Celebrating Moms in Business & Finance

Kelly Whalen

Blogger and Social Media Strategist

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What is your background, and how did you get into the financial industry?

I don’t have a formal financial background, I started as the CFO of our family trying to learn and figure things out as I went. From that experience I developed my blog and have created a community and website dedicated to helping families who are going through the same challenges we face.

Were you successful initially, or did you have problems at first? If the latter, how did you keep motivated and pushing forward?

I was just thrilled someone other than my mom (Hi Mom!) read my blog! I was also fortunate to have the advice of more experienced bloggers in the personal finance space early on as well as starting around the time several other (now popular) bloggers did-so I’ve always had help and guidance. When I do face a problem I’m usually eager to figure it out-it’s one of the parts of blogging, social media, and life that I love! I love taking on new challenges and learning new things. I still consider my blog to be mildly successful-though hearing from readers that have saved money on a purchase, paid off debt, or even made the switch to a one income family is always motivation to keep going.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current job and what you do?

I own my own business(es) that include my blog, speaking engagements, social media marketing , freelance writing, and consulting.

Here’s a previous post I wrote about a day in my life. I’m like any working parent juggling it all while trying to do the best I can at work. Only I’m the boss so I can choose to stay up until 2AM writing if it means I can take the next day off to go on one of my children’s field trips.

Do you have any secrets for balancing being a mom with succeeding in your professional life?

I think balance is never possible! You have to throw your attention at what needs it most at any given moment, and sometimes that means other parts of your life are less balanced. Due to the nature of my business I have highly busy times and times where I have few obligations. You can probably guess when there are no piles of laundry to wash!

What advice would you give to a busy mom who is interested in entering or moving up in your industry?

Plan to spend the (at least) first year earning nothing. You have to get things up and going before you can expect to see any money-and it takes a LOT of perseverance and the right topic to really get off the ground.

For those already blogging/writing/consulting/etc. my best advice is to never stop learning and never stop networking. I’m not satisfied professionally unless I’m constantly learning new things or making new connections. The pace that social media moves you have to be willing and able to say you don’t know it all-and share what you’ve learned with others. Networking isn’t just about what’s in it for you-you will find some amazing colleagues you can discuss issues with, people you can create new projects with, and even folks you can help mentor (so they don’t have to make the same mistakes you did!).

What keeps you motivated?

I like that I’m using a part of my brain I don’t get to use as a mom, as a wife, or in any other field I’ve been in. It keeps me going whenever the notion of slowing down even passes by.

Can you share a little about your family with us?

Absolutely! They’re the reason I do what I do after all. I have 4 kids. Nathan is 16 and likes all things technical, games, and Magic the Gathering. Emma is 12 and she’s full of energy and creativity. Audrey is 10 and you can often find her reading, crafting, and baking especially for holidays. Aidan is 8 and he loves video games, running, and making jokes.

My husband, Bob, is the my co-conspirator in life and the super dad who can manage all the chaos when I get busy with work or have to travel. He’s pretty amazing.

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