Dana Malstaff caught my eye a few months back when I searching for a community of mompreneurs to hang with. Afterall, being a mom and an entrepreneur presents its own set of tricky circumstances and I was looking for a community I could reach out to with questions when I needed support and where I could offer support to passionate business owners.
Boss-Moms by far, is my favorite group on Facebook to connect with likeminded souls supporting one another. The community is engaged, compassionate and just plain cool. All of this is because of its leader, Dana Malstaff (and her fantastic admin team). Dana sets the tone for this power group of moms so I wanted to learn more about how she got started and what challenges and triumphs she’s experienced over the years as she’s grown her service and her community into a substantial enterprise.
Get a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes world of Dana by checking out the video Q&A interview or transcript below.
Hey, I’m Dana Malstaff, founder and CEO of Boss Mom and I am super pumped to be here. Let me paint a quick picture for you. It is 8:50 p.m. My husband is putting the kids to bed and I am downstairs. Normally, I put the kids to bed but tonight I’m doing some work. One of those things is to record a video for you amazing, amazing ladies.
Now the reason I tell you this is because I don’t work 9:00 to 5:00. I don’t have to work 9:00 to 5:00 and I don’t necessarily always want to work 9:00 to 5:00. Sometimes I like to work in the evening. Sometimes I work a little on the weekends. Sometimes I don’t work during the week and that is the life that I enjoy.
I like that flexibility and being a boss mom. I like that I don’t feel guilty. My kids know I love them. They’re upstairs and they’re loving their dad and hanging out. He gets their time and for one, maybe two nights tops in the week, I come down and I get my stuff done and I love that, right?
- What’s your mission? Tell us about your organization/business.
One of the things when we talk about mission – to me it’s how do I want to wake up in the morning? Not just the mission for my business but for me because the business IS me. I’m the one that started it, right? So what do I actually want to wake up in the morning and do? What’s going to get me to wake up in the morning and feel excited about the day? How do I want to change lives?
So the mission for me is to help women feel like I feel right now which is productive and valued and excited and not guilty at all or worried that I am raising good kids and in a happy family because – just because I’m down here doing some work. I have a mission to make work a positive word, an exciting word, a word that our kids get pumped about and not a feeling as if our parents are leaving us to go work, right? That’s my mission.
If I really think about what my mission, it is so much about changing the way our kids think about the way the world works and think about the opportunities that are out there and think about how our passions can be financially viable. Like when I get down to it, that is the mission that I’m seeking and I know I can do that by helping moms to change the way they live their lives and run their businesses so that they can show their children and raise a generation and a generation and a generation that looks at the world differently and interacts and engages with the world differently.
- How long did it take you to reach important milestones in your business or organization?
Well, I will tell you, I made not a whole lot of money at all for about 2 years, quit my job about 4 years ago, immediately got pregnant, and from there had several years of totally feeling guilty about being a parent, not really knowing what I was doing, trying to figure it out, making websites and naming things and trying to do consulting and making some money but it was never really consistent, right? That might sound like you or it might sound like you a couple years ago or it might sound like what you’re dealing with next year.
But here’s the thing: Once I discovered that Boss Mom was my thing and for me that happened by deciding to write a book. I will tell you writing a book is really hard so it’s not the first step for everybody. I was a Broadcast Journalism major. I always knew I wanted to write. I write frequently so writing was sort of my jam. That’s when Boss Mom came out – this whole guilt, this whole not wanting women to feel bad, wanting to help them pursue their business.
So my business consulting and business strategy and content strategy then fit into the movement that I was starting to make. So I would say September 2015 is when things starting going and when I really launched Boss Mom as a business and infused everything together that I had been figuring out and working on and getting really great at, things I had been great at from my corporate world, and the movement I was trying to make. It only took a year, actually a little less than a year, to become 6-figures.
So I will tell you that even though it seems like work and work and work and you seem like you’re pivoting and tweaking and all those kinds of things, when you find it, it jams fast which is really good news, right? So don’t stop searching because that search brings clarity and that clarify will click. At some point, it will click. We all hope that it clicks sooner than later. I love it.
- Tell us about the “start-up scares”: Was there a moment where you ever seriously contemplated quitting?
Yeah, like once a month. I think back in the day, I would tell my husband, “No, no, no. I’m going to start making money in March.” “Okay, I’m going to start making money in June.” “Okay, I’m going to make more money here.” “Okay, I’m going to make consistent money here.” “No, no, I need to invest this.”
Oh my gosh, I questioned it all the time. There are still times now as this business is growing and it’s growing so fast that I question, “Oh my gosh. Do I want this? Do I want to be the paycheck that gets certain people on my team to be able to pay their rent? God, that’s a lot of burden for me. Do I want that?” I question myself all the time.
The scares that I have are when someone asks for a refund. The scares I have are when something doesn’t launch the way I want it to or something that I just think is going to be easy doesn’t come so easy.
So, yeah, I question myself all the time but I question myself as a parent and I’m not going to stop doing that, right? I question myself as a wife sometimes and I’m not going to stop doing that. I question myself as a daughter and a friend but I just pick myself up and keep going because that’s the only thing I can do. It is my baby and I cannot give up on my baby just like I could never give up on my real babies, right?
- What’s the most impactful action you’ve taken to reach your goal/s?
Getting support. I will say this time and time again: Do not be embarrassed about getting support. I think be conscious and mindful that you’re asking really good questions to make sure you find the right person but get support as much as you can, whether it’s a VA, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a program that you need to get.
I’m in constant learning mode but the big thing in that is that I’m only learning the things I need to move me forward. I am not just in constant learning mode of everything and all the things. I only go out and seek and pay for the things I need then. So if I’m getting a business coach – the last coach I had was specific to group coaching because that’s what I was building was a group coaching program.
If I’m going to go out and seek somebody who’s going to help me build a particular kind of course, right? For instance, the last course I built, I didn’t need a coach. I needed somebody who could actually execute and create my PowerPoints and doing those things because I didn’t have time.
I go out and seek the education or seek the support I need for the thing that’s going to actually help me move forward, not just to learn for the sake of learning and that, I think, is key to actually helping you be decisive and moving forward and making money in your business.
- What would you tell your younger/earlier self? Any piece of advice?
Oh, my gosh. Well, first off, you totally need support because I think I tried to do it all by myself for way too long. I ended up spending money anyway and wasting it. So I’d say get the support but also the biggest piece of advice is stop just trying to do things you can do. Find the gift that you have. Find the thing that comes easy to you that people are like, “Oh my gosh, how did you do that in 15 minutes? That would take me 10 days.”
Find the gift. Pursue the gift because the gift is the thing that you’re going to be able to do and leverage and make more an hour than anything else you can do. Odds are, because it’s your gift, you’re going to enjoy it too. So stop pursuing all the things and pursue the thing that you’re actually really good at.
- What the best advice YOU’VE ever received about pursuing your vision?
I think the best thing I’ve ever received is that “business is people.” The world is full of people. Things happen in the world by interactions with people. Nothing happens in a vacuum. You have to interact. You have to ask questions. You have to engage. You have to create a customer experience. Everything is centered around the people that you’re trying to serve. Everything is centered around the people that you know and are connecting with.
Business is people. If you’re not engaging with people, you will not build things that people need. If you are not listening and asking great questions then you’re not going to build the right things that are going to sell.
Business is people.
- Has having success in your business/organization or money changed you? In what ways?
Oh, absolutely. I think I change all the time anyway. Being a parent changed me. Starting a business changed me. I think my perception of what is possible in the world has absolutely changed. I think when I was in Corporate America, I would say a lot of like, “Oh, I can’t do that” or “When would I ever be able to really do that?” or “Oh, that’s not possible.” I just don’t use those words anymore.
I think that starting my own business and being able to see how it can be successful, I just don’t question whether or not I can be successful. I just don’t question whether or not I can reach the next milestone. I’ve gotten to a point now where it’s just, “Who do I need to support me to help me get there?” I don’t question the possibility. I just look at what’s necessary in order to execute and do it and get there and what I need to learn to become that person.
My dad used to always say – this is another good piece of advice – “Dress for the job you want.” It’s the same thing in owning your own business. You come to the table as the kind of business and the kind of person you want to be and then you look around and see who can support you to actually get there but you never question that you can get there. You just always have to know and I think becoming successful helps me to not question that so much for the next levels that I want to take.
- How do you create, innovate or break the rules in your life/business/organization?
Oh, this is so interesting. So I’m not sure I break any rules because I’m not sure any rules exist. I’m not sure. I think reality is all a perception and I think we all perceive it differently. So my rules are different than your rules and your rules are different than your husband’s rules or your kids’ rules or your friends’ rules. I just don’t think there are rules. I don’t think there are rules to break. I don’t think there are rules to create.
I think there is creativity and I think there is curiosity and if we pursue both of those things and try to create things based around those two, then there is no way that you can fail. I mean we’re going to fail all the time, I’m pretty sure. I think the whole idea of failing is true every day. But I mean truly fail as in we just can’t go any further. We can’t do anything.
I think everything is always a learning step for something else so don’t worry about rules. There are no rules. You’re not even playing by your own rules, right? Be curious and be creative and the world will be your oyster for sure.
- Tell us about your most successful launch. What was it for and what really moved the needle for you to make it a success? (If you’re comfortable, please share if it met your goals/expectations or if it earned 5-, 6- or 7- figures.)
This is tough. My launches – I do a lot of evergreen. I figure if I’m going to take the time to create it, why would I only launch it once? I guess that’s just my strange mentality. However, I have launched some things while they’re becoming evergreen but I haven’t had massive launches. I think my largest to date – now ask me this again next week because we have some things coming out – but to date, my largest launch was I think like $36,000 in the week or something that we had the launch.
Obviously, our intention is for that to grow but personally when I think about launching, I would rather have steady income of $10,000, $20,000, whatever-thousand dollars than have one time where I get this influx of money so I can tell everybody that I had this launch that was really big. I would rather just have that consistently. It’s way easier to run a business when you have that consistency.
I like people that are paying me monthly. I like that there is some consistency of how many people are coming in every month and I generally build my content that way. I will say that I relatively consistently have at least $20,000 months. I haven’t quite hit the $30,000 month just from recurring revenue but ask me that again in the next couple weeks or month and hopefully that will be changing.
- Stevie Wonder or The Beatles? (this, I must know.)
This is a really tough one because the entrance song for my wedding when my husband and I came in was Stevie Wonder and I actually stood in line in high school when the new Beatles sort of compilation came out at like midnight at Best Buy. So I love both but I think if I had to pick, I would say The Beatles because there is so much life and dynamics and layers that you could – I think you could take decades to re-listen and in every stage of your life, you’d be able to pull something different away from a Beatles song that is meaningful to you and hits your heart and that’s what I love about them is they have so many dimensions to peel away, that they just never get old.
All right, that is it for me. Hopefully this has been fun and helpful. It’s been a blast for me. I gotta’ hop in and do some other videotaping and fun stuff with my awesome – a client got this for me – “Like a Boss” mug and hangin’ out in the evening while my kids are sleeping. This is Dana Malstaff from Boss Mom. You guys have a great rest of your day.
Dana Malstaff is a mother, author, business & content strategist, coach, podcaster, and blind spot reducer. Dana is the author of Boss Mom: The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Business & Nurturing Your Family Like a Pro, and the founder of the Boss Mom Movement. She serves Boss Moms who yearn for more time and less guilt when it comes to building their business and raising their family, by providing the tools they need to get more out of their content and business, without sacrificing their family goals.
When she is not creating new courses or building new strategy tools for creative entrepreneurs, she can be found, chasing her two kids on the beach, or thinking of the next fun new family adventure.