What You’re Doing Is Important – Reimagining Hustle with Jo Harris

My big takeaway:

Don’t view your business as a hobby.

3 kids, 2 business, and 1 full life… Jo Harris is a mama on a mission.

In this episode, Jo shares how she started working from home when she got pregnant and didn’t want to put her kids in daycare. She shares her journey from being a call center agent to a freelance writer to a full-time copywriter and finally, a business owner. Her success is defined by having a sustainable business that allows her to be there for her family.

Links from the show:

Show Notes:

[00:00:00] Roxanne: Podcasting during school when my house is quiet enough to work, this is re-imagining hustle. A podcast for entrepreneurial parents, creating a life where business and parenthood live peacefully in the same space. I’m your host Roxanne market. A mom of two micro-business coach and serial entrepreneur on a journey to prove that it is possible to do what you love without sacrificing all your precious time.

[00:00:29] Let’s do this.

[00:00:32] Welcome back to ReImagining Hustle. I am already thrilled to chat with my guest today. I have Jo Harris with me. Jo, how are you?

[00:00:40] Jo: Hi. I’m good and I’m really excited to be here. So thank you for having me

[00:00:44] Roxanne: Oh my heavens. This is, well, we were talking before we started the recording, that it’s nice to find other moms in the entrepreneur space because it’s just this little, it’s like this little corner of the world that nobody knows exists. And so it’s, it’s fun to have you here. So, Jo, will you just dive in?

[00:01:00] Will you tell us about you, tell us about the work you do in your journey to get there.

[00:01:04] Jo: Yeah, sure. So I have two businesses that my husband and I actually run together, and yeah, so one of them is a digital agency and we offer copywriting and video to help other businesses, um, become more profitable. And our second business is a course business where we help other service providers like freelancers, virtual assistants to grow their business online.

[00:01:30] And we actually have a copywriting course that teaches them our process that we use in our agency. So that’s, that’s a little bit about what I do.

[00:01:38] Roxanne: That’s so cool. How did you get to that? I mean, I feel like you don’t just wake up one day and be like, Hey, I’m gonna start both of these businesses with my husband. Like, how’d you get there? Tell, will you tell us a little bit about the process to, to get to where you are today?

[00:01:50] Jo: Yeah, so it really started when I got pregnant and I realized that I really, really wanted to be at home with my family and I didn’t wanna put them in daycare and to go work at a job that’s just was not my vision for my life and my family. So I started looking for ways to work from home and it, it wasn’t rosy, my start wasn’t that rosy

[00:02:13] I had a. Um, job, my first job was like, um, as a call center agent, and then I try looking into like other stuff and try to start a blog , you

[00:02:25] Roxanne: Yeah. Oh yeah. Oh, I do know . I know this very well.

[00:02:30] Jo: right? So then I looked into freelance writing because I had a background as a writer and in marketing. So I was doing that and I was doing like some virtual assistant work, so social media marketing, and it was okay. I liked it, but it wasn’t paying that great, if I’m honest. So I found myself working a lot and I’m like, this defeats the purpose.

[00:02:55] right? So then I came across copywriting and I was really intrigued because it was everything that I loved to do, writing, marketing, it was perfect and it paid really well. So that was really intriguing to me. And so I taught myself everything I could about copywriting, and I made the transition into copywriting.

[00:03:18] So I had, you know, sold my first, um, copywriting package, and I made a full-time like worth of income, just working part-time for that one project that month. And I was like, sweet

[00:03:33] Roxanne: Yeah, I found it.

[00:03:35] Jo: this. I found my thing, I found my niche. So it’s not about the money, but more so the fact that like by earning more, I could have a more sustainable business and be there for my family.

[00:03:46] So it’s more so like what the money could do as a tool, not so much the money itself.

[00:03:52] Roxanne: Mm.

[00:03:54] Jo: So from there I actually started working in-house and I was, became a copywriter, still remote, um, for another company, like a virtual company. And I did that and then transitioned into doing our own businesses full-time, which is what we do now, and we love it.

[00:04:13] Roxanne: That’s amazing. That’s amazing too. And how fun to have that. Um, I, I don’t know. It feels like this aha moment, right? Where you’re like, oh, this, this, here we go. We found it. We found it. That’s incredible. So you’ve, you’ve had this interesting kind of almost curvy journey to get to where you are.

[00:04:30] Jo: Yeah.

[00:04:31] Roxanne: what does success look like then?

[00:04:32] I mean, you mentioned, you know, it’s not, it’s more about the money, what the money can do for you, but is success more than that for you?

[00:04:39] What does success look like?

[00:04:39] Jo: I, you know, I was, I hear this question a lot and I try to think about it and it stumps me because I honestly don’t have an answer for what success means to me. I’ve probably given answers before, but I don’t feel like I have like a concrete, like this is what it is. Right? It’s so like, Out there. But for me, I’m just, I just wanna enjoy my life ,

[00:05:01] to be honest. I just wanna enjoy life because otherwise, like if we’re gonna be here just like miserable in our day-to-day, what’s the point? Right? Like we wanna, we wanna enjoy. So it’s like, yes, we have to go to work and fulfill our responsibilities, but within that, like, let’s make it enjoyable, right? And help people along the way and be a blessing to somebody else, not just for ourselves, but to help other people too.

[00:05:27] Roxanne: Yeah, it’s, it’s refreshing to hear you say you’re not quite sure, but then, I mean, to hear you describe it as well, I feel like you just described success as, as a feeling, right? Like what that feels like to you. So, and you have kids as well. Tell me how many kids you have.

[00:05:41] Jo: I have three.

[00:05:42] Roxanne: Three kids. Okay. How old are they?

[00:05:43] Can I ask?

[00:05:44] Jo: Yeah, so three, two, and, um, my youngest is almost eight months.

[00:05:50] Roxanne: Oh my goodness. That’s so fun. So you are busy mama running two businesses, doing, doing a lot, living life, doing all the things. How has being a parent during this journey changed you as a person?

[00:06:04] How has being a parent changed YOU?

[00:06:04] Jo: Hmm. That’s a, you, you really stumped me with

[00:06:09] Roxanne: That. Well, you’re welcome. I think

[00:06:11] Jo: Yeah, I think that the way that it has changed me is like it has forced me to restructure my priorities. So I love work and my husband, he’s the same way. So it’s kind of funny, but I can, I’ve had tendencies of like workaholic tendencies and my kids force me to put work aside and realize like, that’s not what’s most important. And one of the things that I feel like I, I, it’s like I see a lot, um, with other moms and parents that work from home and it’s, it saddens me, but it’s like they look at their kids as an inconvenience at times. They may not like say it.

[00:06:59] but the way it comes out in like their mannerisms, how they talk about it, and to me, I see them as a blessing and the reason why we wanna work from home, right? They’re not an obstacle to working. It’s like that’s the reason why we’re doing it, because we want to be able to have that balance. So yeah,

[00:07:18] Roxanne: That’s, I like that. I like that a lot. So you started, you started your businesses after your babies were born, right? Is that right?

[00:07:27] Jo: kind kind of

[00:07:28] Roxanne: I get my timeline right?

[00:07:29] Jo: No, that’s, that’s about right. Like when I was pregnant is kind of when I started looking into it. But then like after my first one was born when I was like pregnant with my second, that’s kind of when I like really got into it and, yeah.

[00:07:43] Roxanne: Got it. So you were birthing babies and businesses all at the same time. . Do you find there’s a lot of, I, I don’t know. For me at least this is the way that I see it is, is that starting a business is an awful lot, like having a child that it kind of consumes every thought that it, it, it’s, you do have to kind of give birth to it and you have to, do you, have you found the same.

[00:08:06] Jo: Oh yeah, yeah. so it’s funny because, so this year I created an online course for copywriting, teaching other people how to write copy and offer it as a service. So it’s funny because I was pregnant, kind of like no, or was did I just, I, I think I really started working on it seriously after I gave birth and I told my husband it felt like pushing out another baby.

[00:08:30] Roxanne: Yes.

[00:08:31] Jo: In a, in like, not a physical way, but more so in like the, the mental strain because like I, I, I had to finish it in like a certain amount of time because I had, um, , I had beta sold the course like before I actually like put it out. So I, I had to stick to that timeline that I promised my students. So it for, which was a good thing because it forced me to like be really proactive with it.

[00:08:58] But it was also like a lot. Um, I’m not sure if I would do it the same way again in the future.

[00:09:04] Roxanne: Yes, yes. But it does give you that kind of, it’s, it’s like having that due date, right looming over you.

[00:09:11] Jo: exactly.

[00:09:12] Roxanne: You can’t escape it. Oh, you can’t escape it. That’s, that’s amazing. Jo, do you ever experience guilt around parenting and entrepreneurship?

[00:09:21] Guilt?

[00:09:21] Jo: I used to a lot. I used to a lot, honestly. And then I got to a place where it wa kind of recently and I had this like mind shift where I realized that the work that we do is really important. And I think that the guilt comes because we look at the business as a hobby. So we think that, oh, we have this hobby, this thing we love, and we’re putting it above our family, or, you know, sharing this time.

[00:09:47] That should be all for our kids. And that’s the problem. It’s not a hobby and it, it depends like your purpose, right? That it really depends. But for me, like it’s not just a hobby. So when I realized how important it is, the work that I’m doing, that it’s really actually helping my family and helping other people.

[00:10:05] That really helped kind of scale back that feeling of guilt and also like just making sure that like I make time for my kids and don’t get consumed in the business.

[00:10:15] Roxanne: Hmm. I feel like that clip right there, is. That I’m gonna request everybody get, you’re gonna play that on repeat. That’s gonna be the thing you listen to in the morning. The thing you listen to before you go to bed at night, that what you do is important and it’s significant. So thank you. Wow. Wow. Thank you for that.

[00:10:33] What do you wish people knew about being a parent and an entrepreneur simultaneously?

[00:10:38] What do you wish people knew?

[00:10:38] Jo: I think kind of going back to something I mentioned earlier, which I feel a little bit passionate about, which is that it is hard, but like just remembering that your kids are a blessing, they’re not an inconvenience, and I wish people would stop looking at their kids as an inconvenience. It makes me sad.

[00:10:55] It makes me wanna cry sometimes. And yes, there’s times when I feel overwhelmed, or maybe I get frustrated that I got interrupted. But deep down in my heart, I know that my kids are so important and you know, they are truly blessings and we are so fortunate to have them in our lives, you know? So I just wish that people would like know that and just like really take time to let that sink in and stop being so angry at their kids and frustrated or feeling like if their kids would just leave them alone, they could get more done.

[00:11:30] Stop it. Stop

[00:11:32] Roxanne: Yes. Do you have, I, I want you to pretend for a minute that you’re talking to somebody in that mindset who’s like, oh, my kids, my kids, my kids. What would be the first thing you would suggest they do? How would somebody shift out of that? Because you do, I can see it. I can see the passion in your eyes, in your, you know, in your mannerisms as you’re talking about it.

[00:11:49] And, and I told you, I told you I was gonna say that this is an audio podcast. Right. So the people listening don’t get to see that passion. I’m sure they can hear it in your voice though. What would you suggest they do? to begin. I mean, cuz you can’t just shift a mindset in a moment, right? I mean, it’s impossible, but it is this transition that has to happen.

[00:12:06] What would be that first pivot you would suggest they make to get there?

[00:12:10] Jo: To be honest, I don’t know if I have an answer to that. For me personally, um, like my faith, my faith in God is like a huge part of my life, so I feel like that’s where it came from for me, just realizing in the context of my faith that like. You know, this is a God-given responsibility that I have and I need to treasure it.

[00:12:31] If I was to give advice to someone else, maybe I would suggest that they just start by rearranging their schedule and do things in a way that helps them be less frustrated because some things, it’s because of poor planning. And that’s what I realized for myself, right? I started to think about like, okay, those moments when I feel frustrated and overwhelmed, like, why is it, and I realized it’s because I was trying to multitask.

[00:12:59] I was trying to focus on something intently while I’m with my kids, and that probably wasn’t the best time. It actually happened earlier today. So I know that about myself. And so that kind of helped me realize like, okay, maybe to avoid being frustrated and lashing out at anyone, or you know, just getting annoyed.

[00:13:17] Why don’t I just do this when they’re asleep or when, you know, I have help or something like that. And that way I can give them attention and then I can focus on my other thing. , you know, there’s no conflict. So I think like learn yourself. Learn it. What is it that makes you feel so frustrated? Maybe it’s just poor planning.

[00:13:34] Maybe it’s like you’re so passionate about working on your business that you wanna work on it all the time. You don’t have balance and you’re not setting boundaries, and that’s why you’re frustrated because like you’re doing the wrong, you’re doing things at the wrong time. So,

[00:13:49] Roxanne: Mm-hmm. . I like that. I like that suggestion. I also have heard, and, and I do this with my kids as well, just quality time with them, right? The kids don’t need, they don’t need hours and hours and hours, but they do need short, short bits of quality time and just to see, I feel like to see your kids as, as humans, as their own, People, you know, especially, I mean, I know your kids are, are probably just like at the very tip of this, my kids are a little bit older than yours and uh, and I find it’s so fun to learn who they are, like to see their personalities shine through.

[00:14:19] And that for me that shift has also really helped as well. Right. To see, like, to, to discover them as their own people instead of who I have always thought that they were to see them as their own people, I think is another way that, that you can see them as a blessing and

[00:14:31] Jo: I like

[00:14:32] that.

[00:14:33] Roxanne: Yeah, I like that a lot. So Jo I wanna ask you a question about the name of this podcast, and you already alluded to this a little bit. It’s funny when you were, you were speaking of, of how you, are you like this, you know, hustle culture, really, right? Like I, I’m the same way. So when I started my business, I was not a parent and I super bought into all of it. The bro marketing, the, the hustle culture, the, you know, go, go, go work hard, you know, no sleep is a badge of honor. All that nonsense I bought into it all felt real good to me. You know, it was, it was, it made sense to me and then I became a parent and my whole world changed and I knew instantly that that path that I was on was not sustainable.

[00:15:13] And so I’ve been on this quest to reimagine hustle since then. And you described that as well a few minutes ago when I asked you about it, you know, you described that you know you like that, that hustle culture a little bit, but I feel like you’ve also figured out what hustle looks like to you now. So how do you reimagine this idea of hustle as a parent?

[00:15:31] Reimagined hustle looks like

[00:15:31] Jo: Yeah, that’s a really good question. Um, I think that, I love what you said that word sustainable, because that’s something that I’ve been thinking about recently is like having a business that is sustainable. Right. Um, . And so I’ve been talking with my husband a lot about that. So I think reimagining hustle means a lot more delegating.

[00:15:53] Like this whole like solopreneur thing is not for me, and I think that it has its place, but because of the nature of my life and I have kids and all of that, like it’s just not gonna work. for the way that like we wanna grow our business. Now if you have like a side hustle, right, like you can do it, but if like you really want to grow your business into something that’s gonna sustain you full-time and that’s all you wanna do, you don’t want to, you know, work or do something else, then you are gonna need some help.

[00:16:24] Otherwise, you could run yourself into the ground. So I don’t wanna be. One of those people, you know, working 40 hours a week in my business doing all these like minuscule tasks. Like at first you might need to do that, but I think like pulling back and like delegating is a big part of reimagining hustle in my opinion.

[00:16:43] Roxanne: Hmm. That’s such a great take. It reminds me of a, a text I got from a good friend of mine who’s also in this entrepreneur and motherhood world. Uh, just yesterday, in fact, I was checking in on her and I asked her how she was doing. Kate, if you’re listening, hey, I love you. Um, but she. Said that she hired an assistant and it was changing everything for her.

[00:17:01] So I love that, that that delegation is the way to reimagine that. That’s fantastic. Jo, you are wonderful and, and bringing so much just wisdom and goodness and I appreciate you so much. Will you give us a 30 second pep talk for other moms on this entrepreneur journey?

[00:17:16] Pep Talk

[00:17:16] Jo: Yeah. Um, there’s so much that I could say, but I would just, I guess, wow, where do I even start? I would say, first of all, remember that. The work that you do is important. So stop feeling guilty, but also have balance and stop looking at your kids as an inconvenience, right? And so maybe some of that guilt comes because of how you are towards your kids, because you are seeing them as an inconvenience.

[00:17:42] You’re not spending that quality time. So if you have that balance, you won’t feel guilty. Everybody’s happy. And again, what you’re doing is important. You’re helping your family, but just. Be intentional. Make a plan, be there for your kids. Yeah,

[00:17:57] Roxanne: Wonderful. Hey, it’s a great pep talk. I love it. I appreciate it so much. Tell us, where can we find you online? We tell us about the course. Tell us about all the, like where can we get you?

[00:18:07] Jo: Yeah. So the first place to go is my website, which is the virtual mama.com. And that’s M A M A. I know people spell it differently, so

[00:18:16] Roxanne: Yeah. M a m A is how I spell it too. I like it. Yep. Okay.

[00:18:20] Jo: Um, so if you go there, you’ll find all the resources. I have a blog and I share a lot about how to work from home. I share a lot of resources and pro I probably, I’m one of those overshare that doesn’t just like give you like that fluffy stuff that you find everywhere else, but I give you the juicy stuff that I actually like that works for me so that you can.

[00:18:39] Get helped too. And um, I do have a course called Copy Land and that’s where you can learn how to write copy to become a copywriter and offer it as a service. So you can find me there. There’s tons of free resources and I’m very active on Instagram as of late, so you can find me at the Virtual Mama and I’m very friendly, so feel free to say hi.

[00:18:59] And I love making funny reels,

[00:19:02] Roxanne: Awesome. Ooh, I’m gonna have to check ’em out and we’ll make sure that we. Everything in the show notes. Jo, this has been just fantastic. Thank you for the gift of your time. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and your expertise as well. Um, make sure that you go check out Jo at The Virtual Mama.com, and like I said, we’ll make sure everything is linked in the show notes.

[00:19:18] This has been a treat. Thank you so much.

[00:19:20] Jo: Oh, thank you for having me.

[00:19:22] Roxanne: Yeah.

[00:19:23] Thanks for listening to reimagining hustle with Roxanne Merket. If you like the show and want more, check out reimagining hustle.com and please leave a review wherever you get your podcasts. We’ll be back next week with another episode. See you soon.