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Meet Tisa Jackson: Mom and Designer with a heart for orphans

Tisa JacksonOur third and final scholarship winner, Tisa, wowed me with a unique life goal. She wants to spend three months a year working in an orphanage in Uganda! Love that goal!

But I’m getting ahead of myself!  Let me introduce you to Tisa Jackson, Texas native, mom of two and MomCom newcomer!

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Hi Tisa…I always like to start these interviews with the big question:

Why did you want to go to MomCom 2014?

I want to network with other moms,  to learn any tips on how to gain better time management skills… She also said she thinks that being “encouraged to grown my small business would be simply amazing.”

(We definitely want to help you with all of that, Tisa! Love your beauiful designs on Tisa’s Creations, too!)

Have you been to a MomCom event before?

No, this is my first time – I’m so excited!

What’s the biggest or most exciting new thing in your life right now?

My kids are older…my son is graduating from high school this year and my daughter is starting high school. My husband and I are both nervous and excited for our children. We are trying to get them off in the right direction to start their own lives as little adults. I’m tearing up just typing this. I’m so in love with both my kids and to see them leaving is really hard for a mom. I’m excited for them and what the future holds for my husband and I.

(We need to talk at MomCom, Tisa!  I’m in the same position, and it’s scary!  I love the daily being-a-mom stuff so much! Wondering how many other MomCom moms are facing this same transition?)

What is your all time, perfect dream job. And no, it doesn’t have to be realistic! 

I would love to work from myself full time blogging and designing business cards and other paper products for large companies and small business for 9 months out of the year and the rest of the year I would just travel to Uganda and volunteer at my friends orphanage.

Tell me more about that orphanage! I love that idea!

Orphanage kids

The orphange is run by my friend Sara Hamilton Kiwanuka and her husband Joseph Kiwanuka. I met Sara a few years ago at a fall craft show here in Austin. (Sara grew up here.)  

Now…She lives in Uganda but travels to Austin for the fall to sell items handmade by locals in Uganda. The money she raises while here is used to support the orphanage.  

(I did some of my own reading about the Rafiki African orphanage, too. They specialize in helping special needs kids who might not have a chance otherwise. Sara, an R.N., and Joseph, a Project Planning and Management professional are using their skills to do amazing things! I can really understand why Tisa wants to be a part of it!)

So tell me about your kids…

My son is 18 and an amazing artist and musician. He is attending college in the fall for graphic design.

My daughter is 14, in high school she would like to also follow in the area of art as a photographer.…my oldest has a processing disorder and my younger is dyslexic.

My greatest accomplishment is learning and teaching others around me – not every child fits into one box and what is normal to one person may not be normal to the next person. My kids are both very creative and smart. To teach them both learning different is special is my most personal accomplishment. I’m very lucky to be their mom. They continue to teach me new things everyday.

Are you a Texan, Tisa? 

I was born and raised in Texas, …in a small town, not too far from Dallas – Ennis, Texas.  Now I’m located in Round Rock, Texas, right outside of Austin. 

Anything else you want to share?

Thank you so much for the scholarship! It really means a lot.

You’re very welcome, Tisa. We’re so grateful to Howdy Honda for making these scholarships possible!

A love song for entrepreneurs

discouraged entrepreneurThere’s an old song that says that falling in love is better the second time around. Whether or not that works with love relationships, it can be harder to believe when it comes to our entrepreneurial work life.

For some people, the thrill never wears off, and they go on growing and learning over the years. But for too many of us, the glittery, butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling wears off, and we’re left with the work of writing or selling or providing services.  At that point, it can become a chore to open your computer, write that post or make those phone calls.

The good news is, there are ways to turn that around, and fall in love with your entrepreneurial life all over again. And there’s no better time than January to get excited all over again about what you’ve created!

Remember why you started: When we get deep into a project, blog or business, it can be easy to forget why we started in the first place. Spend some time thinking about what your reasons were, whenever it was you started. If you have old journals, business plans, goal sheets or vision boards from that time, looking over them can help you remember what you hoped to create.  Even e-mails from those early days can spark memories.

Remind yourself of your successes: When things get tough, or the day-to-day gets you down, it’s easy to forget all of your successes. Spend some time writing down the good things you’ve accomplished, from that big sale to the blog post that garnered so many comments and shares. Focusing on what worked well can inspire excitement going forward.

Consider delegating: One of the common traits of entrepreneaurs is the “I can do it all myself” song.  You know the one…I can write, sell, promote, recruit, document and direct, all while handling the financials and the branding and the graphics and…. You get the picture. Sometimes, the reason we lose our excitement is sheer exhaustion! That’s especially true if some of the things you’re doing are outside of your skill set.

Take a look at all the pieces of your business, and see what you can farm out. Not good at taxes? Hire an accountant and take that pressure off of you. Not good with SEO, or getting bogged down in social media? Let someone who lives and breathes that online world take care of it for you.

The money you spend for delegating could easily be equalled or even surpassed by the time you can now spend on what you’re best at doing.

Connect with other entrepreneurial people: We are a different breed, you know. We who would rather make our own path instead of collecting a paycheck every week in exchange for following someone else’s plan. So it only makes sense that we need other entrepreneurs to inspire us, listen to us, or give us new ideas.  (Especially if you’ve already heard one too many choruses of “If you would just get a real job…”).

The question for many of us is how in the heck we go about doing that! Especially when we’re so busy already! “Regular” people make connections at work, and find people who share their profession or their company focus.  Some entrepreneurs use weekly MasterMind gatherings or business groups to fill in for that gap. Others, find that a couple of major networking and educational events a year work best to connect them with people who “get it.”

Building a tribe of kindred spirits can bring back that spark that seems to have gone out by providing new ideas, a sounding board or just an understanding shoulder to cry on when something doesn’t go according to plan.

Consider a different path: Sometimes that feeling that we just don’t care anymore is a sign that you need to look for a different direction. Over time, we might outgrow our business or blog. Or maybe you’re at a different place in life than you expected, and the business you imagined just doesn’t fit in with our needs or schedules. And that’s okay!

No matter how much you might have hoped your plan would last for ever, life sometimes happens. Letting go of what doesn’t work anymore is the first step to finding your next new and exciting project.

Happy Entrepreneuring, everyone!

Meet photographer and MomCom Scholarship winner, Elaine Alguire

Elaine AlguireIt’s time to introduce the second of our Howdy Honda MomCom 2014 scholarship winners, Elaine Alguire.

Elaine is a busy mom of three, a professional photographer and now a co-producer of one of the new locations for Listen to Your Mother!  No wonder this mom wanted to come to MomCom! She is the conference personified! And she’s yet another lady I can’t wait to me later this month!

Are you ready to meet Elaine?  Here goes!

Elaine, why did you want to go to MomCom 2014? Have you been before?

No, I have not. And (gotta love word of mouth advertsing!) she wanted to go “because I have several friends who are attending and they said it was great last year. Also, hopefully to learn a few things!”  

Yes, Elaine, that is one thing we can promise with 100% certainty!  Women who have been to every MomCom event say they keep learning!)

What’s the biggest or most exciting new thing in your life right now, Elaine?

Working on my photography business.

Tell me more!

My photography business is extremely “part time”.  I take photos of families, babies, children, etc. I have my first wedding to photograph in March and I am nervous but very excited. I would eventually like to expand the business but for now, with my kids still small it is just “on the side”.  

(A season for everything works!)

Okay, now tell me about your dream job, whatever it is. Forget the rules and dare to really dream!

I would love to be a travel writer so I could travel and photograph the WORLD!

(Oh, LOVE this, Elaine!  Can I come along? You do the photos, and I’ll write! And can we start in Paris?)

So what do you want to say about your kids? We’re all moms here…we can take it! 

My kids are gorgeous and smart and funny and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th loves of my life. 

(Awwwww!)

Where are you from originally?

I was raised right there in Austin, Texas!

Are you still local? 

I live in Lafayette, LA. 

(But she is coming home for MomCom, so we’ll forgive her for leaving, right?)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

More like WHO did I want to be… Madonna. Or Debbie Gibson. 🙂

Anything else you want to share?

My other interests include writing, running, shopping, baking (and eating what I bake) and traveling. Also, I am co-producing Listen To Your Mother in Southeast Texas this coming Spring!

How did you get involved in Listen to Your Mother? 

I got involved with Listen to Your Mother because I love the project and because my friend Jennifer and I decided we wanted to do it together. We applied and were accepted as a new city this year. Our show will be in Beaumont, TX in early May (near Mother’s Day).

What’s your role as a co-producer? Sounds glamourous!

Co-producing means I am helping to organize and cast the show, which also includes sponsors and a charity we will be giving some of the proceeds to. 

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Elaine, I am so looking forward to meeting you on January 24th! And please do bring your camera — we would love to see your take on the whole MomCom 2014 experience! In the meantime, you can get to know Elaine on her blog, The Miss Elaine-ous Life, her Facebook page and her Twitter stream.

Introducing our First Scholarship Winner: Shelley Delayne

shelley delayneI love interviewing the great women around Austin, but today’s interview was something special.  MomCom 2014 Howdy Honda scholarship winner Shelly Delayne did this interview WHILE chasing an energetic 19 month old toddler!  Impressive, right?

You’ll be even more impressed when you read her answers. I can’t wait to meet this lady at MomCom next month!

Shelley, women have lots of different reasons for registering for MomCom. Why did you want to go to MomCom 2014?

I’m pretty new to Austin (one year), and still pretty new to being a mom (19 month old girl) and MomCom seemed like a good place to reconnect with my Self and maybe make some like-minded friends.

(Oh yes, Shelley, this IS the place for finding that lost or hiding Self! That’s actually a perfect description of what we’re shooting for!)

Have you been to a MomCom event before? 

 Nope. Wanted to go last year, but we had just moved and I had no one I trusted to watch my baby.

What’s the biggest or most exciting new thing in your life right now?

Everything is new-ish right now… new city, new kid, new company (my husband’s, not mine, though I work with him presently)

Tell me about your dream job. And no, it doesn’t have to be realistic — dare to really dream!

My dream job is kinda wacky: handbinding one-of-a-kind books; some with original, otherwise unpublished stories by known authors; proceeds to go to literacy and arts education non-profit. Though I have lots of wacky daydreams: Like running a business incubator for mompreneurs — a coworking space with childcare on-site and business guidance/education/resources.

(LOVE this answer!  What cool dreams!)

Tell me about your daughter…anything you want to share.

Only have one! She’s 19 months old and amazes me every single day. I never thought I’d be a mom, and I didn’t have much experience with/exposure to kids before having one… so I’m finding the whole journey fascinating and awesome. And gooey.

 Where are you from orginally?

 Born and raised in St. Louis, MO. Several generations there — I left at 18; lived in Kansas City, Santa Fe, NM, and Los Angeles before moving to Austin.

Where are you living now?

South Austin, near Brodie/Slaughter.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An actress. (Which I did actually do for a living for a while. Realized I love acting and storytelling, but not so much the business of it.)

Anything else you want to share?

Ummm… I can’t think of anything. I dance tango for fun, whenever I can get out. I love to read. I was a completely nerdy kid and have spent most of my adult life as a freelance graphic designer (read: alone at my computer), so I’m still a bit shy & terrified of events like MomCom but I’m excited to take a deep breath and come anyway!

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It was great to “meet” you, Shelley!  I’m looking forward to getting to know you in person next month, too. (It’s so much fun meeting women at their first MomCom event! They are always amazed at the connections they make and the inspiration and wisdom coming from the speakers.) I know that Shelley is going to love it, despite the nerves! Deep breath, and #MomUp!

Do You Remember?

Never Forget Why You Started Quote

It’s the time of year for a lot of things. Shopping. Parties. Families. Surviving time with families. Wishing you had a different family, imagining knocking off your family…oh, sorry! Got carried away!

What was I saying? Oh yeah….it’s also the time for “Looking Back Over the Year” and for “Making Resolutions to Not Make the Same ##@$% Mistakes Next Year.” (Don’t you just love how putting things in quotes makes them seem so authoritive and official?)

I’m not going to give you a long post about resolutions. Or even one about reviewing what worked and what didn’t.

Just the sentence above. “Never (EVER) Forget Why You Started

Doesn’t matter whether it’s a family, a job, a book, a career, a relationship or a business. Get clear on the reason for starting, and if it still matters, clear out the clutter and get back on the road (as long as it’s not I-35 through Austin. There’s ALWAYS better road than I-35! ) Reset that personal, internal GPS and step on the gas. It’s your year, girl.

And if that old reason doesn’t resonate anymore? Well, my friend, it’s also a great time of year to pick a new destination. And maybe, just maybe, even to draw your own map.

Happy Festivus!

Happy Festivus

Just wanted to take this time to wish all of you a meaningful Festivus! I’m sure you have your aluminum pole in place, and are busying cooking for the feast to follow the Airing of the Grievances. But I couldn’t let the day go by without offering the traditional Festivus Greeting…er, um, as soon as I figure out what it is!

In the meantime…

(Hey, maybe MomCom Life could inspire a new holiday! Have any ideas for something we can celebrate and a back-story to sell it? Worth a shot!) If a sit-com could do it, surely a group of smart and savvy moms can, too!