New Hampshire moms flip the script on their careers

Three women talk about their paths to becoming mompreneurs — and you can do it, too
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Mompreneur Tiffany Eddy at her home in Dunbarton with her children, Meredith, 15 and Garrett, 11, and canine companions. Photo taken in July 2020 by Kendal J. Bush of Kendal J. Bush Photography (www.kendaljbush.com).

Whether they want to break free of their 9-to-5 schedules, spend more time with their children or try out a new hobby, today’s moms are exploring entrepreneurship as they look for flexibility and an opportunity to call the shots.

While the path to “mompreneurship” isn’t necessarily smooth, these New Hampshire moms say the rewards are worth the few bumps along the way.

Writing her own story

Tiffany Eddy, 50, of Dunbarton, appeared on television sets across the state as a top news anchor for WMUR-TV between 1998 and 2013.

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Photo by Kendal J. Bush

A recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence, and a three-time Emmy nominee, Eddy interviewed hundreds of luminaries including former President Barack Obama, Barbara Walters, Robin Roberts, Adam Sandler, Tom Bergeron, Steven Tyler and Dean Kamen, just to name a few.

She loved her job and worked her entire career to reach this level of success as a broadcast journalist. But she was missing out on her kids’ soccer games, plays and assemblies; toward the end of her tenure at WMUR, her daughter was 8 and her son was almost 5.

“I was the 11 p.m. anchor at WMUR and left to have hours that allowed me to spend time with my kids,” she said. “While I loved telling people’s stories and making a difference and my career was extremely important to me, the stories that were most important were the ones I was missing out on at home.”

She only had one client lined up when she left to start her own marketing communications company. Still, she left her dream job to launch Focus First Communications, which grew to include other clients, including the state’s Highway Department, for whom she worked on the memorable “Driving Toward Zero” campaign to discourage texting while driving.

She changed the name of her company to Tiffany Eddy and Associates and helped raise the visibility of companies and organizations in the state, such as Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and has worked on marketing and media campaigns for political candidates, banks, national energy firms and higher education institutions.

Although Eddy has enjoyed helping organizations get their messages out, she said she missed the storytelling aspect of her former job. To satisfy her desire to share others’ stories, Eddy recently launched Smart, Strong, Sassy. Also known as S3, the new venture showcases women’s stories and the lessons they’ve learned to help inspire others.

“For me, Smart, Strong, Sassy has become my internal mantra — it’s aspirational and motivational. I believe all women are smarter than they give themselves credit for, stronger than they realize — and when you put those two together it allows them to be Sassy and empowered,” she said.

Eddy continues her PR, media training, and coaching work through Tiffany Eddy and Associates in tandem with S3.

Taking the leap into mompreneurship has rewarded her personally and professionally.

“I appreciate the flexibility of working for myself, which allows me to be present for my kids when they need me,” she said. “I was fortunate that I was able to work at a great place where I loved doing what I did and had such an ability to make a difference in other peoples’ lives.”

Eddy credits WMUR for giving her the visibility and contacts to build momentum in her first solo venture, but she urges other women to “take a deep breath and do it,” if they are interested in building a business on their own.

She suggests making a list of people you admire and reaching out to them for quick Zoom meetings or advice. These virtual coffee meetings can help you formulate ideas and build your network, she said.

From fitness to beauty to donuts

Stephanie Olivera Whole Family

Stephanie Olivera at work, top right, and with her family. Courtesy photo

Stephanie Olivera, 40, of Newfields, worked for 13 years as an MRI technologist at Boston Children’s Hospital before she met her husband, Michael Olivera, 39, a Stratham police officer.

When she moved to New Hampshire to start her life with him, her workdays stretched to 15 hours with the commute. Something had to give.

A back injury put Olivera out of work for eight weeks. During this time, she met a friend who happened to be selling Beachbody® fitness products.

Anxious to get physically fit again, Olivera initially lost 30 pounds by following the workout and nutrition program, so she started selling the streaming video workouts and nutritional supplements from home as a side gig. Over a year, she lost 50 pounds, and began to think that she could parlay Beachbody into a full-time job.

“I grew a team of five to seven people over the first six months. I had never done anything like this before and had no business background,” she said. “I also knew I could never grow my income at Children’s unless I became a manager — which I didn’t want.”

The Oliveras got married and soon were expecting their first child, Cash. Olivera also became a stepmother to her husband’s twin sons, Logan and Cooper, now 10.

To prepare herself for the leap into entrepreneurship, she earned as much as she could as a Beachbody coach while still working in Boston. She paid off debt, saved money, and resigned her MRI tech position at the end of her maternity leave.

At the same time, her husband, on paternity leave, was up late trying out donut recipes. After 12 weeks, he was considering going into business for himself. His mother had always talked about opening a family bakery before she died from cancer. This meant he would be leaving his decade-long law enforcement career.

“I was like, ‘Babe, I am doing Beachbody, you can’t choose green juices?’” she said.

The potato-based donuts, now a hallmark of the couple’s Donut Love stores in North Hampton and Exeter, feature all-natural ingredients and command a loyal following. Handcrafted by Mike and his team, the donuts sold out at farmers markets and through wholesalers.

Together, the Oliveras opened their first Donut Love brick-and-mortar location in North Hampton in August 2017, just eight months after Mike made his first donut. Olivera was now a double-mompreneur, balancing Beachbody with stints at the Donut Love shop. Relying only on her Beachbody income and donut sales was a big leap for the couple to make.

The Oliveras did not take out loans to start their businesses, instead relying on savings and the sale of Stephanie’s former condo for startup capital.  Olivera’s parents often helped babysit so the couple could both put the hours into their businesses.

When Cash was 18 months old, Olivera discovered she was pregnant with their second child, Magnolia, who is now 14 months old.

After stepping back from Beachbody during maternity leave to care for Magnolia, she re-evaluated her business. Burnt out from coaching 60 Beachbody team members, she considered a new venture in 2019. That’s when she joined Beautycounter®, a company focused on selling all-natural beauty products for women.

“Direct sales has changed my life. It allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “I’ve been there for every little milestone — whether it’s the first time they pick up their paci(fier) or seeing the first time they smile.”

Today, as a Beautycounter consultant, Olivera has 75 people on her team selling products under her leadership. Because of COVID-19, more women have become interested in buying products from home and learning about them at Zoom parties.

She hasn’t stopped helping to run the donut business, either. Donut Love opened its second store in downtown Exeter during the pandemic.

Although it can be tiring balancing a young family with the demands of their businesses, Olivera said it all comes down to the couple’s “why.”

“When I was doing Beachbody, it was to help that girl who was 50 pounds overweight. For Mike, (whose mother died from cancer) it was about honoring his mother,” she said. “When you are tired and you don’t want to work, your ‘why’ will push you forward when you feel knocked down.”

Former CPA helps cannabis companies cash in

Christine DeAngelis, 34, of Rochester, calls herself a “serial entrepreneur.” She’s launched three businesses and has been an adjunct professor at community colleges and universities in New Hampshire.

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DeAngelis gets ready for another day. Courtesy photo

She began her career in finance as a CPA, eventually becoming a chief financial officer in a privately owned business. She quickly found that motherhood did not gel with 60-hour workweeks.

DeAngelis was putting her 1-year-old daughter in child care for nine hours each day and feeling burned out and guilty when she decided she needed to rethink her career path.

“It just wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted for my family. I love working and I love my career, but I also love being a mom and it’s important for me to be there for my family,” she said.

She started her first business in 2013 that was re-organized into Epiphany Consulting in 2016, which focused on helping businesses with accounting and tax preparation, executive-level coaching and bookkeeping.

DeAngelis started her business when her daughter was 8 months old and while she was going through a divorce.

“For a half-a-second, I thought, ‘Do I go and get a job?’ But that would have defeated the whole purpose. I wanted to be the mother my daughter deserved,” she said.

DeAngelis has extended her financial expertise to help cannabis businesses untangle regulations related to how they manage their finances through Cultivate Consulting.

“Epiphany is changing direction this year to focus on Cultivate Consulting — which will primarily provide accounting and tax services to cannabis business owners,’ she said. “The focus refueled my passion for accounting because this budding (pun-intended) industry has a lot of small business owners I know I can help.”

Like Olivera, DeAngelis has also found success through direct sales. An Isagenix® coach since 2016, she sells nutritional cleansing products to moms and others interested in pursuing weight loss and healthy lifestyles. DeAngelis coaches more than 2,000 people.

“Isagenix has integrity and is committed to their sales team for the long haul,” she said. “I took a serious look at what it would take to build a business. That said, it’s a great opportunity for someone to make side income and not bartend on a Saturday night, which is awesome, too.”

While all of her businesses are doing well, with Cultivate and Isagenix achieving 20% year-over-year in gross sales, DeAngelis said mompreneurs need to be patient when the going gets tough. It wasn’t until year three that both of her businesses became profitable.

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Christine DeAngelis, with her family. Courtesy photo

“It’s all mental, too. There were definitely months that my bank was over drafted, and I had to make tough decisions,” she said. “It’s not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have a strong why and passion in the beginning, your bank account is overdrawn, and you don’t know when money is coming in — it’s easy to quit.”

Women often don’t give themselves credit for how capable they are, DeAngelis said. She encourages women to ask questions, do their research, and lean on others for support as they work to achieve their goals.

She equates starting a business with caring for a newborn. “It’s the most terrifying and exciting thing you’ve ever done. You feel like you have no idea what you are doing and then all of a sudden, they just send you home with this little human and no instruction book,” she said.

“Business is the exact same way. You will have people who tell you that you’re doing it wrong and that they disagree with your approach, but stay in your lane and stay passionate. Because just like motherhood, you will have some seriously hard days that make you question a lot about yourself.”

Krysten Godfrey Maddocks is a former journalist and marketing director who now regularly writes for higher education and technology organizations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Krysten won three awards — gold, silver and bronze — for writing from the Parenting Media Association in 2020.

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