Millennial Mrs. and Mom is celebrating Mother’s Day by interviewing two prominent mom’s out there who have had an influence on those around them. Our two guests today are Mary Fernandez and Deborah Rhodes. 

 

Interview with Mary Fernandez from Persuasion Nation

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If you haven’t heard of Mary, then I highly suggest checking out her site and her education courses. I’ve taken some and highly enjoyed and learned from them. She most definitely has been influential to me, and I can see her being influential to our readers as well, which is one of the reasons I reached out to her. I’ve followed her site for a while and knew she would be a great mom to hear from. 

 

How did you get into your online career?

I stumbled upon my online career by accident back in 2010: I was teaching ballet at the time and had started a blog for my local students to read. Little did I know that the blog would attract thousands of readers from all over the world and morph into a profitable online business!

I became obsessed with online marketing and consumed all the training I could get my hands on. Eventually, I decided to stop teaching ballet and became a Content Marketing Manager, helping to grow an 8-figure online business. That was a huge learning experience, but it was a lot of work, and I was exhausted. Even though I was still at home, I felt like I wasn’t really “there” for my kids.

So, I went back to work for myself again, starting all over from scratch in a new niche. This time, I figured out how to automate my business and generate passive income! Now, I homeschool my four kids while teaching stay-at-home moms and dads to build their own passive online businesses in my program, Persuasion Education.

 

What is one of your favorite moments or memories as a mom?

I think it’s the little moments that I cherish the most. For instance, hours after my second son was born, he gazed into my eyes very intently for several precious minutes as if to memorize my face and say, “So, you’re my Mommy?”

 

How have you balanced work life and family life?

It’s a daily struggle, but I’ve learned how to work efficiently so that I can take time off to give the kids my undivided attention.

For example, I try to never multitask. Multitasking is really just switching between tasks very quickly– but every time you switch tasks you have to re-focus, and that takes extra time and mental energy.

Secondly, I enlist my kids’ help wherever I can. If you have kids who are old enough to help in your business, then awesome! My kids are still too young to use the computer, but they can help me with doing the dishes, setting and clearing the table, vacuuming, mopping, etc. That’s a huge help.

Thirdly, I try to put my business on autopilot as much as possible. The sales funnels that drive people to purchase my online courses are almost fully automated and stress-free, even though I only launch them at specific times.

 

What is one thing you have learned from your child(ren)?

My kids have taught me that the most important thing in life is the relationships we share. No career, no matter how lucrative or influential, will give us joy if we can’t take the time to build those relationships with the ones we love and with our community.

 

If you could give any other moms out there one piece of advice, what would you tell them?

I would tell them what I tell my students: done is better than perfect. Especially since we have our children to take care of, us moms don’t have time to sit around and overanalyze things. Get help to stay focused on the tasks that matter, and do one of those tasks (no matter how small) every single day. You’ll only get to where you want to go by taking action.

 

Thank you so much for your time and advice, Mary! Our next interview is with Deborah Rhodes, who owns her own design company and has donated product for the Mother’s Day Raffle.

 

Interview with Deborah Rhodes

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Deborah Rhodes is my mother, and she was also asked to do an interview for another company, but she made the time to give an interview to me as well right as she was packing to leave for Europe, so thank you mom. I mentioned that the Mother’s Day Raffle is still open if you haven’t entered yet, click here!

 

How did you get into your career?

I’ve always been interested in doing something creative. As a young girl, I spent a lot of my time with a table in the corner of my bedroom where I drew. In school, I’d even help teachers with their art projects. I ended up pursuing a bachelors of fine art where I was studying to be an art teacher, but I never used it because I moved across the country. I studied a lot of weaving and working with textiles and mixed medium materials. I ended up moving to New York with my husband, who is now my business partner, and at the time he was retiring from a fashion company he owned. There were lots of fabrics and threads I saw in New York, and I thought to myself, “I should get back to doing something creative.” The time in between college I spent working in print and television. 

During the 80’s it was a great time to be in New York. It was the time of Studio 54, youthful fashion, Madonna and Betsy Johnson, just lots of creativity and energy in New York. One of the things I wasn’t seeing, however, was hair accessories, things like feathers, netting, jewels, that people could wear out to places like Studio 54. I ended up sowing about 12 pieces by hand, and I asked my husband how to sell them. At the time, people actually answered the telephone. He gave me a list of buyers– which you cannot find a buyers name anywhere these days unless you go onto LinkedIn because they really want to hide or everyone would constantly be contacting them–, and I ended up calling Macy’s and described what I had, and she told me “If you can get here in 20 minutes, I’ll take a look.”

Macy’s was on 34th street, and I was on 23rd street so I could do that. I gathered my designs, went to Macy’s, presented my product, and Macy’s placed an order! I went back to my husband and said, “They placed an order!” and he said, “Oh my god!”

Little by little, it started building up. My husband had tons of business advice for me, we ended up hiring seamstresses and pattern makers, and we eventually went into hats for a number of years. I was really enjoying what I was doing.

In 1996 I switched over to the home accessory area because at that time I was more interested in my home and family instead of fashion.

 

What is one of your favorite moments or memories as a mom?

I think my favorite memories, are the road trips, and county fairs, and zoos. I remember those times so well because I wanted them to be creative. I miss the activities, those were my favorite memories, to experience your childhood and be brought back to my own childhood as well.

 

How have you balanced work life and family life?

It was difficult when they were younger, I was living in Connecticut and commuting to New York by train. It would be long hours. I was fortunate that I had good caretakers that either lived with us or helped with the kids as I was working. 

As I got to know other parents in their schools, I realized that I was probably the only mom that was on the road like that. You know, back then moms were staying at home and dads were traveling, and my kids didn’t understand why I was always leaving. It was a struggle to keep them happy and do as much as I possibly could with them and keep focus on the business as well. Something suffered, either the business or the kids, and I kept trying to find that balance.

One of the things I did when I realized the kids really wanted to see us more was moving company to Connecticut, about 15 minutes from the house. I was able to be home more, be involved, and was actually room mom for many years once the company moved. I’d be there for sports, dance, guitar lessons. As they got older, they appreciated what I did. They are interested in anything I am designing and often give feedback. I always love hearing their perspective of a younger generation, which helps me see what that generation might be more interested in. 

 

What is one thing you have learned from your child(ren)?

My kids went to Montessori school. In that school, they learned strong morals and values, and they have not only taught me but also reminded me the importance of sticking to values that you hold dear.

 

If you could give any other moms out there one piece of advice, what would you tell them?

I would have to say that if you’re drawn to a career that it’s possible to have a family and have your career. If it’s something you are genuinely passionate about, you find a way. If you have the drive, ambition, and passion, you have an excellent chance at having both your dream career and family. You can be an attentive and loving parent and also be a strong, flexible,  intelligent businesswoman. Both are equally important, and if you have a spouse by your side that is your teammate, nothing can stop you. My husband was one of my strongest supports. When I needed to focus on my business, he stepped up, changed diapers, did playtime, and put them to bed. 

You know I see lots of men these days who are stay at home dads, and maybe the turndown in the economy affected that, but I think another reason is that fathers really don’t want to miss out these days, they don’t want to miss those first steps or first words or milestones. Having both parents involved, hands-on is great for both spouses to be able to balance their careers and family life. 

Thank you, Deborah, for your time!

 

To all the mothers out there Millennial Mrs. and Mom wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day! And don’t forget for those who’ve entered the raffle, the winner will be announced on Monther’s Day morning, so stay tuned!

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