If you were an entrepreneur first before you became a mother, you’d know that the struggle is real to keep balance inside the home and in the office. Summer Felix had her first child and had to run a business with her husband. She had always dreamed of being a mother and knew that it was the one task that will always be challenging. With four kids to take care of, Summer still doesn’t know what balance looks like, but believes it is more of a feeling rather than something you can physically see. She shares how the Entrepreneur’s Calendar helped her develop a level of commitment to her schedules to generate revenue and get tasks done.
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Summer Felix of The Get Genius Podcast on Mommies in Business, What Does Balance in Home and Work Look Like?
Summer Felix, thank you so much for joining me again on the Business Building Rockstars Show. The last time you were here for a special bonus edition to highlight one of the things that you were doing, which is the Healing Addiction Summit. I'm really excited to have you back again with us to actually dive in to your own personal story and your own personal journey as an entrepreneur. Welcome.
Thank you so much.
Let's start out going all the way back to the beginning. When you think about your life, where you started from when you were really little, a lot of kids think about they want to fly, they want to be Superman or they want to do these things that as adults we say, “That's not possible generally.” Do you remember what you really wanted to be when you were a smallest possible?
The first thing I wanted to be when I was the smallest possible was a mom. That was the first thing I think because my mom is so amazing to me, and so I wanted to have that myself. I was always fascinated with babies and kids. I loved babysitting and when I saw a woman who was pregnant, I was like, “I can't wait for that to be me one day.”That's the first career. It's kind of a career really. I went through a lot of different phases. I wanted to teach. I wanted to be a party planner. I wanted to be an entertainment lawyer. I had so many different things, but the one that stuck for a really long time was I wanted to be a writer. Storytelling was everything. I saw movies with my parents all the time. I had both of my parents every day after school. It wasn't like dad came home late. He was an entrepreneur as well. My mom would take me to school. My Dad would pick me up from school and then they were both there with me all the time.
A lot of the times during the week, we'd go and see movies. We did lots of road trips together and we listened to books on tape. Stories, movies, all of that was always a discussion for us. I started to just love characters and how you could totally influence and inspire people with stories, whether they were real or made up. I wrote a play in college. I wanted to write books. I wanted to write screenplays and eventually, that did evolve into copywriting, which really is storytelling and writing my own books and being a ghostwriter to tell other people's stories. Writing, telling a story.
You became a mom.
I did, a mom and a stepmom.
How many children do you have?
We have four. Two of that came from me, two of that came to me.
I am so curious about the mom thing because I can actually relate. It's funny because I'm not a mom. I've been a caregiver, I've been a foster mom, but I've never been a mom and definitely had a very different upbringing from you. I remember always seeing a baby, always having a kid, turned out they just weren’t mine. Did that stick with you always? As you grew up and you had a career and you became an entrepreneur, did you still always feel that pull to be a mother?
I was very fortunate to have two amazing parents and an upbringing that was just so beautiful, fun, filled with what I needed. I wasn't spoiled. I was an only child, so most people are like, “You were spoiled.” I was spoiled with attention, but it wasn't spoiled. It was awesome. I was never spoiled with getting whatever I wanted. I had lots of friends that got all the video games. They got all the real Cabbage Patch dolls and real Nikes. I got the mock ones. My parents could actually afford all of those things, but they were like, “No, you don't need. You can get the cheaper version of the Cabbage Patch doll. You can get these brand of tennis shoes that no one's ever heard of before.” They wanted to keep me very grounded and appreciation was always a really big thing.
Growing up I did experience, through my friends, other lifestyles, other family settings that were troubled. Lots of divorced parents. I saw lots of addiction with friends that then those friends turned into having problems with addiction. The biggest thing is this overwhelming compassion for children always came from that. Maybe it's because there's this part of me that mourns for people who didn't get to have what I had, and it sucks. I feel like every human should get to have that, especially just entering into this world. Then you become an adult and then you make your own choices. If I could have a wish in the world, it's that everybody could at least get that loving, cared for start. Yes, it did. Being a parent is extremely important. It's awesome. It's scary a lot of the times. It's scariest when they're babies, it's scary as they go off to school, it's scary watching them become teenagers, watching them as teenagers. There's a lot, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Were you an entrepreneur by the time you had your first child or were you a mom first?
Yes, entrepreneur and had a business with my husband at the time. We were entrepreneurs. I was in our offices sitting there breastfeeding and working at the same time. He was with me, my son, all the kinds of toys and everything in the office and then I would work from home as well. It was definitely the, “I'm going to do both.” I think I was like two weeks later back in the office.
How did you find from that beginning stage as a new mom and then as you had your second child and now you have also incorporated more children, now being a mom of four, how has it been for you as an entrepreneur throughout the journey? Have you found any tricks of the trade that might be of value to everyone who are mompreneurs? They are working, and they have children and sometimes balancing it is challenging.
I don't even know exactly what balance really looks like. It's more of a feeling, so it's different for everyone, but I will say that it's absolutely challenging. For me, there are some parts that you go, “It's easier to be an entrepreneur because I share custody with my children's father,” and so there's time when I can really focus and have this career. My daughter was yet to be born when this whole divorce process happened. It was really tough and yet at the same time, it was like, “We've got this business together. We're going to sell this business, then I've got to figure out what I'm going to do.” It was like, “They were so little, so they were mostly with me.” As they got older, I started to have a little bit more time. I could travel more. The times that they weren't with me, I could go to different networking groups and really start to step out. I was lucky that I had a really good support team with my family. If there were certain opportunities that came up and I had my kids, they were there to help.
As they get older and now having two stepchildren, there's a whole shit ton to handle all the time. Our calendar is ridiculous. There's the work calendar, the things that you're doing to grow the business and then there's the personal calendar that my husband and I have that's just insane because there are four kids with multiple different activities because they're talented. Our oldest plays the guitar. He plays Lacrosse. He does water polo. Our two middle children are into martial arts. There's Lacrosse, there's cheerleading, there's piano, there's all kinds of stuff. Our youngest, my daughter who's into the different dance, the voice lessons, Girl Scouts. It's like, “How do you manage this?” Everything has to be scheduled for me. I have my assistant put into the calendar what my ideal schedule looks like. When I'm not traveling, and these are the days that I have kids, this is what I want it to look like. I want to be done by this time, so that my focus is on the kids.
I have every single day dedicated to certain tasks. This will be the day that I can do podcasts and meetings. This will be the day that I need to just focus on getting set up for the week. Mondays is like, “I'm going to be at home. I'm going to catch up on emails. I'm going to get everything set up so that I can have a really productive week. I'm going to go over with my business partner, what are the three main things that we have to get done this week? Some people don't like this, but I am such a list person, so I have in the calendar and then based on that day, I have everything tasks out for that day. Down to the workout, down to, “This is the time I'm picking up the kids. This is the time I'm taking my vitamins. This is the time I'm catching up with friends. Create an Instagram story for this.” Whatever it is that I have to do, it's all tasked out. That's how I keep up and manage.
That also includes scheduling in the time with our kids. We like to watch one to two documentaries a month with our kids and have a discussion about it. Everything has to be scheduled because even outside of kids’ activities and meetings and things that my husband and I have, there's our alone time and date time. Then there's alone time that we want to have with each individual kid. They have their stuff that they want to do with their friends outside of all of their obligations. Scheduling, I don't know if that sounds daunting, but it's awesome because for me, when you actually schedule in that time that's date night or weekend away together or, “Today, I'm not working at all. I'm going to go sit by the pool and I'm just going to listen to a good book or I'm going to sit with my friends.” Whatever it is, it’s scheduled out and you can't allow anybody to interfere with that.
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How did you develop this level of commitment to your schedule? Is this something that evolved over time or is this something that you knew, “This is how I'm going to function best,” and you've brought everybody else along for the ride? How did you come up with a schedule that works for you?
I took a lot from Strategic Coach, which is a business coaching group. I've been in just over two years now. Dan created the entrepreneurs calendar or timesheet. They really help you break down what are the things that actually generate revenue for your business and what are the things that are just tasks that need to get done. What can you delegate and what is it that you need to do yourself? He calls it buffer days and focus days. On the buffer days, it's really setting you up so then on your focus days, those days that you're actually generating revenue and doing things to grow your business, you don't have any of those distractions. You might do. He'll say, “You might have 20% buffer activities, but 80% of that day is focus.”
I do that with personal life as well. I've put altogether like “Laundry, this and that.” That just need to get off the plate, so that I don't have to think about it and now I can be productive within other areas of family time spent with kids. Then I do the same with work. What are the emails and things I need to get done scheduled for the week, run through the week with my assistant, what does that need to look like? Then now I can focus on such and such meetings. Things will pop up but if you can get 80% of that stuff, if you can have those days 80% focus or 80% on what you want it to be, then I feel good about that. I love being able to be spontaneous, but I need to know that things are in order. It’s like a scheduled or organized spontaneity.
I also plan out my calendar for the ideal and then sometimes I move things around and let things go. If I'm doing that too much, I realized it's time to renegotiate my calendar. I did this and as I sat down and went, “What are these long-term things that I've blocked out on my calendar to do and why am I not doing them? Are they just not a right fit right now? How can I renegotiate what my needs are and getting them at first?” I go in and then I get changing around. I'm very jealous of what you've got going on there.
One thing we do as entrepreneurs where you have so many ideas all of the time and you do have to first spend the time, another thing I learned from Strategic Coach, and do an impact filter, which is really like, “What does this look like? What does this idea look like if it's actually executed and successful?” You reverse engineer. What happens if you do it? What happens if you don't do it? Who are the people that are going to help you execute on this? Those will be the first things that I do. One thing that I think is super helpful and I hope to everyone might be really helpful, on my phone, I have my little notes and I always write down ideas.
What I've done is I made a spreadsheet and I thought, “How much time will it take for each of these?” The ideas I actually want to execute on and how much time do we think that that's going to take and what's the priority level? I send that over to my assistant. She has access to my calendar and she has the timeframe of when this should be scheduled. She'll schedule it in to make sure that it happens. Then I feel like, “It feels like a weight is lifted because I feel like that idea didn't just go out into the universe somewhere and to be forgotten, to never be looked at again.” By the time I get to it in time, it's scheduled. I might look at it and go, “I'm going to do a little impact filter on it. It sounded cool at the time, but it's actually not going to be worth it.” I don't know if that's helpful, but I love that because then, I feel like I've never lost anything.
Do you have any tools that you use? What kind of calendar and anything that helps other than your human resource of your assistant, do you have any tech tools that you use to help keep things on the go?
A lot of lot of things are in Google Drive, but I'm a big fan of Slack and I'm a big fan of Trello. Having boards and tasks, it just keeps things very organized. Probably in the businesses that Eric and I have, everything is managed on Trello. We have Slack and then whatever we need to put on Google Drive or Dropbox to access assets. I love Trello. Everybody’s onboard with, “Here's where we're at. Now, we're done with this. Put it over there.”
Let's talk about what you do in these days. You've got these businesses with Eric. Talk to me about what's going on.
The business that we've had together for almost nine years now is The Draw Shop. It's known for whiteboard animation videos, but we do all kinds of animation. There's cartooning, 2D, and infographics. There are all kinds of fun stuff that we do. We're known for whiteboard. That's usually what people come to us for and then we'll do other stuff for them. We have such an amazing team and we have now for a few years. About two years ago, because it's managed so well, Erik and I, we are still overseeing it, but we have the time and the ability to start two other businesses. Two things we're really passionate about.
The first one that we started, it's called Eden and it's an app that's launching and we've been working on it for two years. The intention is to get people to do good in the world and do good for themselves. What's the very best version of themselves that they can be and that's done through challenges? A lot of times we absorb so much content and then you're lost with what to do with it. The idea of that is to take all of these amazing content that's out there, for example, Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, all these people that have such great amazing tools and books and content and putting them into really actionable, easy to take action on challenges. Just really break it down step-by-step so that it's not overwhelming.
Many people start on a path and then they stop because it feels so overwhelming. It can be anything. It can be business-related, family-related, relationships, health, fitness, all of that. The idea is that you earn badges with each challenge that is accomplished and then your led into the next challenge on that path. It’s like you're developing this life resume within the app and those badges also, you're incentivized by them because they are worth either money or whatever the publisher decides that those badges are worth. That's something we've been really passionate about. We had two versions that we built. We were so new to the whole app world and didn't know anything. We failed a couple times. That's part of the whole learning curve. Midway through both the developments, we went to the real experts on how do we do this. We really got it right this time. That's that business and then the other one is CLEAR Health Technologies.
With the Eden app, you have the publisher. For example, like Tony Robbins, his stuff is in there. Do they have to have a program from Brendon Burchard or is there something inside of the app?
No, you might be a publisher yourself and you want to publish your own content. You might be somebody who is just a fan of Tony Robbins and Unleash the Power Within or Awaken the Giant Within, whatever it is, and you might make a real mini challenge and put your own group, your team together to accomplish that. At the same time, Tony Robbins can go and put all of his content into multiple different challenges. You can then join that challenge and bring on team members or you can create a team and all of you can do these different challenges together.
You, as an individual, who is a user of the app can create your own challenges with your own team and you can also choose to participate in challenges created by other publishers.
You would log on and it would ask you all of your different interests, similar to Pinterest. I'm interested in all these types of things in fitness, finance, whatever it is, and then based on that, it will show you different teams you might want to join and also the different challenges that exist in those different fields and then you can pick those. It assigns each day, “Here are the things that you're going to be doing.”When you're earning points and earning rewards and then there's some that you're doing, you want to create really good habits. You might have somebody talking about their morning routine. Many influencers that we follow have their morning routine that they do. You might want to say, “I want to participate in that every single day.”It will allow you to do that and then you earn badges every day that you do it.
If people want to learn about Eden, where can they get it from?
We had a site up. We're actually just in development. It's EdenApp.io, but right now, we took that site down because we're doing a whole bunch of rebuilding.
Then the third business?
We spoke about this, which was our Healing Addiction Summit that we had, and the business is called CLEAR Health Technologies. The goal of that business is to end addiction relapse with the use of technology. We are working with NIDA right now even the National Institute of Health. We're putting together a contest and it's a million-dollar prize to come up with the technology that predicts relapse before it happens. In all of the research that we've been doing, getting, seeing, “Is there a technology that already exists, can this actually happen?”
We did prove through our two years of research that yes, we can do this and it's out there. We have all of that in the materials for the potential solvers that want to enroll in the contest. In doing all of that, we developed an even deeper understanding of what's happening with the opioid epidemic, with addiction, with the way the people's experience with various treatment centers and experts that we've spoken with. We decided to put together a summit where we could bring all of these experts together and really offer support to those suffering from addiction themselves or those whose loved ones who they are the supporters of those who are suffering with addiction.
It was a really successful online event and because of that, there's the demand for more and more. We're now going to be launching this out every quarter with new content. We will have our membership site that is online, which is Healing Addiction. That's all being built right now, but that will be HealingAddiction.com and we're putting all of that together because the demand for this kind of support is incredible. We were floored with the people that were reaching out to us. People that were sharing their stories that told us, “I've never told anybody this.”It was incredible. The goal there is to really change the language, change how things are being done and actually really help people.
When somebody is considering membership, who is the right member for this program?
The target is those who are really seeking help.
Are we talking about folks who are struggling with addiction, folks who support addiction?
It’s a lot of the supporters. Definitely those struggling with it, and for those people wanting to get help. A lot of it is for those that have a loved one, a spouse, a brother or family member or a friend who are suffering, who was basically at that point of, “We've tried everything and we don't know what to do.” Those people need a ton of support. That will be the audience. It is those that are going through it themselves, some of them who actually have been in recovery for years and years. You need that ongoing support. It's a very holistic approach in terms of mental health, physical health, what are things that you can be doing, habits that you can be doing every single day. Where can you find support? Let me try to understand my brain and what's actually happening and how can I intervene with that. What kind of support do I need in my physical support, right here, outside of just online?
Summer, what else is on, because you also have projects on top of all this. Is there a winding down or a winding up?
It's almost like the busier you are, the more you get done. My mom would always say that, “You want something done? Give it to a busy person.” Yes, recently married, which is awesome but again, we were together for nine years, almost ten years now. It’s a change in terms of it feels different, but like normal operations are the same. We'd already been like a family. The podcast is still going. That's the Get Genius Podcast. It's awesome. There are talks with some other people and doing some other podcasts. We will be doing a podcast for Healing Addiction. There's always stuff going on. You definitely do have to pick and choose because I like to go all-in with what I'm doing, so the scheduling and having that focus time for those things is really important. Trust me, there's a whole bunch of other ideas and things brewing that are scheduled in the calendar for later.
You mentioned a lot of people have that morning routine. What do you do to decompress and spend time just with yourself to recharge and rejuvenate?
I've tried so many different morning routines because I love routine. I love all those things and then there's just the few that always sticks. For me, I do meditate. The thing with meditating is that on mornings when it's like there are kids getting them ready for school, all of that, it's hard to get it done in the morning so I'll usually do an afternoon meditation. I was raised on transcendental meditation, so it's something that I've done forever. I do that, and I'd love to be able to do it twice a day. That’s just a choice, but I do it at least once a day. As far as routines, one practice that I really love and started doing years ago when I met the creator at a Genius Network Event, is the Five-Minute Journal. That's just the waking up. What are the three things that you're grateful for? The very first thing in the morning is answering those questions. Three things that I'm grateful for, what would be amazing that could happen today, and I go really big and bold with those. When you say, “I am strong,” your affirmation.
At the end of the day, you do the recap. What three amazing things that happened? What are the three things I would've done differently? That's definitely part of my routine. Other than that, I wake up in the morning, have a glass of water, kiss all my family members and say, “Good morning, let's make it an awesome day.” I have my coffee, and it's the regular stuff. I take my vitamins, my brain pills, all that good stuff. Every morning, I have a call with my business partner and we talk about the day and what each of us are going to accomplish, where we are at for the week, anything that needs attention. It's pretty much like a 30-minute call of getting all of that out and being on the same page, and a workout. I try to workout at least four times a week.
Thank you for sharing that with us. This has been hugely awesome. Even just the takeaways and how deep you went into calendaring, the struggles that entrepreneurs have is keeping it all together. Those are hugely valuable. I appreciate your story as well. Is there anything else you'd like to share with everyone? Any final words of wisdom you'd like to share with everyone? Any final takeaways that you want to leave us with?
If anything did resonate with you, any of my little tips and tricks I learned from somebody else and implemented them right away. If it did resonate with you, if you think it can help you, I would say, today, do something to implement it.
If people want to continue the conversation with you, the best way to do that is?
Thank you so much for being here.
Everybody tune in to Get Genius Podcast. It’s another great podcast. Thanks for being here, Summer.
Thank you so much.
- Summer Felix
- Healing Addiction Summit
- Strategic Coach
- The Draw Shop
- CLEAR Health Technologies
- Unleash the Power Within
- Awaken the Giant Within
- Get Genius Podcast
- Five-Minute Journal
- Summer Felix-Mulder on Facebook
- @TheDrawShop – Twitter
- @TheSummerFelix – Twitter
- @TheSassySum – Instagram
- Summer Felix’s LinkedIn
- Facebook– The Draw Shop
- Summer Felix’s Amazon Author's Profile
- Get Genius Podcast on iTunes
About Summer Felix
Summer Felix-Mulder is a serial entrepreneur and author dedicated to making the world a better place. Summer has been in the marketing arena for decades, holds creative degrees from Pepperdine University and loves writing, momming (is that a verb yet?), and all things marketing and storytelling. At The Draw Shop, attention-holding whiteboard videos are made for the world’s best minds and companies. She is also the CEO and co-founder of Eden, a challenged based app and CLEAR Health Technologies, whose mission is to end addiction relapse.
Thanks again to Cardiff D. Hall for supporting the Business Building Rockstars Show.