BASED IN: SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Tell us a little about what you do. What is Chatbooks?
I have seven kids, a lot of memories, and even more pictures. As my family grew, I no longer had the time to scrapbook everything. But when I realized that I didn’t have a single printed photo of my youngest child, I decided something had to be done! Like many people, I had photos on my phone, in my Instagram and Facebook feeds and scattered throughout my text messages but nothing I could hold on to. My husband and I founded Chatbooks to help us get those images out of our devices and social platforms – with the least amount of effort – and into beautiful and affordable photo books. With a Chatbooks subscription series, you get a new book every time 60 photos are added (you’ll have time to edit your book before it prints—and you’re only charged when you get a new book!) and the Original softcover Chatbooks are $8 (with free shipping!) and Hardcover Chatbooks are just $5 more.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Do you come from a family of entrepreneurs? Did it help or did that set you back?
I never had a desire to become an entrepreneur, but I do come from a long line of entrepreneurs and small business owners. My grandparents owned a Baskin Robbins franchise that employed their whole family. My father and uncle opened a law practice together. My brothers started a pine tree nursery and bred dogs in high school to earn money for college. Later, my dad and brothers started an airboat and wildlife attraction and one of my brother started a call center business based in the Philippines. My sisters launched a swimwear line together. My mother, a stay at home mother of 12 children, never launched a business officially, but daydreamed daily about business plans for her many brilliant ideas. And after graduating from Harvard Business School, my husband refused his offer to go back into management consulting to become an entrepreneur. I have supported his irrepressible desire to build businesses for the past 16 years and now, and just last year I finally got the itch to join in on the fun! After watching so many people close to me living the entrepreneurial dream, I couldn't stand to just be on the sidelines anymore.
Do you believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur? Do you think that everyone should try?
I am proof that anyone can become an entrepreneur. I was a professional singer and actress and stay at home mom before I started Chatbooks. And if my husband hadn’t been the one to get the ball rolling for me, my idea might not ever have become a reality. I was lucky that I had him pushing me a bit, but as soon as I got going I felt a thrill much like that of being on stage under the lights. I’m hooked, but I’ll be the first to admit that not everyone should actually become an entrepreneur. A good idea isn’t enough. You have to want to work on the business more than you want to do anything else to have a shot at success.
Is it important to set goals or is it better to just “go with the flow”? What is your strategy?
For me it’s important to do both. I am very much a goal setter. I know exactly where I want to be in life and I always have a project or a program that I’m working on. However, like most people, I don’t always stay laser focused. Life sometimes gets messy and crazy and I end up just doing my best to stay afloat. But, when calm returns, I don’t beat myself up about any lost ground and I just keep on keeping on! I think it’s important to always be striving while being kind to ourselves.
What part of your personality helped you the most with your entrepreneurial journey?
My personality has been shaped by my experience as the oldest of 12 children and the mother of 7 of my own children. My natural proclivity toward perfectionism has been tempered while learning to thrive amidst chaos all while discovering my capacity to juggle a million things. Starting a business is much like starting a family. What starts out as a great idea soon completely takes over your life where every waking moment is consumed and every ounce of your energy is sapped. But like a new mom, you soon find your rhythm and can’t believe how you ever lived without this new amazing thing in your life. No, it doesn’t get easier, really. But each new stage of the business is new and exciting and everyday I fall deeper in love with it!
What is the best piece of advice you can give to other female entrepreneurs?
Growing up with a bunch of brothers I did everything they did—competed on swim team, played legos, went fishing, worked in the yard and even took my turn milking the family cow. We also all helped with household chores and even cooking meals. It never once crossed my mind that there was something I couldn’t do because I was a girl. I have 4 sons and 3 daughters and more than anything I hope they never see gender as a limitation. We all have so much to offer in our own unique way. And if you feel like your calling is to be an entrepreneur, follow that dream and hold on for the ride of your life!