I am always in awe how the universe conspires to put such interesting people in my path! A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being on the same panel as Julie Freedman Smith, co–founder of Parenting Power. Together with business partner Gail Bell, Julie and Gail launched Parenting Power in 2002 to help parents face everyday challenges. Both Julie and Gail have grown Parenting Power into the successful business it is today, while never compromising on their commitment to support and be present with their own children and families along the way.
Given the opportunity to pick Julie’s brain about how she built a successful business while balancing her family’s needs, I jumped on it! Here’s what she had to say:
What was your “a-ha” moment that inspired you to start your business?
We were discussing an Oprah show about women who had started successful businesses based on their passions. I asked Gail what her passion would be and she said that she loved to help parents understand what was going on with their kids. That was the start of it.
We also knew that we wanted to be at home with our kids and wanted to find a way to make that happen.
What marketing strategies do you find to be the most effective?
We have always relied on word of mouth. It has kept us going for 13 years. In addition, we are very fortunate to have a number of regular media appearances which has helped us to build a relationship with our viewers and listeners. We regularly post on Facebook and Twitter and have a regular newsletter also.
What was your best business decision?
Hmm, tricky one. One of our best has been to work to our own definition of success. We wanted to be at home while raising our kids and we have succeeded at that. We grow our business as we are ready to grow it.
What are your moat popular products and services?
We just wrote our first book, A YEAR of Intentional Parenting and that seems to be very popular right now. In addition, our coaching packages and our membership program are very successful. We also love getting out into the community and presenting to groups of parents, whether in Corporate Calgary or at schools or child-care facilities.
How do you balance being a mom and an entrepreneur?
We have always said that we are moms first and business people second. We set clear boundaries around when we work and when we don’t. Most of the times, that works. When it doesn’t we re-evaluate.
How do you differentiate Parenting Power in the marketplace?
One of the things that sets us apart is that we believe that there is more than one right way to parent. We aren’t about forcing parents to be something they are not. We meet parents where they are, help them to clarify where they would like to be and then support them in getting there in a way that works for them.
What do you love most about what you do?
We have learned a lot over the last 13 years; about business, parenting and ourselves. We love helping parents to feel confident, capable and calm. This really is a gift that keeps on giving because when parents feel confident in their parenting and capable in the moment, they stay more calm with their kids. In turn, the children begin to feel more confident and capable and are able to feel more calm as well. It benefits the whole family.
Click here to learn more about Parenting Power.