What did your career look like before you started your own business?
I worked in Education Reform (for Teach For America) and then took on a development position at a small Montessori School before finding myself and identifying what truly made me happy.
I haven’t traveled into an office to work a normal job for someone else since 2009. I do remember my last day however. At the time, I worked in fundraising for a small Montessori school, and while I enjoyed parts of my responsibilities, it was never going to be a good fit. But it only took one full day of funemployment for feelings of doubt and failure to sink in. So I buckled down on my budget and eventually started taking odd jobs to pay the bills.
At some point, I applied for a dog walking position for a super small company out of Wicker Park. I got the job, intended to use the time before and after my route to job hunt, but then fell madly in love with the work I was doing. After nearly two and a half years of living far below the poverty line, I opened Rover-Time.
Have you always wanted to do what you’re doing now? If not, what did you want to do?
I think so... I think I've always been entrepreneurial since girlhood. That said, when I dream about what's next, it's not necessarily to remain in the pet industry, but it's to remain working for myself.
Did you start this business to spend more time with your children?
Nope. I didn't have pregnancy even on the brain when I opened. It's possible, had I thought about parenting and truly understood the challenges, I may have never launched.
Often RocketMamas blur the lines between work and home life. What is your work/life balance like?
I believe running a small business for years before becoming a parent actually made life more balanced and content after my son was born. Those first years as a start-up taught me how to set realistic and achievable goals, how to hire, how to identify my strengths and weaknesses, how to know when to hire experts, and how to delegate things to others that I hated doing. This hugely impacted my life as a mom juggling my business.
I also believe I chose the right partner to do this all with. My husband and I do not keep stereotypical gender roles in our relationship. Outside 13 months of nursing, Mark really maintains the role of the primary caregiver to our son. Although I love being a mom, my personality type isn't capable of doing it around the clock. I break easily when I don't have time to be my own person.
What does your “office” situation look like?
I have a home office that I share with my husband who also works from home. We're in the basement which is detached enough from my son's life upstairs.
Do you leverage childcare during your working hours? How do you get time to focus exclusively on work?
Up until this September (2017), we hired a full-time nanny from Archie's second month of life until he turned two and a half. Now he's in school Monday through Wednesday from 8:00am-3:00pm and in a parent/child program on Thursday mornings at a second school.
We employ the same nanny now, Monday through Friday from 1:30-5:30pm. This provides me one-on-one time with my son on Thursday & Friday mornings, but relief in the afternoons to put out end-of-week emergencies. Monday through Wednesday she comes in when she does so I can put in 10-hour work days without much interruption.
What are you most proud of?
Being the type of mom I ended up being.
Do you have a special promo you would like to offer our readers?
Rover-Time doesn't have a brick & mortar location to host parties but we do have a really special birthday box offering for $150. It includes a freshly baked pup cake of our choosing, dog-friendly party favors for four, and a small arrangement of balloons with free delivery on whatever weekday of your choosing.
Our RocketMamas spotlight business of the week:
Business Name: Rover-Time Dog Walking & Pet Sitting
Address: 4210 N Monticello Avenue
Business Website: http://www.rover-time.com/