Joy started her own business when her two boys were toddlers. She has grown PostcardMania to over 190 employees and it is recognized by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held businesses. She is a champion for small business, the entrepreneurial spirit and is a marketing wiz. With these passions she has helped countless small businesses market themselves and expand. How she did all that while raising two boys and being such a good grandmother to my three girls?… Let’s ask her!
1. You started your company, Postcard Mania as a young mom with two toddlers, what was that like?
Hard at first, but I got used to it and so did they. The thing that sticks out is that they thought the word “soon” meant “a very long time” because they would call me and ask me when I would be home and I’d always say “soon”- but then things came up… work was never done.
2. How did you get the idea for your business?
I ordered some postcards from a company that sold only to ad agencies, graphic designers, printers, etc. The product and service were crap. So I thought I could do it better and promote directly to small business owners… it worked out!
3. How have you grown your business to such a success while at the same time raising such great boys?
It wasn’t the amount of time I spent with them, it was the QUALITY of time, but even more than that it was the communication. From the time they were little I told them everything I was doing and why. When I said no, I explained why in detail and when I said yes, I explained why. I told them how amazing they were and told them they could do anything they set their minds to. There was just a ton of communication from me when we were together.
I made sure they knew that money didn’t grow on trees and they had to work for everything. When I started making good money, I noticed kids whose parents did too and just gave them whatever they wanted. Those kids were brats- and still are. Plus, I never ever let them be fresh with me. That’s the kids side of the answer- the successful business side is that I worked my tail off probably 70-80 hours a week for the first few years. I am good at delegating, hired well and voila!
4. What would be 3 parenting tips you have learned?
I love this question because I feel like I could write a book! Probably all parents who raised good kids feel this way.
a. Any new rule can go in in 3 days… meaning if I decided as a mom that their bedtime was changing to 7:30, it took 3 days for the moaning and groaning, crying and whining to stop. As long as I totally stuck to my guns. When my boys were little I decided no more TV- no more screens in my house because it was not having a good affect on them. That took 3 days… but I had to stick to it without any change or deviation. I had to ignore, “PLEASE MOM!!! JUST 5 MINUTES!!” and all that.
b. Two weeks notice. Whenever I was going to take the boys to a restaurant or anywhere there would be adults that were not interested in seeing my boys act like animals (little boys- same thing) I gave them two weeks notice of what was needed and wanted on this outing in terms of behavior. I told them about it every single day until the event. When I did that, I had little angels with me.
c. Never ever make a threat you’re not going to keep. Zach was being a real pill and I asked him to knock it off. He wouldn’t. I told him if he didn’t knock it off he would not go to Disney World with us in 2 weeks. Well, he tested me and I got a babysitter. For two weeks he begged and pleaded to get back in good standing. He wanted to make amends. I said no way. You were told what was needed and you decided against it. You’re not going. If you ask him about it today he remembers it VERY well and that changed that boy for the better. The future was easier.
5. You are a huge supporter of small businesses, do you have any advice for people who want to start their own small business?
It always takes a lot more effort, communication and promotion going out than you think it will to get what you want to come in. The effort it will take to get it profitable and get it earning what you want is much greater than you think. Persistence is key and figuring out what amount of “out-flow” is required to produce the amount of “in-flow” you need. Then you know your formula and you have to stick to it for blood. Never let your outflow get sluggish. Always increase it.
6. You are a grandmother, and a great one at that, how would you compare your experiences as a grandmother to your experiences as a mom?
Being a Grandma is soooo much easier. I can give them back! Plus, I can spoil them. That’s what grandmas do. I couldn’t do that with my own kids and it’s fun.
7. Is there anything you wish you knew when you were raising your boys, any advice for your younger-mom self?
Leave my stress at the office.
8. What are some things you like to do now with your boys?
Try new restaurants, go to the mall, help them with marketing- they both have mini-businesses. Zach has his book and website and James is a freelance videographer. I love listening to them tell me everything that’s going on in their lives.
9.What are some things you do to turn life into play?
Travel, try new restaurants, drive somewhere with your dad,ride my bike and hang out with friends. I throw a great party.
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