Lianne Kim, a mom of two children, is a renowned business coach and community leader with 20 plus years of sales and marketing experience. She is the founder and CEO of Mamas & Co., an incredible online community for mama entrepreneurs. Lianne helps women build profitable businesses that light them up so they can live their wildest dreams.
In this episode:
- We all have to take those first few steps when we are dreaming big and wanting to make a shift or a change.
- Prioritizing is key. When you have big goals and dreams, you are going to be forced to make choices all the time on where your time and energy goes.
- Start with a clear vision of the mom you want to be. When you head into anything with intention and the idea that you’re going to work towards it, you start to see what you want to see.
- Design the business that fits your life and not the other way around.
Connect with Lianne:
Podcast: The Business of Thinking Big
On this episode of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast, I had a great conversation with Lianne about dreaming big and how that starts by taking those first few steps. We also talked about the importance of prioritizing, starting with a clear vision of the mom you want to be, designing a business that fits your life and not the other way around… and a whole lot more!
If you prefer to listen, check out Episode 20 of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast.
Lianne is such a warm and engaging person to have a conversation with. I so appreciated the stories and incredible inspiration that she shared about dreaming big.
WE ALL HAVE TO TAKE THOSE FIRST FEW STEPS
Lianne talks about when we are trying to dream big and we’re thinking about where we want to be, it’s so easy to look at somebody online and think that they’ve got it all together. We can think that they have always been living this life and going full tilt 24-7. It is easy to forget that everyone who might look successful to us still had to take those first few steps. Lianne has felt this way too when she has looked at other people at the next level. She reminds herself that they haven’t always been there.
THE STEPS YOU DON’T SEE
Lianne shared that a lot of people think that she’s been rocking her full-time business and motherhood thing for years. The truth is that it was only three and a half years ago that she quit her full-time job to really step into full-time entrepreneurship. What most people don’t know is that she was hustling before that. There was a lot of stuff happening in the background before making that leap and in order to make that leap.
KEEPING HER BRAIN BUSY
Lianne had her two children really close together. They are only 22 months apart. Even on her first maternity leave, she was so worried that she was going to be bored because she loves to work, to contribute, and to create. This led her to do an MLM because she thought that doing direct sales would help to keep her brain busy. She felt that it would be a little something interesting for her to do while on maternity leave. As if she didn’t have enough to do! Of course, before you have kids, you really don’t know. On her second maternity leave, she started a creative arts based business as a side hustle.
A LOVE FOR RUNNING HER OWN THING
What Lianne found through these experiences is that she really loves running her own thing. Neither one of those opportunities were the right fit for her over the long term. They were just sort of fun and interesting. Lianne only returned to her full-time job for 9 months in-between having her two children because they were so close together. Her colleagues used to joke that she was on the every other year plan. She would work for a year and be off for a year and then, come back for a year. After having her son, her second child, something shifted for Lianne and she was certain that she didn’t want to go and work for somebody else forever.
Lianne was certain that there was more for her and that there was more that she wanted to give. She felt like her truest, most special gifts and talents were completely being wasted, sitting in a cubicle, selling someone else’s “stuff”, and literally earning millions of dollars a year for someone else.
THE BEGINNING OF MAMAS & CO.
Lianne took a full year of maternity leave with each of her two children and loved every second of it, except for the parts that you expect not to love. Lianne keeps it real because it’s certainly not blissful 24-7. She enjoyed having that time and creating her own schedule and being there for kids. It just worked for her family. It’s when she went back to work that she actually started Mamas & Co. Most people think that Mamas & Co. came to be because Lianne wanted to be a business coach but that’s not the case at all. She had these little side hustles and wondered who else was like her? Who were the moms that were also dabbling in this business thing?
FINDING HER VILLAGE
What she found was so inspiring. They were some moms that were dabbling, but some of them had made that leap. That’s where Lianne wanted to be. So, she created a Facebook group and started hosting events so that she could be around these women more and more, and so that she could learn from them and ask them things.
THE “AHA” MOMENT
What started to happen was that she found opportunities to start to share her own gifts. For example, she asked if others would be interested in learning about sales. This led to 17 women sitting in Lianne’s living room, drinking wine, while Lianne spoke for two hours straight about Sales 101 with a PowerPoint on her TV. Something really powerful happened about halfway through. She could see a couple of moms leaning in. They were nodding and soaking it all in. Lianne knew in that moment that this is what she was meant to do. Lianne knew that she was meant to help women move their lives forward through her gifts. She didn’t know at that time that this was business coaching. Lianne just got really addicted to the feeling of having something that she was doing resulting in positive changes and help for someone else.
Lianne didn’t know that it was going to take off the way it did. What she found was that more and more women were wanting more balance and were looking for more fulfillment. About 6 months after that night, she told her husband, “I think I know what I want to do with my life when I grow up”. Lianne started coaching women in the nooks and crannies of her day. She would ask people if they were looking for some help or support and then, would suggest booking a couple hours together. She would charge whatever these women felt comfortable paying. This is exactly what she now tells people not to do but you gotta start somewhere!
AROUND HER KITCHEN TABLE
The feeling that people were willing to pay her for something special that she had was like no other feeling on the planet! She loved the validation that what she was doing was helping. This is literally how Lianne started her now multi six figure business coaching empire. She coached people an hour here an hour there and she built a course that she delivered around her kitchen table to four women at a time.
THE BIG LEAP
In July of 2016, Lianne decided that she was going to make a plan to take the leap. Her plan was that in six months, she was no longer going to be at her full-time job. That was really the turning point. However, she did a lot of side hustling for a long time to get to where she is today.
FEELING ON FIRE
In the past, Lianne was completing a set of tasks but she wasn’t feeling fulfilled and she wasn’t feeling alive. When you feel like you’re on fire and something is just lighting you up, that moment is so powerful. Once you have that, you get the feeling that you want more and it’s really hard to shake that. When you have that feeling and it’s something that you get to experience on the regular with your job or whatever it is you’re doing with your time, your kids will see you as a happier person. This, in turn, makes them happier and they want to spend more time with you. It also shows them that it’s possible to do what you love.
IN THE PAST
Lianne talks about how this is something that many of us may have had missing in our own childhoods. When we look at our parents, and especially our fathers, we may have seen them trudge off to work and be gone all day. In previous generations, life was about getting stuff done.
CHOOSING A PATH
Lianne wants her kids to see that they can choose any path that they want. As well, because she’s chosen this path, she can take them someplace cool on a Friday afternoon and she can take three weeks off in the summer because she works for herself and doesn’t have to be approved for that. There are so many good things that come from our children, seeing us in our element.
START WITH THE VISION OF THE MOM YOU WANT TO BE
Lianne talks about how it really starts with having a vision of the mom that you want to be and how available you want to be for your kids. When Lianne was working her full-time job she had full-time childcare too. When she started to work for herself, she realized that one of the things that was really important to her was being able to pick up her children in the evening. Lianne wanted to be able to bring them home, cook a nice meal for her family, and to sit down and eat it together and have a conversation. These were just the very simple things that she wanted for her family. Had she stayed in her previous full-time job, which involved commuting downtown every day, she would have been gone 11 hours a day. Lianne and her family would have been rushing all evening.
A JUGGLE BY DESIGN
As Lianne started to do more, she realized that she and her family needed more “balance”. They needed more joy and evenings that didn’t feel like a hurried rush. Lianne and her family needed to feel like their weekends weren’t just recovering from their weeks and then doing it all over again. Lianne designed her business around the lifestyle and the schedule and the feeling that she wanted to have in her household. That’s something that has always been the case even though she’s driven and wants to create these amazing things in her business.
Lianne never has things in her business come at the expense of her family or her kids feeling a lack of presence on her part. This is hard. It’s not easy to do. However, when you head into anything with intention and with the idea that you’re going to work towards it, you start to see what you want to see. It starts to become your life. If anyone told Lianne now that she had to work a 45 hour work week, she would say “That’s not happening!”.
PRESENCE NOT PERFECTION
It’s not perfect. It’s presence. One of the things that Lianne has always found helpful is that when she shuts down for the day, she shuts down. After 5 PM, her computer is completely closed and the door to her office is completely closed. It’s almost as if “work Lianne” doesn’t exist, come five o’clock. She changes gears and shuts down for the day from work. Whatever she didn’t get done today, she will tackle in the morning. Lianne admits that she is not a fresh person at 4:00 PM anyways.
DESIGN A BUSINESS THAT FITS YOUR LIFE
Lianne sees a lot of women building businesses where they feel like they are victims of their businesses. They have to be on their phones, answering those texts, and being on Instagram all the time. Lianne reminds us that we create our own businesses. It’s not that anyone’s telling us, this is the business you have to go and build. Those are all things that you have put in motion. Lianne’s honest recommendation is that if you’re newer to your journey or you’re still part-time and thinking about moving full-time, design the business that fits your life and not the other way around.
A PLAYERS – GROUP COACHING
What really lights Lianne up in her business right now is coaching. Lianne does a group coaching program through Mamas & Co. called A Players. It used to be a six month program but was shifted to a three month program as a result of COVID. Mamas & Co. simply felt that people wouldn’t want to commit for six months because who knew where we were all going to be in six months. They made this leap of faith to create a three month coaching program that they would have never otherwise entertained. Generally, as a coach, Lianne likes to work with people for a longer period of time to really see true transformation. She feels that you need to give it time. At the same time, however, they just knew there were women out there who needed their help and who needed that coaching, guidance, and accountability.
The women in A Players have 90 days to work on a specific goal. Lianne encourages them to choose one major thing to focus on over the 90 days. She allows them to choose a primary goal and then a secondary goal. What is amazing, is most of the women in the group have accomplished or have almost accomplished their goals by about Day 75. The general consensus amongst the last A Players group was that it wasn’t necessarily the path that they thought they would take and it may have been imperfect but they got there.
Lianne helps these women move on the things that light them up that they’ve been sitting on for so long. This may have been the result of COVID, a lack of childcare, a lack of time, or telling themselves that it wasn’t possible. When they come into this program, they’re wondering what’s important to me? Can I make this happen? Then, after 90 days, they’re crushing it! The piece that Lianne didn’t anticipate is how much the women would support one another and cheer each other on. This ALL makes Lianne so grateful to get to do the work that she does. She sees that it is changing these women’s lives.
YOUR BIG BOLD VISION
Lianne talks about how we, as women, can feel very validated when we’re busy and productive. It’s not just about setting this one 90 day goal. Lianne walks them through a whole exercise of creating their five year vision and really thinking about where they want to be in that time. This provides a big, bold vision of what they want to create. From there, Lianne has the women determine which project or thing to focus on completing over the 90 days that is most aligned with this. Lianne is not a fan of goal setting for goal setting’s sake. If you are the kind of person who is motivated by setting and achieving goals, make it something that’s actually relevant to where you want to be long term.
Lianne definitely prioritizes having fun along the way! The thing that she looks forward to the most every week is her family Friday movie nights chilling on the couch with hot buttered popcorn. Lianne is big on rituals like this. It’s just a chance for her and her family to reconnect. Lianne and her husband have school aged kids so their weeknights are busy with cheer and soccer and it’s chaotic.
Finding that “me time” has been a struggle for Lianne during COVID. She is used to having space to herself. She really values things that allow her to get back in touch with herself and anything that could be therapeutic. Lianne loves swimming, especially outdoors, and a spa day is always fantastic of course! Moving her body in some way, brings her a huge sense of calm.
Lianne loves teaching and helping people through her podcast. She enjoys sitting down with her mic and having a half day to record and just letting the ideas go.
ADVICE FOR MOMS LOOKING TO COACH
- You can do it your way and your way is perfect and beautiful.
- Although you might be wishing to get further, faster, just enjoy the ride and take it at your own pace.
- Know your needs and make sure that you look after those needs.
- Design your days with how you work best and how your family works best. Although this is largely intuitive, we shove it down because we feel like we need to work around other things. When we design our schedules, everything falls into place.
COVID – CHALLENGES WORKING FROM HOME
During COVID, because Lianne has her own business, she started out being very flexible with her husband’s schedule and working around that. However, she just continued to feel frustrated and annoyed and it just wasn’t working. She knew that there had to be a better way. So, Lianne thought, what if she just moved all of her work to the morning which would leave her free for the kids for the afternoon? She recognized that she is a much better coach and, in general, much better in the morning. Lianne wishes that she had trusted her gut sooner and designed her days this way earlier on. It wouldn’t have been perfect but it would have been an improvement. Lianne says that if you are a mother and you were home with humans and trying to get any kind of work done during quarantine, her hat is off to you!
THE ACCIDENTAL PART-TIMER
With COVID, Lianne went from working full-time hours to working 20 hours a week. What was interesting about this is that whether she was working 40 hours or 20 hours a week, the results that they were creating in the business were about the same. Her business didn’t take a financial hit because she had to cut back her working hours. What this showed Lianne was that while working full-time she was frittering away a lot of her time doing unimportant tasks that just truly didn’t need to get done.
PRIORITIZING IS KEY
Learning how to choose what absolutely needs to be done is so important along with thinking about what is getting in the way of that. Lianne coaches women on this all the time. They will mention opportunities that come up for them. Lianne asks them to think about whether or not that is getting them closer to their goals or further away because it’s one or the other. Is it a distraction to what you want to create? When you have big goals and dreams, you are going to be forced to make choices all the time on where your time and energy goes. Even if you’re the most efficient person on the planet, you still can’t do it all. We were never meant to do it all. We need to pick and choose at different times of life. What is the most crucial and what can be either let go, postponed, or maybe handed to someone on your team? If you don’t have a team, maybe you need to think about that. Prioritizing is key.
BE WILLING TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
No one is a mind reader. As women, many of us don’t want to burden somebody else with our needs. We think that we should be able to manage things. Lianne feels that more often than not our partners or whoever we’re thinking about talking to are more than happy to help us. However, it takes courage to have the tough conversations and ask for what we need, even if it means running the risk of not getting it. We’ve got to get comfortable with asking for what we need. This applies in our business, in our life, with our friends, and with our loved ones. This is one of the reasons why Lianne is so passionate about group coaching. It makes such a difference when we find “our people” who are on a similar path, who can say here, let me lend you a hand and we can make things easier or faster.
TAKING FULL RESPONSIBILITY
What’s easier than being vulnerable is blaming someone else for why you don’t have what you need. Lianne reminds us to take full responsibility for ourselves and the results that we want to create. When we take full responsibility for our life and our situation then we can start to really create amazing things. Playing the victim and blaming are very easy things to do. It is a lot harder to say that you are taking full responsibility for what is happening here. This includes what you think you can do about it and how you could change the situation. Lianne would love to see more women step up and take that full responsibility because that’s when you can really start to live to the fullest.
Lianne admits that patience is not her number one strength. When it’s been a particularly hard day, Lianne knows that she would have liked to have been more patient and more present. She’s caught herself yelling at her kids and that is not something that she believes is effective parenting. She’d rather not but she’s found herself there. Lianne has found herself getting to that boiling point.
CRYING IN HER CAR
In the spring, she shared a video on social media where she cried in her car. All the things felt like they were crashing down. Lianne felt like she had to go outside to cry in her car so her kids wouldn’t see her cry. She felt like they’d probably seen enough of that. There are those moments when we reach our boiling point. There are definitely times where Lianne wishes that she could go back and have a do over. She wishes that she could go back and be a little bit more patient with her kids and be a little bit more understanding. Lianne reminds us that it is important as moms to understand that we all screw up. We are all going to mess up.
Lianne remembers an event or performance one of her kids was doing. She had gotten in the flow with work and completely forgot about it. When she saw her child, they asked her why she wasn’t there. Lianne said that it was soul crushing – the worst ever mommy moment. This has never happened since. In general, when there’s stuff happening at school, Lianne will ask her kids about how important it is to them that she is there. Sometimes, especially with her daughter who’s going into grade three, they won’t want her to come.
DROP THE JUDGEMENT
We all make mistakes. We need to drop the judgment. It is a natural thing because we are all human, but whenever we catch ourselves either judging ourselves or judging someone else, we should catch ourselves doing it. We need to call ourselves out on that and just drop that. Let’s shift the focus to something else. This is a powerful tool to cultivate because it’s so easy to fall into the habit of judging. The more we judge ourselves and others we just perpetuate this.
PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE
At times, Lianne feels like the odd one out being the neighborhood mom doing “something online”. Lianne has two or three close friends in her community and is
definitely not the mom that gets invited to the book clubs but she doesn’t focus on those sort of surface relationships at all. During the quarantine phase of COVID-19, she had posted a social media graphic that was of her frowning in the front and her kids in the background doing homework at the table. The caption read “Who’s ready to be done with homeschooling their kids?”. The meaning behind this was that it is so frustrating and hard having to juggle so many things. One woman reached out to Lianne via direct message and criticized Lianne for taking her children for granted. This woman was making bold assumptions about Lianne without knowing her or her life. If you have the courage to put your work out there, you will be judged. It’s going to happen.
TAKE IT STEP BY STEP
If you are a mom and you also want to work and you have something that is meaningful and you want to contribute, you can have that. It’s okay if that looks like a step-by-step journey. Wherever you are at is perfectly beautiful. We all start somewhere. Someone else’s normal or successful does not have to be yours. Your version of success is beautiful and unique. For Lianne, that was a big part of what she did in the beginning. She sat down and thought about what success looked like for her. This should be regardless of what other people want and have or what other people tell you to want or to have. You should think about what a happy, fulfilling, successful life feels like for you. When you start there, that’s when you start to create the things that you really want in your life, rather than living according to someone else’s expectations.
Thanks so much to Lianne for this incredible conversation and thank YOU for tuning in!