Name: Alanna McGinn
Number of kids: 3
Name of business: Good Night Sleep Site
Number of years in business: 8
Reason for starting business: I have always had the desire to run my own business. That entrepreneurial drive runs in my family. It was finding something that I was passionate about that was the tricky part. Thankfully, once I had my eldest and sleep deprivation kicked in, the passion for sleep and sleep education was born. I was forever talking to parents about their sleep issues and helping them day-to-day, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with the twins I realized I wanted to start a business in helping families sleep better. I had finally found something I loved, was really great at, helped others, and could do from home. It was a no-brainer. I have that flexibility for my family. I wanted to be able to stay home with my kids, pick them up from the bus stop, but also bring in a second income and put my stamp on something. Running my own business allows me to have the best of both worlds. It’s a struggle at times, but for the most part it’s pretty great. It’s also really amazing to see something you’ve created grow into a viable business.
Secret to balancing work life with family life: I have a network of family that helps me and thank goodness for that! My mother and mother-in-law are very active in my children’s lives and help whenever they can. I also have an amazingly supportive husband who helps me whenever I need him, too. Thankfully, he too works for himself, so he understands the time and commitment you have to put in to your business. I truly couldn’t do it without him. I also think you have to forget trying to obtain balance because it’s just not going to happen. There are times where my business needs more of my attention and my family gets neglected a bit and then there’s time where my family needs more attention and my business gets neglected a bit. That’s okay. In the beginning I was constantly trying to achieve this unattainable “balance” and finally said forget it! Life got much easier after that. Acceptance of only doing what you can do is key.
Least favourite mom job: The constant meal and snack prep. Doesn’t that sound terrible! I hate feeding my kids! But when you’re trying to work and all you hear is can I have a snack, I’m thirsty, what’s for dinner, arg! I’m getting to the stage where they are getting old enough to get their own drinks and snacks, though nutritionally monitored by mom, and it’s wonderful!
Number one tip for mom entrepreneurs: Make sure you have support. As I mentioned, I couldn’t do it without my husband. He’s actually the one who talked me into being a Sleep Consultant! There is no way I would be this far ahead with my business if family and friends weren’t my biggest cheerleaders. Also, make sure you take care of yourself. I speak to many Corporations about the importance of maintaining your overall well being. Remember you are the most important asset. It is so easy to put your health and wellness last when your list and days are full. Your family and your business can’t function without you. Make sure you are taking time for yourself, mind, body, and soul. And always make sure you get your sleep ;-).
Biggest challenge of being a mom entrepreneur: Finding the time to do it all. As much as I love working from home, there are days where I would love a cubicle and a 9-5 punch clock. I have a list of things I would love to do with my business, but I can only take on what I can while the kids are little and that’s okay. It took me time to accept that though and not be discouraged by it. I have plenty of time to take over the world.
Guilty pleasure: I’m a pop culture fanatic and a TVaholic. That is my release and escape. My DVR is always full and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Proudest moment: Oh my goodness there are so many! Family wise – hearing from teachers and other parents how well-behaved my kids are. That’s always so nice to hear and reassures my husband and I that at least we are doing something right! Don’t get me wrong – they have their moments – but I have to say that I have some pretty great kids. Business wise – the accomplishments that Good Night Sleep Site has achieved in the past few years. We now have 14 sleep consultants in the US and Canada, we have the absolute pleasure of working with so many amazing families and major corporations like Bayer and AON Hewitt, we recently have partnered with the Ronald McDonald House to help their families sleep better, and being able and honoured to spread the word of sleep health through amazing publications and media like yourselves. This is some pretty exciting times for my family and Good Night Sleep Site!
Mom entrepreneurs you admire: I am so fortunate to be surrounded by some pretty remarkable and inspirational mom entrepreneurs. But to choose one, I would choose my mom. She was a MOMpreneur before the term was ever coined. She ran a daycare in our home for as long as I can remember while we were growing up. She did this so she could stay home with my sister and I but also provide an income to the house. It’s because of her that I always wanted to stay home with my kids. Between her and my dad’s entrepreneurial genes it looks like I was destined to follow in their footsteps.
Favourite social media accounts to follow: Yours! All my consultants and I are obsessed with your Cat & Nat Daily’s and all your Social Common Creative contributors. I also really enjoy Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club, and not just because I’m their sleep expert, but because their articles really speak to the everyday mom. I’m slightly obsessed with Etsy for shopping and Huffington Post for their focus on sleep wellness. And of course, Entertainment Weekly and TMZ because it fills my soul 😉
For more of Alanna, visit her at: