Meet Heather Lopez of Heather Lopez Enterprises. She is hosting our book tour at Palm Beach Tots in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Oct. 1.
Mom Incorporated: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur initially?
Heather Lopez: One thing I noticed was that I was very busy busting my tail for other people when I could be doing the same thing for myself. The catalyst was when both my children needed to be hospitalized for Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) they contracted in day care. My daughter also had pneumonia. This was the second time she had RSV and was already diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease (which is like asthma before age 2). My son was only 3½ months and had only been in the day care for a week. He was so little, they put him in intensive care because they were afraid he’d stop breathing. I spent two weeks in the hospital with them and while I was there, I made the decision that I was going to need to find a way to support them while being home with them. I literally started my first site in my son’s hospital room. And you know what? Since they have been home with me, my daughter no longer needed to use the inhaler or the nebulizer. My son has only needed the nebulizer three times in the past two years when he had bad colds.
Mom Incorporated: How did you grow the business to the point that it’s now Heather Lopez Enterprises?
Heather: My legitimate business was an evolution. I started off with Happy and Healthy Mom (a pregnant and new mom magazine) and was doing mommy expos. I was planning one in New
York, and I connected with Lucinda Cross, who was pregnant at the time. We brainstormed and came up with the Super Mom Entrepreneur Conference & Expo. I met another woman in a mom group and we came up with the Bloggin’ Mamas Conference & Cruise. I adopted Become Better Brands from people who no longer had the desire to grow it. During all this time, I learned so much about marketing, PR, social media, etc. and realized that my passion was helping other moms grow their businesses. So I incorporated Heather Lopez Enterprises as the umbrella for all of my sites — and also to have a place to offer those direct services for mom business owners, mom bloggers and brands looking to market to moms.
Mom Incorporated: You have a wide variety of different but related businesses, including the Super Mom conference. How do you juggle the time available to manage them all?
Heather: It’s a miracle 🙂 Seriously though, I work better under pressure. I always have. I was the girl in high school who was in the Honor Society, section leader in band, section leader in chorus, yearbook editor, sportsy, etc. I did that while taking care of my three younger siblings. You get the idea, right?
Mom Incorporated: How have you handled child care while running the business?
Heather: The kids are pretty much with me most of the time. Occasionally my mother-in-law has watched them, but she lives far from me. My other family lives very far away. It’s been tough, as I need to do a lot of meetings virtually or bring them with me. I actually lost a client because I had to bring my kids with me to an event. I have been finding some good friends to help me out, but my plan is to have a nanny to be there while I work, so that I can focus.
Mom Incorpoated: Where is your home office? Describe your setup, favorite equipment and, if you run your business online, any favorite software or apps.
Heather: My husband converted our living room to my office. I have an L-shaped desk and two screens. During TV time, my kids can watch Netflix on one of them while I work on the other screen. As for software and apps, the No. 1 go-to place is Google apps. It offers so many free apps you can use for your business. I use Google docs like crazy.
Mom Incorporated: What are some ongoing challenges of running your business from home? How are you working to overcome them?
Heather: Of course having my children at home while I work can be a challenge. You have to look at your business as something you have to get done so you can spend time with them, not the other way around. The other issue is that because I am home, my husband thinks I should have the house spotless; but if I clean the house spotless, I lose all my time for business and my kids. As for overcoming it, I have a schedule to have time for everything built into it. I am working on actually following the schedule.
Mom Incorporated: What is your support network like — for your business and for you?
Heather: Well, I am involved in a high-end mastermind group that is already helping me take my business to the next level. I also have more and more people wanting to come aboard and help my business grow. As for personally, I have some good friends and church members who help me. Though, to tell the truth, I could use a little more support in that area.
Mom Incorporated: What do you do for yourself apart from your business and your family?
Heather: I love to read. Of course, many of the magazines I read are business-related, but I enjoy them. I try to sneak in a little crime drama on TV here and there. I also go to the gym sometimes. The gym has a kid’s club where the kids can go to for two hours, and I can work out. I am heavily working on practicing what I preach when it comes to self-care.
Mom Incorporated: What advice would you give other women about starting a home-based business in general? Any specific advice about starting a business like yours?
Heather: Be prepared to be in it for the long haul. These things do not happen overnight, but they will happen if you believe in yourself and stick it out. Also, be sure to invest money in creating a strong brand identity from the beginning. It will help boost your business a lot faster, and save you a lot of time and heartache later on. As for a business like my own, be willing to collaborate with others. Iron sharpens iron, as my coach says.
Mom Incorporated: How has social media helped you in marketing your business?
Heather: Social media is my business. Without it, I would never have been able to get where I am. The trick is learning how to navigate it and convert it into paying customers.
Heather Lopez of Heather Lopez Enterprises is hosting our book tour at Palm Beach Tots in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Oct. 1