Mom to Annie, Marlie and Joey // Founder of Luxury Move Management
Written by Jessica Gedge // Photographed by Joelle Segal
When we think of entrepreneurs, we often have a romanticized image of someone who has a deep passion that they feel compelled to follow. This was not the case for Mindy. After being let go from her full-time position while 5 months pregnant with her second child, this powerhouse female figured she had to do something to set herself up for success after her baby was born. She sat down and literally documented in a spreadsheet all of her skills and strengths, spoke to everybody she could within her extensive network about all of her ideas, and decided to start Luxury Move Management. Luxury Move Management provides solutions for your move from start to finish. Whether you are downsizing, undergoing a renovation, estate clearing, moving into a condo, a new home or retirement residence, Mindy’s business streamlines your tasks and makes the entire experience more enjoyable. We chatted with Mindy during one of her moves at a client’s house, catching her right in the midst of all the action.
What did you do before you had your business?
After I completed my MBA degree at Schulich, and before I started my company, I worked in the admissions and marketing department at a private school. Before that I worked in inventory management for a clothing retailer. I never quite felt well suited for my previous roles and had imposter syndrome thinking I was ill qualified.
We really admire the fact that you literally sat down and documented all of your skills to figure out what business would make the most sense.
I’ve always known I would be a ‘working’ mom and I’ve always been a bit of an anarchist, in that I have a hard time not being my own boss. I had never dreamed of being an entrepreneur and it was a very calculated decision that involved a lot of research and talking to a ton of people before I decided to go for it.
How did you go from idea to actualization?
My business is a result of the circumstances that I suddenly found myself in. I was downsized out of my job when I was pregnant and could not job hunt in that condition. So over the course of that pregnancy and subsequent maternity leave, I had nothing but time (and pressure!) to brainstorm and research and figure out my next career move. My move management business idea hit me like a ton of bricks during my endless hours of watching HGTV. And once I had the idea, I was so excited that my mind raced with ideas nonstop until everything was up and running! I’m not a ‘to-do list’ person because I feel like that just opens you up to excuses for not doing something – instead of putting it on a list, I literally just do it or put the ball in motion to get whatever it is done – if I realize the kids are growing out of a particular size of clothing, for example, I don’t put it on a to-do list, I whip out my phone and order whatever they need. If the laundry needs to get done, I fit it into my day. If I need to get back to a client I either do it then and there or I write a draft and save it in my emails so that I can just hit ‘send’ when the timing is right!
What advice have you received (either in parenting or business) that really resonated with you?
Not everyone is going to hire you and that’s ok. It’s easy to take things personally when you put so much work into what you do, but at the end of the day “it’s just business” and this perspective saves me a lot of stress about things that are beyond my control.
Customer service can make or break your business. I’ve always believed that exceptional customer service is key and I do whatever it takes to make sure that our clients are happy. Most of the work we get is through word-of-mouth and referrals so this is really important to me and to the organization.
Do you have a mentor?
My brother is a successful entrepreneur and I seek his advice regularly. His perspective is great because he’s a real people person and he’s business savvy. His work schedule allows for him to be available to me throughout the day and late into the evening which is when I do a lot of my work, so I really appreciate his accessibility, which is something not all mentors and mentees can enjoy. He also manages a number of employees, as do I, so he advises me on inter-client and inter-employee relations.
What is your favourite part of your business and why?
I am an independent person who has always marched to the beat of my own drum. So having the flexibility to make my own schedule is the best! I also love that there is no company politics or management or bureaucracy that limits my decisions, my risks or my successes, which is what I often faced in the corporate and non-profit worlds. In this company I am in charge of budgets and spending and all creative decisions, and I find that to be very rewarding.
What does a typical morning routine look like? After school routine?
My husband is in charge of getting our older two kids to school. I hang back and have a slower start to the day with our baby. I have full-time help (a caregiver) in the house since I elected not to take a maternity leave. I try and go to the gym after the kids leave for school but sometimes I dive straight into my work.
Can you elaborate on not taking a maternity leave with Joey?
Yes, I was literally getting client calls while I was about to have my c-section. That was on a Friday and I was calling those clients back on Monday when I was back home from the hospital. I’m in a position where I can continue the business because it is growing so rapidly, and still be there for my kids and have the support I need to make everything work. Sometimes this means I’m scheduling my meetings around times that I can either drop back home to feed the baby or make sure I have a place I can pump.
And what are the afternoons like?
After school is busy in our house. Our kids are in aftercare so I take a break from my work at 4:45pm to pick them up and hang with them until their 8:30pm bedtime. Then back to work!
If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
I just read my first book in about 6 years. It was Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I found it truly inspiring and I think she’s a great role model. I’d love to have a cup of tea with her!
How do you carve out time for yourself?
There’s a sacred hour in the late afternoon before I pick up the kids, usually around 3:30pm. If I happen to be home I will try and relax. It doesn’t usually happen!! I also make time to take a hot bath and read a magazine each night before bed. I do that once all my work is complete so that my mind can truly unwind. Magazines are relaxing for me as they are short and light and don’t require too much focus.
How do you stay organized?
I use Google calendar and color coordinate my work related bookings. I also add my husband to relevant calendar entries so it pops up on his phone as well. I use spreadsheets and track all my conversations with industry people so I can refer back to it when needed.
What is your childcare situation?
We have a 5 year old in full day kindergarten and a 3 year old in full day daycare. We actually decided to hire a nanny 2 days before I gave birth to our third child. Originally, I intended to run my business while taking care of our newborn baby. But the week before I gave birth I panicked and realized I am NOT SUPER WOMAN! Luckily we found a gem of a lady who was looking for work and she’s been the best addition to our family!
It’s amazing that you were able to realize you needed help and that you reached out to get that support. Do you feel like you have a good work/life balance? If so, how do you maintain that?
Yes! I make time for everything I want to do. I plan my day meticulously and make good use of every hour. I put calendar entries into my phone for everything (for example 8:45am drive to the gym) which my family and friends make fun of me for but it works! If it means I only get to Walmart at 9:00pm then so be it. But I’m making sure I get to go! I will also randomly book a babysitter weeks in advance and make a dinner reservation far in advance because then my husband and I will have that date night to look forward to and don’t have to scramble for childcare when the time comes. I’m a big fan of the Sunday night date night. Babysitters are more readily available to us on Sunday nights and it’s easier to get a dinner reservation. And let’s be honest here…. what parent doesn’t need a night out after a busy weekend with 3 young kids!
Being a manager of staff, has being a parent changed the way you manage people?
In the past 5 years I have learned how to manage children and staff. The key is to understand their perspectives and take the time to listen to their ideas and feelings. Then I can make an informed decision. One of the biggest challenges of running my own business is staffing, but keeping the lines of communication open has been huge for making sure that this runs smoothly. I take all the feedback my staff has into consideration so I’m constantly updating processes and procedures based on their input since they’re boots on the ground at the client’s homes.
What is it about your business that makes you stand out?
One thing that really stuck with me that I learned during my MBA was the importance of branding. We are Luxury Move Management which means our staff wear the shirts with the logo, our labels on all the boxes are branded, we take care to have premium quality services and really live up to that name and high standard because that is what our clients expect. I make sure everything reflects that brand, from the initial consultation, to making sure we only use clean moving boxes, to a meticulous operational process with my staff, and working with reputable third party companies. I think this really makes this business stand out and is part of the reason why so much of our business comes through referrals.
Some Fun Tidbits from Mindy:
What are your favourite – skincare, makeup, office tools, software?
Skincare and makeup: I keep it very simple. I’ve watched dozens of YouTube videos about makeup application and developed a routine that is fast and easy to do with budget makeup.
Software: I rely on cloud computing. All of my work files are saved on the cloud which allows me to access them for virtually anywhere. It allows me to be efficient. It’s great!
What is your daily uniform?
Post-baby mom jeans, semi-stylish shoes and a casual top that feels comfortable and not restrictive.
What’s in your purse right now?
In my purse is a ziplock bag of Cheerios (ew!), gum, lipstick and wallet. I’m sure there’s chocolate somewhere in there too!
We learned a TON from spending time with Mindy. What we found particularly interesting is the entrepreneur who is thrown into the position through circumstance – she definitely worked hard to swim and not sink and her business is truly thriving because of the thoughtful way she decided to go for it. Taking her natural skills and abilities, pairing them with her background and figuring out where the gaps were in an industry that she had no prior experience in – this woman exemplifies resourcefulness! Also, we are definitely implementing Sunday Night Dates in our household…#genius! Learn more about Luxury Move Management here, follow them on Facebook and Instagram here.
Do you want to be featured or know someone who should be? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org. We cover all industries, male and female – as long as you are an entrepreneur/business owner and a parent – we want to hear all about your story and help inspire others by sharing it here.