Christina VanDam on being a business owner and a mother

Christina VanDam is a the owner of Zeal Aerial Fitness and a GROW client. 

How old were your children when you started your business?

My son was actually the reason I started to pursue my business. I was laid off while on maternity leave. I began meeting with the SBDC during that time to take steps to open my business. I opened the doors for my business when my son was 2. My daughter is currently 7 months old. 


What are the biggest challenges in your life as a business owner and mother? 

Finding what works for you and your family. There is no magic formula. Social media has led us to believe that there are so many people who have it all together and their life is perfect… when in reality, it is not. Some days, my house is messy, filled with toys. Some days we have a great balance and other days, my kids need me more.  


What inspires you in those really challenging moments?

Knowing that everyone is going through it, especially now during the pandemic where there is a large number of parents home with their kiddos. Also, remembering this is only for a time. My kiddos are going to grow up and go to school all day and my business will still be here. 


How does your role as a mother inform you as a business owner, and vis versa? It seems that the same skills can come in very handy for both roles.

As a mom, I am consistently multitasking and prioritizing tasks that need to be done. For example, dinner needs to be cooked before the laundry needs to get put away. I do the same thing with my business. I have a “Big 3” – my 3 goals I am working on for the year. All of my tasks are focused on those Big 3. If it isn’t part of those tasks, I don’t do it. Also… as a mom, I say no to my kiddos if it isn’t beneficial for them and I’ve learned to do this for my business as well. 


What do you love about being a business owner who is also a mom?

I love the ability to share my business with my kids. They come to the studio with me when I need to do things there. They can see me working and being a mom. It also gives them the opportunity to meet other people in the community who own businesses too. Those connections have been invaluable for their learning. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to have time with my kids as they are growing up. 


What advice would you give other business owners who are also moms?

It’s OK to not get things done for your business immediately. When it is my days home with my kids, I don’t respond to emails unless it is nap time or after bedtime. Same with phone calls. Almost everything can wait a few hours.   

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