It’s crucial to plan your day. Time is a precious commodity, and without pre-planning your day, you can lose several hours a week flying by the seat of your pants. Plan out what you need to do and what you want to accomplish. It can be a written list, a scheduling or calendar app — whatever works for you and keeps you organized.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rhian Allen. Rhian created the Healthy Mommy and it’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge 9 years ago to support all moms after she had her first baby, when she realized there was no weight loss program designed specifically for moms. Since then, she’s worked nonstop helping moms and building our plans, community and products to become the #1 healthy eating and weight loss program JUST FOR MOMS!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I grew up in Wales in a small country town with my mom, dad and brother.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
I was pregnant with my first baby, and realized when I started gaining weight that there was nothing to help moms get healthy and regain body confidence after having children.
I talked to other moms and they were also struggling to lose weight after having kids. This made me realize that I could do something worthwhile and create a grass roots program, that was 100% focused on helping moms get healthy and body confident.
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
I completely-110% focused on the customer. I wanted to create something authentic and genuine and I focused on this every single day — this resonated with moms and for 9 years my dedication and commitment to the customer has never changed.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
I think to turn your hobby into a successful business you have to be 110% dedicated to it and have a genuine passion for it, and be prepared for a LOT of hard work and juggling (especially if you have a young family like me).
If your hobby is something that people want or need, and you are super enthusiastic about it and truly believe in it, I would say ‘go for it’!
I’m so lucky to have turned my hobby/passion/vision for myself and so many moms into a strong, worthwhile business that helps change lives on so many levels every day.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
I think it is about having genuine enthusiasm and love for what you do at least ninety-nine percent of the time. If you are passionate about what you do, then it won’t feel like work and you’ll thrive doing it every day.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
I love doing something that I am so passionate about, that’s how I operate at my best! I set out to do something authentic and that would help lots of moms (millions of moms so far) to get healthy, and every day I pinch myself that I am able to do this.
I am fortunate to have an amazing business and team, but also I am blessed with a beautiful family and my job gives me the flexibility to be around for my children and I absolutely love school pick up and drop off.
The downside is that you are always ON. Even on holidays you can never switch off completely, as things are always happening and you need to make important decisions! But I don’t mind — the flexibility and my love for The Healthy Mommy overrides any of this.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
I didn’t have any preconceptions of what my job would look like, as I just wanted to do something that helped moms and I never thought about what my day to day would look like.
I certainly hoped and dreamed that The Healthy Mommy would take off and continue to grow, and with that growth my job changes every day, just like every other mom who deals with their children, a workload and life!
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
Never. I don’t ever believe in giving up. I believe in always finding a way through — no matter how hard things get. I have encountered many tricky situations since the inception of my business, but there is always a solution.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think the funniest thing looking back is that I had ZERO knowledge or experience with finance. It took a lot of mistakes with money for me to realize that any business owner needed to learn about finances and tax in order to control cash-flow.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
I was never lucky enough to have a great leader to inspire me. But I had a lot of bad leaders and bad managers in past roles. I have always operated in a way in which I thought leaders should behave and in a way that I wish I had been led and managed in previous roles.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I do all I can to empower moms to live a healthier life and every day I am committed to this. I also created a women in business website called www.femalebusinesstribe.com to help all women in business get ahead and address the inequality in the corporate world.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- It’s crucial to plan your day. Time is a precious commodity, and without pre-planning your day, you can lose several hours a week flying by the seat of your pants. Plan out what you need to do and what you want to accomplish. It can be a written list, a scheduling or calendar app — whatever works for you and keeps you organized.
- Make your kids a priority. As much as I love what I do, I always make quality time with my sons a priority. They grow up fast and we never get those years back. When they’re all grown up, I want my sons to feel like they were important, not that they were always taking a back seat to my business. Set aside time to spend with your kids, and make sure you’re fully present, not checking your phone or social media.
- Multi-task, but do it the right way.Multi-tasking is a must as a mom and business owner, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Splitting your focus between tasks that require all of your attention simply leads to sloppy performance and wasted time. The real secret to multi-tasking has to do with time management and productivity. Some things you can do on auto-pilot, but some things need more attention. Make sure you devote all your focus when completing tasks that need all your attention. You’ll accomplish them much more quickly, with better results, and leave more time and bandwidth for other things. Multi-tasking, like any skill, can be learned, but like any skill, it does take practice. Also remember that sometimes your brain needs a break. Be sure to fit in things that relax you and release stress, even if it requires putting it on your calendar and turning off your phone for a few minutes.
- Become an early riser. I love getting up early! It gives me enough time to enjoy a few peaceful minutes by myself, collect my thoughts, and get organized for the day. Sleeping in, on the other hand, means you start the day late, and end up in full-on panic mode because you’re behind on everything you need to do. Become an early riser!
- Switch off your phone. Our phones can become a bottomless pit of distraction, and prevent us from being fully present in situations ranging from business luncheons to time with loved ones. Make a point to turn your phone off at bed time, and when spending time with people you care about.
- Remember why you’re doing this. Owning a successful business that’s changing lives is incredible, but it comes with plenty of stress and struggle.There’s a reason I got into business when I launched The Healthy Mommy — to help mums like myself, who wanted to get healthy and lose weight after having children. Staying in touch with that motivates me through hard times.
- Find your work-life balance. Running and growing a business takes a lot of time, energy, and focus. It’s very easy to get swept up in it all, run yourself ragged, and neglect yourself and your personal life.|
What your work-life balance looks like may differ from mine, but there always needs to be one. I am all for taking immediate action, but there have to be times you slow down. If you don’t, stress builds up, your relationships suffer, and burnout and overwhelm get the better of you.
- Accept that you will never get it all done in one day. To this day time is in short supply for me, but I’d have even less without staff, outsourcing, and technology. There are countless apps and simple software systems that can free up time by streamlining your business and your life.
You also have to say no to more things. Doing otherwise is like having a full plate of food, then sitting there while someone heaps more and more and more on your plate — more than you could ever eat in one meal — instead of asking them to stop.
It’s okay to be picky about what you allow on your plate! In fact, you’ll be more successful in the long run! I am so very grateful for and proud of how far The Healthy Mommy has come, and I’m excited for all the amazing new things we’ll be introducing soon!
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
To continue to inspire and help women address inequalities in the corporate world and help them grow and chase after their business ambitions.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently.” — Marie Forleo, entrepreneur, writer and philanthropist. I love this one as I believe that consistency day in day out leads to success. You have to stay up. You can’t get knocked down. You have to learn from lessons — this consistency, I believe, will help anyone succeed
Some of the biggest 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 meet Hillary Clinton or Oprah or Ellen. They have all had so many setbacks and so many obstacles they have had to overcome. I LOVE strong women and I love to be around them. I find them inspiring, aspirational and uplifting and we need MORE women like this. Together we are stronger. Together we can succeed.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.