Shelly Nicholas is a Military Spouse, new mother and the President of Pretty Knotty LLC as well as being a professor of marketing at several universities. For Mother’s Day, Shelly took some time to tell us about being a Mom-trepreneur.
Thank you for taking this interview! While no day is average, could you walk us through a day in the life of a Mom-trepreneur?
You are totally correct that there is no average day right now! Life with a 4 month old is different every day. Ella usually gets up around 5:15am-5:30am – the silver lining is there’s no need to set an alarm. She’s up eating, playing, and helping me with the morning routine (feeding the cat, walking the dog, etc.) until about 8am. Then, if I’m lucky, she’ll get a solid 1.5-2 hour nap. That’s when I CRUSH work. When she gets up, she eats again, and I try to give her some time to chill and play independently so I can get a bit more work done. We go through this cycle until about 4:30pm when my husband comes home and takes over. I hit the gym, feed the baby, and usually do work until I can’t keep my eyes open. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I change about 1 million diapers a day.
What was the hardest part of being an entrepreneur before becoming a mom, and after?
The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur before becoming a mom was business-related challenges such as product development hiccups and sourcing the best product materials/packaging/etc. After becoming a mom, I’m finding the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is balancing work and life. I’m so grateful that I’m passionate about my business because time spent focusing on business tasks doesn’t feel like work. I look forward to my quiet moments when I can focus and continue to see the business grow.
From your work in New York City assisting startups and your experience starting a business yourself, what advice would you give moms of young kids who want to start a business?
- Start something that you believe in, are passionate about, and there’s a market for
- Get a partner (or 2). Life is a team sport. Find your team; divide and conquer.
- Be kind to yourself as you adjust to mom life. Some days you’ll need to focus more on the human baby and other days you’ll be able to focus more on the other baby (your business).
- If someone offers help, take it. If you need help, ask for it.
What resources are available to help you as a woman, a Military Spouse, a mom and an entrepreneur?
I am a proud member of the Milspo Project. (www.milspoproject.org) It’s a non-profit organization that serves military spouse entrepreneurs. They have a mastermind group that I’ve been a member of for 3 years now. It’s a fantastic network of talented, motivated spouses who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. I’ve gotten great advice from many of the other entrepreneurs in the group. I’m also a member of the INC Military Entrepreneurs Program (https://www.inc.com/military-entrepreneurs ) INC magazine created this program to help veterans and military spouse entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. This is another amazing network that’s offered me lots of advice along the way.
If you were not constricted by money, time, and reality, what would be your perfect mother’s day gift? And your real-life perfect Mother’s Day gift?
Either way, I’d love a nap.
As your time is even more precious now that you are a mom and an entrepreneur, what aspects of your business are you comfortable outsourcing to others?
I’ve found that in business and in life, I’m way more comfortable outsourcing almost anything right now. Life with a newborn while working in a home office can be overwhelming. I’m so grateful that I can rely on my business partner to manage anything and everything that I might need help with.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur, and did it change after you became a mom?
I am so proud of the brand and products that we’ve built. FIT TIES are products that I wanted and needed my whole life, so to have created something that solves a problem is very rewarding. I love getting feedback from users who feel the same way. After becoming a mom, I’m still proud of our business’s accomplishments in terms of product development, but I’m also proud to have had the confidence to try and star something difference and create a new product. Starting a business can be daunting; I hope my daughter will be motivated to follow her dreams and fearless in her pursuits throughout her life.
What are your Mom goals for 2018? Your Pretty Knotty goals?
#1 Mom Goal – Keep that baby happy and healthy
#1 Pretty Knotty Goal – Get on the shelves of Fleet Feet Sports nationally
For a lot of entrepreneurs, they have trouble taking their idea and moving from “just an idea” to a potential business. What is the first step you would take to turn an idea into a business?
The first step to turn an idea into a business is to assess the ideas feasibility. Is it a viable and sustainable concept? Can you actually make this product or offer this service to a market that’s willing and able to pay a price that will generate a profit for you? Conduct a basic feasibility analysis and be brutally honest with yourself.
Thank you for your time