Melissa Harris knows what it is like to be a mom and feeling like you have a thousand things going on at once. Dedicated to helping other moms declutter and destress, she created the Feel Free Club. Read our interview with the lovely Melissa below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I always knew long term that entrepreneurship was my goal. My father is an entrepreneur, so it was always a given for me to run my own business one day. What pushed me to do so was my dive into the corporate world. It didn’t take me long to realize that lifestyle was not for me, so I had to start my business sooner than later.
Tell us about your business.
The Feel Free Club is an organizing company that helps new moms clear the clutter and chaos in their home so they can have a life of freedom. Once I became a mother, the energy of my home and life dramatically changed. I was overwhelmed, consumed with my to-do list and had little time to enjoy myself. It wasn’t healthy for me or my family. Many women believe this is what motherhood looks like – sacrificing mind, body and soul out of love for her children. We at the Feel Free Club show you another way. Whether it’s helping you create a laundry system, transforming a bedroom into a nursery, or packing for a move into your first home, we create simple and beautiful systems so you can spend more time doing what matters most.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Building my foundation so I could start saying I’m an actual business owner was extremely important to me. Creating my website was the very first thing. An online presence is key. I also got my business license, a business account with my bank, business cards, and I joined the national association for my industry, National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). There are so many different things to do but what’s important to remember is you can only do one thing at a time. Starting anywhere is the most important part and allow everything else to build on one another.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Truly, it’s telling everyone I meet about what I do. Yes, I’m active on social media. I blog, I do 2 min tips every Thursday on YouTube, I have shared content on the platforms I like most, but the people who hire me are people I’ve told about my business. If no one knows about you, they can’t hire you. I make it a goal to integrate what I do in conversations with people I meet, and I’ve found this vital in bringing awareness to The Feel Free Club.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
That’s easy, the business aspect to my business has been the most challenging. I’ve been organizing since the age of six, but I’ve never run a business before nor did I go to school for it. So everything is new. Everything is a learning experience and there’s always a learning curve. Some learning curves are shorter than others, but they do get frustrating when you’re just starting out.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I’m now at a point in my business where I embrace a challenge. I’ve realized this is not only my business, this is my life. Every day is an experience to enhance myself, try something new, and enjoy life. It symbolizes that I am growing, therefore my business is growing. Old ways won’t open new doors. Challenges are simply an indication that new doors are opening for me. It’s all about mindset. I remember life is happening “for me” not “to me”.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Books (and audiobooks), interviews of people I admire, and conversations with other entrepreneurs. My mindset is what carries me through. It needs to be nurtured regularly and restored whenever drained. I’ve found I get the greatest boost of motivation when I do those things. There’s no such thing as instant gratification when you’re starting a business. You have to find things to keep you grateful and uplifted that’s not tied to money or accolades.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I focus on the message that matters to me most, and I share it in a way that I enjoy. I love to speak. I love being on camera. I’m crazy about photography. I use these skills to share my message. Because I enjoy doing these things, people enjoy watching me do it. There are tons of organizers, but there aren’t tons who are new mom, fun, carefree, silly, passionate and eager to help other women enjoy the new responsibilities of motherhood. When it comes to distinguishing yourself from others it’s about being who you are shamelessly. No one is like you. Letting that come through your business is what people will resonate with. It’s what they remember.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Love yourself and release expectations of yourself.” Expectations of who we are and how we should be can easily drive us to be judgmental of ourselves and others. Taking the time to love myself despite what I’ve accomplished and be proud regardless of what happens, releases the pressure and stress entrepreneurship brings. Living in the present has been the best way for me to do this. I find myself much happier not looking too far ahead or contemplating on the past.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Growth is essential for every business. In order to grow, you have to try new things. I would tell any entrepreneur to write out 3 goals for your business a year and only focus on achieving those three goals. Each year you want it to be better than the last. Make the goals important for your business as well as for you personally. That way achieving them is much more likely, because you’re invested on a deeper level.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Google calendar and a big calendar I can write on. Without these 2 essential items I couldn’t keep up with the things that need to get done. If it’s not scheduled, it doesn’t exist.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. This book completely changed my life. Completely. Changed. My. Life.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I have 3 major goals I’m focused on achieving before the end of the year.
- Host a diaper drive
- Finish my book
- Land a commercial client
Giving back to my community is important to me, and you don’t have to be part of the fortune 500 to do so. If we all found a way to give back to others in need, there would be a lot less suffering and better quality of life for us all. The diaper drive will be The Feel Free Club’s first community event. I’m in the process of collaborating with others who have hosted diaper drives before. My book is part of my passive income long term goal. I write twice a week for 30 minutes until it’s complete. My last goal to land a commercial client has been the most challenging. I’ve pitched a few local shops who could use my services. The goal is to continue pitching until someone says yes.