Growing Your Business As a Mom with the Business Besties

In celebration of Mother’s Day, the Business Besties are dedicating their fifth episode to all working moms around the globe. We honor both the struggles and wins of every mompreneur, including us, in growing their businesses while managing their homes.

In this episode, we covered:

1. What is a mompreneur?

2. Gender stereotypes

3. How mothers manage everything at the same time

4. Mompreneurs most common challenges while growing their business.

5. Importance of knowing how long one task takes you

6. Time blocking

7. Separation of work and home

8. Setting boundaries between your personal life and business

9. Tools that they use to help manage their time

If you’re a mom and you want to start a business, make sure to listen to this week’s episode as the Business Besties share their ups and downs in their entrepreneurial journey.

Visit Kendra’s website:


Learn more about Katie and Next Step Social Communications:


Katie Brinkley 0:02

Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. I am so excited to bring you a new feature of Rocky Mountain marketing. I am going to be sitting down with my business bestie Kendra squalls once a month to bring you some of our insights to running our own businesses and some of the struggles that we’ve faced along the way.

Kendra Swalls 0:24

Alright guys, we are back with another business besties episode. I’m Kendra swas, your resident mompreneur business coach and I’m here with my business bestie Katie Brinkley.

Katie Brinkley 0:35

Hello, I’m Katie Brinkley. I am a social media strategist. And I’ve been helping small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants with their social media strategy for 18 years now. Gosh, I always feel so old whenever I say that intro I need to think of another way of saying that Kendra.

Kendra Swalls 0:54

Just say for two decades, it just makes you older. You started when you were 10. It’s fine.

Katie Brinkley 1:01

I came out of the womb doing social media. That’s what I Yeah.

Kendra Swalls 1:08

Oh my gosh. Well, so we thought in honor of Mother’s Day coming up that we would talk a little bit today about being a mompreneur being a mom, a business owner, what that looks like what that means how we kind of balance it all and manage it all. And I want to start with just the kind of idea of a mom per newer or a mom, boss. There’s a lot of kind of chatter on social media, and then that of like, oh, well, I’m just a boss. I’m just a business owner. I’m not putting mom in front of it sort of negates the fact that I could do all these things. And I have a different opinion is that but I’m curious to know, Katie, what your thoughts are?

Katie Brinkley 1:48

Well, the good old Google Dictionary describes a mompreneur as a woman who sets up and runs her own business in addition to caring for her young child or children. And I feel like that is a somewhat good definition. But I agree, I feel like it’s leaving a lot of information off of what all the additional duties are of a mompreneur. So I’m curious what your thoughts are on it. But I definitely feel like the Google is not giving everybody the full scope of what a mompreneur it’s, yeah.

Kendra Swalls 2:24

So for me, I it sounds like I get triggered when people say this. I think the reason that some people have an aversion to that phrase, or that term is maybe that they, at some point, have kind of become synonymous with like, well, it’s just this little business that you’ve run, or it’s a hobby, it’s not as important. And I look at it, and I think no, if I’m able to do this,

Katie Brinkley 2:48

that’s so true. I feel like when my more comes out, it instantly is like, I’m a caregiver, that’s, you know, selling Tupperware products on the side. I don’t know if you can even sell Tupperware products from home. But I mean, like, that’s kind of what I think of when I hear the word mompreneur. It’s almost kind of like a downgrade on what we do.

Kendra Swalls 3:07

And to me, that’s not giving moms enough credit. Because in my opinion, what I do, in addition to running my business, the fact that I have been able to build not one but two successful businesses, while still being essentially a full time mom and caregiver and running a household like it’s almost like a badge of honor to say like, I’m doing this successfully. I’m doing this well. And I’m doing it as a mom, it’s kind of like that, like, I can do all these things and do well and heels. Like it’s the same kind of concept and not to downgrade like what men do. But I think it’s a different. There’s a difference between a man built business and a mom building a business. And it’s not a bad thing. I think I think it shows that you’re capable of doing so much

Katie Brinkley 3:58

well, and it’s I feel like it’s unfortunately, part of the gender stereotypes that we’ve been men and women have been have placed upon them throughout time. I mean, it definitely is way more common to have both parents in the workforce now and in the workplace. But it’s not as common to have the dad or the the man take a step back when the child is born. I mean, you rarely see the mom saying, Okay, well, I’m gonna go back to the office and provide for this family while you are raising the kids until they’re off to school. It’s very uncommon to see that and I don’t know, gender stereotypes, if it’s something that unfortunately, it’s just the way that it is. And I don’t know how really to change it. But you’re right. We don’t say like dad burner. It’s entrepreneur solopreneur. And then we have this mompreneur kind of hybrid role. And I think that, like you said, it definitely makes me think Well, wait a second. Why Why aren’t we kind of giving dads their their due diligence of having that space of they wanted to stay home? I guess they could, but we do have all the things. So it’s kind of it’s just thought like, Okay, you’re gonna have kids will, you’ll probably stay home with them. Right as as a woman.

Kendra Swalls 5:16

Yeah. And that’s when things like I kind of want to change. You know, not that like I’m saying like, I’m one person. I mean, I know one person can make a change. But like, that’s part of what I want to do is I want to help change the social perception around the term like mompreneur, because I heard it said once. I can’t remember where I heard this, but it was some celebrities saying and she was like, she was one of my biggest pet peeves is my husband, either both actors actresses, just like we would walk the red carpet. And he would walk you a little bit ahead of me in line, or I’d be talking to reporters. And the reporters always say, look, how do you do at all? How do you balance mom life and work life? And she’s like, I finally got to the point where I said, Did you ask my husband the same question? Because, like, why would you ask him that question? Why are you asking me that question? As the mom is the woman in the relationship, if you’re gonna ask me ask my husband to how does he balanced the same job that I have? And the same kids that I have? But nobody’s asking him that question. And that was one of the things where I was like, oh, that’s, that’s pretty good. Because my husband’s never been asked not once, like, oh, how do you balance? You know, having kids and working? And or, you know, when he was working from home a little bit, he’s nobody asked him, How are you handling working from home with your kids? Because it wasn’t, it’s not something that’s kind of built into our culture to think about, it’s they asked the woman like, oh, how are you able to do all those things? And that’s why I’m like chi for

Katie Brinkley 6:39

mommy. Well, yeah, we can grow human beings within our bodies. It’s It’s pretty amazing.

Kendra Swalls 6:48

Yeah, but that’s why I think mompreneurs should be a badge of honor and something we’re proud of, because it shows that we are capable of doing all the things and doing them really well and really successfully.

Katie Brinkley 7:01

I 100%. Agree. And I think that as a mom, I left my corporate job, but it wasn’t by choice. I, my position was eliminated. But once I found my own kind of space with my business, I still was building the business around my kids schedules. And it really wasn’t until my oldest was in school full time that I had the opportunity to be like, Okay, let’s see what I can do with this business. And it’s like, if I would have had the time or the capabilities of just being able to build my business after my corporate job. And then who knows where the business would be or how much faster we would have gotten to where we are now. But I think that as a mompreneur, we, there’s so many things that we are responsible for doing. And I think that we’re really good. As mompreneurs of figuring out how to be efficient, I know that I have a certain amount of time to get things done, because I want to be able to pick up my kids from school. And I know that it takes this long to get this task done. So I have to be extremely punctual and on track with my project that I’m currently working on. And I’m sure you know, as a fellow mompreneur, what do you think is the biggest asset that US mompreneurs? Have? Is it our efficient NIS or?

Kendra Swalls 8:27

Yeah, I think it’s like, the time management piece like, and then it’s the ability to kind of and I don’t blame me like the word multitask really, because I feel like multitask means you’re spreading yourself too thin. But the ability to switch from one thing to another really quickly, like and I’ve seen this within like my, you know, workplace when I was teaching we would have you’d have to switch from like, Okay, this is happening to this happening to this is happening. And you would have again, not to try to stereotype but you’d have male teachers or substitutes that would come in that was something they kind of struggled with, they like want to put everything in its own little box and have it be compartmentalized. Whereas I’m like, no, no, everything’s in one big box. It’s all jumbled up. And you got to be able to go from x to y to be to, you know, G and like a heartbeat. And so for me, that’s always been one of the strongest assets of being a mompreneur is that I can be efficient with my time, but I can also switch back and forth really quickly. So I know that like, okay, my kids are going to be home at four o’clock. So I’m gonna get as much as I can until four o’clock. But then once they’re home, we kind of have this hour an hour and a half of downtime before our evening activities start and I can be fixing them a snack and checking an email message or I can be I can go from like snuggling with them on the couch for a few minutes and helping them with homework to give me my podcast episode edited and uploaded. Like I can do things pretty quickly and I can switch back and forth. Whereas I think that for people who aren’t dealing with children or or parent life that sounds like you may have to really worry about too much. It’s like a skill you kind of established once you have kids,

Katie Brinkley 10:07

I know that one of the things that helped me with my efficiency was setting aside certain times. So in addition to realizing how long it took me to do certain projects and certain tasks, I want for one, I had no idea how long I was spending with my podcast. You know, I was like, Oh, I just recorded it’s an hour a week. But after writing, writing the description and uploading it and getting I was doing the editing. So doing all of those things added up to like, six hours a week. So I had to track my time to realize what I was efficient in and what really was kind of a giant time suck on my end. I don’t know if there’s anything that that you found that’s kind of been similar.

Kendra Swalls 10:51

Yeah, I mean, for me, a lot of the podcasts was a big one. Like it was, like you said, like, you think, Oh, it’s just one like 40 minute episode a week, like, How long could that take? But then yeah, you go in, you got to make the graphics and you got to upload it. And you got to create, like, I send an email each week to go along with the episode like that all takes time. And I will say like, for me, a lot of it too, is a matter of the longer you are in business. And the more proficient you become with things they do happen faster. So like, I know, when I first started my podcast, I mean, it would take me two hours to record a 30 minute episode, because I kept trying to go back and like pause and redo a section. And now I’m just like, it is it is, if I need to edit I can’t afterwards. But it’s just like,

Katie Brinkley 11:35

just with podcasting, really fast camera. I mean, like, that was one of the things for me, too. I was like, I can’t have an arm in there. I can’t have an A but about that weird pause, and I going back and like I really didn’t need to edit all that stuff out. And I think it makes you more relatable. I mean, we all have those awkward pauses. And that’s it allows the listener to really become more connected with you now if I was sitting there, and then maybe do some editing, but I love that you stopped editing. But continue your thoughts. Sorry to do Yeah,

Kendra Swalls 12:08

no, I mean, I think no, no, absolutely. No. And I think that’s a big part of it, too, is, you know, talking about like becoming more efficient. As a mom, I think that is a lot of it is you for me, okay, I’ll kind of give like a little side story. For me, one of the biggest light like lessons I learned I became a mom was that things are not going to be perfect. Like my house is not gonna be perfect anymore. My child is not going to be perfect all the time. They’re not going to look perfect all the time. I like family dinners at night. And that like nothing is going to be what you see on Pinterest, let’s just be real, like that’s not happening. And the same concept applied to my business was that like, okay, so that email, I forgot to, like, add the link to the button. Oops, I’m gonna go back and resend another email saying oops, sorry. Like, how many times have we seen people do that, like, forgot to add the link to that email. It’s not the end of the world. Or if I put out a post on social media and I have a misspelled word, or I forgot to put a period at the end of the sentence or whatever. Like, my husband likes to proofread all my stuff after I’ve already posted it, which is not helpful. But I just I’ve learned

Katie Brinkley 13:11

that like mine has actually done that.

Kendra Swalls 13:14

You have a little bit but that’s okay. I need I need that in my license. I’ve but I’ve learned that it’s okay, if it’s not perfectly polished and edited. And that’s not just for podcasts. It’s for my business in general.

Katie Brinkley 13:30

Yeah, well, and I think that setting aside the time of realizing how long certain things take is huge with your business. And whether you are an entrepreneur mompreneur dad printer, whatever, knowing how long things take you as essential and, and one of the biggest things for you and I’ve talked about this before Kendra is we’re both Enneagram sevens. And I think the hat we like right now I’m just looking and I have maybe nine different browser windows open on my computer, like just on the Safari page that I’ve got chats over here, there’s so many distractions, and one of the things that’s helped me be more efficient is this little box. So for those who are watching on the YouTubes, you can see what I’m holding up, but it’s this little timer box and it has fifth you can hear it clicking. It has 10 or 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and I flipped the box over to say like, Okay, how long am I going to spend going down the rabbit hole that is my emails, it’s time for me to clean them up. I’m going to put a 60 minute timer on and if I still can’t finish up my emails in that amount of time, then I have got a problem. But that’s what I do is I set aside these time blockings for me so that I can be more efficient with all the different aspects of my business.

Kendra Swalls 14:49

Yeah, I love that. And I know we’ve shared that on a live before and I had tons of people that asked me about that. So we’ll make sure to share that link either in the show notes or on social media. cuz that little cube is super helpful. And even if you don’t want to buy a cube, you can still like setting a timer on your phone, setting a timer, you know, I have like a little Amazon, my office, I play music through, I can set timers through her like there’s all these different ways you can kind of set these boundaries for yourself so that you are like blocking off that time. And I think another like thing that has helped me is having sort of a shutdown time, at the end of the day, like I mentioned, like my kids get home at four o’clock, I do my best to be done with all of the major works things by four o’clock because I want to when they get home, I want to be able to like, help them with homework, talk about their day. Like we usually go straight into sports or art classes or whatever activity we have for that evening. And so I don’t want you know, my day the bleed over now when I had my little one at home with me still, that was a little more flexible. So you have to know like the season that you’re in and give yourself grace. But I think also like protecting that family time and allowing yourself permission to protect that family time and say like, I don’t have to be working 24/7 To be successful in my business, I can still have like an 830 to 330 kind of timeframe. Or if you have a kid at home, maybe it’s 630 to eight o’clock in the morning. And then you have like nap time from noon to two and then whatever in the evening. But making sure that when you do take that time for your family that you’re kind of allowing yourself to really disconnect.

Katie Brinkley 16:28

Yeah, I love that. And that this connection is something that’s extremely important. And it was hard for me when as a mompreneur that was at home working from home with small children there. It was hard for me to disconnect and to find the time to focus on my business and then also time to focus on my family. Because I was trying to do both of them at the same time I was working, the only way I was able to do it was by working at eight o’clock after both my kids had gone to bed. And I was working from like eight to midnight. And that was not a great quality of life for me. I mean, because I was still getting

Kendra Swalls 17:03

up. Exactly. And then your husband probably didn’t love that a whole lot, either.

Katie Brinkley 17:06

No, no, he didn’t. I mean, like, I’d be sitting on the couch working on my laptop, we’d have some show or the game on and then he’d be like, alright, well, I’m tired, I’m gonna go to bed. And it was it was hard on us i the whole family. But I, I didn’t know how to really separate that time. And that’s where having that separation of work. And home is really important. And that’s again, for those watching on the YouTubes. That’s why I’m in here. That’s why I have a co working space. I’m Gosh, Kendra, I wish I was strong enough to be able to just shut that door and go to work. But I at the home office, I’d be starting to do laundry and then I would just quickly unload the dishwasher. And oh, well I’m gonna get the mail now the neighbors out there. So Hi, neighbor. And I was not the few hours that I had every day or the during the day to get work done. While might maybe my mom was watching the girls, or they were at an event or they were taking a nap. I wasn’t maximizing that time. You know, I was doing all the other house

Kendra Swalls 18:11

things. Yeah. Well, I think that’s the biggest like struggle I hear from moms a lot is how frustrated they are. Especially when they have kids at home with that phase of life of like, I want so badly to have the time to build my business. And I don’t because I’ve got kids at home, they need me, I can’t just you know, especially if they’re a little I can’t just put them in front of a TV. I don’t want to do that, like I want to be present. That’s why I’m home with them. And I totally understand that. And so one of the things that I did that was super helpful when I had my little ones still at home with me. And even when I was teaching full time and I would come home, try to like be there for my kid. You know, my husband cooked dinner, do all the things but still wanted to have time for my business was my husband I had a deal that like twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays when he got home from work. He was in charge of dinner that night and I left and either went to a coffee shop or there was like this little restaurant not far from our house that had a really great like little bar area and I would sit in that order like a drink and an appetizer and my put my laptop on the bar and I just sit in work. Or I’d go sit in a booth by myself and order dinner. Like I became very comfortable being the person who like at seven o’clock at night on a Tuesday was in a restaurant booth by myself with my laptop like but even just having those two or three hours twice a week where it wasn’t me trying to sit on the couch and watch a show with my husband at night and him getting frustrated because I was working and he wanted my attention. I was like you said with your office, I had to physically leave my home and set those boundaries and that helped a ton. And even now there are some nights if work gets really busy and I’ve got a lot going on. I will just say like hey, I need one night this week that I’ve seen like ghosts To the Starbucks and did like knock all of this out. And then the rest of the week or the weekend, I’m logging off. And so if you need to do that in order to be able to log off and be able to have, like your focus on your family when it needs to be in your family, then whether it’s asking a spouse for help one night a week asking parents to babysit, hiring a babysitter trading with another mom who’s doing the same thing, like saying like, Okay, on Tuesdays, you’ll, you know, watch the kids and then on Thursdays, I’ll watch the kids and you can go work like there are heroes who like I just, I don’t have family nearby, and I can’t afford to hire a sitter, there are ways you can make it work if you really want to make it work. I

Katie Brinkley 20:40

100% agree. And it really comes down to for me, like you said it was leaving the house and figuring out how much time certain tasks took me so that I knew, Okay, I have two hours that I can spend at Starbucks or at this coffee shop. How am I going to get all of these things that are on my to do list done? And

Kendra Swalls 21:01

not by scrolling social media? That is

Katie Brinkley 21:04

100% accurate? Honestly, like the whole man, what did they call it? Do Not Disturb mode that has come out from the iPhone, I’m sure that my friends and family are not happy with me. But it has been a game changer for my productivity. When I get to the office, my phone turns into to work mode, and I only get certain notifications.

Kendra Swalls 21:25

I love that. Like when I try to text you in the evenings, it tells me that you have notifications turned off. And so I’m like, Well, I’m gonna text her anyway, because I have something I want to say. But if you don’t respond, I know that that’s why. So I think that’s a really smart thing that iPhone is gonna be doing is not just putting it into those focus modes. But like telling people when they try to text you like, Hey, Katie has notifications turned off shall see this when notifications come back on.

Katie Brinkley 21:52

Yeah, and I mean, I’m not offended when I see it on other people’s accounts that they have Do Not Disturb mode turned on. I mean, like, it’s, it’s really helped me with setting aside, okay, it’s work time in a world where we are so accessible. I mean, you think about it before the internet’s even 15 years ago, Kandra when when people left the office, that was it for work for the day. That was it. Now there was there was no easy way to answer that email, or to quickly get back to somebody, or to just check that file. It was what it was. And I mean, while the internet has been great at giving, making us more productive, it’s also made us so productive, that we’re available, way more than we probably need to be. And yeah, that do not disturb has been a game changer for me.

Kendra Swalls 22:46

Well, that’s another thing I was gonna say too, it’s like a tip is setting boundaries with your clients too. Because I know, for example, when I am doing photography, I don’t give out my phone number to just anybody, like, I don’t have it on my website, I don’t have it on my social, it’s reserved for the few people that I know need to get a hold of me. And even so if I give it to a client, I tell them, I’m giving you my number, if you need to get a hold of me before or after our session, that’s fine. Just know that, you know, in the evenings, I typically don’t check my phone. So if you text me in the evening, I may respond to the next day. And I’ve never had somebody fire me over that I’ve never had somebody be offended by that, like, they understand. I think a lot of times your clients respect those boundaries, and they respect you more for having those boundaries. So don’t be afraid to also set those boundaries with your clients so that they know when they can get a hold of you and they’re not feeling like you’re not feeling like you’re on call 24/7 and they don’t feel like they can have access to you 24/7

Katie Brinkley 23:53

I 100% agree on that. And if you’re trying to grow a business and you are trying to steal, you’ll run the family and you have kids at home and you’re your mom or your dad printer. Establishing the boundaries is essential delegation, figuring out how long certain tasks take you, figuring out how you can be the most efficient so that you are when you’re at work, you’re maximizing your time there so that when you’re at home, you can maximize the time with your family. I think that is essential for anyone that’s trying to grow their business. Those are some of the most important things as you go along this entrepreneur journey.

Kendra Swalls 24:33

Yeah. And I think to like an I just kind of want to I’ll say this one thing they kind of wrap it up but as we go into like Mother’s Day and we’ve been talking about being moms and and running a business. Just remember that this is not doesn’t have to be the small business that everyone else might look at you as having like you get to make this whatever you want. And you being a mom is not putting limitations on what you’re capable of. doing and what the success you’re capable of having. I do think that no one can do it all by themselves. So don’t be afraid to ask for help have community around you that it takes a village is a real thing like it does take a village and it takes even larger village if you’re trying to build a business as well. But just know that the mompreneur title that you carry is very much a badge of honor.

Katie Brinkley 25:25

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.