Whenever you hear a success story, it is usually modeled around a successful individual and a supporting family. But what if you could do both, thanks to world wide web? One very successful entrepreneur who achieved something yours truly is currently unable to do – balance out personal life and be a CEO of a successful business. Furthermore, Joyce recently decided to harness the social media approach in her own way, by launching a website that gathers successful women sharing advices on balancing out work and home relations.
Thus, in order to get more answers on this somewhat unusual move, we spoke with Joyce Bone, more known as Millionaire Mom.
BSN*: Hi Joyce, First and foremost, I would like to hear from you, could you introduce yourself to the readers of Bright Side of News*.
Joyce: Sure thing, I am Joyce Bone, founder and Chief Operating Mom at Millionaire Moms.com, which is a membership-based website to help entrepreneurial woman to master the art of raising a business and family at the same time. So, it’s sort of People’s Magazine meets Wall Street Journal. We have a discussion board, a social network and it also has hard-core information to help you grow your business.
BSN*: When did you come up with the idea of starting a website such as Millionaire Moms?
Joyce: Well, I had the idea back in 1997 when I was creating one of my businesses that were called Earth Care. It was a business that grew very quickly and I wished that I had a female mentor to talk about all of these changes in growth and everything that was going into growing a business. I was in a man’s industry and there was really no other female to talk to so in the back of my mind was a thought "you know, one day it would be really neat to have a place to go to and talk, helping other women that are kinda in my position". In a nutshell, that’s how I had the original thought. In July of last year, I became serious about it where I interviewed a hundred millionaire moms as a basis for a website and put their profiles on a website and I also took their information and turned into a book. The book is launching in March 2010 and actually I had the pre-launch last night [the interview took place in Mid-November 2009], and had early copies of the book that can be ordered at JoyceBoneBook.com and anyhow, it’s just really great to be able to pick successful woman’s brains about how they’ve not only build a multi-million dollar business but also kept family as a priority along the way. So, it was just kind of something I was passionate about…
BSN*: Pardon for the interruption, but you’re saying that you took 100 women who had already succeeded in their jobs and created a website that actually works on expanding the knowledge to young moms who are also trying to balance out the business and family issues?
Joyce: This was exactly what I was going for. And you know, it’s called Millionaire Moms, but it is not only targeting the select few that already succeeded. I chose Millionaire Moms because for one, it?s a catchy name and two, it indicates that at least in a certain area of life they’ve reached threshold of success, but it is really about creating your ideal life, that’s what our objective is. We want to do principle-centered growth that helps you live the life you always wanted to live and to help people overcome their fears and their doubts and anxieties over starting a business? being able to have a life that they dreamt about. I think people give up on their dreams much too quickly and through these stories and my own example of coaching and mentoring I really tried to instill in all people, male and female – but in particular women at sight that if they’re willing to stick with it? in most cases, most problems can be overcome by persistence and time. For instance, one of biggest challenges is how to create your ideal day. Before I got on this call with you, I got my kids off to school, jogged for a few miles with my husband, and now I am doing this interview? in a way, I have set up my life in such a way that I get to love every moment of it. Instead of saying "Thank God, it’s Friday" I am like "Oh, it’s Friday!" You know, every day is a Saturday in my world. That is what I set to help other women to achieve. And men too, not just women.
BSN*: I can completely understand you? with BSN* being a startup and everything that is happening in a life of a startup? I think that in order to succeed, you definitely need to be a little bit stubborn and simply, stick to your guns, as the old saying goes.
Joyce: That’s quite right. Always trust your senses.
BSN*: Given that we are a technology site, I would like to hear in what way technology or the use of it influenced your life.
Joyce: Well, it’s kinda silly? but for instance, last week I was looking at my printer just thinking "You know I am so fortunate to have my own printer." My mother never had a printer, so really technology, the Internet and the way how it all combined and now is all-accessible, computers and office equipment. It really makes all the difference in the world and sometimes we’re too eager to forget how easy we have it. In order to keep my family on "Priority One", I have to be available to them. And I can’t be available to them if I am working in downtown Atlanta, GA in some big building. I used technology to be able to work from home and be just as effective [as being in an office] and yet still be able to be there for my family. So, if it wasn’t for technology, I would not be able to live the lifestyle that I live and I am grateful for that.
BSN*: Well, we can probably debate about the home office being even more efficient because you don’t lose all that time in driving and simply getting to work and back? for instance, you gained couple of hours each day for not being forced to drive to Atlanta back and forth.
Joyce: I’ve done a lifestyle of driving 100 miles each way [to Atlanta and back] and you have to discipline yourself. To not get distracted and? you know, I really don’t have a problem with being distracted because I am so focused on my work I just get into the flow? so [discipline] not an issue for me. I think that people that are entrepreneurial or fairly driven anyhow, I wouldn’t shy away from working out of the house or even an office nearby? it doesn’t really matter for as long as you’re around if your kids need you.
BSN*: Given that you’re a successful entrepreneur and are running a $100M+ company, where do you see your business heading forward. Given all the recent technology trends that are spawning like crabs’ children, for instance we had MySpace, now Facebook; people are talking about Twitter tomorrow? how do you see your future evolving with these emerging trends.
Joyce: I think that technology will continue to evolve and that you just have to learn how to "tame the beast." You can spend an awful lot of time on social media if you want? I try to cap my time? of course, when you get involved in it, there is that novelty factor and you might spend more time than later. For instance, now I am much more efficient and I can pre-program my social media, I can outsource the media. For me, I don’t want to spend my time doing that type of activity. Cause that’s not really? I try to spend my time on things that make the cash register ring. It is important to drive revenue and social media is one of those things you can literally pre-program it or outsource it, if you want to use it as a business tool, for the marketing of your business.
On the personal side, yeah – It’s fun to get caught up with people, things such as Facebook and MySpace can keep you connected with people, but I just? it’s a great way to reach people you would never be able to see in person and expand your customer base, depending on what type of business. For instance, social networking is very useful for my business because its networking and exposure, people finding who you are? but also social networking can help if you focus on it.
For instance, I had a book signing last night and there were people from Facebook that I never met. It is kinda funny to meet people you never saw and yet you already were friends and knew about them. Same thing with Twitter – when you meet someone in real-time, it is putting a face to a web page, and of course, that deepens the relationship [when you meet a person]. I just think that in the future, you’ll have to be adaptable and make technology trends work for you, rather than against you.
BSN*: Where do you see yourself couple of years down the line?
Joyce: Where do I see myself? Well, I have a 7-year old, a 10-year old and a 14-year old. So, I see myself staying actively parenting and building businesses until they all are out of the house. Once they’re out of the house, I would ultimately like to become a full time philanthropist and spend my time doing good in the world. I plan to take a year off and just travel the world, take an entire year and you know, bounce around everywhere.
BSN*: Keeping the creative juices flowing, if you have that string or are no limits you’re afraid to explore.
Joyce: I agree. Perhaps even write some more
BSN*: Then again, why not take the kids and travel the world with them? You already broke the barriers of usual "stay at home" mom, wouldn’t be a good idea to take the kids when perhaps the or the youngest gets into an adult age and travel the world, to get the feel of what the world really looks like? My parents and grandma took me pretty much everywhere in the world, hence my continuous love for flight and well, earning hundreds of thousands of miles – and more importantly, meeting new people and gathering connections at an earlier age.
Joyce: Why not, its their lives. If they want to join and explore the world, the better.
BSN*: Coming to the subject of this book, what was the underlining idea? Was it an idea to expand the outreach of the site, compile all the ideas in one place?
Joyce: Well, to give your readers a little background on my story… when I was 28 years old, I had become a mom and my husband and I were originally planned to be very traditional. I was supposed to be stay-at-home mom, he was going to work and everything was going great, but when we got from two incomes to just one income things got kinda tight and I just remember thinking "I really don’t want to lead my life the way I lived my childhood where? I was always told "no" because there was never enough money. I simply wanted to change that storyline for my life and my family. I decided to start my own business in the environmental field, which is where I worked for eight years. I was working on full-time basis and went to school full-time every night to college. So I copied the business model that I saw ? I did what’s called a roll-up strategy, where you buy small "Mom and Pop" companies. It’s considered a fragmented market when there is a bunch of small "Mom and Pop" companies and then you put them all together and you have one large company.
So I went out and raised a million dollars to get started and ultimately, in 18 months I raised additional 16 million dollars and grew the company to 350 employees and 50 million dollars in revenue. At that point, we went public on NASDAQ and revenues went up to 125 million dollars. After seeing the success, I started the site but I really didn’t wanted to be about me. What I wanted is to be about other people, about other women, to hear other voices. To me, my story is boring because I know my story; I don’t want to hear myself talk. I want to hear other people sharing their experiences. Thus, I went traveling around and organized series of events to bring outside experts and I would just act as the Master of Ceremonies and people kept saying "Joyce, we want to hear your story". I said "Next time", and took the time to prepare myself.
The book is a way to share my journey, how I went from being poor as a child to Wall Street as a 20-something old mom. I share my journey and the thought processes I had to go through to make my business a success and then I have series of business advices from all these other millionaire moms, talk about motivation, why you want to start a successful business, how to overcome obstacles, how to overcome fear, how to manage time… and I also have a chapter called "What I wish I knew then and that I know now" which is kinda historical perspective of these 45 millionaire moms that made it to the book. They’re saying where they started their journey, where are they now and "this is what I learned along the way" in a short essay kind of form.
Basically, I just wanted to put a package together, a book that would help everyone who would read it, and see that life is always going to have challenges but that we can overcome whatever is thrown at us. It doesn’t matter what happens to us, what matters is how we chose to react to it. And then, there are 35 examples of millionaire moms that have rise to the occasion and it was something I wanted to put out there to help educate people about what I am doing with the website and just empower them. The book has been really well received by the people that have gotten it prior to the launch and the feedback that I got was that the readers are happy about it.
BSN*: So, an interview with Jon Stewart in March 2010 is in due order?
Joyce: Oh? Jon Stewart? ha ha ha, that’s funny.
BSN*: The thing that makes you, well, pretty interesting person is that you created a business with an annual turnover exceeding well over $100 million, but didn’t get changed by the success, the image that mainstream media is usually pushing for. The category of "ordinary millionaires" is not exactly represented.
Joyce: Well, it really isn’t hard succeeding in life. It just takes the right idea in the right time and taking massive action to port it into reality. As far as the average millionaire goes, I think that money only makes you more of who you are. So, if you are a grounded person that had to work hard their whole life and did done well, you are still going to be that grounded person that works hard. The money is just a score card and I am glad that I have it and the reason why is I love to be able to give my children the education that I want to give them and support the causes I want to support, but certainly we don?t live a lavish lifestyle.
Most people didn’t even knew I work until the book came out and they just thought I was a stay-at-home mom.
BSN*: Well, you are a stay-at-home mom and owner of a national-wide company listed on NASDAQ. Yeah, that definitely qualifies you as the regular mom.
Joyce: Yes, there was a genuine surprise. I was like "yeah, I am doing all that". I was actually surprised that they were surprised.
BSN*: They probably never saw you taking a limo to the plane and heading off to New York or any similar flashy city. That’s the life of an "invisible CEO," or the "Chief Operating Mom," as you like to put it.
Joyce: Yes. Chief Operating Mom, that’s how I live it.
BSN*: For the end of the interview, is there maybe you would like to say to the readers of Bright Side of News*?
Joyce: Well, I would invite all readers to come and visit the "Millionaire Mom" website and let them know that we would like to see them. The site also has a blog with my posts so you can leave a comment there. If there are readers out there interested in the book, they can head over to JoyceBoneBook.com. There are also videos and I actually do a backflip in one of ‘em [laugh], that’s always fun. Besides these two sites, I also run my personal site at JoyceBone.com, if anybody needs a speaker or want to read more about me. What I would like to leave your readers with is:
I’d really like that you take a deep look into your own personality, chose what you want to create in your own world and know this – "how" isn’t really as important as "why". Get some really big goals and dreams, allow yourself that space to dream and not worry about all the answers and just know that if you have a strong enough "Why", which for me was and always will be – my family and my children. Whatever the "How" is, doesn’t matter. For instance, when I was starting my own business, I had no idea, I didn’t know what kind of business to start. I just knew that I want to create a financial windfall for my family and lead a normal life. Don’t think that the first idea is the best one. I was going crazy in my mind trying to find a niche where I could start a business and ultimately ended up starting a business in a field I already knew. Don’t give up and always listen to yourself.
We thank Joyce for taking the time off her two businesses to speak with us and wish best of luck in the future.