Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MOMtrepreneur: Julissa Hanson & TuTu Sassy

I have been lining up some email interviews with several creative and ambitious moms I know who have started their own business, and hope to share many of them with you in the months ahead.  I think it will give many moms inspiration to start their own thing, and help those of us who already have our own businesses to connect with fellow "MOMtrepreneurs!"

I am super excited to post my first interview today with Julissa Hanson of Bismarck, North Dakota!  Her and her friend Nicole Elliott not only are busy mothering their 5 kids (Julissa has 3 kids: Bryanna(13) Isabel (9) and Xander (2), and Nicole has 2 kids, Aniah (3) and Tahlia (1), but they both have their own businesses, and have also teamed up to start a second side business for each of them, "TuTu Sassy," turning their tu-tu making and photography skills into a business that provides super fun, girlie birthday parties!

What did you do before becoming a Work-at-home mom?
I run an in home daycare and Nicole owns her own photography business.  Tutu sassy is a side business for both of us.

What was the final “push” that got you to take the dive into starting your business full time?
We had both been looking for something that we could make and sell at craft shows and other events.  Nicole made a tutu for her infant daughter and the light bulb came on.  We ordered material and started making.  We have spent time brainstorming how we can grow and sell even more, that is how we came up with the tutu sassy birthday parties.

What skills or education from your background do you think help you the most in your success as an entrepreneur? 
I have my bachelors in elementary education, which is not conducive to selling tutus. I am however, a mom and that goes a long way.  I have two girls so I know what they like and how they have fun. I did work retail in college so I have some experience in that area.  Nicole worked sales and customer service for a health spa before she had her kids.  She is great at sales and we have strengths and weaknesses that compliment each other.
What new things have you learned since becoming a business owner?
Registering our own business with the state and and getting our tax id number for sales was something we knew nothing about.  we actually know quite a bit about becoming a legal business now.

What’s the most challenging part about being a Mom + business owner for you?
When your business work has to get done, sometimes the house suffers.  It is hard to feel exhausted and have to make supper and tend to your family.  We just keep in mind that the outcome will outweigh the days of struggle.  We try to prepare our homes ahead of time when we know we will be busy, but of course as all moms know a home can go south quickly. 

How would you define “success” for yourself and/or your business?  
We are so new at this point that all sales seem like success. The day our website launched we felt like a success, our first few online sales made us feel on top of the world.  When you are running a new business, it is so important to feel achievement in everyday successes.  It takes a lot of money going out with not much coming in at first so we have to take a mental victory lap with our small sales.  When we attend large fairs this summer we will really be excited.

What advice would you give a new mom looking to start a business from home?
Take it slow, spend time researching and know what your business plan is before you dive in.  Next, prepare your family.  No mom wants to feel like she spent a day at home with her child and hardly paid attention to them.   Time management is key.  If you are a motivated person you can easily work for hours trying to achieve your goal.  We make sure that part of that goal is tending to our families.

THANK YOU Julissa for sharing about your business and life as a work-from-home mom!  If you are a MOMtrepreneur yourself or know any fellow moms who have their own business and would like to be featured on IDMommy.com, please feel free to comment or contact me!  

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