From Stressed Engineer to Successful Entrepreneur with PJ Jonas
Becoming a mom changes you. That seems like an understatement for PJ Jonas, because it completely changed the trajectory of her life.
Like many of us, PJ was fueled by success growing up. Her dreams of becoming an engineer became a reality in 1994 when she graduated from the University of Virginia, the school where she earned her degree and met the love of her now-husband, Jim Jonas.
After three years in Corporate America, PJ became the proud mom of her firstborn, Brett. As her passion for motherhood grew, her enthusiasm for engineering died. PJ followed her heart and decided to quit her full-time job to become a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom.
The Jonas household grew to 10, as PJ and Jim raised and homeschooled eight children (Brett, Colter, Emery, Fletcher, Greyden, Hewitt, Indigo, and Jade). While Jim worked full-time, PJ ran the household and homeschooled her eight children. As PJ incorporated productivity and money saving techniques into her parenting and teaching style, she quickly realized they could start making money as well.
After thinking and praying about a family business, PJ decided to combine her existing skills and knowledge of making goat milk soap into a business. She had already been making and gifting the soaps for friends and family for years, but it never seemed like the right time to do it. In 2008, the Jonas family launched Goat Milk Stuff with a simple website, PayPal button, and no advertising budget.
Today, Goat Milk Stuff is a thriving family business. Both PJ and Jim were able to quit their full-time jobs to become full-time entrepreneurs along with their eight children, who have now built businesses of their own. The Jonas family has built a successful business and lifestyle without jeopardizing their family or values, and you can do it too.
My raw and honest conversation with PJ gave me an inside look into how she made it all happen. The successful mompreneur shared some of her tips, challenges, and life-lessons that came with building the life of her dreams.
No matter what type of business you’re running, you have to be consistently selling to be successful. While customer trust and loyalty come with time, getting your initial client base will require you to be vulnerable and get out of your comfort zone.
“Everybody has to have sales at some point. Whether you realize it or not, you’re always selling something.”
With no advertising budget, PJ began the Goat Milk Stuff journey by selling and promoting her products at grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and farmer’s markets. With eight kids in tow, she quickly learned that her kids thrived in that environment. Their skills, courage, and comfort in sales are what revealed to PJ that the potential for the company was bigger than what she initially envisioned.
Integrating and Independence
As a busy homeschooling mom of eight who is also running a household and farm, most are left wondering how PJ does it all. Her answer: integrating.
“I don’t have set school time, set business time, set family time. Everything is integrated.”
While most of us separate our responsibilities throughout the day, PJ makes sure her family members are focusing their time on the area that requires their attention at that time. Although some tasks require her, she also understands that her kids can manage to do some things on their own or with the help of a sibling. Independence allows the household to function daily while managing numerous responsibilities.
Your Strengths are your Superpower
As the Jonas Family manages a farm, business, and homeschooling, they’ve all come to understand that playing on your strengths is crucial to completing tasks. PJ has learned that letting her children to do what they are skilled at allows them to enjoy their responsibilities.
“I wanted them to enjoy what they were doing so that there was an internal drive to learn it, do it, and do a good job, because it was something they were really proud of.”
In your business and life, consider what your strengths are and how you can use them to better run your business. What are some weaknesses you can outsource or delegate to help allow you to focus on what matters most?
Charge through the Challenges
Like with anything else in life, running a business comes with its fair set of challenges. For PJ, bringing her husband home full-time was difficult. While the couple works well together, the change was hard on Jim. Being full time with eight kids was a new normal for him, so the transition from corporate to home took a learning period.
“When you have eight children you can’t parent every issue. If you acknowledge it, you have to parent it, and you have to discipline it.”
Charging through challenges and picking her battles is one of the ways PJ thrives in adversity. She understands that problems will arise, but it’s how you handle the problem and deal with the issues that determine the outcome.
Reimagining and Reassessing
To grow and evolve in business and life, we have to be constantly reassessing our strategies for success. For the Jonas Family, it means completely reassessing Goat Milk Stuff and their other business ventures. As the kids grow up and begin to build their adult lives, PJ and Jim have to consider how to continue the family business while allowing their children to start their journeys.
The worldwide pandemic is also forcing the business owners to evaluate their projects and endeavors. While things don’t look the way they used to, the Jonas household knows their way around unexpected challenges. They’re looking forward to getting creative and finding new ways to monetize their passions as a family.
You can learn more about Goat Milk Stuff and all the family endeavors at www.goatmilkstuff.com.