Mom Boss Interview: Laurel Ludwicki from Young Living

Funny story about today's mom boss interviewee...

Back in 2012, I started a cooking/lifestyle blog that turned into a family update blog that turned into a lonely blog that hasn't been updated since August (I really, really need to update all of Gabe's info... my poor second baby). Anyway, back when it was a cooking/lifestyle blog, I made some good blogging friends, including the lovely Laurel, who was pregnant/gave birth a few weeks after we had our Jackson. 

Fast forward FOUR YEARS and I get a message on IG from Laurel checking in and re-introducing herself!! So, so cool! Anyway, we got to talking and I found out that Laurel is a Young Living Independent Distributor, which -- aside from Usborne -- is the only MLM I will buy (Thieves Cleaner and Stress Away = life), so I was so excited to introduce her and her business to you all! 

Without further ado, meet Laurel:

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I always like to start these interviews off by finding out more about you and your background, so can you give us a little blurb about who you are and what you did before getting married and having your two beautiful children?

I have been a restaurant gal for most of my adult life. A flexible schedule and lots of interaction with my customers has always appealed to me. I loved being able to go to work, do my job and then not take any stress or responsibility home with me. It made the work - life balance manageable for me. I have worked for the same major brewery for the last 10 years, dabbling in many different departments. I tried my hand at marketing, educating, and managing, where I had the opportunity to take an 8 week long personal development course! Strangely enough, it made me realize that I didn’t want to work 40+ hours a week, late nights away from my (future) babies to just get by. I wanted something I could be proud of, something I could feel passionate about and challenged by, which led me to wanting to start my own business of some sort! 

Have you always been a stay-at-home mom or was there ever a time you worked out of the house?

Once our son came into the picture, I cut way back on my hours at the brewery. I had wanted to be a mama for so long, I couldn’t handle paying someone else to raise him. Luckily, my husband is a chef so our schedules are relatively flexible and we could move things around to have minimal childcare. Once our daughter arrived, my Young Living business was starting to make a major impact on our finances, and now I work 1-2 days a week out of the house, more for socialization and a break! It has made me appreciate that adult time and interaction a lot more, but I still miss my babies like crazy! 

With all of the direct sales companies out there, what about Young Living did you find the most appealing?

I never intended to grow a Young Living business when I got a Premium Starter Kit (the best way to get going). I just thought I was supporting a friend in her business, I wanted a better diffuser than the cruddy one I had from Whole Foods, and I wanted to see if oils would actually do everything I’d heard they could. 

As with most network marketing businesses, I got plugged into some Facebook groups right away and was blown away by the supportive and thriving community. People of all walks of life helping each other with daily issues we all face and business tools that were smart and not too salesy or in your face. Then I saw the Income Disclosure statement: https://static.youngliving.com/en-US/IMAGES/incomedisclosurestatement_image_us.jpg

And I realized there was a huge potential for this business to have a substantial financial impact on my family. A few things I love about YL as a business: 

  • don’t have to carry inventory. The majority of sales go through the website and involved helping people get their own accounts. From time to time, I’ll sell some oils or products in person but I don’t stock any for that specific reason. 
  • a culture and core values that align with my own. I’ve always been natural minded, and sought out ways to keep myself and my family well that are low impact on our bodies and the earth. The sustainability and community visions of YL are incredible and make me feel like I’m in the right place. 
  • the ability to build a business my way and in the time I have available. We don’t have sales quotas or required volume (other than approx $100/ month to qualify for ranks, which is easy to spend on products we use daily) Our team has a ‘share, don’t sell’ motto, which makes it easy to grown a business! I share what and how I use my YL products and go from there! 
  • The product line! Oh my gosh  I had no idea YL had more than just oils. It is easy to spend the $100 a month when I can grab household staples like Household Cleaner, laundry detergent, personal care products, makeup, supplements and even food! The company is transparent and conscientious in its ingredients, so I feel confident using them for our whole family and knowing we aren’t being inadvertently harmed.  

What has working with Young Living done for you and your family? Do you think it has given you opportunities you may not have had otherwise?

Definitely. I’ve stepped into a leadership and education role that I’ve always wanted, deep down. I feel much more confident in who I am as a person, so I feel much better equipped to serve others. It has allowed me to afford the things I want for my family, while allowing me to work from home and actually raise my children.

When you're a mom working from home, no two days are alike, but if you had to describe a "normal" day in your life, how does it look? How many hours a day/week do you dedicate to your business?

A normal day, HA! As you know, we try to have schedules for our kiddos, it helps their day go smoother if they know what to except! 

I always tell my team this business is built in 5 minute increments, because some days that’s all I can manage! I am starting to have my sitter come once a week for a few hours so I can work from home and actually focus. 

Here is a loose look at what a typical day may look like for me. 

7am ish - kids wake up. We make coffee and they have some snacks and water while I check the virtual office and catch up on group messages. I like to write a task list of 3-5 things I need to do for my business and team. Having it written down help me ensure it will get done! 

9am - take Henryk (4) to preschool and come back home. 

10:30am Give Annika a bottle and put down for a nap. 

10:31 - 12:30pm - shower, speed clean my house and then bust out as much work as possible. Things like follow up with interested friends, craft educational posts for my team, live videos, create and edit classes, pack giveaways, share business advice with my team, take and edit product photos, and so many other tasks that need accomplishing! 

12:31 - 1ish - feed Annika lunch and create social media post about what YL products I’m using that day and why! 

1-4pm: hang out with the kids. Go to a park, hike, build things at home, watch and movie and cuddle... I try to make a window of time during the day where I can be present with them and not distracted by my phone. I use it CONSTANTLY to stay connected. 

4ish - start making dinner for the family. Sometimes I’ll play a personal development podcast or listen to a tedtalk while I prep to keep my mind engaged. Hubby comes home around this time (YAY!) 

6:30 - Annika bath and bedtime routine 

7:15 - Henryk bath and bedtime routine 

8pm - kids in bed, wine in hand! I try to spend a few nights a week hanging with my hubby technology free, but I often run FB classes at 8pm! If I have projects to do, I’ll bang those or after bedtime! 

Even though it may not seem like much, I probably spend 1-2 hours a day on business stuff, sometimes more if I have a class running. I sneak in 5-10 minute work sessions where I can, checking messages, answering questions, helping where needed! 

What is your favorite way to market your business? Do you find one social media channel to be more effective than another?

I like using Facebook and Instagram, simply because that’s where I’m most active. It’s easy to reach a large amount of people for free, and create a culture they want to be involved in. 

I also LOVE to get together in person and teach! One on ones, groups, make & takes, whatever! Classes are VERY effective for growing your business, so people can actually smell and try the oils or other products and experience how to use them before diving in. 

What is the best part of working from home? 

Making my own schedule of course! I love not having to take a sick day if my babies are down, I love being able to call a sitter randomly for a date, and I love being able to make spontaneous plans! Working from home means my family is deeply woven into my brand and my business. H is always making guest appearances in my videos and it’s become something people love and expect. It also shows them that I’m just a normal mama and if I can make it work, they can too!  I love that I can have a real life with my family and raise them how I want. 

Do you have a favorite YL memory? 

Oh man, so many! A fave would probably be our Silver Retreat trip I qualified for last fall. Myself, James and some other women on our team stormed Utah and visited one of YL’s farms, ate some amazing food and just spent some quality time getting pampered and being poured into. I love YLs dedication to help their leaders develop to become impactful in all aspects of their life, not just for the company. 

To get in touch with Laurel, visit her website or Instagram.

Mom Boss Interview: CallieJo Schilling from Usborne Books & Backyard Creations

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, moms and dads: I am so so so excited about today's Mom Boss, as she is not only extremely inspirational and talented, but also a distant relative on my husband's side that I just met (thanks, Aunt Paulette!). Side Hustle Mom: Meet CallieJo Schilling. CallieJo is an amazing wife, mom, and business woman who is not only hardworking, but smart, as she holds both a Bachelors in Elementary Education AND a Masters in Teaching and Learning. (Major #goals, right?) Without further ado, here is the incredible CallieJo:

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CallieJo, you wear A LOT of hats in your family, but I know the most important of all is that of wife and mother. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

I am a South Dakota girl born and raised on a farm/ranch by Lowry, SD. I met my husband, Jess, when we both were working at the Akaska Bait Shop. He was a fishing/hunting guide and part-time bartender. We got married in 2009, that same year my husband also worked on the farm for my parents. I taught 1st grade, Title I Reading and Math, and Kindergarten for 5 years. In that time, we had our son Eli (5 yrs now) and daughter Raelynn (3 yes now). January 2013 I started Backyard Creations, my embroidery/sewing business, while teaching and helping on the farm. After my daughter was born in 2015, I went to work full time on the farm, continued running Backyard Creations, and that fall I was able to continue my love for teaching and reading by becoming an Usborne Books and More Consultant.

You grew up on a farm and still help out quite a bit with the day-to-day work that comes with this vital profession. What is your job in running the ranch and what does it entail?

On the farm, I am a hired hand and also help do the bookkeeping. So during planting season, I help my dad and husband with the planting. This time of year we are also calving our cows and heifers so I assist with this too, making sure that the calves are born, tagged, given their shots, and kept healthy. Throughout the summer I help with checking the cows in the pasture, helping my dad and husband with spraying the fields and other day to day farm duties. When fall comes, I run grain cart during harvest and when we bring the cows home from pasture we assist with feeding cows. Year round I’m assisting with the book work, so I’m helping keep track of what is done to each field and putting all the expenses and income into the computer for tax purposes. Also,I assist my mom with other secretary duties for the farm.

As if that didn't keep you busy enough, you are also an Usborne Books distributor (which is one of the very few direct sales companies I will buy from, which should tell you something about the quality of these books)! How long have you been working with Usborne and what has it done for your family?

I have been with Usborne Books and More since August of 2016. I love reading and want to share my love of reading and literacy with as many children as possible. This last January, I signed was able to become and educational consultant as well. This business has helped my family purchase supplies to finish our basement, but Christmas presents, and also add to our kids’ future CDs.

Do you have tips for any moms (or dads!) out there thinking of becoming an Usborne Consultant?

Usborne Books and More is so great, they are flexible and allow you to work your own schedule. I have been able to hold parties, cards for a cause fundraisers, and book fairs all around my busy schedule. I figure out what days/nights I have available and want to work and they start to fill those dates with parties or our other programs we offer. So I make my schedule and follow as best as I can, making sure I set aside at least four 20 minute periods throughout the week for me to work on this business.

In addition to raising a family, farming, AND selling Usborne, you also run a sewing and embroidery business! How did you get started with this?

My love for sewing started back when I was 7 years old and began sewing my own clothes for 4-H. I loved creating new outfits, quilts, and many other projects every year. Each year I would spend many hours sewing with my grandma and entering these projects in 4-H. I became fascinated with embroidery and the machines when I was 9 and set the goal to own my own machine someday. In January 2013, my husband and I purchased my 10 needle embroidery machine and started Backyard Creations. I started with doing embroidery and sewing work for family, friends, and some local customers. Now I have been kept busy with sewing quilts, Hooded ponchos, embroidering caps, t-shirts, coats and much more.

If you don't mind my asking, what was the investment you had to make in starting your embroidery business (buying machinery, materials, etc.)? Would you say it has paid off? Would you recommend it to other creative moms?

My investment in my embroidery/sewing business was purchasing an embroidery machine and all the supplies (stabilizers, bobbins, threads, and such). I also purchased some sweaters, caps, baby blankets and etcetera to stitch on. One nice thing is I had already owned my own sewing machine from years of sewing in 4-H. This has paid off. I’ve learned many things from this business and have accomplished many things. I’m in the process of finding and purchasing a long arm quilting machine to help with putting the many t-shirt quilts together. I love seeing my daughters interest in this business at three years old. If you have something you love to do, for example sewing or creating thing, think about how you can use that ability/hobby to help your family out. It feels great to be able to help my family out by doing what I love.

What does a day in your shoes look like? With all the hats you wear, I am guessing you get maybe a solid 3 hours of sleep each night, right? (Seriously, how do you do it all?!)

Every day is different depending on the time of year. Right now my day consists of waking up early to get my son ready for school, eat breakfast, and get on the bus. Then I try to fit in a 30 minute workout (for some me time ) and then get my daughter up and ready for the day. Within this time my husband has been up and gone to the farm for the day. Once my daughter is ready, we head out to help on the farm. Many times she rides with me in the tractors and things and other times my mom watches her so I can help my dad and husband with other things on the farm (checking cows, planting, etc). Most times I’m able to be home by 4 pm when my son gets off the bus (except for harvesting, that time of year it’s closer to 9 pm before I get home). I spend time with my two kiddos doing homework, playing games and exploring the outdoors. After supper, the kids are to bed usually around 7:30 and then I begin to multi-task on my embroidery/sewing projects and covering what needs to be done with my Usborne Books and More business until my husband gets home. I guess you can say I’m a lady who doesn’t usually need a ton of sleep. There are some nights, when the farm has kept me busy for a few days, that I work on my embroidery/sewing projects until the wee hours of the nights just so I can finish a project or two. I just seem to find time here and there and use it to accomplish what I can. I guess you can say I love to keep busy.

Okay, now if you absolutely HAD to choose, which job would you say is your favorite?

Oh my, to choose which job is my favorite is super hard. I absolutely love being on the farm helping my dad and husband while being able to raise my two kids the way I grew up on the farm and enjoying the outdoors. I’m able to spend lots of time with my family, which is my favorite thing to do. This wouldn’t be possible with the hard work from my husband and my Backyard Creations and Usborne Books and More businesses; which, I love completely. My Usborne Books and More business has brought me some awesome new friendships and meeting people from all over the United States while sharing books and the importance of reading with kids and young adults. My Backyard Creations business allows me to make time for my favorite hobby of sewing.

How To Make $10 In Less Than An Hour With Gigwalk

Have you heard of Gigwalk?

Apparently it has been a thing for years now but I just recently discovered it after my aunt's friend recommended I check it out. 

For those of you who, like me, have never heard of Gigwalk, it works like this: Big companies and businesses are looking for people to do small gigs/tasks/reviews and report back to them, and the way they find these people is through the app (or, put more sophisticatedly, Gigwalk is a mobile app for Android and iOS that allows you to find quick jobs (“Gigs”) in your area. A Gig is represented by a pin on the map in our mobile application and can take anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours to complete and pay anywhere from $3 to $100. Clients see the work Gigwalkers submit through the app on our back-end Gigwalk platform.)

Since it is free to sign up for an account, I said "Oh, WTH" and got myself registered.

Fast forward to a few days later and I just so happened to open the app and notice that there were A TON of newly-listed gigs at local auto part stores, two of which were within a three-mile radius of our house. Since I was new to this entire process, I went ahead and applied, saying I could complete the gigs within the next 3 hours, and was instantly accepted.

SCORE!

In addition to learning about the actual app through my aunt's friend, I also learned that she takes her 4-year-old with her on audits and pays him $1 for each, which gives them both something new to do together and teaches him the value of hard work! Since I love/agree with all of the above, I grabbed Jackson and off we went on our first gig!

 My photogenic four-year-old... he was even posing for pictures next to the shelves of the stores we were auditing. 

My photogenic four-year-old... he was even posing for pictures next to the shelves of the stores we were auditing. 

Here is what we had to do on our first audit:

1.) Take a picture of the exterior

2.) Observe what kind of shelf the specific product was displayed on

3.) Take picture of said shelf/products 

4.) Check the product for any leaks/problems 

5.) Inconspicuously leave

6.) Profit

Easy peasy, right? The entire gig took a whopping 10 minutes from start to finish and made us a quick $5... so off we went to another auto shop just up the street to complete the same tasks.

In about 45 minutes (taking into account both drive time and the actual audit), our work was done. To celebrate, Jackson requested we go to the Starbucks next door so that he could spend his $2 on a cake pop. (In addition to instilling in him a good work ethic, we need to begin discussing the value of a dollar... but that can wait until another day, because life isn’t complicated when you’re 4 :P).

Fast forward a few days later and my youngest and I went to our local grocery store to pick up a few things and I just so happened to open the app and notice that they were needing a rye bread audit at the exact store we were in! I quickly requested the gig, received immediate acceptance, and then tromped around the store with my 17-month-old in tow in an effort to find a non-existent rye bread display. 

 My other little assistant... instead of being paid in cash, he was paid in cookies and kisses.

My other little assistant... instead of being paid in cash, he was paid in cookies and kisses.

As this chain grocery is on the larger side, this gig took us longer than the first two (we walked around three times looking for the dang display), but we were still $3 richer when all was said and done.

As per their website, Whether you’re looking for a little spending money or want to earn an entire extra paycheck, Gigwalk can help. My experience so far is that Gigwalk is a great way to support my McDonald’s coffee addiction, but it isn’t sustainable enough to pay a bill or even fill my tank.

In conclusion, Gigwalk is a fun way to make a few extra bucks if you’re in a crunch, are craving a burger, or are saving up for the holidays! The gigs can be somewhat scarce in my area, but I’m sure it varies market to market, so be sure to download the app to look around! (Heck, you may even be able to replace your entire paycheck, as stated on their website.)

Have you ever been hired for a gig via Gigwalk! Tell us about it in the comments!

Mom Boss Interview: Olivia Reiman from SimplyOli

It's another Wednesday, which makes it a great time to introduce you to another amazing mamma who is kicking butt and taking names in both her family and business life! 

Meet Olivia: An amazing wife, mamma, and business-savvy woman who is using her platform to change the world! To give you a little glimpse of her story, here is a snippet from the bio on her website, SimplyOli:

When I was 13 my bipolar disorder reared its head hard, and my world got very dark, very fast. I lost love for my passions, love for myself, my family, and love for life in general. I abused myself mentally, physically, and tried to end my life more than once. I truly didn't think it would end especially after being diagnosed with mild schizophrenia. Attempts at therapy and various medications never seemed to provide a long term solution for me personally.

I'm sharing with you my story, which led me to who I am today. I'm sharing with you my jewelry, because it's become my therapy just as nature has. I'm sharing with you my lessons learned, not to help you avoid yours, but so you can see the value in harder times. And I'm sharing with you my daily life, my family, my world, so that you can see with your own two eyes that happiness doesn't look perfect - it looks however you need it to.

You can read much more of Olivia's story here (which I highly recommend you do!), but in the meantime, here is what she had to tell us about herself and SimplyOli:

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Olivia, your story is seriously incredible! Can you tell our readers a little bit about your life and what lead you to create SimplyOli?

Aww thank you! So yeah, I'm a wife to my super inspiring husband Jim, a mom to two beautiful little girls - Piper (4 years old) and Paige (1 year old), and a pet mom to 2 dogs, and 3 reptiles. Life as it is right now basically is a typical stay at home mom life - I take care of the kiddos, am exploring homeschooling, cook meals, and I keep the house as tidy as possible (which someday's isn't tidy at all haha). Of course in the mix of all of that I run my business full time from home. SimplyOli really started because I became a mom. When Piper turned 1 I realized I wasn't feeling fulfilled and I needed a creative outlet. I had always planned on working in the corporate world and never really thought I would become a stay at home mom. So my work ethic got a little restless, I started playing with some metal stamping, then discovered resin, treated it as a business right away and the rest is history.

What are the different facets of SimplyOli? Unlike most blogs/websites (like mine!), you do not just do one thing, but many! I know that for me, writing and creating is therapeutic... is it the same with you?

Oh, it is most definitely a form of therapy for me! My curiosity paired with my love to just create whatever interests me definitely lead me down an interesting road. So SimplyOli started as pop culture spoon key chains with a little bit of nature jewelry (which has completely flipped), but now I have life vlogs, self help blogs, and short form podcast to help shift women to a more positive perspective within themselves and life. Things kind of went from just jewelry, to more of my life, to sharing my story and helping others in as many ways as I can. Each thing I do speaks to the same message but in it's own way, which is something I didn't plan intentionally but really love.

You are so warm and honest on SimplyOli; what has the reception been? Have you received a lot of feedback from readers?

Everyone has been absolutely amazing and so incredibly kind! I appreciate so much when people take the time to share what something I've said or made has meant to them. It also means the world when they feel comfortable enough to share their own personal experiences and stories with me and we can connect and have a discussion on topics that I know can be a little harder to share.

What are your tips for moms out there looking to begin their own blog/website?

Where should they begin? My tips would be:
1. Start out with something you love or are interested in (I had no idea what I was doing with resin but I had an interest and ran with it).
2. Don't get overwhelmed with what platform to use, just find a place to start and focus more on connecting on a real level with people.
3. Don't wait for validation. Being a mom is just one title you hold and it doesn't define who you are or what you can do with your life.
4. Do what works for you. Especially as moms we might think that we have to hire a sitter in order to work, or that if we can't be productive in business and keep the house clean in the same day that we're not doing a good job. Some days are wife, kid, and house heavy for me, and other days I'm crushing my work to do list but the house is a mess. There's no one way to do it so be okay with being flexible.

Has SimplyOli opened any doors that you weren’t expecting (whether it be financial, new friends, etc.)?

Oh yes! I've met some of my closest friends through starting this. It's also allowed me to be a part of big events and projects that have a special place in my heart, and showed me that really I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to. Being able to help contribute financially is a bonus, but to be perfectly honest is something that can fluctuate and takes time to make more stable. But if you're only doing it for money then you're doing it wrong.

Tell us a little bit about podcasting: what inspired you to start one? What goes into making an episode?

I love listening to podcasts. I have a wireless bluetooth headset that I pop in my ear and no matter what I'm doing (work or kid related) I can listen and be inspired and educated by so many different people. I want to provide that to others and it ended up just not fitting well with my YouTube content. Everything I do has an essence of chaos and craziness to it and I love that the podcast removes all of that and is just me sharing what I've lived and what I know without any interruption and comes from a very peaceful place. The best part is that the podcast is the easiest piece of the SimplyOli pie! I write out an idea when it hits me (which typically becomes the title) and a one sentence description of the premise for the episode. Then at night when the kids are in bed I grab my inexpensive iPhone lavalier mic clipped to a small tripod, sit on the floor of my ridiculously messy closet and start chatting away. I do one listen through and edit out any long gaps where I had to think, then I convert it to an audio file and upload. Pretty simple!

Can you walk us through a day in your shoes? I’m sure there is never a dull moment with your two cute kiddos!

Oh never a dull moment! I just had to take a break from writing to let them use my body as a mini slide for a while haha! So our schedule is definitely not typical and is different every day, but works for us right now. We all wake up sometime around 10am-12pm, we have breakfast and spend time together. I look at my to do list for the day and see what I can do that doesn't need my full attention away from the kids or is a quicker task, and I basically squeeze in what I can while playing with them. Around 5 we go out for a walk and to the park. The girls unwind/nap when we get home and I'll squeeze in work that needs a little more attention. Then around 10-11pm we have dinner the girls go to bed an hour or two after that and I work on things like jewelry, writing, or podcasts that need more undivided attention. Around 2:30am I wrap up, make the next days to do list, and go to sleep around 3 - 3:30. Wherever I can I squeeze in meditation, yoga, reading, listening to podcasts throughout the day. It's all about finding balance with family, work, and self in each day.

Can you give us a little glimpse of what’s to come for your site? I think I saw something about courses coming soon...

Yes! I have plans to offer a resin course to help others avoid all of the trial and error I went through when first working with resin so that they can just enjoy it as a creative outlet as I do now! I also plan on offering a course to help shift women towards a more positive perspective in themselves and in life. I have another big project on the horizon that I haven't announced just yet so keep an eye out for that in the coming months. I'm just so excited to offer more things apart from jewelry that are geared towards helping others.

So amazing, right? To get in touch with Olivia, visit her website, Facebook, and Instagram.