This week, I interviewed Lara Galloway who is an author, speaker, business coach, and host of the MomBiz Solutions Show podcast. She is also the author of Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur.
Tell us a little about your previous life and how you came to start your first business?
I started out in academia, after I got a masters in comparative literature, which is not really a career overflowing with job opportunities and money. I traded that in for a corporate career with IBM, then decided to start a family with my husband and became a stay at home mom. As much as I love my children and being a mother, it wasn’t enough. I became a certified life coach and worked with women entrepreneurs, women who felt like I felt… you don’t have to sacrifice a career or business for motherhood.
Even though you had previous experience in academia and the corporate world, what were challenges you faced starting your own business?
I had no idea what I was doing. None. I had a natural gift for it, but I was trained to be a great coach. I was really clear on my skillset. In the words of Michael Gerber of E-Myth, “I was just the technician. All I knew how to do was the work” that created the income. I was trading my time for money. I had no idea how to scale my business so that I wasn’t the bottleneck in it. I didn’t know how to track ideal clients or what they looked like. I didn’t set boundaries around my home, time, clients, etc.
How did you overcome the challenges?
I’ve had some awesome coaches and mentors along the way and some great friends on Twitter. There are people out there that have tutored and mentored me for years and will never know that. I have watched and learned and consumed everything free. If it was free, I was taking it. My coaches helped me figure out and refine what worked for me.
What do you think was key or central to your increased exposure and getting the attention of platforms like Forbes and Fast Company?
I would say it a little differently because I don’t think I’ve leveraged my relationships at IBM for my coaching business. I have lost touch in the past 12 years with most of the people I worked with at IBM. It doesn’t fit with who I am anymore. I have done so much to live out the 3rd to 4th decade of my life building who I am: a woman, an author, a coach, a mom…. My network now, is where I spend my time which is the perfect mesh between my personal life and professional life. My personal friends help me professionally and my professional friends help me personally. I’ve really worked on building a vast network of amazing people.
So, regarding the question, I would say social media marketing because at the end of the day it’s all about relationship building.
Is there such thing as work/life balance?
I do. I recognize “balance” is hyper-charged for some people, but I understand it means living a life that supports your priorities. That’s it. There’s not a big distinction between work and life. I really want to impress upon people that I work with and speak to that when you have strong boundaries (when you separate work from life), it will be the best thing and support you. However, I do give clients permission to mess that all that up and do what works for them and their priorities.
What are some of your favorite apps?
All of Google’s (docs, calendar, hangouts, etc.), Eventbrite®, Hootsuite®, Facebook®, Dropbox®, PayPal®, DocuSign® (I even use this to sign permission forms for my kid’s school)… I have so many that I use to run my business. I’m not an organized person. I have systems but a lot of “stuff”… a personal organizer would have a “hey day” with me.
How has starting your business and living your purpose balanced out to where you are now?
Looking backwards, it kind of looks like a straight line. In my 20’s, I didn’t have it figure out. But there were certain things I knew I loved. I was a teacher and a mentor. Even as a kid, I was tutoring. I’ve always taught other people how to do things. There is joy in teaching and sharing for me.
So, looking back you would think I assembled a pretty good path to get here. That it makes sense. But, at the time, no. I had no desire to be an entrepreneur. I thought I’d be a professor or executive in corporate America because that was the track I was on. To leave in the midst of that and do something totally different seemed disruptive and then to leave that and be a stay at home mom and then to choose to be an entrepreneur, it looks like I changed and pivoted a lot. I’ve always been teaching other people what I’ve learned.
Tell me about your book, Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur.
I wrote the book with my co-author Erin Baebler. She and I met online in a virtual mastermind group. Erin reached out to me one day and said writing a book was on her bucket list. She had decided the time was now and she had cleared her plate to make it a priority.
The topic that spoke to her the most was being a mom entrepreneur. She had been a life coach as long as I had and had been working with women in transition. Shortly after, we got an agent and a contract to write the book. What’s interesting is, never in the entire writing process did we physically meet in person. She is in Seattle. I’m in Michigan. We never met each other until months later when we shot the video trailer for the book.
What’s next for Lara Galloway?
My kids are getting a little older. They are 12, 10 and 8. They are not just little people that I have to handle, manage and take care of. They are growing up and being helpful themselves. So, I now have the opportunity to travel more. I’ll be speaking in more conferences and private organizations.
Image: Used with permission via Lara Galloway