From personal organizing to public relations careers, these Portland mamas prove that although running a business and raising kids is no easy feat, it’s totally worth it. We asked these eight enterprising entrepreneurs eight questions and got nothing but inspirational answers back. Click through our album to meet these fascinating women.
MaryJo Monroe: reSPACEd
Share with us a little about your family.
I have been married for almost 15 years, and we have one child. Nathan is 9 years-old.
What neighborhood/suburb do you live in?
I live in North Portland, in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood.
Please give a description of your job/business … as you would describe it to a friend.
I am a professional organizer with my business, reSPACEd. This means people hire me to come into their homes and help them clear out the clutter. They also hire me to help them figure out how to find more space in their homes, how to arrange their rooms, how to organize their papers, and how to set up household routines.
How long have you had this position, and what did you do previously?
I have been a professional organizer and in business since 2008. Previously, I worked as the lead designer at a floral and special events shop. I spent about 7 years total in the floral/event design world, which taught me a tremendous amount about how to run a small business. And prior to that, I graduated with a major in communications and spent 6 months working at KATU before I realized I couldn’t stand to sit at a desk and write all day!
Please describe one personal accomplishment that you are proud of.
My family – Nathan, Chad and I – have gone through some really tough times together. And instead of those difficulties tearing us apart, they have brought us closer together as a family and helped us figure out what is really important in our family’s life. Knowing what we value makes decision-making and priority-setting far easier.
Please describe one professional accomplishment that you are proud of.
This last year, I was contacted by Time, Real Simple, and Redbook magazines, The Oregonian and NPR radio to consult on organizing-related articles or segments. It’s really exciting to see your name in a magazine while standing in the check-out line at the grocery store!
What is your favorite thing(s) to do with your kid(s)?
Read old British children’s literature (e.g. Roald Dahl, Mary Poppins, Chronicles of Narnia) with as many character voices as possible. The Harry Potter series just about killed me with its number of characters! All my character voices just started sounding like Hagrid after a while.
Any tips on work/life balance. (In other words, how do you DO it?)
It takes a few years to achieve that balance. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I have been able to be choosy about what times/days I will see clients. When you are first starting out in your business, you feel like you can’t turn down anyone who wants to hire you, even if that means working crazy hours. Now I work strict hours: no clients after 5 p.m., no computer work in the evenings, no appointments on Sundays. And those sorts of firm boundaries really help to preserve my family time.
Who’s your favorite momtrepreneur? Let us know in the comments below!