1. Tell us a little about yourself and your business. I am a mom of two girls and I live in the Princeton area. I started my career as a middle school teacher (computers and then math), but I took the leap and left my job and career to pursue what I do now. I do a little bit of everything: public relations, event marketing, advertising design, and social media consulting.
2. What inspired you to begin your business and how did you get started? A lot of what I do now was inspired by my experience outside the classroom. I started my blog (which is now retired), Mrs. Mo's New Jersey, in 2007 while I was still teaching. At the time I was also running my college alumni club which involved a lot of event planning and I was also doing some work in the Communications Department at my school. I was immersing myself in a world that did not include teaching and I loved it more than what I was doing! I started taking public relations classes at a local university and decided to enroll full-time and leave my job so that I could launch a new career. When I wasn't taking classes, I was volunteering to gain experience towards my new career. Through my volunteer projects, I was doing design work, helping to plan events, and working on committees.
3. Who (or what) has been your biggest source of support?
Oh gosh, that's hard! My husband for sure. He was there from the moment I started thinking of leaving my job. We didn't have any kids at the time, but we certainly knew it was going to be tight without that 2nd income. But he realized my heart wasn't in teaching and he was my cheerleader and supporter. He was really proud of what I was doing and the connections & opportunities I was picking up during that time. In addition to him, I DEFINITELY would not have the confidence to pursue a career that I didn't major in at school if it wasn't for the mom blogger community. I met so many women who launched online careers out of their blogging experience and connections and I KNEW I could do it too! Most of my "IRL" friends don't understand the digital/online/blogging world and I felt somewhat alone in my pursuit, but there was a huge network of women out there who were doing what I did (and wanted to do) and they were my motivation and support.
4. How do you strike a balance between your personal life (life as a mom) and maintaining a successful business?
Just when you think you have things flowing perfectly, one of your children goes through a phase that throws everything off! It's been a big challenge, but again, if it wasn't for my digital mom friends I don't know how I would manage. I do have a babysitter who comes a few hours every week, but I work around the girls' schedule. I tend to do "mommy" stuff in the morning (errands, play date, library, pre-school, etc) and then after lunch it's nap, "private time," and "Mommy's work time." I am very strict when it comes to the daily routine bc otherwise, it would be chaos! I wouldn't have been able to start and grow my business if my 1st child wasn't so great at napping and I got lucky with my 2nd too. But then again, it goes back to getting your children on a schedule so that everyone knows the routine and it helps to keep the flow of the day going smoothly. Also, I don't think I could have a growing business if it wasn't for clients who GOT IT. They know I'm at home with my kids and they are very flexible with that.
5. Where do you see your business three years from now?
My business is about 3 years old and SO much has happened in that time so if I look ahead another 3 years, the sky is the limit! At the very least, I'll be so thankful for the extra time alone since both girls will be in school (the youngest will be in her last year of pre-school). I would love to get back to blogging again so perhaps I'll have my own blog up and running again or I'll be a contributor to others. I also started speaking and teaching more and so I'd like to expand on that and in 3 years, I'll have more flexibility to travel. Quite honestly, I'm happy with what I'm doing now and the client load is perfect and so I don't plan on really expanding load in terms of client work. I think I would expand on side projects if anything. Maybe plan a conference...who knows!
6. How do you define success?
Success to me is a combination of professional and personal growth and happiness. You can make a lot of money and have a ton of clients, but if your personal life is a mess or out of sync, where's the success in that? Success for me is the ability to grow my business and make my clients happy and inspired to be creative while at the same time making time for exercise and eating right, spending time with my girls and husband, and having time for friends and hobbies. And I know this will sound cliche, but I have experienced the popular fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, and let me tell you: slow and steady DOES win the race!
Very nice! Hilary is a good friend and it is wonderful to see her featured here! - Kim
What a great profile....I had no idea that you were a teacher Hilary. Such an interesting career path!