Mom Boss Interview: Tiffany Reimer from Passport 4 Change

It's been a hot minute (or 5) since we last featured an inspiring mom boss and I am THRILLED to say that we have a pretty amazing one joining us today! Not only is this aunt smart and hard working, she is extremely creative, as her business gives a popular tradition a unique twist. 

Mamas (and Papas), meet Tiffany Reimer:

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Tiffany, I am so excited to chat with you today! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work background?

I worked at a large bank for 5 years out of high school and although it paid well, sitting at a desk Mon-Fri 9-5 was killing me. When I was 23, I responded to an add in the newspaper looking for a flight attendant and the rest is history. I just celebrated my 20 year anniversary as a flight attendant this month. I married a pilot (so cliché) and we have been traveling the world together since 2003. We honeymooned in South Africa and met a couple from Sweden at our b&b who were also on their honeymoon. We have kept in touch and visited each other’s homes a handful of times in the last 11 years. We even spent last Christmas and New Years Skiing in Sweden with our friends.  

Why is travel so important to you and your husband, and what doors has it opened for you both personally and in terms of business?

People like to ask us where our favorite place is to travel. Every place is special for its own reasons; just some places are just more challenging than others. Our most recent trip was to Israel and Jordan. Floating in the Dead Sea was incredible and walking into the West Bank to see Bethlehem was a definite highlight. We love Germany at Christmas time and Cambodia for its unspoiled culture. Sydney Australia is a wonderful city to explore and a great place to catch a free opera in the park. We were invited to a wedding in Punjab India and our hosts made us feel like family. We find that people in other countries are hard workers trying to provide for and love their families just as we are here at home. Most people want to “do good”. Often during our travels we will pack an extra suitcase full of saved hotel soaps and shampoos and kids clothes and small toys or medical supplies. I will research an orphanage in whatever country we are traveling to and will deliver the suitcase to them. The kids welcome us and often sing us songs or give us a tour. We always feel like we get more than we give. 

What exactly is Passport 4 Change and how did you come up with the idea for it? 

Passport 4 Change is a fun and educational tooth fairy kit that takes your child’s imagination on an adventure around the world. The kit includes 20 real foreign coins, a colorful laminated world map, an optional personalized tooth fairy pillow and a passport book where your child stores their coins. Once your child has collected all their coins, they can remove the coin pages and insert their passport to begin their own adventures. 

I took my 5 year old niece to the airport for a show and tell day. We were sitting in the flight deck when I asked her where she would go if she could go anywhere in the world. She said, “Target!” Im an effort to make her world bigger, I created an educational tooth fairy kit with 20 different foreign currencies to which I attached a note from the tooth fairy about her visit to each country. I created a colorful world map, and a personalized tooth fairy pillow. I gave the kit to my sister and my niece called me a few weeks later and excitedly said, “Aunt Tiffany, the tooth fairy was just in England having tea with the Queen and she left me British Pounds!” My niece is learning about geography, math, foreign currency, time-zones and is now interested in different cultures and traditions.

If you don't mind sharing, just how does one open up a business like Passport 4 Change? Can you walk us through how you turned your idea into a unique business?

In a world where walls are going up, I think it is so important to share our differences learn from one another. My favorite quote is, “It’s difficult not to like someone once you know their story.” These real foreign coins brought by the tooth fairy are a piece of magic from another world that stimulates the imagination and sparks curiosity. After seeing the effect it had on my niece, I knew that I needed to start a business selling these kits to other families. 

Please walk us through a day in your shoes as an entrepreneur. 

Remember I said that I don’t do well with sitting at a desk so this is a perfect business for me. I get to travel and collect my coins. I have a lot of down time at airports and hotels where I sit with my computer and work on the technical things. Luckily, once I had the kits set up, it’s pretty easy to ship out when  orders come in from my website. 

How do you go about marketing your business and what tips can you give others? 

Marketing has been a challenge because this idea is a new concept so people aren’t searching for me yet. I depend on word of mouth and a little social media, which I really need to hire someone to manage. I have realized recently that I just can’t do everything. Well, I can, just not all at once.  ; ) My social medial when through an identity crisis. Do my followers want to follow me and my travels/adventures or do I need to only post about the business? My tip is to outsource when necessary. Know when to ask for help. 

Finally, what is the best thing to have happened to you because of Passport 4 Change?

So many great things have happened because of Passport 4 Change! I’ve met some incredible people along my journey! I’ve gotten pushed waaaay out of my comfort zone and grown as a result. I’ve learned so much and had so many doors open because I was out in the world being curious. I plan to donate a portion of my sales to study abroad programs to encourage young people to travel and be exposed to a different culture. One day I plan to start my own non-profit that offers scholarships. But, the BEST is when I get a message from a parent about how much their child is loving the adventure and how much they are learning about our world. One parent told me that during the Olympics, her daughter said that she wanted to watch China and Italy because that’s where the tooth fairy had been. Or, "Thank you for the brilliant idea and twist on the Tooth-fairy. Not only is it educational, it's fun. My son is excited to mark the map with his foreign money!" Or, "My daughter felt so special that the Tooth Fairy came all the way from England to give her a coin!” Or, “My daughter says kids at her school are getting money from the tooth fairy but I like mine better because my tooth fairy travels.” These are the things that keep me pushing forward. 

Is anyone else itching for their 4-year-old's teeth to begin falling out so they can order a Passport 4 Change?! To order your own -- or to learn more about the company -- please visit the Passport 4 Change website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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.

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.