This week for "On The Ground Ypsi", WEMU's Lisa Barry and On the Ground Ypsi project manager Sarah Rigg talk to an area mother of one who started her own business. She shares how she stays motivated and involves her young daughter in her work while setting a positive example of having a good work/life balance.
Sarah Rigg's Feature Article: "Mom-preneurs": Ypsi women balance small businesses with motherhood
Lisa Barry: You're listening to 89-1 WEMU, and this is "On the Ground Ypsi," our weekly conversation with On the Ground Ypsi project manager Sarah Rigg to talk about one of her online stories being shared this week about the Ypsilanti area. So good to talk to you again, Sarah.
Sarah Rigg: Hi, Lisa.
Lisa Barry: What are we talking about, and who are we talking to?
Sarah Rigg: We get story ideas pitched to us from the public fairly often. And we've had actually more than one person mentioned. I was YouTubing a story about how many women are getting into entrepreneurship and juggling that with motherhood. And so, we kind of coined the term "mom-preneur" for that and talked to several local women who are juggling starting their own business with being a mom. Some of them married. Some of them single moms. And I brought with me Eboney Byrne, who is the owner of Liberty Financial Services.
Lisa Barry: Thanks for joining us, Eboney.
Eboney Byrne: Oh, thanks for having me.
Lisa Barry: So, Eboney, you started your own business?
Eboney Byrne: Yes, I did. I run a financial services business. I am a certified financial educator and money coach. And I started this business about three and a half years ago.
Lisa Barry: And you're a mom?
Eboney Byrne: And I am a mom. Yes, I am a divorced mom of one. She just turned ten this past week.
Lisa Barry: So, she is your daughter, correct?
Eboney Byrne: Yes, indeed.
Lisa Barry: How important to you is it to be a role model for her to see you being a mom and then trying to balance that with starting your own business?
Eboney Byrne: Oh, I think it's priceless, actually. She gets to see me fail, and she gets to see me succeed and watch me bounce back, which I think is something that's so important for young children, especially young girls, to see powerful women in their lives not always winning, right? And it's not always pretty, but we dust ourselves off and we just keep moving forward.
Lisa Barry: When did you start your business, and how is it going?
Eboney Byrne: Yes, well, I started my business part-time in 2019, just kind of helping friends and family for kicks. And then, I just continue doing that and became certified as time went on. And I started this business full-time earlier this year after being laid off during the height of the pandemic.
Lisa Barry: And what is your business?
Eboney Byrne: So I am a certified financial coach, and I help women rebuild their financial legacy after divorce. Primarily, my focus is helping women.
Lisa Barry: How difficult is that to do?
Eboney Byrne: You know, it's not as hard as probably staying in an unhappy marriage. So, I think if we know women are very resilient, and we will find a way and make a way. So, I found that it is very rewarding to just watch women thrive when they have a plan and an environment that is free of shame and stress. And they know that someone's there to cheer them on in their successes and help give them a clear vision of where they need to go.
Lisa Barry: Who else did you talk to for the article, Sarah?
Sarah Rigg: So I talked to Kristen Gapske, who is the director of the Entrepreneurship Center at WCC and didn't talk to her so much as a mom-preneur, but as somebody who works with a lot of entrepeneurs. And she pointed out that they have a yearly pitch competition, that all nine of the finalists were women, and most of those were moms, and some of them were moms who were specifically out to help other moms. Also talked to Cheranissa Roach, who has a business called My Coach Char, a life and business coaching business. So, she also helps other women start their own businesses. So, she seemed really appropriate for the story. And I talked to Taryn Willis, who co-owns a planning, marketing and print company with her husband. And then I also talked to Angie Williams-Chehmani, who is one of the newer mom-preneurs on the scene. She just established a tutoring business on Ecorse Road earlier this year.
Lisa Barry: Does not sound like there was a shortage of people to talk to for this week's article.
Sarah Rigg: No. In fact, I had to whittle it down from all the great suggestions I got of people that I should talk to. And I guess one of the things I was trying to do with it is it's not like it's the only place where moms are starting their own business. But I wanted to do is localize it to our area. Like what resources are out there? What advice do they have for other women in the same situation in our area? So there's also going to be a list of resources at the end of the article as well.
Lisa Barry: And what advice do you have, Eboney, for other mompreneurs?
Eboney Byrne: The best advice that I would have for other mompreneurs is really just define what you want your life to look like and then build your life around it, including your business, because it's a lot easier for us, I think, sometimes to just think about what we want our business to be. But we don't build into that our life. We'll start with how you want your life to look and then build your business around it, and it'll be a lot less stress.
Lisa Barry: What has surprised you about starting your own business and doing this?
Eboney Byrne: The biggest surprise, honestly, has been the amount of mindset work that I've had to do becoming an entrepreneur. It is now. The same as, you know, then, you know, you just go punch in at someone else's job and you leave when their day is done and that's it, but you still get a paycheck. You know, even if you have a good day or bad day. When you were doing this for yourself, you have to dig deep even when things are good or bad or horrible or amazing. And you have to motivate yourself and create like a tribe of people that can help keep you motivated when you start to doubt yourself.
Lisa Barry: It's a road a lot of us have been on for a long time, whether we are an entrepreneur or just a working mother. So what can you say to inspire other working moms that this is a good path to be on?
Eboney Byrne: Honestly, you know what? I think if this is a dream that you have on your heart, go for it. If I've learned nothing in the last, you know, almost two years--we've been going through this upheaval-- is that time is our most precious commodity. And there's nothing else that is going to help us get where we want to be but ourselves. But we need to believe in ourselves. Just jump out there, and give it a try. The worst that'll happen is it may not work, and that's fine. You still have other skills, but, at least, you can look back on your life and say, "I tried that thing." And it will help your children see that they can believe in themselves and try as well.
Lisa Barry: So you're sending a great positive example for your children, as well as pursuing your business dreams.
Eboney Byrne: Exactly.
Lisa Barry: How's it going?
Eboney Byrne: I think it's going pretty well. You know, I have clients. I'm coming in and working with other businesses and partnering with them to help women in different realms of life has been fantastic. And working with people like Sarah to get the word out, to let women know that they do have the ability to master their finances, no matter where they are in their life or what may have happened in the past. So that is just so rewarding to just watch my clients just blossom and grow.
Lisa Barry: And, Sarah, you mentioned that Washtenaw Community College has an entrepreneurship center and that you would be sharing other resources at the end of the story. Can you run a few of those by us?
Sarah Rigg: Sure. The other ones that we listed with the Michigan Small Business Development Center. Back Office Studio is actually one of them was at Eboney mentioned to me, not only because you can rent space there, but, look, if you need to meet with clients and you need a meeting room and you don't want to meet at your home like you work out of your home, you have meeting room space there. The Ann Arbor/Ypsi Chamber. And then local vendor fairs was also mentioned to me, like you could set up a table at a vendor fair. And even if you're not vending arts and crafts, you can, you know, put out fliers or, you know, business cards and so on like that. The other thing I wanted to mention that was kind of a recurring theme with the women I talked to, they had tips for other moms and they were around like getting organized and some other tips. But the one that kind of came up over and over again was getting your own kids on board. So, giving them a position in your company, having them come in and volunteer. Eboney even gives her daughter a title of assistant marketing director. So, they don't see the work, the job, as something that's taking you away from them, but something that they can help you with and be part of.
Eboney Byrne: Jen loves the title. She loves it.
Lisa Barry: That's Eboney Byrne and Sarah Rigg from On the Ground Ypsi. Thanks to both of you for talking to us here in 89-1 WEMU.
Sarah Rigg: Thanks, Lisa.
Eboney Byrne: Thanks, Lisa.
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