Have you ever wondered how identifying your goals and being open to changes can bring abundance to your business and family life? In this episode, Camille welcomes Vanessa Quigley, the co-founder of Chatbooks, a subscription photo book company that helps create moments that matter.
There’s no one right way to be a mother and that took me some learning. That lesson also applies to entrepreneurship.
Vanessa shares her journey from being an artist to establishing and running Chatbooks with her husband. She shares her advice on how she was able to adapt to changes in her business and motherhood while being a mother of seven. She also shares some of the best practices that she uses both in her business and parenting life.
I think acknowledging that just it’s different. We can’t parent the way that we were parented. Find a friend who’s going through it too and have someone else to talk to, to get you through it. But just as I’m saying that, I’m thinking about how that principle also applies as you’re building a business, to have a friend who’s going through the same thing.
If you’re looking to start a business or are looking to grow your team, tune into this episode to learn how you can open yourself up in different ways to expand your business by identifying your goals and values.
I think having a set schedule where people can anticipate learning, getting caught up, and then having a chance to share what’s on their heart and on their mind is really important.
VANESSA QUIGLEY [0:00]
Yeah. So, people talk a lot about culture and the importance of culture in building businesses. And I'll admit when I first started hearing about it, I was thinking, it's having a ping pong table in your office and catering and lunches. I was thinking of it in very superficial terms, but it wasn't long before I realized, no, it's about knowing who you are and what you stand for and what it feels like to live and work in this environment.
CAMILLE WALKER [0:34]
So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business, sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
This is a special episode because it taps into a lot of things that I've been thinking about lately with manifestation, growth, and bringing yourself a life that you love and also that the universe or God, depending on the way you look at it, has in store for you. I don't know if you follow me on social media. I have two accounts on Instagram: @callmeceopodcast and @camillewalker.co. This last week, I've been working on cleaning out my podcast room which previously was our craft room and also the catch all room for the random stuff that we've moved from house to house and I stumbled upon something that was my husband's.
It was a box that his mom had put together for him full of old awards, accomplishments, assignments, and amongst the rubble and also the treasures was a letter that I found that he had written to himself about what he wanted to be when he grew up. And in this letter to his future self which I believe this was an assignment because he wasn't much of a journal writer was a letter where he said what his intentions were for his life. He said that he wanted to be a lawyer or to run a law firm. He said that he wanted to excel in academics and sports and possibly get a scholarship which he did both of those things, which is pretty incredible.
He also talks about serving a mission and also joining the NBA. Side note, he also hoped that he marries a nice wife. I like to think that I do qualify under nice. What's interesting about this is that my husband has never told me that he wanted to be a lawyer. When I met him, he was in the finance realm and was deciding between becoming a financial advisor or an accountant. At the end of it all, he did decide to become an accountant, a CPA, received his MBA. And I'm going to pause right there because I want to tell you what happened next.
I never knew that he wanted to be a lawyer and I called him and read this to him and said, "I didn't know that you wanted to be a lawyer growing up." And he said, "Yes, that was always my intention. I wanted to be a lawyer, go to a good college." And what happened was we had a lot of people that came from their jobs that they were at and they would come to our career week and tell us about what they did, if they liked it, what it entailed and if they could go back, if they would do it again.
And all of these lawyers that came and visited him or visited the class rather, they all said if they could go back, they would not have chosen to be a lawyer because it was very demanding on their time. Now that isn't to say that all lawyers feel this way, but that translated the message to my husband that maybe this wasn't the career path for him because that was the advice that he was given. Fast forward to where we are right now and my husband did become an accountant, a CPA, but he is also now running a law firm and that was never his intention as he set out to be an accountant and then to become a CPA and eventually a CFO or someone who can run the finances of a company.
And yet that is where his path led him. And the irony of this and the manifestation of this all, of course, I'm geeking out over here like, oh my gosh, how cool that everything that you wrote as a 13, 14-year-old self, you brought to pass? The only thing that he wrote and it didn't come to fruition was that he didn't play for the NBA. And what's funny about that goal that he wrote that at the very, very end, "And I want to be on the NBA." It was like this far-reaching goal that maybe he didn't really believe or want in my mind, but everything else on the page he did. And the fact that he said that he wanted to be a lawyer or run a law firm is exactly what he did and he didn't know that all of the steps in between would lead him to that goal that he had set for himself so many years before.
But as you're listening to this episode, I want you to focus on what your goal is for your life. What is that roadmap? Because in step two, you're going to hear that it's not about the how. It is not about the how. And so, as you're thinking about this, I want you to think about identifying your goals and realizing that if you open yourself up to it, there is so much abundance that can come. You may not know all the steps in between, but it's there for you. Let's get started.
Welcome everyone to another episode of Call Me CEO and today we have a very special guest Vanessa Quigley who is the co-founder of Chatbooks and a champion for families and creating moments that matter. And if any of you have been here for a while, you know that that is very in line with my mission here as well.
Vanessa is a mother who is devoted to her family and today we're going to be talking about how to create a balance in your life, but also how to grow an amazing business as a woman, a mother, and as a partner. She runs this business with her husband. And anytime that I interview someone who runs a business with their husband, I'm like, "Tell me more. That takes a very special couple." So, Vanessa, thank you so much for being with us today.
I'm so happy to be here and to share my story.
Yeah. So, tell our audience about you, a little bit about where you live, your children, where you're from and let's dive into Chatbooks and hear more about it.
Okay. I live in Orem, Utah right now. And every time I say that I'm a little shocked because I love Utah. I came to Utah for school. I went to BYU, but I am a Floridian. I love the sun, I love the sand, seventh generation Floridian. I just could not ever imagine living anywhere that wasn't next to the beach. I loved my time here as a student. I was studying vocal performance and pedagogy. I wanted to be actually a Broadway star, but then when I got here and I discovered classical singing, I was working towards being a professional opera singer. I love, love music, I love performing, I love storytelling. And this was a great place, Utah. BYU was a great place to learn those skills and develop those talents.
But man, my story took a lot of turns along the way. Needless to say, I did not become an international opera singer, but we live in Utah now because this is a great place to start a business. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong here and fast forward a bunch of years from college and my husband and I wanted to start a business that was all about helping families. And family is such an important part of the culture here in Utah and family history. And I just felt like the right place to be.
So, here we are in Utah. I'm the mother of seven children. My oldest is 26, my youngest is 14, technically only two live at home, but at any given time, we will have every room in the house filled because gratefully, most of my kids all live close by. And learning how to parent adult children has been an eye-opening experience. I feel like I'm starting all over again.
I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. My husband is one through and through. All he wanted to do was build businesses and he wanted to build them with me. But I had my sights set on other things. I always wanted to be performing. I was always trying out for a show. I taught voice lessons. I liked being in front of people telling stories. I did not want anything to do with business, but we came together on this idea to create a way to help families safeguard, organize, and enjoy their family memories and it was at a time in our lives. Our youngest was getting ready to go to school full-time that it felt like something that maybe we could do together. And yeah, the rest is history, turns out I love doing this too. This is a whole new role that I get to take on and learn and dig into.
Wow, that's amazing. Wow, okay, seven children. If I talked to anyone outside of Utah and I say I have four children, people fall over in their chair. I can only imagine seven, that's a lot more. So, how are you able to manage? And I need to back up just a little bit because some of you who are listening right now may not know what Chatbooks is and I want you to know that this was a pioneering movement of creating books to order from Instagram images that were on your phone, which if anyone knows, and if they're anything like me, I have a million pictures on my phone and I very rarely would print them.
And so, Chatbooks was this perfect way to scrapbook without having to take a huge amount of time to create this moment where I'm scrapbooking now. No, it's digital and you order it and they can even put it automated for you, so that once a book fills up, it automatically ships to your home. And it is so brilliant and I didn't tell you this because I have a surprise.
So, back in 2014, this is a Chatbook that was printed and for those of you who are not watching on Youtube, you can't see this, but you can later if you want to, if you want to go check it out. But this is my original Chatbook and it's from 2014. And the very first image that's on it, I didn't pick the cover. They actually printed it for me because it was at a blogging conference, maybe Snap that you were helping out with.
Yes, I remember that.
Yeah. And the image on the front of mine says, "Tomorrow is the first blank page of 365-page book, write a good one." So, that was a quote that I had shared with my audience and isn't that fun that that was the very first cover?
I love that. It's a great way to start. Yes. Oh my goodness, that makes me so happy to see.
So cool. So, that was a surprise that as I was cleaning out my office this week, I found this book and I'm like the timing couldn't have been better.
It's meant to be.
So, take our audience back. Yes, back into 2014 and how you had this revolutionary idea to create these print order books that we could scrap book with and create our family histories.
Right. Let me go all the way back to college, BYU, where I was singing and I was loving it and we were planning. I married my freshman year sweetheart and we had big plans to move to Europe. He was going to work in business and I was going to sing and then I found out I was pregnant. I was shocked. I had so many mixed feelings. I wanted to be a mother more than anything, but that was not the plan. I am the oldest of 12 children and I claimed to have changed as many diapers as anyone should in a lifetime before I graduated from high school. I felt like I had already done that and I needed a break.
I had no plans to have kids for at least five years. I told my husband, "Don't even talk to me about it, I got stuff to do." So, this was the big shift in what I had planned for my life, but as soon as I made that shift, I was all in. And one of the things that my mom did so beautifully was document our family story. She didn't take a million photographs because no one did when you had to buy film and then you have to pay to develop it. But we had photographs and memorabilia from our family's lives together. And my mom made beautiful scrapbooks. She was also an art major. So, that was like her thing. She's very artistic and creative.
But those scrapbooks were everything for me. It just gave me a sense of who I am and what I'm capable of and my place in the world and I knew I wanted to do that for my children. My first baby was born in 1995 and scrapbooking was the thing. It was like the popular thing and it was an important thing and I took it very seriously, turns out I loved the artistic creative side too. But I knew that this was an important job to be done for my family and I did it big time. I couldn't wait to put him to bed so that I could just scrapbook. I had scrapbooking parties. I worked for a scrapbooking company. I went to scrapbooking conventions.
It was my life, but then I had another baby and I had another baby and another baby. And I remember distinctly being on bed rest with baby number five and thinking, I'm finally going to get caught up because I'm just stuck here in this bed. My sister was living with me. I was just printing photos, cropping photos, getting ready to get all caught up and then that baby was born and that was it. Never touched my scrapbooking supplies again. And when my youngest, my seventh child, was five, it dawned on me that not only does he not have a scrapbook, but he doesn't have a single printed photo other than a little preschool album this preschool teacher had made for him.
It was a graduation present. She'd put together these little dollar store albums for each child and that was his prized possession. He would carry it around with him everywhere. He told me he never wanted to grow up. And it was adorable and I was grateful for her doing this little thing. But I realized I am failing in this very important job. I knew that this was an important thing to be done and I'm not doing it because life is busy and priorities have shifted. The way I take photos has changed.
And I realized in that moment that I am still documenting our story, but on Instagram. Instagram in the early days, it was purely a way to keep in touch with friends and family, at least for me. It was I didn't follow that many people, not very many people followed me. We've moved around in our family's life a lot and I'm terrible at keeping in touch. But Instagram was this magical way to just give a little snapshot of what our family is up to.
And I realized that man, if he had just access to my Instagram, he would have more to show for his little life. And I remember that I often at the end of a long day when you feel sometimes discouraged about how little you got done or what kind of mom I am, that's I think a typical thing as women.
Yeah, very relatable.
I would find myself scrolling back through my Instagram posts. It's like a little pick me up and proof that, yeah, we have done good things. I am a good mother. We have an incredible family. Sometimes we just need that little bit of validation. But if anything, not handing my phone to my children, I'm taking all the devices away because we need less screen time.
So. anyway, that was a moment. It was a little painful, but it also was a-ha that I needed to figure out how do I get these moments out of my phone and off of social media and into the hands of my family? And my husband at that point had been working for about three years on what we call now enterprise software for families. Who wants that? But that's what he had built his career around is building enterprise software for other sectors. And so, he was trying to solve this problem for families in the way he knew how and it wasn't working. So, after three years of no paycheck, of investing all of our savings in his idea, moving our family from Florida where we were living at the time, blocks from the beach, to Utah where I said I would never live. I think he was sufficiently humbled enough to listen to my idea.
My idea was figure out how to put my Instagram and gratefully, he had a little dev team in place. They put everything they had been working on, on the shelf, spent a couple of weeks hacking out MVP. And as soon as I had that in my hands and I started showing my friends and family, we knew we were onto something because in all of the user testing before with his enterprise software, we would hear things like, "This is good. I should totally do this. I should be doing this. That should work."
It should have been a red flag because the shoulds, we need to get around to the shoulds. We're putting out all the fires. We're doing all the immediate stuff and it turns out connecting with friends and family, that's an immediate need. We all need that, especially as mothers, we need a little validation and that's what people have been doing on Instagram. And so, yeah, we started to show our MVPs around and people were saying things like, "Shut up and take my money. I need this. Where do I sign up?" And so, it was a very different conversation and we started selling a lot of books and it was amazing. And it didn't take us long though to realize do we really want to be beholden to Instagram? How else can we build our business that's not around Instagram because who knows what's going to happen?
They could turn it off. They could put down their API. And at that point, as soon as we started building the business and I realized I started using my Instagram differently because now I was selling a product. I was using my Instagram to build the business like so many people are doing today. And I was using Instagram differently too. So, we immediately started working on ways to get your photos off of your phone that didn't require going on social media through favorites, through our month books where you just pick 30 photos every month straight from your camera roll. That's how the ball got rolling and how I found myself in this position.
That's incredible. I love how you said it went from the conversation of I should to I need that. I met this man recently. He's a 75-year-old man. We're out at a pickleball court and he was telling me the number one thing you need to do for people is forget about the money and look at their needs and their wants and a path of how you can get them there and they'll start stuffing money in your pockets. And I feel like that's exactly what you did. You found that need and that want because it was something you identified with and people were like, "I need this. Make it happen now." How did you handle the production level of people wanting it so immediately? What was that transition like?
It was crazy and exciting and wonderful. We had a partnership with a print shop locally. It was actually a friend of my husband's from business school and we helped them buy new printers and holiday time was crazy. We had all the kids in the office helping stuff envelopes, but it was just so satisfying to see that we actually had tapped into what our customers needed and I have to say everyone knows that our family stories are important.
But making the time for it in the way that my husband had anticipated was so off base and he's a good man and he does a lot of good things, but he doesn't know what women need and want. He had one living right in front of him. He could have opened his eyes. Actually, I could have spoken up more, but I think I was like, "Building businesses is your thing and you have the Harvard MBA. What do I know? Okay, if you think that's the way it is." But in reality, his customer was me and my friends and busy moms like me and the last thing we have time for is a giant project.
And so, that was something that I think was eye-opening for him too is needing to have diversity on his team. We're solving problems for families. What do those look like outside of his own life experience? And so, the key for our success was that we gave families a solution that didn't require leaning in and doing a lot of work. We were taking what you've already done at that time, posting on Instagram.
You're already curating your camera roll. You are putting the caption, which is the journal part and we're just going to give you the tool to give you what you want using the work that you've already done. There are products that don't come straight from social media requires a little more work on our user's part, but figuring out how to make that as easy as possible.
Building tech that helps choose your photos for you, creating a subscription that it's easy and as affordable as can be and world class customer service because they're all moms. We call our customers support team The MomForce because they're all moms that know what our customer needs and the pain points in all the aspects of our life and making the customer right in every situation, that's our calling card. All of those things have helped us be successful because we know our customer because we are our customer.
That's powerful. Now I'm curious as you are going through this and helping steer your husband in that direction of understanding how to actually solve this problem, what were the ages of your kids and how were you able to manage? Seven children, what were their ages? What were you doing? How did you make this work?
My youngest was just going to kindergarten full-time. And so, it was like the first time that everyone would be out of the house during the day. And I had dreamt of this moment. I was going to go get my yoga certification. I thought about going back to school and getting my master's. The world is my oyster. The last thing I wanted to do was go to work and I didn't want to go to work with my husband.
I love him. He's amazing, but we're both the oldest in our family, masters of our domain. Always have been in charge of our own world. I just didn't see how we would be able to work together because we both like to be right. You know what I'm saying?
Yes, I do.
But when it became obvious that the key to our success was going to be having my voice on the team and more women on the team, I wanted to have a say other than just like an aside at home in the bedroom. I knew that I needed to join the team and because I had these hours now with everyone in school, it felt doable.
It is still hard though to be all-in on family and home and be working because I used to use those hours to grocery shop and clean the house and meal plan and do things for me that would fill my bucket so that I was ready for everyone to come home at the end of the day. And so, now that looks really different and we've got a lot of help to help fill in the gaps that I've left as I worked while they're at school. But as far as the timing, it couldn't have been better. I don't know how I could have done this if I had kids at home all day long. I don't know if it would have worked for us. So, I'm glad that the timing with our family's stage of life was what it was.
Yeah. It's really interesting to hear you say that because I'm right on that precipice of my youngest. He's in kindergarten this year, so I get just a couple of hours and then it's like next year is that first full year. And I feel like it's those transition periods of our lives as women that we reevaluate, where am I? What do I want? Where am I going? How am I going to create this path that I want?
And I love that that timing worked out so well for you and that you were able to dive into it and be part of the team. The question I want to ask is at what point did you realize this is the thing that my husband's been searching for. This is going to work. This is success? What was that transition like in that moment? Do you remember having those thoughts?
Yeah. I knew as soon as we started putting books in the hands of our customers that this is going to work and it's going to work if we do it together because I knew he needed me. And all of those fears that I mentioned I had about working with my husband quickly went away. I realized we're actually prepared for this. We were made for this moment. Our mission for our company is to strengthen families. That's what we've been doing behind the scenes as he was building his other companies.
We know what that looks like. We know what that takes. We know what kind of products, what kind of customer experience needs, but we also know on the other side what kind of team we need to build, what kind of culture we need in our company to get the amazing people that we need to help us make our dreams come true. And so, as unqualified as I felt because I didn't have an MBA. I actually never took a business class. I didn't even take math in college.
I'm an artist, I felt really, really unqualified to be doing this, but we have different zones of genius. I don't have a degree in marketing, but I know how to story tell. I know what I want as a customer. I know what kind of experience I want as a consumer and turns out all those years of mothering and performing were the perfect preparation because we were very careful too when we talk about our team make the difference that this isn't a family.
I know we sometimes feel like family because we're working so hard on something that was so passionate about and you care deeply about those people, but it is in the end a team. You don't get to cut your son when he keeps missing curfew or his room is a mess. You don't do that. But when you have an all-star team, you do make cuts, you make trades. So, there is a difference there. But a lot of the things that I did in my family to help strengthen my family and it translate to our success in our business in just cultural ways and all of that.
I want to hear more about that because as a mother of seven running a very successful business with your husband, what are those success tools that you put in place with your family that translated to your business and how to run the machine, so to speak?
Yeah. So, people talk a lot about culture and the importance of culture in building businesses and I'll admit when I first started hearing about it, I was thinking, it's having a ping pong table in your office and catering and lunches. I was thinking of it in very superficial terms, but it wasn't long before I realized, no, it's about knowing who you are and what you stand for and what it feels like to live and work in this environment.
And I was reminded of a moment when I was pregnant with number five and I had all these babies and I felt like I was drowning and no one was listening to me and my life is a disaster. And I was desperate to just create some order and lay out some expectations of what it's going to be like to live in this family and what I need from you. And my oldest was eight at the time, but my husband and I landed on what we called the Quigley creed.
I love it. I'm taking notes. I hope everyone's pulling out the paper.
Quigleys are kind obedient, cheerful and polite. I just thought if we can just aspire for these things, it'll be better. And those felt like things that an eight-year-old, a six-year-old, a four-year-old could grasp being kind, obedient, cheerful and polite. No, it did not guarantee that anyone behave that way, but it was like a common set of values that we talked about often over communicating. Actually, every night before they went to bed, we would have them recite this and when they were young enough, they had hand motions to go with it.
As they got older, we started entering the teenage years, we actually made one amendment to the creed. It is now as it stands, Quigleys are respectful, responsible, considerate, and kind. Okay, kindness never dies. But did you see how those values changed? They were a little more mature as we were getting older and I wanted to really reinforce what does that mean in our home and outside of our home?
So, having this common set of values that we talked about a lot was really, really helpful in our home and we knew we needed that for our family. And so, one of the first things we did, our team was not very big at that time, but we gathered together. We agreed on what are the unique things about working here at Chatbooks? Think about your favorite person to work with. What is it about them that you love that makes this a good experience? And we whittled it down to five values.
We call them our all-star values and we talk about them all the time. They're on the wall, they guide us through our interview process and in all of our one-on-ones. It is what makes it unique to live and work at Chatbooks and not that people are living in Chatbooks, but that sense of culture is that everything, how it feels and it's not going to be for everyone. We've had people join the team and it's just like, "This isn't what I'm looking for right now." And I will say usually they are younger, single people because we are such a family-focused place that we're not like the party atmosphere.
But anyway, those five values and we lay them out in the shape of a star. So, at the very tip of the star is grown up because I don't need to come to work to deal with more children. That was another reason. I need you to be a grown up and you know what that looks like and that just translates to everything. So, grown up and then on the two arms of the star is amazing because we want amazing work. We expect amazing work and then ship because we also just got to get stuff out of the door. And if we work too hard on making things perfect, we're never going to ship anything.
But if you keep shipping, if you're just shipping without thinking, then you're not sending amazing work out there. So, the fact that those are on two arms of the start, that's like tension there, there's like give and take. So, we talk about that, we're aware of that, we look at that. And then, the feet of the star is optimistic and kind because like I said, kindness, it's eternal, kindness never goes away.
So, being optimistic that even when we get through the hard times because you're going to get through hard times, that's part of life, that not all is lost. We're actually going to learn from this, we're going to be stronger, we're going to grow from this. That optimism is really important and at the foundation of who we are, and then kindness. And there's actually added another value right in the center. When Hamilton was all the rage, we were obsessed. We would play the album, we have a record player at work, we would play it nonstop.
And that hunger was something that we could really relate to because as an entrepreneur, you're just like you're hungry to build and grow and change the world. And as our company has grown, that is one of the challenges is your team gets bigger. Does everyone feel that hunger in the same way that our founding team does? And so, talking about that and what it looks like and why it's important is something that we do too.
I love that. That is so tangible. And I love that you changed the words for your audience for their stage of life. I have children who are younger and I'm like, okay, I need to teach them these. I also have teenagers now too where I'm like it does change, the shift of how they show respect and responsibility. I love how tangible that is.
And I'm curious because this is something that my family has done is we will have family meetings, we try to do them every Sunday and we meet with each child one-on-one and talk about what's going on in their lives, what their responsibilities are, how they're responding to others in the home. I'm curious because I think you probably have something similar. Do you have something where either team meetings for your work or for your family that have worked well in the past and that you're still doing?
Yeah. We always tried to do a weekly meeting with our whole family as well the same way. The one-on-ones with our kids, we were a little spottier on that.
Yes, but I will say that some of the most important conversations that we had with our kids, I don't think would have happened if we hadn't had that one-on-one time scheduled where we sat down and just gave them the opportunity to say something that was on their mind because family life is moving fast. And I'll admit I wasn't always clued in on what everyone was going through or experiencing or the hard things that were happening to them and so we know that those one-on-one conversations are really important.
And yes, we do that with every player on our team. Every coach meets one-on-one with all of the players and each team has their own cadence of meetings. Some teams meet every day for a stand-up check in, but having a set cadence of meetings, whether it's for the team or the whole company. Every Thursday, we have a town hall where we take turns presenting what's going on in the company, things that we're building, celebrating wins. Yeah, I think having a set schedule where people can anticipate learning, getting caught up, and then having a chance to share what's on their heart and on their mind is really important.
I love it. You mentioned earlier that as you worked more, you had to change the environment of how the daily tasks, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, the shuffling was getting done at home. What are those transitions that you made to allow space for you to be able to work outside of the home more?
Yeah. Anything that I could pay someone else to do, I did. And luckily, we live in a college town, there's actually two universities right here. There were a lot of young, capable people looking to make a little extra money. So, I hired people to help me clean, to iron, to help with the kids, to run my groceries, to even cook. We just experimented with everything. And right now, with just two kids at home, we've got a routine that's working without tons and tons of extra help. But the biggest piece was helping my kids understand that this is actually good for us. This is our thing. It's not mom quitting what she used to do. I couldn't be the art mom at school anymore, but we had a good run. I did that, but our family bought in on that. This is our thing. This is our families work.
Yeah, mom is doing other things and not doing some things and we have a bunch of random people in the house doing things that usually I was doing. But I loved, first of all, that they were seeing me chase something that wasn't always comfortable. This is not my zone of genius. I'm being put outside of my comfort zone on a regular basis and I would talk about it like that was our dinner table conversation often. So, I love that they saw me, especially as an older woman, I was like in my 40s, doing something new and different.
But the fact that the kids, they felt like part of our team because they were making sacrifices too. They knew the sacrifices I was making, but they were too. I wasn't going on the field trips. They weren't coming home to a snack every afternoon when they got home from school. You see what I'm saying? And so, it's made all the difference for me to feel like I've never felt like I'm abandoning them or I'm failing. I'm just doing something different and I think it's enriching all of our lives.
And if anything, I've seen my girls especially expand the possibilities of what they can do and want to do. And it's not exclusive. You don't have to choose a career or motherhood; you can do both. And the way I'm raising my family is so different from the way my mom raised her family, very different from the way my mother-in-law raised her family. Both are great, amazing outcome. They have amazing families.
But there's no one right way to be a mother and that took me some learning. That lesson also applies to entrepreneurship. I remember I was feeling so unqualified to go out in the world and talk about our business and it was just terrifying to me and my husband was like, "Honey, there is no one right way to be an entrepreneur." And I knew that was true because I learned that about motherhood and about anything honestly. So, I'm grateful that all of my children see that you get to make your life what you want of it.
You are saying words that literally live in my mind and my mouth. So, I've been blogging for the past 10 years. That's why My Mommy Style is actually how I met you in the first place because I was at the conference and it's all about picking your way of mothering, picking your way of being an entrepreneur. It's about creating a life that you want in the pace that you want it and adjusting to that. And maybe there's something that if you're listening right now thinking, "I really want to do something, I'm just not sure what or I really want to do this, but it's not the right time," and that's okay.
I think that everything that you're saying is leaning into the purpose of life for an individual and not so much an expectation of shoulds, which is so powerful. I'm curious as you're moving forward because you're in a stage of life that is one of my favorites for interviewing women here on the podcast because you've been through different phases of motherhood. And you're now in the adult parenting, which I am not there yet. I have a sister who is and she just keeps telling me, "You think it gets easier, but your love grows more and your worry grows too." What advice would you give to mothers right now for the phase of life that you're in and where do you hope to go from here with what they're learning from you in this journey?
Man, I just went to lunch with a friend yesterday. We're both in the same phase of life and we were like, "No one told us any of this. We need more training. What can we do? How can we help others before they get to this point?" Just shocked and stunned how wonderful it is, but actually how hard and how different it is. You have to mother in a different way and this was just really brought to my attention just last week.
One of my daughters is a freshman in college and she lives in the dorms, but it's only 10 minutes away. So, we get to see her a lot, but she's mentally made that transition. She's an adult now. She doesn't live at home, but she happened to be at my house. And when she stood up from the table and I saw what she was wearing before my brain could catch up out of my mouth came the words, "Where on earth did you get that shirt? I did not buy that for you." It was not a shirt that I would have bought for her. It was blizzarding outside and I could see several inches of her midriff, whatever. It shocked me.
The words came out of my mouth, she was horrified. It became a thing. I was reminded in this phase of life, I can only give my advice. I can only chime in when I'm asked. My job is to listen with love. And that's a hard thing to do, especially when you see them start to make choices that you're like, "I've been here, I know where this leads." But what I'm learning is you wait to be asked for your help or if you're feeling very, very moved to say something say, "Are you okay? Would you like me to share with you an experience I had?" You have to be invited. It's not the same and I've learned that lesson just over and over again and one day, maybe it'll click in.
But yeah, that's one thing. We call it the consultant phase of parenting. My husband uses a framework, love, share, and invite. And he's like, "We're in that love stage right now. We're just going to stay there until we're invited to share something. We can invite them to make a change in their life, but it's painful." But when I think back on my life as a young adult, I think it's different and maybe partly because I was the oldest of 12 kids, I graduated high school, I went to college and that was it. We didn't have cell phones. They weren't tracking my location. There wasn't social media for them to be seeing and thinking things and calling me out on. I was just living my life. If I didn't want to talk to them, I wouldn't answer the phone. It was just different.
And so, I think acknowledging that just it's different. We can't parent the way that we were parented and, oh my gosh, find a friend who's going through it too and, oh my gosh, have someone else to talk to, to get you through it. But just as I'm saying that, I'm thinking about how that principle also applies as you're building a business to have a friend who's going through the same thing.
My husband, he's actually the CEO of our business. When I saw that I was on the Call Me CEO podcast, I was like, "Little does she know, do you know I'm not the CEO?" I didn't want that title. My husband is a CEO. As he was building our business here was approached by a woman who I love and I consider my mentor, the CEO of Freshly Picked, Susan Petersen saying, "Hey, we're building consumer-facing businesses. Let's put together a breakfast club where we can get together once a month with other people doing the same thing and we can just groupthink, just help each other as we're going through in tackling some of these problems."
And his initial instinct was like, "Oh my gosh, I don't need to do that. That feels like a woman thing." He even said like, "I don't need to talk to anybody about my problems. I got it figured out." Anyway, I'm so grateful that she persevered. They formed this club called the breakfast club. They would meet every month with three other entrepreneurs and it was a huge source of strength for him, even just to hear the other people are going through the same thing or have people in that same space and that same stage of their business, gives some advice on something that was currently like a top of mind.
I'm just bringing that up as far as for him to admit that that was helpful was huge. Women know. We need our sisters, our friends. There are Facebook groups everywhere where you can get answers to questions and people like cheering you on and helping you not feel alone, but especially in this phase of parenting, you're going to need it.
CAMILLE [42: 37]
I believe it. You know what? There are three questions I get asked the very most from my audience and it's how to make a friend, how to create moments that matter with my kids, and how do I make money from home? Those are all solutions I try to help women with and it's so relatable at every phase of your life that we're all looking to be understood and to be a part of something and that sense of belonging. And you have fed us so richly today. I just cannot tell you how much I've loved interviewing you. It's been such a pleasure.
Good. Thank you. Talking about communities and it is hard to make friends sometimes, especially if you're building a business and growing your family. That feels like the thing you just don't have time for it. I went to lunch with a friend yesterday. I've been trying to make it happen for two years, literally we have like scheduled, rescheduled.
COVID doesn't help.
That's true. Thank heavens for Marco Polo. Literally, that has saved me and has helped me stay in touch with some of my closest friends and really grow relationships beyond just commenting on each other's Instagram, but Facebook groups have been amazing too. And we have a Facebook group called The MomForce, grew out of our customer support team who we also call The MomForce, a place for us to have conversations outside of work, but it has grown organically.
There's so many amazing moms in there. It is a kind, uplifting, supportive place. That question comes up a lot. How can I help? How can I make friends in this phase of life? It's something we talked about, we're aware of. So, if you ever feel like you need another community to feel part of, come check out The MomForce and listen to The MomForce podcast.
There you go, that's perfect. And that's a perfect way for you to introduce everything in every way that our listeners can connect with you.
Yeah. So, I have a monthly podcast. We do one episode a month where we have moms come on and share their tips and tricks for motherhood. I just did an interview with @sharonsaysso says, sharing about how we can talk to our families about some of the hard things that are happening in the world and about the importance of leadership and what a good leader looks like.
So, we got the podcast. For sure, download the Chatbooks app and see how easy it is to get your photos off of your phone and into your hands and then you can follow Chatbooks on Instagram, we're all kinds of mom's stuff, cheering us on along the way. Vanessa Quigley, I'm on Instagram, sharing some behind the scenes stuff of the business and then family life and just things that are important and meaningful to me.
Awesome. Thank you so much for being here with us today. It was amazing.
It was so fun. Thank you.
This episode is brought to you by Station Park who believes in women-led businesses that are changing the world. If you want a place to come and visit to dine, shop or connect with your loved ones, Station Park is only 20 minutes away from downtown Salt Lake City and has a gorgeous outdoor dining and shopping experience that you can walk among the shops and create memories that will last forever. If you happen to be in the middle of the Square, Twigs Restaurant is right there in the middle, one of my very favorites. You've got to get the pesto margarita chicken and end the night with the dipping donuts. Trust me. Tell them I sent you, it will change your life.
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