In xoNecole's series Mother/Hustler, we sit down with influential mom bosses who open up about the ups and downs of motherhood, as well as how they kill it in their respective industries, all while keeping their sanity and being intentional about self-care.
Lifestyle blogger Jehava Brown has four very special men in her life––three of which call her "mommy". While this Pennsylvania-based entrepreneur may have a full house of growing boys, her lucrative lifestyle blog allows her to bring home the bacon (and bread and butter, too).
Only five years ago, Jehava launched OnlyGirl4Boyz on a wish and a prayer, and today, this Mother/Hustler says that the fruits of her faith have been nothing short of a blessing. According to Jehava, the first step to success is getting out of your own way. "As simple as it sounds, just do it!" she explained. "So many people I have come across have all these plans they are ironing out when they could be in the process of growing their businesses. The people who do well in business are the ones who do not let fear of the unknown cripple them."
For a creative on the come-up, analysis paralysis is real, but Jehava wants you to know it's time to stop planning and start doing. Although the first step can be the hardest, it is also the most important. "When I started blogging, I knew enough to get everything going, but I had A LOT to learn. I learned as I went along, but I knew that the longer I 'planned', the less likely I was to start it. Also, I could still start producing an income that I would have missed out on if I didn't just hit the ground running."
We sat down with Jehava to talk more about budgeting, time management, and making your income work for you. Here's what we learned:
xoNecole: How do you handle moments when you feel overwhelmed?
Jehava Brown: Prayer and time with my girls can help me feel better in almost any situation. My faith is a big factor in my life and helps me take a step back and see all of God's many blessings when the cares of life feel like too much. Hanging out with my girlfriends encourages me to recognize how similar our issues are and that I'm not alone.
What’s the hardest part of your day?
JB: It would probably be once I pick my kids from school and my "second job" starts. I put on my mom hat while still balancing work through early-evening. I'm typically helping with homework, prepping dinner, and answering emails.
How (and how often) do you practice self-care?
JB: Once a week, I have a night out with a girlfriend. We typically go somewhere good for dinner, but it's so relaxing to unwind and eat alone in peace. When I go back to my family, I feel energized and ready to take on the busyness of life. This is something I made a priority a few years ago, and it has made all the difference.
"My faith is a big factor in my life and helps me take a step back and see all of God's many blessings when the cares of life feel like too much. Hanging out with my girlfriends encourages me to recognize how similar our issues are and that I'm not alone."
When do you feel most productive?
JB: First thing in the morning! I wake up and make my family breakfast and get everyone out of the house. Then, I start working by 8 am. I find I am most productive from then until noon. I can just focus on my business and tend to have the most energy (mainly because when I get my kids from school, I am juggling more and have to multi-task).
What is your favorite way to spend “me time”?
JB: I love going to the spa a few times a year or planning a girls' trip to get away, but on a more normal basis, I enjoy getting my nails and hair done as they just help me feel special even if I'm in sweats.
What is your advice for dealing with mom guilt?
JB: Even though I work from home, it is really hard to manage everything I have on my plate, and I have definitely battled with mom guilt. With my business, it definitely feels like the more time and energy you put in, the more successful you are. That is hard because some weeks I work 50 to 60 hours. In the past year, I have learned how to not let work control my life and cut back my hours by hiring more help. Another thing is just coming to grips with what I am bringing to the table and being proud of that.
I make a large income for my family, and we have had tons of all-expense-paid trips to Disney World, Vail, Colorado, and many other places due to my job. So acknowledging that my job affords my children better experiences, memories, and daily life helps with any guilt associated with the work it takes to be successful. I also make sure I am intentional in having meaningful family time each week where I am not working and we are spending time together.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
JB: To not take "no" personally. I think the difference between those who succeed and those who struggle to see their business flourish is how they interpret the word "no". I have met so many people in this business that are paralyzed by the idea of being turned down by pitching collaborations with companies and brands. I learned early on to just push past the negative responses and try harder. Even with all of my success, I still hear that word on a normal basis and use it as inspiration to do more and dream bigger. I started out reaching for the stars and was shocked by the brands that responded. Perseverance makes all the difference.
"I think the difference between those who succeed and those who struggle to see their business flourish is how they interpret the word 'no.' I have met so many people in this business that are paralyzed by the idea of being turned down by pitching collaborations with companies and brands. I learned early on to just push past the negative responses and try harder."
What is the most important lesson you want your kids to learn from you?
JB: To follow and trust God with all of your heart, and He will bless you in whatever you put your mind to. Every step of my business I have given back to Him and He has been faithful to bless it. Also, to dream big, research the steps to make that happen, and go for it! Hard work and perseverance pay off!
Why was it important to you to be an entrepreneur even though some people may think that a 9-to-5 offers more stability?
JB: I wanted to be available for my kids during these child-rearing years. I wanted to be there when they get home from school, volunteer in their classes, and make dinner each night. This was important to me and I believed I could do that while bringing in a consistent income. Yes, my goal was to make a standard full-time salary, but I didn't realize or dream it would become all that it has become!
How has being a mother helped you become a better entrepreneur (or vice versa)?
JB: As a mom, I wear a lot of different hats and I do the same as an entrepreneur. It's helped me balance my time, multi-task each day, and be assertive. I use all of these in my business each day and in parenting. Also, being a mom has given me more inspiration to push for my goals than I would ever have if it was just for me.
What advice do you have when it comes to time management as a mogul mommy?
JB: This is hard because when you have a business, success seems tied to the time you invest––especially in social media. However, I have found ways to be more effective with the time I invest in growing my brand. I have multiple calendars that I live by. One is for work, one is for our home life, and another my partnership manager and I share. This helps me stay focused on the tasks that need [to get] done each day. I also created work hours, and try to put down my phone and laptop outside of that.
What tips do you have for financial planning, both professionally and for your family?
JB: Every month my husband and I sit down to plan out our household budget and where we want our money to go. We also do quarterly goals for savings, paying off debt, investing and so on. We did this when we had 2 cents to our name and we were trying to save $50 in a month, and we still do this now with a six-figure household.
As far as business goes, I have multiple accounts for business expenses, savings, and taxes. This makes everything so much easier at the end of the year. I make sure that I pay everything out of these accounts, and never cross them with our family accounts. A plan makes all the difference in reaching your financial goals. Be sure to give yourself little rewards to stay encouraged along the way as you meet those milestones.
For more Jehava, follow her on Instagram @OnlyGirl4Boyz!
Featured image courtesy of Jehava Brown.