Mom Boss Interview: Celia Reeves from Medical Coding Mama

Alright, mamas (and papas, students, friends, et al): I am so so so SO excited about today's mom boss, as she runs a business that is unlike any other we have ever featured (which just goes to show that if you have a passion for something, you can/should run with it)!

Meet Celia Reeves: Celia is a Medical Coder and mama who has made a business out of studying the gibberish the doctor's office bills you for (Come to find out, it isn't just gibberish -- I'm just not as smart as Celia in terms of deciphering the lingo). Her website, Medical Coding Mama, is a GOLD MINE for all things coding and consulting, and I am so excited and honored to have her here today! 

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Celia, I love how unique both your story and website is! Can you tell us a little about your background? 

I have been a Medical Coder since 2006. I fell in love the profession quite literally after my 1st husband died of cancer. Seeing the bills and stuff I didn't understand, I went to the doctor office and had them teach me what the papers said because it was all in medical codes and I didn't know how to read any of it at the time, it was like reading Greek! I also discovered I was a natural medical coder because I took to it like a duck to water. As my friends say, I eat, drink, sleep, breathe and bleed medical coding pretty much. I am now on speed dial for most of them when they need a medical question answered! 

What inspired you to take your knowledge online? 

After seeing so many people struggle to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the doctor's office, I realized all the stories i'd witnessed over the years of being in the back office as a medical coder/medical biller made for some great teaching material, and I share the patients stories and lessons they learned. I want to share all that knowledge with the world because I firmly believe an informed patient makes better health choices for themselves and their families. The stories I share come from my own life, the patients themselves, news stories i hear on the news that can spark a blog post and can be funny, sad, and sometimes a story can make you go oh yeah...why didn't I think of that?

Tell us a little about Medical Coding Mama and just what the site entails. 

Medical Coding Mama started quite by accident actually. I had gotten a phone call from a logo place asking for money. My now ex husband( i had remarried a few years after becoming a young widow) and he had ordered a logo and had given my number as a call back. When I explained he was my ex husband, the place was furious. When I offered to pay the designer for his time and effort, even though that logo would never be used, the CEO was touched I had cared enough to make sure the designer was paid for their time and effort. The CEO asked me what I did for a living, I told him I was a Medical Coder...and a single parent.The CEO then asked if my friends had a nickname for me, I laughed and said yes, my friends affectionately called me the Medical Coding Mama because my two great loves were my daughter, whom I'm raising on my own, and medical coding. The CEO laughed and asked if I had ever wanted to do my own business. When I confessed I had thought about it, they offered to make a logo for me and charged only a small amount so I could afford it since I was a single parent. The logo you see on the website is what they came up with after asking what else I loved, besides my daughter and medical coding. It's a simple logo, kinda southwest looking and teal colored. They were just tickled when I raved about my simple logo. I love it. And two weeks after getting my adorable logo, I started the blog that became Medical Coding Mama.

What doors has MCM opened for you? 

Definitely the community. I'm thrilled that people from all over the world are reading and learning from the stories I share. I honestly think and believe an educated and informed patient makes better choices. If I can help even one person, I know I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I'm not in it for the money. I love what I do for a living, and I truly love and enjoy educating the public on stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Many people honestly don't realize all that goes on behind the scenes after your doctor visit is over, or what we do with all that lovely paperwork you have to fill out. I like opening eyes on all that stuff. I have seen many a light bulb over the head moments from these patients when I explain what exactly goes on.

What advice would you give other mompreneurs trying to start their business/find their niche? 

Three pieces of advice I share with you. 1. Write about what you love and are passionate about, it will come through loud and clear to people who read/buy your stuff. 2. Make a memorable name, something catchy and easily gets stuck in people's minds so you're easy to remember. 3. DO NOT compare yourself to other people. You are unique in your own right. Show your true colors, don't worry about competing with everyone else. Make your own light shine and people will easily find you when they search for your topic.

Can you walk us through a day in your shoes? What does your work/life balance look like? 

My day is kinda spread into three parts. I get up early and do some medical coding and look over charts over a secure format to make sure all the documentation is there for insurance to pay medical claims.  then mid-morning/afternoon then I do the single mom stuff like errands, do homework with my daughter( year round school), I do a lot of dinners in the crockpot or we do make your own salad nights or breakfast for dinner,  do an outline on 5 or 6 blog posts and then flesh them out when I feel it's time to do a particular topic.  After my child is in bed for the night,  then I read a lot online for new medical breakthroughs at night before heading to bed (yes, I'm a medical geek and proud of it).

And for my favorite question: What is a Medical Coding Mama-related memory that sticks out in your mind as being the best?

 It's three way tie on favorite memory...1. My former boss whom love dearly calling me up on my cell and screaming with laughter because she knew EXACTLY which patient I was referring to in a story without mentioning their name. 2. Realizing the blog had gone international when I got linkedin.com requests to connect from all over the world. 3. Having people tell me they love my website and content.

Amazing, right? Be sure to connect with Celia by visiting her website.

5 Legit Survey Sites That Actually Pay

Please Note: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small kickback if you sign up via any of the links. Thank you for supporting the Side Hustle Mom mission!

Since joining several work-from-home Facebook groups, I have discovered that there are A LOT of scams out there. While work-from-home surveys are a real thing, it should be known that they probably won't make you rich (or ever come close enough to replacing your income), but can make you a little extra money here and there. One of the biggest and most blatant of lies I read about in groups are people claiming they are making $100-some a day by taking surveys... this isn't a real thing, people! If you want to try your luck at legit surveys that will make you some extra moolah here and there, check out these 5 legit survey sites that actually pay:

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1.) Swagbucks: I have mentioned them before and I will mention them again, because not only is Swagbucks a legit company, but they offer their users free ways to make extra money! From taking surveys with accredited companies to watching videos and shopping online via their code, there are countless legitimate ways to earn with the 'bucks.

2.) Survey Junkie: We already established that you will not get rich from filling out surveys, which is seconded on  SurveyJunkie's own website. Now that we have re-established this (apparently) common misconception, let's delve into the fact that you can earn an average of $1 to $3 for each 10-15 minute survey you complete... cool, right?

3. i-Say: With so many supposed survey sites out there, it can be hard to separate the real from the fake, which is why we love long-time companies like Ipsos i-Say, which has been around since 1975 and is now the "third largest survey-based research firm in the world with more than 15,000 employees in more than 80 countries worldwide." Like other sites, i-Say consists of answering questions and racking up points for Paypal cash, gift cards, or sweet sweepstakes entries.

4. Google Rewards: I know, I know; you don't get paid in cash for taking Google surveys, BUT you do get a decent amount of credits, which can be worth its weight in gold if you're an Android user who likes to download movies onto their phone and tablet before boarding a flight with two kids! (Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...)

5. MyPoints: Last but certainly not least is MyPoints, which I happen to LOVE because you not only make money by taking legit surveys, but by using their search engine, shopping via their link, and watching videos. As if this wasn't reason enough to join MyPoints, you can also refer your friends and receive 10% of their earnings for LIFE. Cha ching!

Mom Boss Interview: Livvy Cunningham from Ruby Ribbon

Ladies and gentlemen: It is Wednesday and it's time for your weekly dose of #momboss inspiration! You know how we love setting big goals here at Side Hustle Mom and and today's interviewee is MAJOR goals! 

Last month, we introduced you to Anna Zornosa, the founder and CEO behind the amazing Ruby Ribbon, which offers women (and men!) the opportunity to own their own boutique without the traditional MLM format. After speaking with Anna, we wanted to keep the conversation going, which is why we reached out to Ruby Ribbon about speaking to one of their talented stylists, which is where the lovely Livvy Cunningham comes in!

Livvy is a super mom to FOUR kids (ages 1, 7, 12, 15), owns a boxing gym/fitness facility with her 2-time world champion boxer husband, and styles women in super comfortable and stylist Ruby Ribbon clothing. 

Here she is!

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Livvy, please tell our readers a little bit about yourself:

I am a wife to a great husband, coming up our 15th anniversary this Fall and mom to 4 awesome kids ages 15, 12, 7 and 1.  My husband and I own and operate a boxing gym/fitness facility and in short, life is beautifully crazy.  My days are busy, but they are also a lot of fun and very fulfilling.  Being that my life is so busy, I don't have time to hang out with girlfriends in "real life" so I really value the relationships I am able to build online and through social media.  I laugh a lot (mostly at myself) and I'm an entrepreneur to my core. 

What is your professional background? Have you always been in a sales-related field?

I have a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Boston University.  I have held corporate positions in administration, marketing and corporate sponsorship, as well as managed my husband's professional boxing career for the last 10 years.  Before entering the direct sales industry, I had never held an actual sales position. I'm not naturally a pushy person, so I never thought I would be any good at it – I thought you had to be like a car salesman to do well in sales.  But since entering the field—and after a lot of professional development and learning from mistakes along the way—to my surprise, I am good at it and I truly do enjoy it. This industry is so powerful for side-hustling mamas that want to build a business and make money on their own terms, especially when they learn the proper way to sell. 

How were you first introduced to Ruby Ribbon? With all of the different direct sales companies out there, what made this company/opportunity different?

I started as a party host because I saw a post on Facebook talking about a bra-replacing, tummy slimming cami and like every other woman that hates her bra, I was curious.  I ended up setting up a virtual party and it was a major hit. My friends went crazy for the camis, so much so that the entrepreneur in me couldn't resist the opportunity.  I started to research it and really fell in love with the company, its mission, messaging and products.  So I jumped in and haven't looked back.

Ruby Ribbon is very different than other opportunities out there for several reasons. The company offers a $79 solution to a million dollar problem.  We don't have to deal with bras, underwires and back fluff anymore! Ruby Ribbon’s products empower women, helping them look and feel their very best with comfort!!  I just truly believe that when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good... WATCH OUT WORLD!  Beyond that, this opportunity has no competition in the direct sales space, a corporate team with so much heart and lots of room for growth considering that we only have 2,700 Stylists today.  

How do you promote and market your business? 

The amazing thing about this opportunity is that I am able to work it on a super part-time basis and still make full-time income.  I personally promote and work my business online and fit it into the nooks and crannies of my life—15 minutes here, and hour there, while waiting in the car pick-up line for my kids after school, etc.  I primarily use Facebook to chat “cami life” with women that are ready to ditch their bras and I also run a private VIP Facebook group for my business with over 600 members.

What can our readers expect when signing on with Ruby Ribbon? (Ex: Compensation, community, etc.)

Ruby Ribbon Stylists have their very own business to run and build as big as they can dream.  But even more then that, they are joining a very tight knit and close family.  I have never seen a company with so much support and training, nor one that is so generous with incentives, free product credits, and perks!  I've mentioned this already, but this company has such heart that even stylists are offered maternity and bereavement programs!  Our CEO is in the field and truly involved in every level of the business and that is something very special.   

How many hours a week do you spend on your business and what do you typically do during this time? 

I work my Ruby Ribbon business 1-3 hours per day, but usually less on the weekends, unless it’s the end of the month.  I am a wife and mom first. I am very clear about that and in all honesty, our gym takes precedence as well.  When I am working my business, I am "planting seeds" online, connecting with women, posting in groups, interacting in my VIP group, answering questions, conducting virtual fittings and hosting Facebook Lives. I also have a growing team and spend time daily helping them, answering questions, conducting trainings and having fun with women that are building their dreams.

Finally (and most importantly): Do you have a specific Ruby Ribbon memory that stands out as your favorite? Why?

I would say trying on a cami for the first time is my favorite memory.  I had the biggest smile on my face and all I could think was “FREEDOM!!” All of the things I hated about my bra disappeared and I was comfortable and confident.  Our camis initially start with a small ripple of change in our life because we don’t wear a bra anymore.  But, that ripple grows into a major wave that becomes life changing.  When you are on hour 14 of your day and still going strong and you realize, "hey my back isn't hurting like it normally does by now" or you have received compliments all day about how you look (“something is different about you…have you lost weight?”). You have an extra pep in your step and you realize it all comes back to your cami.  For me, even better than that is getting messages from my customers with similar stories and hearing how our products are helping them.  It seriously makes my day.

Traditionally these types of products do not work well for women with larger cups sizes and they feel like they will always need the underwire.  I have a good friend that wears a 36 HH and her breasts weigh 5 pounds each!  She reluctantly tried a cami and the next day she sent me a video practically in tears when she realized that there was a life for her without an underwired bra and she was ecstatic. 

Ready to launch your own Ruby Ribbon boutique? Visit their website now to get started!

 

Mom Boss Interview: Heather Bryan from Jupiter & Company

Happy Wednesday, Moms!

Has anyone else been having a weird week? Mine started with my 19-month-old (who has been on antibiotics for a nasty sinus/ear infection combo) waking up at 1 am Monday and then staying up until 3:30 for no apparent reason, and then not wanting to nap later in the day :/ Anyway, after my husband got off work Monday afternoon, I felt like I was coming down with something and ended up taking a long evening nap which both made me feel better and like I had wasted an entire day. Anyway, we are all on the mend now, so I digress.

You know what makes weird weeks way better though? Interviews with kick-a boss moms, which is exactly what we have today with the great Heather Bryan from Jupiter & Company!

Heather is a TRUE maverick when it comes to starting successful companies and has helped countless moms launch their own unique business that doesn't involve any sort of sales or referrals! Intrigued? Then read on as we pick Heather's brain:

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Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit or is your story one that blossomed during a corporate career (as so many tend to do)? 

I began working for my dad after college and still consider him my boss - even though I own and run the companies myself. HA 

My dad was always an entrepreneur so I learned a lot from him over the years. It wasn't until he retired did I realize 1. how much energy it takes to be an entrepreneur and 2. how much I learned from him over the years. 

His motto was always: Put it out there, sell sell sell and reap the benefits.

What is your company and what makes it different from the others?

My company is a business in a box that gives others the opportunity to own and operate their own in home engraving business with support.

I am very unique in a few ways: 

- My goal is not for me to be an "entrepreneur" but to give others the opportunity to be and learn how to be an entrepeneur

- I am the only woman that has designed and developed an engraving system and made in the USA

- I not only sell the box but I work the box locally so that I am able to help others know how to do it and to succeed

- I am not a multi level or network marketing company - the box owners will own and run their business

- I am giving a full warranty and coverage of the equipment with the use of Jupiter and Company products.

Why engraving? Can you tell us a little bit about the history of your business?

My father began Jupiter Sports in 1999 with an idea that he could enhance the customer experience by personalizing bag tags on site at golf events. Our first event was the Ryder Cup in 1999! We have engraved at  over 500 events! 

Then we ..

...had so many people asking how they could do their own engraving that we developed our original Jupiter Sports Engraving System. We sold them for $4300 and offered 6 products. 

We currently have over 250 original engravers still operating today.

But then...

..when the recession hit, we decided it was time to revamp our engraver and develop one in house! This engraver is a self contained, diamond drag engraver that our customers can use with the purchase of our high quality products. 

Currently there are over 75 new engravers working today.

Your personal mission is to help create 2,000 new entrepreneurs by 2025: how are you reaching this amazing goal?

I am confident that the mission I am putting out there will be achieved. Although I have been doing this for 17 years I consider Jupiter & Company a start up company. The most important thing i have done is to put the package together right. I have included so much information to easy anyones concerns about starting a business, how to set it up, who to sell to, how to make money and how to introduce your business.

From the minute you open your new box kit we will be there to guide you into success!

THE START UP KIT INCLUDES:

  1. THE JUPITER ENGRAVING SYSTEM

  2. MONITOR, KEYBOARD AND MOUSE

  3. JUPITER & COMPANY GUIDEBOOK

  4. PRODUCT LOOKBOOK 

  5. WHOLESALE PRICING

  6. SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE LIST

  7. PROJECT AND PROFITS GUIDE

  8. TIPS TO SETTING UP YOUR HOME BASED BUSINESS

  9. INTRODUCING YOUR NEW BUSINESS

  10. 50 FLAG LUGGAGE TAGS WITH LEATHER STRAP

  11. BAG OF PRODUCT SAMPLE 

BONUS: SUBSCRIPTION TO SUCCESS MAGAZINE

How does one begin their own engraving business with Jupiter and Company?

We have a booking system on our website so others can book a FaceTime appointment with one of our Brand Ambassadors to discuss the opportunity and to make sure that this is right for them. Our website has lots of true stories and videos to help get them to think about how this would work in their lives.

What does the life of a CEO mompreneur look like? Can you walk us through a day in your shoes?

I actually have 3 companies I run - Jupiter Engraving (my local engraving business), Jupiter & Company (business in a box sales and the development of the engraver) and MacKay Bags (my charity company that sells a bag that I designed) www.bagswithacause.com

One of the most important things for me is to  make sure I spend time on everything, balance... HA HA HA I inch out everyday making sure my kids are fed, sometimes at 11:30am I feel a rush of panic and think "Where are my kids?" Breathing deeply I remember they are at camp safe and sound. Then the guilt creeps in that takes me 15 minutes to talk myself into the state of: I am allowed to have my own thing. Then I panic at 2:40 to clean my desk before I am back to mom duty, thinking always in the back of my mind... I rocked it today. 

And now for my favorite question: Do you have a certain Jupiter and Company memory that stands out as being the absolute best? 

I sent a Facebook post out to my friends and family letting them know what my new venture was... in 5 minutes my cousin Tammy wrote me that she wanted in. I knew that I was ready at that moment because I knew I could sell her a box. I would never be dishonest but if you sell your family something horrible it spreads like wildfire - especially in an Italian family. So knowing I could take her money and give her an opportunity was my realization that I had done it. That I was ready.

Are you ready to launch your own business or simply reach out to Heather? Find her on the Jupiter & Co. website, and Moms Making Five Figures Facebook and Instagram