Hot Mess Mom to CEO Mompreneur: Building a Business on Your Terms

I never wanted to be a business owner.  Nope, not one bit. In fact, as a kid, one of my mother’s coworkers asked, “And what do you want to be when you grow up”, and I replied with all my seven year old seriousness, “I want to be a grown up so I can say bad words”. Gulp. Of course my mother was horrified and I immediately regretted that little joke. Building a business was the furthest thing from my mind.

In truth, my childhood dream was to become an actress, a veterinarian, or a baker. Little did I realize that each one of those professions has an entrepreneurial flair to it. As life would have it, I didn’t become any of those things. After college I envisioned myself going to work in some fancy office, having an amazing mentor to guide me, and working my way up the ranks to make boat loads of money. Ha!

Early Career Challenges

woman at laptopI loved working with people and had a strong desire to serve others. Actually, I was a die hard people pleaser with perfectionist issues, but isn’t it all the same? In all my early roles as an insurance agent, working in development for nonprofits, and when I entered into the recruiting and staffing industry, I felt there was almost no training, let alone guidance or mentorship. I was left to figure it out by myself. My high hopes were deflated to say the least.

It’s true, I love a fast-paced environment, but every single one of my working experiences seemed to involve being led by some ego-maniac horrible boss and I became a ball of nerves; afraid of making even the smallest mistake. After seven years, I finally landed in a place where I had some autonomy over my work and had a say in the bigger operation. It finally felt like I was being taken seriously, was appreciated, and was doing meaningful work.  

After three years, life brought my family back to Houston, and so that utopian role that I had waited so long for was gone. My world was actually in upheaval.  After having my daughter my postpartum stress and anxiety levels were off the charts. Throw in a relocation, living with your in-laws for eight months, selling a house in a different state, and a 3 hour daily commute with a 2 year old, and “losing my mind” was an understatement. 

I took a self-imposed hiatus during this time to reevaluate my life, career, and try and save my marriage. I was burned out and broken from pushing myself so hard over the years. I looked around at my life and felt that I had only ever been at the whim of other people. At times I felt like I wanted to burn it all down so I could start over. 

Following the Best Advice

sign by plant that says "Lady Boss"I remembered what I now believe to be the best life advice I’ve ever received. It was from my VP of Human Resources, whom I directly reported to at that amazing job. She must have seen my lack of confidence, and how I was always playing the supporting role of diplomatic peace-maker. She told me on multiple occasions, “Kimberly, you need to be in the driver seat.” 

At the time I thought she just meant I needed to be more assertive and a stronger leader in my role.  I’m sure that was a big part of it. As my career was on a backslide and my marriage crumbling, I was waking up to my true self.  I knew deep down how powerful I was and I could see how much I had neglected the person I was supposed to be growing into.

So what does this have to do with building a business? Well, I could never have seen it then, but all those horrible bosses, all those companies that were being held together with shoe strings, and all the obvious problems that I could see were bringing their people {and the company} down – they were preparing me to take the lead in my own life and eventually my own business. 

When I started my business I did it more as a creative outlet than anything else.  I had no expectations. I was taking time out of Corporate America, and yet because of my talent acquisition experience, people kept coming to me asking for my help with resumes, interview prep, and career coaching. 

Starting my business gave me a sense of control I had never known.  For once I was not only participating, but I was in charge and I could decide how things were going to operate. It may sound strange, but becoming an entrepreneur has uncovered a fire, a passion, and a purpose deep within my soul that I had long suspected was there.  

Truths about Building a Business

desk with laptop, lamp, notebooks, and flowersIf you’ve ever dreamt of being your own boss, know this:

  1. Your life doesn’t have to be perfect and YOU don’t have to be perfect in order for you to start a business, bring your big idea to life, or do amazing things.  I was a hot mess mom, stressed, anxiety ridden, and burned out. I looked around me and saw I wasn’t alone and wanted to help other women who were struggling. This was the beginning of my journey to become a Mindset & Resilience Coach for other women, mothers and entrepreneurs.
  2. Just because you never thought you would become a business owner, doesn’t mean anything about what is possible for you. 88% of all millionaires and 90% of new American billionaires are self-made. In this new age of online business and entrepreneurship, there are what seem to be unlimited markets with customers ready and waiting.
  3. You don’t need a fancy degree to be successful at building a business. Only 30% of entrepreneurs have a high school diploma, and only 9% have a Bachelor’s degree in business. There are so many ways to uplevel your skills {certifications, YouTube, hiring a coach etc.} or outsource tasks in business all together.
  4. All you need is an idea that solves a problem. If there is a problem, then there is a need, and if there’s a need and you have the solution, you have a market to sell in. For example, we all know the Snuggie is just a blanket with arms. But it solved the problem of blankets that would slip off you, or having to raise your thermostat when you were cold. Today, the Snuggie has made more than $500 million.

Life will prepare you for your purpose. Just as motherhood transforms you and you are never the same again, so too does building a business. You can do it on your terms and call all the shots.  During the process, you’ll learn more about yourself, others and the world around you than you could ever imagine.


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Kimberly Smith
Kimberly Smith is a Mindset & Resilience Coach and the founder of Encompass Life Coaching. She is a native New Yorker, proud Houstonian, truth seeker, mental health and DEIJ advocate, mother, yogi, and dachshund lover. Kimberly was born in Phoenix, Arizona, raised in upstate New York, lived in Florida where her daughter Amelia {June 2014} was born, and now proudly calls Houston her home. She is degreed in Sociology and Psychology, is an internationally certified life and career coach, and previously spent over a decade in corporate talent acquisition and staffing helping professionals level up and pivot their careers. Now as an entrepreneur, through coaching services, speaking, and writing, Kimberly helps ambitious women, mothers, and entrepreneurs stop stressing and focus, so they can flourish within their careers, families, businesses, and relationships. Kimberly’s clients move through self-doubt, build a positive and resilient mindset while increasing energy and confidence, and crushing their personal and professional goals. Kimberly is a servant leader passionate about dissolving the stigma around mental health, advocating for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, and is dedicated to empowering others to live more authentic lives full of passion, purpose, courage, freedom and adventure. In her free time, Kimberly can be found sweating it out in a hot yoga class, running the White Oak Bayou trail, enjoying live music, exploring Houston markets, museums, and restaurants, or snuggling up on the couch to watch documentaries with her two dachshunds Winnie & Doyal. You can connect with Kimberly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or grab Kimberly’s free Mindset & Affirmations bundle at


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