Elena is a serial mompreneur who has sold 2 businesses for six-figures and is currently involved with 3 other businesses.
She is author of “PR in Your Pajamas: Practical Publicity for the Time-Strapped, Cash Crunched Mom Entrepreneur” which helps start-up and new businesses gain publicity, credibility and customers.
What inspired you start your business?
Actually, I’m an accidental entrepreneur. My very first business was in 1996 when I had to step into the family business after my father died. After I married an entrepreneur, I realized I could never work for anyone else. At one point between my husband and I we had 8 or maybe even 9 businesses going from bicycles to socks to green technologies and marketing. We lost track!
That was a bit much so last year we decided to keep a bit more focused. I think I love the start-up phase the best.
How long have you been in business?
I’ve had my international PR firm for about 10 years now, been a life and business coach for mompreneurs for 3 years and I wrote the book last year.
What did you do in your past work life?
I’ve always been in PR – I worked for the biggest agency in San Francisco while I was still in school, then one of the biggest independent agencies in London. I moved to Vancouver and started my own company there. Right now I’m based in Asia…moving back to Canada in May 2009.
What is your ideal workday like?
I love learning new things so right now I spend a lot of time figuring out blogging (built my own blog which I am so tickled about since I’m not really a techie), social media sites and internet marketing.
I love creating so I like to spend a good chunk of the day visualizing and thinking up new ideas and new products.
The best part of running a location-free business is when I get to work from the beach, sometimes for weeks or months at a time. Or travel the world for 5 months and then just check email twice a week or so to make sure everything is going okay. Now with kids, it’s great to be able to wrap up my day when I want to, without having to make excuses to anyone else.
What have been some of your major successes?
Creating businesses from home that have earned revenues in the six and seven figures and allow me the freedom to live anywhere I choose.
Although I also work with corporate clients, it’s the individuals that impact me the most. When I get emails that I have made a real difference in their lives or businesses. I’m always taken aback and grateful that I can contribute in some way.
What have been some of your major challenges?
My Shiny Object Syndrome. As an entrepreneur, I am always assessing new ideas, new ventures. I get so excited at the latest and greatest and I have to remind myself to stay focused.
My Mommy’s Guilt that sometimes it’s hard to stay “present” with the kids because I am thinking of work. I remind myself that I need the balance and that the most important job I have is raising my two boys into young men that girls would want to marry 😉
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Reaching out to colleagues and friends. I find when I am feeling stumped all I need is to connect to someone else and what they are doing. I try to help them and in return I receive good energy back!
When all else fails, I just take a break for a few minutes or maybe even the day and do something with the kids. We do something fun, and it re-sets my emotional mood and therefore how my mind works.
Do you have a motivational quote?
Anything by Eleanor Roosevelt like:
“Do one thing you fear everyday.”
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Outsourcing. It’s hard at first but once I figured out my “natural gifts” – what I was really good at and what no one else could do – I outsourced the rest in my business. So I work shorter hours but leverage the time and expertise of someone else to move me further ahead.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Do something you love. Being an entrepreneur is HARD. If you do something for money, you will eventually give up when times are tough and there will be many tough times. When you do something you are passionate about, you are less fearful and you become more resourceful. When you are passionate, your energy is infectious and people will want to work with that energy.
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
I’m a latecomer to blogging but now I am really sold on WordPress as not just a blog, but also a website platform and content management tool. I’ve also discovered ezinearticles.com as a resource to post articles to and increase one’s credibility as an expert.
What is next for your business?
I’m creating media lists for mompreneurs so they can easily contact reporters and editors to pitch their business for PR stories. A few joint ventures with other mompreneurs. I’m a “partner-up-holic”.
Your two cents sales pitch?
Mompreneurs can easily do their own PR, it’s not as hard as you think and editors would prefer to hear the passion in your story that only you can communicate about your business. PR is a great alternative to advertising – it’s free and a story written by a reporter (or blogger) carries much more credibility than an ad.
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