Find a common ground of yours and your partners passions, in a way that allows you to perform your tasks while being happy with each other. In my case, I love content creation, engaging and helping other women. My husband enjoys taking charge, brainstorming and discussing profits. By choosing a business that can combine both of our passions, we have a higher change at success.
As a part of our series about 5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Evelyn Rountree.
While having everything you’ve always dreamed of, it is easy to be overturned by guilt for feeling like there is something missing. Evelyn was able to turn those emotions into something tangible, precious and fulfilling by launching her website, “Love, mamãe”, that speaks to mothers who not only need a sister to navigate through motherhood, but sometimes also miss the women they once were before they became “the mothers”.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Of course! I was born and raised in Rio, Brazil. In 2011, I met my now-husband on a social media platform and, after 4 years of long-distance dating, we got married in 2015. I moved to the States in May of that year and we started our journey together! Fast-forward, we had two children together that are now 3 and 1, and I’m a stay-at-home mom, wife, homemaker and, now, business owner.
I chose to launch Love, mamãe because of this constant feeling I had that there was something “missing”, even though seemingly I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I wanted to speak to other mothers that felt like me and be a resource and an addition to their tribe to discuss everything from parenting advice to the emotions we feel as mothers.
I also had a kind of “nagging” voice in my head that kept echoing what I’ve always heard: stay-at-home mothers should be just that, mothers and homemakers. And I wanted to show other women in the same situation that you can successfully do both.
Can you tell us a bit about your family business and your role in it?
When I started Love, mamãe, I had this amazing support from my husband and even my kids, even though they don’t understand that yet. I founded and run the blog, write content and do all research and engagement. Because I want to be a point of research for mother, I dive deep into what they may be feeling or going through, so that I can help in the best way possible. It’s been an amazing journey with unbelievable feedback from them and I’m so thankful for that.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
Absolutely! So, I had just launched my website and was patiently waiting the 6-moth-minimum period for it to “take off”, as I was told would happen.
But I guess I hadn’t realized just how hard I had been working on it, learning, taking classes and optimizing it the best way I knew how, and I was so shocked to see a multiple 4-digit number on my pageviews by the end of the third week.
I guess that was interesting to me because it showed me that, despite my fears, the nagging feeling was actually intuition, telling me “you can do this”.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
So… when I saw my blog was starting to get views in a way I didn’t think would happen for a long time, I think I got a little too excited. I was working late nights, early mornings and felt like I was riding a non-stopping, fast train, you know?! I gathered up courage and sent in a couple e-mails (just to test the waters) to a few brands about partnerships, featuring and all of that.
Part of me wasn’t expecting a response from either of them, but another part of myself (a bigger one) was just so certain that it would happen.
To my surprise, one of them got back to me. While she was sweet, I could tell she was amused at my nerve. She wrote back “Hey, such an interesting idea and I’m glad you thought of us for this piece. However, contact us back in 3 months or so, once you’re more established and have your name out there a little more”.
I laughed, of course, because she was right. And so, I learned a big lesson, one that is super cliché but extremely true: crawl before you can walk, and don’t reach for too much more than your hands can carry at the moment. It’s always good to take risks, but knowing the right timing is a good lesson to learn.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think the reason I’m having so many people relate to my content is that they relate to what I’m actually speaking about. The goal of my website has always been to help and uplift other women experiencing motherhood, the ups and downs, and how sometimes we feel so guilty by feeling overwhelmed or by wanting something more.
A particular moment that stands out to me, was when a reader sent me a message via the contact page on my site after reading my post titled “When My Kids Make Me Angry”. She said she actually cried reading it because that’s exactly how she had been feeling — the weight of overwhelm and the outside world telling her she should always, 100% of the time, simply be happy. And that just not real life.
I reached back out letting her know I had her back, I understood exactly how she was feeling because I felt the same way many, many days.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I actually am! I’m still astonished at how things have been escalating with the website and I feel so blessed to have such an amazing platform to connect and bring mothers together.
I have a segment on the blog called “From Moms To Moms”, where I share life experiences and advice from mothers other myself that have so much to teach and open our eyes to. I recently (again) gathered up the courage to message an artist I am such a fan of… and to my surprise, she said yes! She will be a guest on this segment and I legit cannot wait to have it up for the world to see in November. I think it will be an amazing reminder of hope and perspective to mothers all around, and that we are, indeed, all navigating the same waters when it comes to motherhood.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I could not be doing this if it wasn’t for the support of my husband, Billy. His understanding and compassion towards my hard days, exhaustion times or when I simply need him to step in with the kids or household in order for me to work is just beyond-this-world humbling to me. Not only that, he was and is the one paving the way that allows me to even be in this place I’m in, investing time and money, and I could not be more grateful to have him as my partner in life and in business.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
That is absolutely the goal, always. Not only it is important to me to give mothers around the world the biggest virtual hugs through my posts, it is also my number one goal to always contribute to causes that embrace motherhood and children. The organization that has been on my radar for a long time now is Child Rescue Coalition, they develop technology that helps law enforcement track and find child predators. I am preparing a huge series about this to raise awareness to their work and to how those horrific situations can happen literally so close to us.
Ok thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main parts of our interview. How do you define a family business? How is a family business different from a regular business?
I think one of the main aspects of a family business is the passion we pour onto it. It’s really a collection of hands tied together for the good of the business, because ultimately, that it the good of the family.
As opposed to a regular business, when you have partners outside of the home, it can become more robotic-like in my opinion with a mindset of serious profit.
As a family-owned business, of course we want the profit. But we want the passion, the engagement, to be a resource of outpouring love and affection. And those things reflect on the bank account in the end, because people relate to seeing and consuming passion on something they are actually passionate about.
I also like how, as a family, we can set our own ground-rules, our own core values that directly represent what we believe in. It helps not only fine-tune our business as a whole, but also fine-tune ourselves as a family.
In your opinion or experience, what are the unique advantages that family owned businesses have?
There are so many advantages to a family-owned business, but I believe, from my experience, that knowing that business is running in accordance to what you believe in is one of the biggest ones.
This is our second family-owned business, as we also run a lawn and landscape company that is operated by both my husband (on the actual “job performing”) and myself (on the digital end). And both of these businesses have taught us that: 1, owning a family business is not a walk in the park. You get to have the profits you get, but you also get to have the losses and whatnots. And that can impact on the family big time. 2, if we want the business to run smoothly, we have to have our thought process and ideas aligned. And 3, we cannot let the business talk overtake every minute of the day and forget to be a family.
In the end, I could not be more grateful to have chosen the entrepreneurship path with husband and to create our two family businesses together.
What are the unique drawbacks or blindspots that family owned businesses have?
I think it is the fact that you can, sometimes, let business overtake your family life. I’ve lost count on how many nights my husband and I spent hours discussing the business, only to go to sleep exhausted and feeling like we hadn’t spent any time together, until we started being intentional about not letting that happen.
A family-owned business can be an amazing thing, but boundaries are necessary to maintain the harmony and, in return, to be able to run the business as a one-unit. When the thoughts are not aligned, the business suffers because “it” doesn’t know which way to go. It’s imperative to establish a good life and work balance in order to run a successful family business.
What are some of the common mistakes you have seen family businesses make? What would you recommend to avoid those errors?
For me, it is letting passion run over mind. Sometimes we can get so invested into a particular project that appeals to one or the other, that in the end it doesn’t go anywhere. As I said before, a balance is necessary in all aspects of a family business because if you don’t have it, you legit get lost.
Having a set time for work and a set time for family can have such an impact in the dedication that is needed to run a family business, and that sometimes is overlooked. A calendar, a notepad, anything that reminds me that it’s time to step out of blogger mode and back into mother/wife mode is the only thing that allows me to successfully “wear all of the hats” that I have.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders of family businesses to help their employees to thrive?
I currently don’t have any employees, but as someone who has been one for most of my life, one advice I will follow once I get to that stage was given by my last boss, Mr. Charlie Emby of Just Play: micromanage only when necessary. He never said those words, but that’s how he behaved day after day. Trusting your employees to do what’s needed of them and giving them room to execute their tasks led to a light, fun environment where everybody got it done with joy. I wish to be a boss like he was someday.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean with a story or example?
Leadership to me is knowing what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, but trusting the people that you chose to have beside you. I don’t believe it is a leader’s “job” to mandate and dictate every aspect of a task, rather then instruct and only step in when and if it is necessary.
This month I hired a Pinterest Manager to help take care of my Pinterest account as I learned the many different ins and outs of it. I told her what I needed, what I wanted, and she told me what was possible. There were days when it didn’t seem, to me, that those “tasks” were being met, so I would approach her and check in. Because I trust her, I accepted her answer and moved on. As a “leader” (or in this case, the person that hired her), I have the right to check in, but I don’t believe in micromanagement in any aspect of leadership. In my experience, it only causes tension, frustration, and decrease of motivation.
Here is our main question. What are the “5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Boundaries. You cannot run a successful family business by letting it overtake your family life. When my husband and I start getting into the habit of talking more about the business than about us, that is a red flag that signalizes we need to step back into husband-and-wife mode.
- Understand that you will always have bad days along with good ones, and that there are times when you won’t be able to accomplish everything on your list. Not letting those setbacks make a way into turning you angry at your spouse (or whoever you are doing business with in your family) is the only way to succeed. In the same way, resenting your spouse over a business aspect, whether it was a poorly executed task or a result that didn’t come in as planned, will only create tension that, in turn, makes the business suffer as it won’t be in alignment.
- The business should reflect your family core values, no matter what niche it is in. I don’t see a way of running a family that does not agree with what my family believes in, because the business needs to mirror what you agree with. For instance, I could never, in a million years, run a family business that defends abusing women in any aspect, because that is not the core value of my family.
- Find a common ground of yours and your partners passions, in a way that allows you to perform your tasks while being happy with each other. In my case, I love content creation, engaging and helping other women. My husband enjoys taking charge, brainstorming and discussing profits. By choosing a business that can combine both of our passions, we have a higher change at success.
- Show your passion! There’s nothing more powerful for engagement (whether it is for messages from a blog post or sales on a product) than letting your audience know you are passionate about what you are talking about. Please have a way of reading and catching energy, and have that energy aligned between the family can have a huge impact on your business.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Let go and let God”, always and forever. There’s only so much I can control, and the world can be a weird and scary place sometimes. Surrendering to God on the things I cannot control is what keeps me going in life, and somehow everything always turns out for the best. Whether it is on my business, my children, or my marriage, I have leaned on that quote to remind me that God’s got my back, and as long as I am doing what is pertained on me to do, He will do his part on the things I cannot do.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
100% Blake Lively. Not only she’s this amazing superstar who I’ve been a fan for years and years, I would totally bend her ears with questions about motherhood. I am so inspired at her way of living as a mother and wife and how, despite being one of the biggest names in the industry, she manages to be a simple, humble mother who cherishes her family. I’d love to ask her how she achieved such a peaceful life when it seems the industry she is in thrives on trouble and whatnots. Sometimes I can’t even be collected the way she seems to be, and I don’t have a thousand eyes on me every day. Not to mention — I’ve read she likes to order entire menus for tasting, so that would be a plus too, lol.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Generosity goes a long way. Whether you pay for the coffee of the person in the car behind you in the drive-thru, hold the elevator for someone coming for it, or donate to a cause that impact the world — there is always a way to be generous, and it doesn’t always involve money. Having goals to be generous to one person every day will lead to 365 happier people in one year, and it might only take you two seconds of your day.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.