I think Tamara and I were both really refreshed to have crossed paths and met each other, because we both “GOT” being a stay at home and small business owner. I also loved her advice at the very end of our interview, because, I can tell you from personal experience, it is SO TRUE!!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family:
I own a brand management and digital marketing firm called Silver Shade Group where I work with small businesses and entrepreneurs. I also have a 7-year-old little boy who is in first grade. My husband works for a large bank in Charlotte and has a fairly demanding schedule, but we try to eat dinner as a family at least a few days each week and spend a lot of time together on the weekends.
What prompted you to start a business?
I wanted to do fulfilling work with a flexible schedule. I spent my early career (like most people) working for large corporations without a lot of flexibility. Once my son was born, I wanted to be able to control my work load and my schedule to spend more time with him while he’s small enough to want me around.
How did you decide on the name of your business?
I actually have a pretty rigorous business naming process that I followed to name both Twined (my last company) and Silver Shade Group. I used to name brands and product lines when I was in Merchandising and Brand Management so it’s something that I specialize in now.
Tell us more about your product/business and your role:
I started doing freelance marketing work a few years ago when I left my corporate ecommerce position to go back to graduate school. I took on some copy and digital marketing projects and started another company at the same time. Over the past year, I’ve really focused on the marketing work and decided to take myself a little more seriously, so I created a company for that work. That way the company can grow beyond my own ability to take on freelance work. Most of my clients are smaller startups and small businesses that need direction on either brand management or digital marketing. For brand management, those clients are a little more established or growing quickly and need advice on how to make the best decisions about their business and best represent their brand. On the digital marketing side, sometimes they have a website that doesn’t suit them and sometimes they don’t have a website at all.
Do you have a storefront or do you work from home?
I work from home. And coffee shops. I love Not Just Coffee at Atherton Mill in Charlotte.
How do you balance all of the roles that you have?
I use my calendar. Seriously. I put almost everything into the calendar on my phone or my Mac and I schedule the same type of events each day during the week. I try to run around town and schedule appointments all on one or two days a week. That way, I can be more productive on the days that I’m in my office. I also take advantage of the time that my son isn’t home. On Saturdays, my little guy plays hockey and that’s something he usually attends with my husband. While the two of them are out, I write blog posts and catch up on research and sometimes client work. On Mondays, however, I volunteer at my son’s school and chase around to the post office or run errands that I didn’t get done over the weekend. I try to control my schedule and most of the time, that’s enough to make me feel like I have balance.
What is the best aspect of having your own business?
I enjoy deciding which clients I want to work with and which projects to take on.
What is the hardest part about owning your own business?
Owning a business is kind of lonely. It’s hard to find a lot of people who really understand the things you struggle with day to day.
What are some long-term or future goals you have for your business?
I’d like to offer more education and online courses. I have a few courses on Skillshare that I teach personally and Silver Shade Group offers one about content and one about branding, but I’d like to offer a better portfolio of courses for the entrepreneurs who want to DIY their website and their branding. That’s something I have in the works, probably for later this year.
What do you do when you’re not being supermom?
Yoga. I love yoga. It’s 60 minutes at a time that I really don’t think about anything
What is your favorite household product?
Coffee. That’s a household product, right? If coffee doesn’t count… I’m also addicted to those Clorox GreenWorks wipes. I use them on pretty much everything.
What wardrobe staple can you not live without?
Jeans. I love jeans and I wear them almost every day.
What was your first job?
I answered telephones at a Pizza place in the Chicago ‘burbs. My title was ‘Phone Girl’.
What celebrity would you love to have dinner with, and why?
I’m really not into celebrities, but I’d love to have dinner with Tory Burch. I think she’s built a fantastic empire and brand and I admire the things she does for other women in business.
What was the last book you read?
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
What is one piece of advice that you can give to a mom starting a business?
Launch before you’re ready. For some reason, entrepreneur moms in particular want everything to be ‘Just so’ when they launch. It’s better if you can get yourself and your brand out there and make small adjustments along the way.