It’s okay to ask for help. I used to think I could do it all and should do it all, but that’s not realistic, especially as a mom and business owner. I hit burn out during the holiday season last year, because I wasn’t prepared for the growth we had, and I didn’t have help at the time. I hired help early this year and haven’t looked back since. We can do anything, but we can’t do everything!
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mindy Keegan.
Mindy Keegan is the owner of Made For Mama Shop, a small business which was inspired by her own journey of motherhood. She is a mom of two young boys who left the corporate grind to raise her kids, and currently works out of her garage to design and create products that motivate, empower and build community around motherhood. She’s been featured on the Today Show, The Product Boss Podcast and The Local724 Podcast with the hopes that her story and products will inspire other moms to stop chasing perfection and do more of what makes them happy.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Thanks for the opportunity! I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and had a normal childhood. My dad worked and my mom was home with my younger sister and I. I always remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to be a mom one day and drive my kids to school, just like my mom. Looking back, I have to laugh because I had the entrepreneur spirit in me. I remember selling Ziploc baggies of pretzels to our neighbors and thinking of names for the beauty salon I would own one day. However, after high school, I took the traditional route, went to college, landed a corporate career and climbed the ladder for 11 years, until I became a mom and knew something had to change.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My dad always told me growing up “If you’re not the lead horse, the scenery never changes.” I never really understood that quote until my 30’s when I started learning about leadership, change and growth. I’ve learned that it’s true-you’ve got to be brave, stand up for yourself and be a leader in your own life if there are parts of it you want to change. If you continue to follow others, you’ll always be looking at them, rather than creating your own path and opportunities.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
1. Drive — I know that failure will happen often, but when I’m up against it, I use it to fuel me rather than knock me down. I have a drive in me that runs deep. For example, I was scammed last year by an ad agency-they pitched me and wanted me to pay them several thousands of dollars to possibly be featured in local ads. I thought it was the big opportunity that would get our business seen by so many until I realized they were targeting me. I was embarrassed and disappointed, but rather than sulk, I did all the research I could on how to pitch myself and landed on the Today Show in December, which was a huge blessing to our family and business.
2. Growth — I am always learning and growing, personally and professionally. I heard once before that if we’re not growing, we’re dying, and I believe that to my core. I continue to push myself every day to grow in new areas by learning from mistakes, listening to others’ stories, reading business and self-development books and leaning into the uncomfortable feelings that come with growth.
3. Authenticity — I show up as the most authentic person I can be, especially on social media. I show the real moments, the hard moments, the struggles, as well as the happy, joyful and exciting moments. I’ve shared the journey of the business from the beginning, the good and the bad, and I believe that the authenticity is what attracts the right people to my brand and my life.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
Absolutely! I worked in a corporate career for 11 years right out of college….the first 7 years were spent in higher education and the last 4 years were spent at a global HR firm. I met some amazing people and leaders, and also learned what not to do as a leader. I was promoted several times and continued to excel, but I knew that sitting in a cubicle my entire life was not for me. I would listen to moms playing with their kids in a huge water fountain that was outside of my building…I could see them out of the huge windows in the building, right behind my seat. I wanted to be the mom out there, with my children, seeing their smiles, hearing their laughter and wiping their tears, rather than the one inside the building who only saw my kids for a couple hours each day.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I left my corporate career in 2018 to dive into motherhood. It killed me that I only got to see my kids for a couple hours every day. It was now my turn to be the mom I always dreamed of. While I took care of the kids, I also took a part time job, along with working for a network marketing company from home. I’ve been working since I was a teenager so not working wasn’t an option…it was just about finding the right fit for the stage of life I was in. When the network marketing wasn’t bringing in the income we needed, I pivoted, created Made For Mama Shop and started making coffee mugs with inspirational sayings on them. I knew that if they brought me a smile in the morning when I woke up, they could do the same for other women who were also in the thick of motherhood, feeding their babies throughout the night, changing diapers, taking care of everyone else before themselves.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
Yes, I remember it very vividly. I took a vacation day from work for Christmas Eve. My manager called me and asked me to log into my laptop because they were having an issue and needed my help. I logged in and was sitting on the couch with my laptop, in front of the Christmas tree…my son was about 2 years old, needed something and started crying, at the same time that I was trying to figure out the issue for work. I remember being annoyed and overwhelmed, then looking at his face…he needed me and I was supposed to be offline that day. We both sat there crying together. I knew deep down that I had to make a decision. It was that moment that I knew I needed to start thinking about a major change in my life.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
That’s a great question. I knew I had a creative side to me that I wasn’t utilizing. I specifically remember telling my boss that I wanted to look for something within the company that would allow me to be more creative, but I couldn’t find the right fit. So, to discover that creative skillset, I just started taking action. I started making coffee mugs with my vinyl-cutting machine, but I didn’t like their fonts, so I learned about hand lettering and fell in love with it. I always had it in me, but never knew that it was something I could do for work. I used to make signs in high school and for my children with creative lettering on it, and I’ve always been the cheerleader for others….now it’s come full circle. I believe that taking action and bringing joy to the process will help to manifest what you’re meant to do in life.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
Made For Mama Shop has seen tremendous growth in only the 15 months that it’s existed. We’ve built a supportive and amazing community online, we were featured on the Today Show, we’ve been featured on several podcasts in relation to business and motherhood, and the way it’s taken off has surpassed anything I’ve ever dreamed of. The connections we’ve built with other moms around the country have been amazing….they share their stories with me of struggle and how our mugs give them light and hope at the beginning of each day. We’re now looking for a bigger spaces to expand into, mostly because our garage has reached its capacity, but I’m excited for what’s to come!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m most grateful to my business mentors, Jacqueline and Minna, from The Product Boss. Through their teachings, podcasts and paid programs, I was able to build a solid foundation for my business and learn about every aspect of owning a product-based business. Their mentorship program allowed me to see what was possible and what I needed to focus on to grow the business. I’ve also been able to meet other small business owners in their community for collaborations, promotions and connecting on the commonalities we have in this space.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The most interesting thing that happened since starting our business was the connections we made through the Today Show segment. I had strangers all over the country reaching out, calling me, emailing me to tell me how proud of me they were….complete strangers who just saw our story and resonated with my business and my family. They shared their personal stories of motherhood, loss and struggles with illnesses. I couldn’t believe that our story would inspire and connect with so many people, but that was the moment I truly knew how much of an impact our business could make on others.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Yes, I struggled with believing in myself for a long time, after being in an emotionally abusive relationship in the past. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t speak up for myself, and I didn’t voice my opinions for years after it ended. Once I started learning about affirmations, mindset and self-growth, and put it all into practice, I was able to overcome the limiting beliefs that I wasn’t enough. I started saying positive affirmations to myself daily, as well as reading personal development books. After a few months doing that consistently, my mindset started to change….and after a few years, my life changed. I saw what was possible and believed that I could make anything happen. I’m a huge believer in having the right mindset, and I know without doing that work, none of this would’ve been possible.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
My husband has been my support system from the start. Once I actually told him how I felt about missing my kids’ childhoods and how unhappy I was, we started planning together to see what small steps we could make together to make it work. Without me knowing, he was crunching the numbers and trying to come up with ideas too. I wouldn’t have taken the leap without his support.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
This whole journey has been way out of my comfort zone. My comfort zone was going to a job where I had specific duties every day, I knew what the next level was and how to get there, I had a manager to rely on for feedback and I had a set schedule. I knew all of my coworkers and was comfortable with what I was doing. Starting a business of my own has been full of uncomfortable twists and turns! Some of that includes being on video on social media, being on television, investing money and hoping that the products sell, learning new skills daily to continue to grow the business and coming up with new ways to grow and new products to sell. It’s ALL been uncomfortable, but in the best, most exciting way possible!
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. It’s okay to ask for help. I used to think I could do it all and should do it all, but that’s not realistic, especially as a mom and business owner. I hit burn out during the holiday season last year, because I wasn’t prepared for the growth we had, and I didn’t have help at the time. I hired help early this year and haven’t looked back since. We can do anything, but we can’t do everything!
2. Mindset is everything. It’s easy to fall into comparison, negative thinking and self-doubt when you’re a business owner. There are so many decisions to make, pressure that can build up and every day challenges. It’s important to take care of your mind, whether it be reading an inspirational book, doing a daily devotion, meditation, etc…there are lots of options available. When I find myself getting into a mental slump, I know it’s time to pick up a book or be more consistent with my meditation practice. It helps me get my mindset back to where it needs to be to run a successful business.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs. I started this business alone. I had no mentors. I had no direction. I had no foundation. Once I found a group of people like me, who were building businesses for their families and futures, the game changed. We’re able to bounce ideas off each other, lean on each other, encourage each other and be on this journey together. It makes a huge difference to know that you’re not alone.
4. Growth will be uncomfortable. Each time I hit a new goal or level in my business, it’s uncomfortable. The unknown of what will happen next makes me excited but also a little nervous. It’s just part of owning a business, and you learn that when those feelings arise, something big is about to happen for you. Lean into it, rather than run away from it.
5. Let it grow. I’ve had a fear of success most of my adult life. I’m still not sure where it stemmed from, and if you’ve never had that fear, it might sound crazy. However, it’s been something I’ve had to work on, and just a few months ago, I had a business mentor say to me “let it grow.” There comes a point where you need to feel the fear and do it anyways. If it’s growing, let it grow and stop trying to control every aspect of the business. I’ve learned that once you are open to receiving, and letting it grow, the possibilities are endless and new opportunities arise that you may never have otherwise known about.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
If I could inspire a movement to bring good to the most amount of people I could, it would be a Real Motherhood Movement. It would be moms sharing the ‘real’ parts of motherhood together…uniting in the journey, sharing struggles that we all go through, celebrating the good parts, leaning on each other and showing that motherhood is not perfect…it’s messy and confusing and amazing and fulfilling. In my opinion, we need more REAL in the world and on social media.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to sit down and have coffee with Sara Blakely, the powerhouse behind the Spanx brand. I’d love to be able to chat business with her, pick her brain about her success and how she was able to grow her business into what it is, the steps she took and how she ‘balanced’ motherhood alongside of it. The fact that she’s a mom, she’s authentic with what she shares online, and she is a huge supporter of other women, along with being so successful in what she does makes her such an inspiration to me in my own life and business.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
They can subscribe to our newsletter HERE, where I share sneak peeks of new products, exclusive discounts and motivational messages weekly.
And I love connecting with others on Instagram @madeformamashop !
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!