When I think of Julie Cole, I think of a mom who has figured this modern mom thing out. She is a mother to six kids and the co-founder of the very successful Mabels Labels – a company she built out of her basement with three other moms as they were raising their little ones.
Did I mention Julie was raising six children while helping to build Mabels Labels? Pretty rockstar.
For those who aren’t familiar with Mabel’s Label’s, it’s a children’s label manufacturing company. Julie and her three co-founders saw a need for durable labels in the market and began creating them. Over time, and through some serious hustle, they have managed to grow an amazing company that last year was acquired by, Avery, a U.S. label company.
We asked Julie to share her modern motherhood story about starting a business while parenting young children because we knew she would have some insightful tips.
Julie is candid, a ton of fun to be around, and if you keep an eye on her various social media and blogging guest spots, you’ll see she’s not about mom shaming or the guilt, which we at mom.life love. As a mother and business woman, she represents what we’re seeing as a trend in the mom.life community – mom’s creating a work-life that works for them. Read on to get Julie’s take on making it all work, and you’ll no doubt find some inspiration for yourself as you think ahead to your next steps in your modern mom life.
Julie, you are a mom to six children and the co-founder of Mabel’s Labels, an award winning children’s labels manufacturer which was launched in 2003. From our estimation, that was in the thick of when your kids were young. Tell us about that time and how you made it work.
Yes, I had my third child in 2002. When pregnant with my fourth, I was often in the basement of the Mabel’s Labels HQ (my sister and business partner’s house) until 2:00am and then I’d wake up at 6:00am to be with the children all day. It was very busy times. I would suggest that if “me time” is a high priority for you, don’t start a business and have six kids!
What advice do you always give to moms who want to launch something new while their kids are young and still need a lot of your time?
Get help. I mean it. I got a full-time nanny when my fifth baby was almost a year old. I was three kids too late. If you get some help, then you will be a more effective business person and a more engaged parent. Learn from my mistake.
What has been your biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur in the midst of raising kids?Ditch the guilt. I gave up guilt four kids ago.Click To Tweet
Ditch the guilt. I gave up guilt four kids ago. It’s a complete waste of time and not at all proactive. So what if you can’t give your kids full attention all the time? Kids need to learn to entertain themselves and each other. As I often say “go play with your sister – it’s kinda the reason I had her”. Ok, I’m joking, kind of. BUT, parents are so busy entertaining their kids, that kids have no independence. Make them do things for themselves and entertain each other. They’ll be better for it, and don’t discount what an amazing role model you’re being by pursuing your passion professionally....don’t discount what an amazing role model you’re being by pursuing your passion.Click To Tweet
You’re a big proponent of flexible work hours so families can work around their needs, so long as they are meeting their work goals. What tips would you give a mom who is just starting her first work-at-home or flexible work hours position?
Establish guidelines so that you are productive. Flexibility is great, but it doesn’t get your work done for you. A few little things I do? Instead of having a “to do” list, I have a “things I shouldn’t do” list. If there are things that can be delegated – do it! I also use the “touch it once” principal when dealing with communication. If I open an email and take the time to read it, I deal with it right then and there. I know that if I close it, I’ll have to deal with it again later and that is not an efficient use of my time. If I’m working on a project, I turn my notifications off. Email, and social media notifications can wait until I’m done my project or a certain portion of it.Establish guidelines so that you are productive. Flexibility is great, but it doesn’t get your work done for you.Click To Tweet
What is your perspective on balance in motherhood, career and life in general?
If you feel things are out of balance, make a change. Complaining doesn’t help. Saying “I’m tired” won’t get you more sleep. My perspective has been my secret sauce – I know I’m capable and have the capacity to work hard and raise a family. I can do all I do because I don’t take myself too seriously.
Trust your guts. They’re there for a reason.
Are you a working mom, WAHM or SAHM? Can you relate to Julie’s story? Share your story on social using the #modernmomlife hashtag and we’ll re-tweet and re-share it
Julie Cole is the co-founding vice-president of award-winning children’s label manufacturer Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular television contributor, an influential and syndicated blogger and a mother of six.
Images courtesy: Stylegroup.co