family. She manages it by staying flexible. “I limit my meetings to one per day, and I’m not gone longer than four hours at a time. During my work time, I need to be very focused to get as much done as possible. Beyond that, I’m making it up as I go along, but it works,” she says.
She advises new business owners to ask for help when they need it. “You don’t have to do it all yourself. Ask for help or find an easier way. I don’t necessarily mean hiring someone like me. If you need help with meal prep, buy pre-chopped vegetables. If you need help with the kids, call in relatives or friends for back up. If you need time to yourself to function, don’t be shy about asking for it. We’re really, really not supposed to do all of this by ourselves,” she says. She continues “On the business side of things, look for ways to streamline your marketing tasks. Limit yourself to just two social media platforms and be clever and brilliant on those two before adding more. Don’t be shy about networking and connecting with others. The support you find is invaluable.”
Gwen specializes in working with mom business owners. “I’ve worked with lots of different types of people and I’m not limited geographically so I’ve worked with businesses in different parts of the world. But I especially love working with moms. I love knowing that the work we do together helps them fulfill their goals and be able to spend more time with their families,” she says.
Gwen says she is a very proud mom and is especially proud of creating a career where she can attempt to balance work and homeschooling. “But my biggest accomplishment is anytime I actually take a day off and stick to it. I love my work; it is fun and feels like play. And since much of my work happens on social media, it is easy to check social media on my day off and get sucked into a quick work session since I’m there anyway,” she says.
She says she is excited to be a MOB NW member for the support and connection the MOB provides. “I love knowing the owners of the businesses I support. I also like finding new businesses to support specifically because they are a MOB. Beyond that, I’m thrilled to be on the board of directors. There is nothing else like it in the world! I think a big part of that is Aria’s leadership and vision,” she says.
Gwen shares that the board of directors recently had head shots taken by MOB NW member Traveling Julie Photography. “I’m not sure if boards of directors typically laugh this much, but each of the board members brings something special and unique to the board, and we like working together! Ashley, Brittainie, Eva, and Aria – we’re all working towards the same goal. That is a really special thing,” she says.
She loves working for herself because of the freedom it gives her to be with her kids. “As a single mom who also homeschools, being able to take a beach field trip or a trip to the zoo on a random Tuesday is one of my favorite things about working for myself.” She also has unusual days off. “I really struggled with being available to clients during my weekday volunteer time. I realized it was a better choice to take Mondays and Tuesdays off instead of Saturdays and Sundays. That’s a choice I would not be able to make if I worked for someone else,” she explains.
You can find Gwen online at:
Stephanie recently launched her career with Legal Shield after being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years. She and her husband have been married for 17 years. In addition to being a homeschooling parent, she also received her Master’s degree in Business Management and Organizational Leadership from Warner Pacific College.
When we asked Stephanie what inspired her to start her business she responded, “My family did. I knew that I was not willing to give up being a stay-at-home mom. I love being with my children, and the time freedom that being in network marketing gives you was the opportunity I was looking for.”
Stephanie’s favorite parts of working for herself include the ability to spend time with her family, being able to utilize the leadership skills she learned from Warner Pacific, and helping her team work towards their dreams. “I have always enjoyed being able to help other people and knowing that my business helps empower people and gives them access to affordable legal care, it was a partnership that I knew would be beneficial to so many people,” she explains.
Stephanie says her biggest mentor is her mom. “My mom has always shown me that with hard work anything is possible. She taught me to never give up on my dreams and has always been my biggest supporter. She instilled in me a good work ethic and integrity. She inspires me daily.”
It isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows Stephanie that she is a proud mom and counts raising her two sons to be loving and caring boys as one of her greatest achievements. “I have always believed that being a parent is a privilege and something that I am very grateful for. I do my best to lead by example for my children and hope that one day they will learn to follow their dreams and realize that the sky is the limit,” she says.
Her biggest business challenge is communicating the value of what her business can offer its users. “I hope to educate people on how to access their legal rights and give them the opportunity to realize that they deserve equal access to the justice system.”
She advises new business owners to have faith in themselves and their business, and to remember that slow and steady is better than racing to the finish line. “Success never happens by giving up,” she says. She continues, “I think the key to starting your own business is being able to have a vision and work towards that vision. Create goals for you and your business and always be open to learning and changing.”