Briefly describe your business here…
Jamie: I am the author of Oh Crap! Potty Training, published by Touchstone, Simon and Schuster June 2016. I also consult with parents, run a Potty Coach business, and do a lot of public speaking about poop. A dubious honor, to be sure.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Jamie: Oh Crap started very organically out of need. I can honestly say I never wanted to be a potty trainer when I grew up. I was a social worker in San Francisco and taught parenting classes. Part of this was teaching potty training. Fast forward many years and I had my son, moved to RI, and potty trained him at 22 months. My mom friends were shocked and amazed! I literally started holding potty parties at my house, walking my friends through the process. Then I started classes, which sold out and were in high demand. I decided to write all the information down and realized I had a book. So I put it on-line on the WORST website known to man and it started selling. I owned a local store at the time and potty training consulting took over my time. A few pediatricians used the book in their waiting rooms and BAM. I was on the map. I had to sell my other business in order to keep up with the potty training. It’s been my full time job ever since. Earlier this year, in a whirlwind of beautiful crazy, I made an incredible book deal with Simon and Schuster and the rest is potty history.
Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?
Jamie: I think balance isn’t an end goal. As a former acrobat and current hand-stander-doer, I know balance is, at it’s core, fleeting. So I have no illusion of maintaining it.
The best and worst part of my business is that I work mostly from home. I also homeschool. And I’m also a single mom. When I first started homeschooling, I struggled with making time to do all I needed AND all he needed. Then one day it hit me: include my son in my business! He helps make my Youtube and Facebook videos; learning how to edit and add music. He loves giving a kid opinion to clients who are struggling and he helps me with the finances, which is great for homeschool math.
Kidoinfo: Please describe a typical day.
Jamie: I get up at 5 to do my writing and social media planning. I’m super grateful my son is now old enough to stay home alone for a couple of hours so I can hit a 6:30am yoga class or the gym. Bad things happen if I don’t move my body. I usually have a few networking meetings in the morning via phone or skype. Then we do Pascal’s sit down work. Most of the mid-day is spent with homeschool friends at either a class, field trip, or an outing. I schedule clients and working with the other Oh Crap experts in the late afternoon. I go to bed ridiculously early. I get more done in the early morning so I have to sleep sometime.
Kidoinfo: Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
Jamie: My biggest one right now is no multitasking. I find that I actually expand time when I do one thing at a time with my full attention. Everything gets done so much faster with so much less frustration.
Kidoinfo: If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
Jamie: Do it. Whatever it is in your heart, don’t make excuses, do it. Do it now. There’s endless excuses that are just fear in disguise. Make the mistakes, fix it as you go, and don’t worry at all of what anyone thinks of you.
Kidoinfo: Where do you find inspiration?
Jamie: Currently, other women who speak their full truth and do it with kindness.
Kidoinfo: What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?
Jamie: My cordless Dyson vacuum cleaner. How lame is that?
Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children’s book or music CD?
Jamie: Jack Johnson, Curious George soundtrack. It’s so not annoying, I can still listen to it and sing along.
Kidoinfo: What do you do with your kids on a rainy day?
Jamie: Play in puddles and mud.
Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?
Jamie: Chef. A fun film about following your dream, the incredible power of social media, and connecting with your kid(s). All rolled up with some outstanding actors.
Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Jamie: When the first season of the Serial podcast came out, I got a babysitter, so I could walk for hours listening to it.
Kidoinfo: If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
Jamie: More yoga.
Kidoinfo: Can you share a story or anecdote that is symbolic of your dual life as a business owner and a mother?
Jamie: We were at Impact Skatepark for homeschool hours and my phone kept ringing. I ignored it for 3 times and then realized someone was really trying to reach me. It was the producer of a radio show that I was scheduled to give a live (and long) interview. I wrote it down wrong in the calendar. I called him back from inside the bathroom with 30 seconds to spare before going live. And I did the interview in the bathroom with my hand cupped over the mouth to eat up the bathroom sound. Yep. That’s a typical dual mom-business person story. Although, in hindsight, the bathroom stall isn’t all that odd when you’re a professional potty trainer.
Kidoinfo: What is next for you and your business?
Jamie: So many exciting things! We are working on a series of children’s books for potty training, each addressing some of the major problems families run into. We also working on a songs to accompany those books. There’s all different styles of learning, so we’re trying to help families with better tools for potty training. I’m also working with two therapists on a parenting program centered around grounded parenting through the noise of the internet.
Home Work: Lessons from Work-at-Home Parents. This series of Kidoinfo interviews with parents look at how they manage to squeeze in work time at home (whether working for someone else or running their own business) along with juggling kids, home life, and childcare (or lack of it).