Navigating Motherhood as an Entrepreneur: Setting Your Business Up for Freedom and Flexibility

Professional image of a woman sitting at a desk with open notebook and laptop, wearing a gray blazer.
Mara Kucirek – new mother, online course designer, launch strategist, and host of the Create a Better Course Podcast

In this episode, I’m delighted to have Mara Kucirek on the podcast. Mara is an online course designer, launch strategist and host of the Create a Better Course Podcast. She’s helped over 150+ entrepreneurs launch online courses and digital products. Mara lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, two dogs and brand new baby girl!

Mara shares her journey from being a middle school teacher and corporate marketer to an online entrepreneur. With a passion for learning and diverse industries, she highlights the joy of working with different personalities and businesses. She emphasizes that your niche can be based on the personality of your clients rather than a specific industry.

As a new mom, Mara provides words of encouragement for women in similar life stages, emphasizing that everyone’s experience is unique. She dispels myths about pregnancy and motherhood, urging women to embrace their own journey. She highlights the ever-changing nature of challenges, emphasizing the growth and joy that come with each phase.

Mara dives into her favorite aspect of business—long-term vision planning and goal setting. She shares insights into her process, emphasizing the importance of reflection and identifying what truly brings joy and fulfillment to your business.

  • Discover how Mara defines her niche by personalities rather than specific industries.
  • Mara encourages a balance between motherhood and business, urging women to embrace their unique experiences and challenges.
  • Uncover Mara’s favorite business activity—long-term vision planning and goal setting—essential for sustainability and joy in business.
  • Explore the “Company of One” approach with Mara, challenging the notion that business success is solely defined by growth.
  • Understand the essence of being a homemaker in business—finding balance amidst constant shifts and defining a vision for family and work.




CONNECT WITH STEPHANIE: | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Buy Me a Coffee

CONNECT WITH MARA: | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Create a Better Course Podcast

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Stephanie (00:02.03)
Okay, welcome back to the Homemakers in Business podcast. Today I have Mara Kucirek with me, who is a good business friend and client and just wonderful person and business owner. And y’all are going to really love hearing from her today. Mara, would you like to tell us who you are, what you do and who you help and all that good stuff?

Mara Kucirek (00:20.137)
Yeah, absolutely. I’m so impressed that you got my last name right, because usually, before I record something with someone, I tell them just because I don’t want them to be like embarrassed and my last name is impossible. It’s Kucirek. So you can thank my husband for giving me a name that is impossible to pronounce. But Stephanie and I were talking before the podcast and I totally forgot to mention it because we were having such a good time chatting about life and business. But hello, I am Mara Kisarik.

Stephanie (00:36.918)

Mara Kucirek (00:45.681)
I help entrepreneurs set up online courses and digital products. So I spend a lot of my days launching online courses and helping people refine their online course. So that way it’s a better experience for their students and they can make sales. I am originally from the Midwest. So I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, but I’ve lived in Florida for the last 10 years. So I say things like supper and.

What other Midwest phrases the Midwest goodbye where you don’t want to like stop talking to someone But I actually live in Florida where it’s very warm with my husband and we have two border collies And then I have a brand new six-week-old baby girl. So my life is Totally different right now than it used to be of I am navigating Taking care of a newborn baby who doesn’t always sleep and then also running a business

Stephanie (01:16.735)
Ha ha!

Stephanie (01:39.234)
Love that so much. Yeah. Um, I’ve listened to your podcast enough that I’ve like mentally noted how to pronounce your last name. So I think that’s funny that you mentioned that. Um, but yeah, so, so great to have you on today. Um, and you also have a podcast. I don’t think that you mentioned that, um, your podcast is wonderful. And you talk about all the course creation things, all the productivity things.

You’ve got some great guests on there as well. So that’s a really good one for everyone to go listen to as well.

Mara Kucirek (02:10.145)
Yeah, I probably should have mentioned that in my intro. I should have rehearsed a little more perfectly, but I do have a podcast, it’s called Create a Better Course. So there’s a lot of episodes about online courses and then digital products in general. And then I also can’t help but share like productivity tips or money stuff, like how my business makes money because I wish more people talked about that. And a lot of people don’t like share how they actually get all of their work done or how much money they’re making. So I try to

Stephanie (02:14.338)
Ha ha ha!

Stephanie (02:35.483)

Mara Kucirek (02:38.273)
have a lot of episodes on that stuff as well.

Stephanie (02:49.142)
I’m sorry, I think the ending of that cut out for me. So I didn’t hear what you said, but it’s fine. It’ll be on there. I’ll just cut this bit out. So let’s get into some like story, background story of what you do. Like we know what you do now. How did you get to that point though? I know your background because we’ve been friends for a while now, but what led you to pursue a home-based business? What did you do before? Like just what’s your background?

Mara Kucirek (03:15.661)
So it feels like a really long journey. When I talk to people nowadays, they don’t see that part of it. But to me, it was a really long time of in college, starting to know I wanna have my own business. And I got married when I was 21. So we started having these conversations around what we wanted our family to look like, what we wanted our life to look like. And freedom was a really…

big one in there of being home with our kids, which I only have the one child right now. She’s only six weeks old. So this was like some very pre planning of my husband and I talking about that we want to have an untraditional life where we’re not going to work all the time. We’re not like overworked and exhausted. So in my early 20s, thinking about that and it took

a good like six years of going through the corporate ladder. I worked in the marketing industry for a really long time and got super burnt out. And so then I became a teacher because that had been my second choice in college. So I became a middle school English teacher, which is a huge pivot and people will be like, oh my gosh, why did you choose to teach middle schoolers? They are crazy. They’re also super fun though. And so I was teaching, but still feeling this like entrepreneurial pull of.

Stephanie (04:22.406)

Mara Kucirek (04:30.665)
I want to have my own business and I want to be able to create my own hours. I want to retire my husband, all of that stuff. So while I was teaching, I used the weekends, I used like winter break to grow my own business. And at the time I was just doing random marketing tasks for people. So like helping them with their website or helping them with their marketing strategy. And that grew to the point where I replaced my full-time teaching salary, which fortunately

teachers don’t make a ton of money. This is the only time it’s fortunate. So that was kind of easy to do. And then I quit my job and my business just continued to grow. And something that happened was I had several clients who had an online course. And so I was helping them market it. And they were like, hey, you’re really good at like the educational stuff, like coming up with lessons, launching the course, helping them navigate like the students in their course. And

Stephanie (04:59.126)
This is true.

Mara Kucirek (05:24.469)
surveying the students and figuring out what the students think and then we use that information to make their course better. And so after having multiple clients tell me I’m really good at the online course stuff I was like oh I think that’s my niche. And so this was all like five years ago. I went full time in my business in 2018, didn’t have a niche and then around 2019-2020 I finally embraced it and was like okay I work in online courses and let me just

Stephanie (05:35.575)

Mara Kucirek (05:50.561)
go with that and so then I really niched down. Also in 2020, we totally transitioned my husband out of his regular job so he was able to go part-time because my business was more successful. And then right now he has a ton of freedom where he doesn’t have to work a traditional job which has been incredible for us. So we’ve been doing that the last two years and now we do have so much more freedom with childcare and working hours and all of that stuff.

Stephanie (06:19.17)
I love that your background as a teacher makes so much sense with what you do now, because you really are great at the teaching aspect of it. And that comes through in your podcast really well too. And if no one has ever heard of you before or seen you, like you’re the queen of, um, Facebook comment, help, like help section. Like that was one thing that made me want to like be friends with you was seeing how helpful you were on, uh, Facebook threads and stuff. It seemed like every group that I was in.

whether it was business or whatever, like a specific product like Flowdesk or Showit or something, you were always in there giving paragraphs of information. You record loom videos for people. So that totally makes sense with your background as a teacher and being a helping person. And I think that’s something that’s really helped growing your brand too is just being a helper.

Mara Kucirek (07:11.997)
It’s one of the things that also really grew my business in the early days. Anytime someone asks me about how I got clients, I’m like, well, I set a timer and at least 20 minutes a day I would go inside of a Facebook group. So this was like early, early days of my business. I still do this, but it’s more for fun these days. And I would go in these like online course groups software. So like Kajabi or email marketing flow desk and people ask all sorts of questions, right? And most of the people who respond to their questions are like, hey, I can help you with this.

that’s all they say. And if it was an easy question, which a ton of them are, I would link to like flow desks help article for them. Sometimes I would record like a really quick 30 second loom being like, hey, you’re looking for this, it’s right there. And no one else really does that. But you know what happens when you do that, and you’re super helpful, people message you and they’re like, wait, that was really helpful. You solved my problem. What do you do in your business? And I got so many clients from that. I also just genuinely enjoy like,

Stephanie (07:42.792)

Mara Kucirek (08:11.817)
if I know the answer to something helping someone out because it’s so frustrating to be doing something like tech or figuring out in your business and you just like don’t know what to Google and there’s someone out there that knows and they don’t want to tell you sometimes.

Stephanie (08:18.506)
Oh yeah.

Stephanie (08:24.886)
Yep. I get so frustrated with so many Facebook comments where the people are just like, I can do this and they link their website and then that’s it. I’m like, that’s not helping this person solve their problem right now. If you would solve that problem for them, then they might be ready to hire you at some other point for something else. But right now they have a specific issue that you’re just like, you know, ignoring basically to sell your services to them. So I love what you do. Um, and that also helps with your referrals and stuff too. I would imagine like.

not even with people that know you personally, but if they see you being helpful in a particular group over and over and over again, then you start to come to mind. So before we had even had like that first coffee chat, I already knew like if someone was asking about course software or a course related question, I’m like Mara, like that’s automatically who came to mind and it was just because of your commenting in Facebook groups.

Mara Kucirek (09:18.785)
Yeah and people do start to recognize your name. It probably helps that I have a little bit of a more unique name of not everyone’s name Tamara and then my last name um not everyone has the last name Kasaric, but yeah people start to recognize you especially if you have an active presence in groups and I literally had like a chore chart like I printed off a kid’s chore chart early in the early days of my business and I would put a sticker if I did 20 minutes on Facebook and my

Stephanie (09:26.36)

Mara Kucirek (09:48.773)
And all I had to do was show up and just see what was on there. And then I naturally would answer questions. And you build a lot of name recognition. And then like you said, people start to refer you, which my entire business has been pretty much all referrals, especially the first three years. Like if you go look at my Instagram, I really wasn’t active on Instagram until a year and a half ago, which that was after I hit six figures in business. That was after I’d been in business a long time. It like

Stephanie (09:52.087)

Mara Kucirek (10:17.049)
But I had a thriving business because people referred me and I still to this day have like a very long wait list, which is amazing because people refer me and I’m so grateful for that.

Stephanie (10:28.57)
That’s wonderful. Yeah, I think that’s something that’s not talked about enough is you always, I mean, you always like strive to get referrals from previous clients or business friends or whatever, but that really is what builds a business to a degree at some point, whether it’s the beginning or like further on, but that’s how my business has been built is basically on referrals and word of mouth and networking, like joining group coaching programs or

like a membership or something like that, and then just building actual relationships with people. I think social media marketing gets such a… I don’t know. It’s touted a little bit more than it should be. There are other forms of marketing that still work. It’s not just Instagram. Instagram is not the end all be all. Or TikTok. I don’t know that either one of us uses TikTok that much, but I know that that’s popular with younger people.

Mara Kucirek (11:27.153)
Yeah, and especially when you’re first starting a business, I see so many people think, I need to spend all this time on TikTok or Instagram. And really the relationship building is like the number one thing and no one cares if you have an Instagram, I am more active on my Instagram because I had a very long term client tell me that when she first was referred to me, she looked me up and I looked like a ghost because I didn’t have anything on my Instagram. And she was like, I almost didn’t work with you. And then I had a discovery call and you’re an incredible

Stephanie (11:27.31)
I’m sorry.

Stephanie (11:50.551)

Mara Kucirek (11:57.247)
friendly, amazing person, you need to post on Instagram so people know you’re alive and still have a business. And I was like, noted, you are right. And in 2023 I have been making a much better habit of posting. It’s really simple stuff too, like I don’t have a crazy Instagram strategy. I just show up and like show my personality and it works.

Stephanie (12:03.246)

Stephanie (12:18.142)
Yeah. I love what you share too, because it is so simple. Like you’re just filming a short clip and then you’re like listing what you’re doing for the day or a thought that you’re having about something business related. Like it’s so there’s nothing like you’re not sitting down and doing like word maps and trying to figure out all the strategy to get the perfect reel to go viral or whatever, you’re just being consistent and showing up and providing value to people and people are enjoying it because people are actually engaging with what you’re posting. And.

I just love to see that because like I said, I think that Instagram and social media marketing in general is just, it’s over complicated and over emphasized for what it may or may not be able to do for your business. But if you’re not like a nice person and you don’t have like the backend systems and stuff set up, then it’s not going to help your business anyway. And it’s not going to be sustainable.

Mara Kucirek (13:09.161)
And it’s social media is so time consuming too sometimes that you really have to be careful of is this where you get your return on investment, which in my business I don’t always think so. So yeah, I mean, Stephanie knows this of like, I will post a reel that’s just literally me working and I list out my to do list for the day, or something really simple I’m learning in my business because that’s sustainable for me right now with a newborn to just film something really quick and get it together in 20 minutes.

Stephanie (13:13.588)

Mara Kucirek (13:38.725)
And then I don’t always even use like hashtags or do all of the things the experts say. I just focus on what can I get out today that will hopefully be helpful to someone and give me an online presence.

Stephanie (13:51.082)
Yep. I think that’s also important. So let’s talk about you having a newborn. Um, how has that changed? Like, I know she’s only six weeks, six weeks old. So it’s literally brand new. Like you’re still in the, like just coming out of, uh, pregnancy and birth and all that. So how has your business shifted? How has your like thoughts around that change? Like just what’s going on with you right now?

Mara Kucirek (14:16.785)
so many things and I spent a lot of time while I was pregnant thinking about what I wanted my business to look like, what did I want work to look like, and it all totally shifts after you have a baby. And some stuff’s the same as you expect and then a lot of stuff’s different. I definitely am working less than I thought I would and that’s not a bad thing, like I’m actually happy about that, but I was thinking I was going to have these longer stretches of work where I would want to work like…

a big four to five hour chunk. And that has not been the case. And so I’m working in these like shorter breaks throughout the day because I have a newborn who eats every two hours at least. And so like it’s so interesting how different the work looks. If I’m never working in long stretches.

it’s really like I’ve got these little chunks of time. I’m also really embracing interruptions, which is something a friend told me recently of like, do not wait until she’s perfectly asleep, do not wait until she’s like, content because that’ll never happen for the most part. So just if you like put her down, go work on something for five minutes. And if she wakes up, that’s fine. Maybe you’ll have 20 minutes, but like embrace interruptions, and just allow yourself to start something without knowing that you’re going to finish it.

Also, prioritizing is like, it’s amazing how effective you get at prioritizing after you have a baby, because I look at my to-do list now and like cross out half of the things each day, but my business has been okay because of that, weirdly enough. Like it really helps you focus on the things that are important and the things that get you closer to your goals, which for me it’s always

more freedom in my life and business and helping more people. Those are like the two big things that always inspire and drive me to do more in my business. And so it’s a lot easier to be like, okay, that thing does it. This other random thing is just me procrastinating of like learning a new Instagram real strategy or something like that. But there is a lot of emotions in the first six weeks, I have to say of like so much joy and happiness. And then there’s also this weird thing of

Mara Kucirek (16:26.845)
your entire other life is just gone. And like that might sound weird and sad. And it’s not, but it is strange overnight to go from like, I used to have a perfect morning routine. Well, not perfect, but I would have like a morning routine where I would read a little bit, I would look at affirmations, I would look at my dream board. And then I would have like this uninterrupted work stretch and

then I had a baby and it’s like overnight none of that is now possible. Like my morning routine is all over the place, it doesn’t exist because she wakes up at all different times and then my work is interrupted and sometimes I’m working at 9 p.m. at night for 20 minutes or four in the morning for 20 minutes and like that sounds I think kind of scary and intimidating but it’s actually not like terrible it’s just a totally different way to work.

Stephanie (16:52.663)

Stephanie (17:11.638)
Yeah. And it’s only first season, right? Because she’s not going to be in the newborn phase forever. So your work schedule will even out over time. It’ll still look different completely from before you had a baby, but it will even out and you’ll, you know, get back to some kind of normalcy quote unquote.

Mara Kucirek (17:29.909)
Yeah, and it even every week right now it changes. So I tried to take the first four weeks like completely off, which was a very smart decision. And then I’ve been easing back into a few things, which some people are like, you’re coming back to work so early. But for me, I wanted to work on integrating the business stuff a little sooner. So there wasn’t a day where like

I have a baby and then three months later I have a day where I’m crying because I’m so overwhelmed and I’m like starting everything up on one day. I was like, let’s add one to two things in every week so I can get kind of good at doing those things with the baby and like slowly grow it from there.

Stephanie (18:08.374)
That’s so smart. So with that kind of thinking about that same topic, how did you plan for your maternity leave? Like, I know how you did it because I’ve listened to your podcast episodes and read your blog posts and stuff. But can you tell everyone how you planned for baby either before you even got pregnant? Because I knew y’all have been trying for a while. But then, uh, are you still there? Okay, no, I can’t see you. But

Mara Kucirek (18:34.709)
Yes, can you see me? I’m still here.

Stephanie (18:37.506)
That’s okay. Okay. Anyway, rephrase that. How did you plan for maternity leave? What did you do while you were pregnant before you got pregnant? Like what did you do to plan for time off and for coming back to your business? Just what was that like?

Mara Kucirek (18:56.925)
So I love that you asked about before I was even pregnant, because this is a part I don’t think I’ve ever talked about, but there was a lot of planning and it wasn’t like sitting down with a checklist or anything like that, but it was really thinking about what do I kind of need to figure out in my business before I have a baby, because I was really afraid of having a baby and a business. Unnecessarily so probably like looking back on it, it is okay, you can have both. But Mara, like three years ago had all of these beliefs of

Stephanie (19:16.798)

Mara Kucirek (19:26.125)
oh, you have a baby and then you can’t do anything else or you won’t want to work or like there’s all of these things that people tell you. And when I was telling people I was pregnant, it was interesting because I have this business I’ve loved, I’ve grown it for five years. And a lot of people assumed that when you say you’re pregnant, it means you’re also quitting your business. And several people like straight up told me that when I was like, I’m pregnant, I’m due in September. And they were like, oh,

Stephanie (19:31.275)

Mara Kucirek (19:51.289)
you’re giving up your business huh? And I could not believe that is people’s like first response. It’s not everyone’s response, but it was several people’s response. So before I was even pregnant, my husband and I just spent a lot of time talking about like money, what child care might look like, and figuring out this problem of like how could I still have a business but also have time for a family and flexibility for like all of the random kids stuff of like going to a

Stephanie (19:56.622)
That’s odd.

Stephanie (20:20.684)

Mara Kucirek (20:21.373)
all of that stuff. So we spent years talking about it, navigating it, and a lot of that was getting my business to a place where I had a lot of freedom and flexibility. And then once we got the test and were excited and actually pregnant, I started planning for my leave. And so the very first thing was figuring out what I wanted. And I touched on this a little bit, but a lot of people want like three months off or six months off or a year, whatever it is.

and I spent some time thinking about okay but what do I actually want? And it felt really stressful for me to say I’m not doing anything for three months and then all of a sudden I’ll have a day where I come back. To me it felt a lot better to have some dedicated time off but then like slowly start integrating the business with the baby stuff. So that would be my first big tip of really think about what you want because a lot of people told me what they wanted and I was like but that’s not that’s not what I want.

Stephanie (21:17.115)

Mara Kucirek (21:17.693)
And then I started thinking through, so I have a lot of one-on-one client work. I do not have this magical business like some bigger business owners have where they can just take off six months and then they tell everyone, oh, I made $50,000 while I was on leave. Most of my income comes from working with clients. Like that’s just reality. And it’s not a bad thing either. I really like the clients I work with. So I had a conversation with all of my retainer clients about

Stephanie (21:33.195)

Mara Kucirek (21:45.285)
what maternity leave would look like. And some of them wanted to just fully pause things for a couple of months, we would work ahead. But then when I was gone, like things would run on autopilot, we would pre schedule emails, we would do whatever we needed to do ahead of time. And then I had other clients who wanted someone to fill in. So I talked to all of them about what they wanted, we made a plan, if we needed someone to fill in, I found that person and trained them. And then personally, I just started batching things like

So my own podcast episodes I spent all summer recording like back to back client work. I have several clients where I write their marketing emails for their online course. And I had a couple of marathon days where I just went to Starbucks. And typically I would write like one email a week for them. But instead I sat there and I wrote every email from like August to January, which is actually a much more efficient way of doing that. And it’s interesting because I think taking a maternity leave.

Stephanie (22:40.407)

Mara Kucirek (22:44.101)
made my business better. As weird as that sounds, but I learned so much about working more efficiently. And now I have all of these clients who like, we have all of the emails done through January. And even though I was the one having a baby, a lot of them were like, whoa, this is really helpful. And we need to do this next year too, because it took a lot of pressure off of them too. If now they don’t have to review emails each week, they just reviewed my 45 page Google doc of all of the emails after I wrote them and we were good to go.

Stephanie (22:47.958)

Stephanie (23:02.069)

Stephanie (23:13.794)
That makes so much sense. And you know, thinking back now, when we were working on our VIP design days together, that was all in preparation for your maternity leave, wasn’t it?

Mara Kucirek (23:25.245)
Yeah, it was. So Stephanie helped me out because I was launching a podcast. So you did a lot of work on like the podcast page and then you did a lot of things on the website to help get ready for like all of the things of like changing up some of my services and offers because that was another thing of I knew I couldn’t take on as many one-on-one clients. So I needed to prioritize my wait list a little more, prioritize things like templates that people can buy and I can be with

Stephanie (23:46.221)

Mara Kucirek (23:55.053)
Previously my website was very like, hi I’m Mara, let’s work together. And like that wasn’t gonna work because I was taking time off and my waitlist was full. Like as of June I knew I wasn’t taking on more clients through the end of the year. And so you totally have to change up what your website looks like. Otherwise you get all of these client applications and then people want to work with you and they’re kind of mad when you’re like, oh wait sorry I wasn’t clear that I’m about to be out of office for a long time.

Stephanie (23:59.073)

Stephanie (24:18.371)
Ha ha.

Stephanie (24:22.234)
Yeah. Oh, that’s so funny. Yeah. Thinking back on the projects that we worked on, I didn’t know that you were pregnant at the time because it was still early on and now looking back though, I can see like, oh, the changes that you made, it makes sense once you said that you were pregnant, why you were making the changes that you were, and it was so smart, like setting up your template shop and launching the podcast when you did, batching everything the way that you did. It was so just.

Like you said, it’s very efficient and I’m sure it’s made things a lot less stressful once you got towards the end of pregnancy and now being in the newborn phase.

Mara Kucirek (25:00.513)
Yeah, it really did help because I figured I was going to have the most energy first and second trimester, which we did wait a little bit to tell people. And it was really hard not to tell you Stephanie, but I had we hadn’t told our parents yet because they still live in Nebraska. And so we flew home to tell them, but we waited until the second trimester just because of like flights and schedules. So it felt weird to tell people before we told our parents. But I remember specifically talking to you and I’m like, oh, my gosh, it’s weird to not tell her. And then I think I.

Stephanie (25:12.915)

Mara Kucirek (25:29.569)
told my parents and then like told you, I don’t know, somewhere around there. But yeah, I was like on this runway of get as much done as possible, expecting that I wasn’t going to feel that good in the third trimester, which I actually felt pretty good, but I thought I might not. And then yeah, once you have a baby, it’s like magical if something does get done. My best advice is just plan that nothing is going to get done. So get it all done ahead of time if you can.

Stephanie (25:54.644)

Yeah. And you’re doing this all without any kind of team behind you. Like your husband works in your business sometimes, right? But that’s about it.

Mara Kucirek (26:05.937)
Yeah, so I am pretty much a solopreneur. Sometimes I bring in contractors like Stephanie to help me with my website or to like cross things off of my to-do list that have been on there for a very long time. And then my husband every once in a while does a few things like he’ll do some bookkeeping stuff for me. He does a lot of maybe like internal things, so not client work, and a lot of what he does honestly is like can you go to the grocery store so I can work? Can you…

go take the dogs on a walk so I can take a call. So we trade off and he has some of his own business stuff now too that’s totally separate from mine. But yeah, I do not have a large team, which is worth mentioning, because sometimes people talk about maternity leave, but they have a team of people that can continue doing all of the work for them. And I don’t like have a magical team of employees or elves or anything like that. And I really like running for the most part, a solo business. I think it would be great someday to have.

Stephanie (26:48.277)

Mara Kucirek (26:59.521)
assistant who could help out with my inbox because it’s a little wild these days. But beyond that I actually don’t want to have a business that’s like a large agency. A lot of people have told me that’s what I should do, of I should hire a bunch of people to work under me and then they can work on the clients online courses, but that takes a lot of the joy out of it for me. So to some people that feels backwards and then other people totally get that like running a small business is what you want and that’s totally okay.

Stephanie (27:19.627)

Stephanie (27:29.646)
Yeah. I think that’s worth mentioning that you have built a business in five years time that is supporting you, your husband, your dogs, and now your newborn baby, and you don’t have a full-time team and you’re still living comfortably. I think that is something that is not talked about enough because everyone’s like, oh, you got to scale, scale and grow your team and get to this large agency point. And it’s like, not everyone wants to do that. You can still.

build a sustainable business and it just be you and like you said, hiring out contractors and stuff. Cause I think that is important to hire in help when it’s needed because you can’t do everything optimally all the time, like you need help at some point, but being able to primarily do it mostly yourself is still like a major accomplishment.

Mara Kucirek (28:20.165)
It is and I just recorded my own podcast episode about this, but I talk about that. My business made less money this year than last year. And most people would be like appalled because you’re supposed to grow, grow your business. And it’s not like a ton less money. I’m not like going broke or destitute over here, but it actually felt like a huge win because I, yes, I technically made less money, but I also took a maternity leave. I worked so much less this year

And I also launched my own podcast, which meant I couldn’t take on as much client work as before. And sometimes I was super tired or sick because I was pregnant. And so yeah, I technically made less money, but I also worked a lot less and like we still were able to achieve a lot of our financial goals around like retirement and savings and then also have a baby and like my husband got to go to every doctor’s appointment with me, which was incredible. And now we’ve both been.

Stephanie (28:59.318)

Mara Kucirek (29:17.773)
home together, which is amazing. I’ve loved that.

Stephanie (29:21.198)
That’s so good. Yeah, I think that’s so great that you’ve got a husband that is able to do what he’s doing and supporting your business. Because I don’t know that every husband would want to do that. Like not everyone wants to quit their job. Cause I’ve talked to Thomas about that before. Like if I got to this point where I was supporting the family completely on my own, I was like, would you want to either work for me or come home or whatever? He’s like, I don’t think so.

And I’m like, okay, that’s fine. Like he, he’s still a teacher. So he, you know, still gets off, um, summertime and throughout the year and stuff. So I’ve kind of worked my schedule around his, but. You know, not everyone wants to do the same things.

Mara Kucirek (30:01.053)
Yeah and having exactly and having that conversation is so important because it’s so different and I know a lot of couples are like how do you guys work together? How are you at home most of the time together? Do you drive each other crazy? And we don’t drive each other crazy, that’s the answer, but we have had to put in some boundaries of like we try to not…

Stephanie (30:13.131)

Mara Kucirek (30:23.169)
talk to each other as much during the day from like nine to two. So like if you think of something cool to tell the other person write it down or text them, that’s our rule instead of like going and interrupting them because we did that a lot when we first worked together. And then we also regularly have to change the roles in business. So we literally have a list that’s like life responsibilities and so it has stuff on there like

Stephanie (30:34.82)

Mara Kucirek (30:48.789)
Who’s responsible for picking up dog poop? Who’s responsible for paying the bill? Like literally going and paying the bills online. And every once in a while we review that, which we just had to do after we had a baby because a lot of it changed because I’m doing a ton of baby stuff, which is not a bad thing. But we had all these conversations around parenting being 50-50. And it was totally unrealistic because now that we have a baby, I end up feeding her a lot more because I can and…

Stephanie (31:04.858)

Stephanie (31:15.745)

Mara Kucirek (31:17.537)
him, my husband has to like get out a bottle and it’s a whole situation. And then she’s six weeks old. So she’s really into mom right now. And I think that kind of bothers my husband and he will have his time where she like loves him. But she can’t even see that well yet. Like her vision’s blurry. I have a lot of food for her. And so that’s just been interesting. I had all of these ideas that it was going to be.

Stephanie (31:21.328)

Stephanie (31:25.558)
Yeah. Oh yeah.

Mara Kucirek (31:41.233)
exactly 50-50 on child care and it’s not and that’s not like a bad thing either. I just that was one thing that was interesting after we had a baby of I was like whoa this takes up way more of my time than your time so let’s like change up the responsibilities.

Stephanie (31:55.422)
Oh yeah, I think that’s an important thing to note too, is that your expectations of what you think it’s going to be like are probably going to be very different from the reality.

Mara Kucirek (32:07.005)
Yes, yeah, and have those conversations before you have a baby about what you want, but then keep having those conversations because there’s a lot of things that we like envisioned a certain way and that’s not necessarily how it’s gone. Like another thing is we got, we got what I call a sleep divorce, which is my joking term for it. It just means that one of us sleeps in the guest room away from the baby for half a day.

night. So one person gets uninterrupted sleep. Usually I start 8am to 2am. I go sleep in the guest room without the baby. And then my husband sleeps in our room. So that way if she wakes up, he’s there, but I get uninterrupted sleep. And then about two in the morning we switch. And that works really well for us, but like kind of sounds like a weird marriage, right? But what it is, is we both get a decent amount. We both get at least four hours. And sometimes some nights more, some nights not, but…

Stephanie (32:55.692)

Mara Kucirek (32:58.709)
I have learned four hours is like the minimum of being a functioning human who does not say like mean things they don’t mean to their husband.

Stephanie (33:06.978)
Yeah. I love that. That’s so smart. Because I don’t think that people will, I mean, obviously, we don’t have kids yet, but I think a lot of people will go into having a baby or whatever and think that things will have to be a certain way. They see things on Pinterest or Instagram or whatever being a certain way, especially if they don’t have any like, real life people around them that have had kids. So they don’t have those experiences to go off of. They think that, oh, you’re going to both sleep in your own bed.

in a separate room away from your baby, they’re going to be in their nursery and that’s how you’re going to be separated or whatever. But if that’s not what works for you, then figure out something different so that you can actually function.

Mara Kucirek (33:46.753)
Yeah, exactly. We also did not set up a gorgeous, perfect nursery yet, and a lot of people thought we were crazy, but we wanted an extra guest space because my mom came for a couple of weeks, my husband’s mom has been here, it’s about to be Thanksgiving, so we were like she’s going to be in our room anyway, she does not need the most perfect nursery, but it would be very helpful if we had an additional room with a bed where these people could stay and then help us with the baby. So that’s

Stephanie (33:58.583)

Stephanie (34:13.undefined)

Mara Kucirek (34:14.661)
know is much more realistic than decorating a nursery and the time will come where she will get her own bedroom and I will like design it all and like figure out what I want but we just totally skipped that so far.

Stephanie (34:28.926)
Yeah, priorities. Like if help coming in and then being able to sleep somewhere comfortable is a possibility, then go for it.

Mara Kucirek (34:37.601)
Yes, always take the help that people will give you, especially if it’s like your mom and mother-in-law and they are willing to sleep over and help with like the overnight stuff. Oh my gosh, grab that as soon as you can because it’s very helpful.

Stephanie (34:50.911)
I can imagine so. So let’s talk about your vision for your business. Now I’m assuming that at the very beginning of starting your business, you had a particular idea of what the future of your business and your life would look like. And I’m sure that changed over the years too. How has that changed even more since having your baby?

Mara Kucirek (35:13.405)
I am feeling a lot more focused these days on digital products and evergreen products in my own business, which is kind of funny because this is what I help clients out with. And I don’t have a ton of evergreen like passive income products in my own business because historically I’ve really liked working with clients. That’s been great for my business to work one on one with clients and I still really like it. But I am noticing it’s not.

sustainable to having a kid around all the time. We have a lot of thoughts about maybe potentially homeschooling at some point, which will be a whole adventure that will give me like even less work time. So that’s a huge shift I’m noticing and as I’ve been thinking through my goals for next year that was a big one that came up for me of I need to have my own courses and programs so that I can help more people. And there’s this other part of it where

my business has grown, I’ve had this wait list that I’ve mentioned that has grown, and I really hate saying no to people. Like it really frustrates me when someone is like, hey, I want to work together. And this has been happening a lot on maternity leave, and I have to say, oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I am full. And so I would like to find more solutions where I can still help people, but it’s not in this one to one capacity, because I have hit my limit on it. And that’s a an amazing business problem to have, but it does quickly turn.

Stephanie (36:20.6)

Stephanie (36:31.775)
Oh yeah.

Mara Kucirek (36:33.745)
into a problem. I also am really thinking through the balance of like what work and motherhood looks like because I love the baby stuff, I love the child care stuff, but I’m noticing I need to also build in intentional breaks, which I think any mom is going to be like, yep, you have to have days where like you’re not the one responsible for literally everything. And one huge challenge I’ve had this year is the

Stephanie (36:52.944)

Mara Kucirek (37:00.609)
the mental load of everything, which was already a thing before I became pregnant. And by that, I just mean, I think as women, we tend to take on more of like, you’re the person who schedules appointments. You’re the person who sometimes like goes and calls the water company about why they made your bill wrong. And it’s different for everyone, but I spend a lot more time thinking about those things and now we have a baby. So now I’m thinking about pediatrician appointments and all of her stuff and outgrowing her clothes.

And my husband helps with that a lot, but his brain is also not wired in the same way mine is. And so this year there was like this huge overload for me of at any one moment, I am thinking about so many things like in my personal life, but then also my business, because I’m running this like pretty fast paced business with a lot of clients. And I noticed my brain has some big moments of overwhelm this year. And so that’s another thing that’s like really shifted in my business vision of

do I get more support? And maybe it’s not a large team, but maybe it’s like someone to help walk my dogs or a house cleaner or something like that, which I am not like, I’m not super fancy. A lot of people are like, oh, I have someone who comes and cooks for me every day. I do not have that in my business. But those are things I’m starting to think through of like, what does the right balance look like so that I can show up in all these different areas?

Stephanie (38:04.622)

Mara Kucirek (38:22.089)
of my life in like a way where I’m a really productive and helpful person. Cause it’s not helpful when I’m burnt out and tired. It’s not helpful to clients. It’s not helpful to me. It’s now not helpful to having a baby. And so that’s something that’s really shifting around my vision of. I am learning a little bit that I can’t do it all on my own. And then like, how much do I want to be work versus family stuff versus like. Not having to do anything at all of like, how do I rest better and have more downtime? Cause.

Stephanie (38:32.202)
Oh, yeah.

Mara Kucirek (38:52.233)
I am personally not great at taking breaks. Honestly, Stephanie knows this about me. I will work, and then hit a point where I’m like, oh my gosh, I need to take some days off. And I tend to go past that point and then feel some burnout. So that’s something I’m working on of, I think it’s possible to not have burnout in your business, but it’s still something I’m learning and navigating of like, how do I not tip over to that point where I’m exhausted and tired?

Stephanie (38:55.541)
Yeah. Yes.

Stephanie (39:08.375)

Stephanie (39:20.386)
You have to be really self-aware to balance all of that too, because if you just take on the problems as they’re coming at you, like from personal life and business and baby and husband and all those different things that are coming at you at all the time, you’ll get overwhelmed and overburdened really quickly and then not know how to recover from it. And that’s when you get past the point of burnout to where you’re just, you’re just done.

Mara Kucirek (39:46.709)
Yes, absolutely.

Stephanie (39:47.166)
And I think a lot of people don’t know how to get themselves out of that because they don’t know themselves well enough to know what kind of rest they need and when they need that rest.

Mara Kucirek (39:56.405)
Yeah, and once you’re in that burnout, I think we all know it’s so much harder to come back. And I’m learning a lot of lessons this year around saying no, because again, as your business grows, this is such a great problem to have, but it does become a problem of all of a sudden, now I’m being asked to be on more podcasts, more like collaboration type stuff where I’m speaking. And I love doing all of that stuff, but I have had seasons where

Stephanie (40:19.339)

Mara Kucirek (40:24.689)
I said yes to way too many things. And so I’m learning like, you really do have to say no to some things. And sometimes it’s even like really hard stuff of like, your family wants to like go to lunch or something and you have to be like, okay, I want to do that, but like, let’s schedule it for next weekend. So let’s just like recognizing your needs and that you’re not a bad person. If you don’t say yes to every single thing someone asks of you, which is something I struggle with.

Stephanie (40:51.306)
Oh, yeah. I heard on another podcast the other day, I don’t remember where it was, but they were talking about when you say I’m busy, busy doesn’t have to mean that you are doing a bunch of things. Busy can include the downtime that you need to recover from doing all the things. And I think that’s such an important distinction to make because you’ve got to build in that rest at some point. Like we, our bodies are designed to rest. We have to sleep to function.

And sleep is not the only type of rest that we need. We need time to just chill out and like let our brains vegetate and not think about, you know, what it, what we have to be doing and important task around the house or whatever. So I think that’s just a important thing to keep in mind.

Stephanie (41:39.734)
So what are you looking forward to in the coming months? Like, I know you’re only six weeks into motherhood now, so you’ve got a lot to look forward to, but what are you looking forward to with the baby, with your business, with life integration? What’s coming up for you?

Mara Kucirek (41:58.153)
Oh, I love this question. And I’ve been thinking about this a lot because one of the things I’m working on right now is really embracing the season of life you’re in, which might sound cheesy and cliche, but I’ve already noticed.

like your kid grows so fast and like the other day she out she outgrew a piece of clothing. So she’s this really cute like floral outfit she wore like her first day she was born. I put it on her the other day it doesn’t fit anymore and that made me so sad and I know that’s like such a little tiny thing but it did make me so sad. So I’ve been thinking I have been thinking about like what am I looking forward to?

Stephanie (42:21.998)

Mara Kucirek (42:32.213)
Because when you have a kid, a lot of people unfortunately spend a lot of time telling you all of the bad stuff that’s going to happen, which I don’t know why they do this, but you have a kid and then they’re like, oh, just you wait until they’re four months old and they’re going to have the four month sleep regression or just you wait until they’re walking and then they’re going to break all the stuff in your house, which is not helpful. Because there’s a lot of good things too right but people love to tell you like all and apparently this just you wait never ends like people will

Stephanie (42:38.762)

Mara Kucirek (42:59.777)
be telling me this until they’re in college is what my friends have told me. So I have been thinking a lot about like things I’m excited about. And one of them is we have the holidays coming up. So starting family traditions, which my husband and I have been married for 10 years. So we have some traditions, but I feel like they never feel real until you have kids. Like they’re just different. And so I’m excited. She’s only going to be three months old at Christmas. So the traditions are gonna be a lot more for us, but I’m excited to like start some of those.

Stephanie (43:20.216)

Mara Kucirek (43:28.477)
I’m really excited to see her personality because right now she’s so tiny and I like to think she has somewhat of a personality, but she like also doesn’t quite yet. And so I’m so excited about like, just the random things that are going to happen that are just like her personality coming out because over the next year, she’s going to change so much to go from like making all sorts of noises and moving around and all of that stuff.

Stephanie (43:39.426)

Mara Kucirek (43:55.381)
And then in my business, I have a lot I’m excited about as well. Um, and I think I might even next year book in some, I call them work vacations, but like where I go to a hotel for the night and you just only focus on your business and that might sound really lame to some people, but they’re really fun. And you can like do a deep dive on something in your business. So I’ve been thinking about, Oh, if I took a couple of nights at a hotel throughout the year, what would I do? Um, and I’m really excited about like creating some new

Stephanie (44:05.201)

Mara Kucirek (44:23.609)
products in my business, some online courses for my own business, growing my podcast. Right now I’ve been asking a bunch of people and like doing a survey in my community of what podcasts do you listen to? What do you like? Like one thing I want to focus on in my podcast next year is shorter episodes for the most part and then every once in a while having a long episode. But a lot of people have told me like oh we love the 20 minute episodes. So I’m really excited to like do some vision casting around that and just think about

what do I want to teach others and then also what do other people want to learn? Because that’s something that’s really important to me, of how do I bridge the gap of what people wish someone would talk about in online business or passive income or whatever the topic is and like then creating that content if I can, if I know anything about it or can learn it.

Stephanie (45:05.076)

Stephanie (45:15.566)
Love it. That’s what’s so great about your niche too is that you, it lends you to being open to so many different topics that you can cover because I mean online courses that is such a broad subject. I mean you can have so many different types of clients within that and then so many more different conversations you can have so I love that.

Mara Kucirek (45:33.889)
Yeah, and there’s so many different types of online courses, which I’ve done like an online course for like a food blogger before, but I’ve also done like online courses for like a lactation consultation person. So like a breastfeeding course or a baby sleep course, which is interesting because now I have a baby or like I did one that was about horseback riding. And so it’s like all sorts of different courses. And I really love that by the way of like

Stephanie (45:51.344)

Mara Kucirek (45:59.773)
not knowing anything about a topic, but I can help them set up their course, but then I also get to like see all of their content and learn all of the things. It is really a good way to be a lifetime learner. I’m really glad that my niche secretly like lets me get to do that and learn all of these random things all the time.

Stephanie (46:15.342)
Yeah, I love that. I feel like that’s what mine does too, because I’ve never niched down into a specific industry or anything like that. It’s typically personality types that I tend to work with more or less and seeing the different types of businesses that people create, whether it’s something traditional like a lawyer, a copywriter, whatever, something like that, or it’s more unique, like you were talking about a breastfeeding course or something like that.

so niche and so needed and that kind of stuff is just so much fun to do research on for whatever the project is and learn about it. So I love that.

Mara Kucirek (46:54.485)
Yeah, I think so everyone says you need to niche super specific in business, like so specific that you’re the only one doing it. And I don’t actually think that’s true, because a lot of people had told have told me that I should be the online course person for

people who are making courses about like money, and it should only be people who use Kajabi as an online course platform. And that is not at all how my business is. I use multiple technology platforms and I make courses about all sorts of things. And I know Stephanie, same with you, like you have all sorts of different clients, but the type of clients as far as like their goals in life and who they are as a person, there is similarities of it’s almost like the niche is the personality. And I think that’s really smart because then you have clients you.

Stephanie (47:25.047)

Stephanie (47:32.556)


Mara Kucirek (47:37.961)
you really like and you kind of understand their motivation and they don’t drive you crazy doing things that are red flags, which I’ve had plenty of situations of that too. So your niche can totally be a personality and I also don’t think it has to be like so specific that you’re the only person in the world doing it.

Stephanie (47:47.413)
Oh yeah.

Stephanie (47:57.294)
Yeah. I think that’s some of that comes through when you’re marketing too, is that you’re going to attract certain types of people depending on who you are as a person and what you’re putting out into the world. And you can kind of tailor your marketing to be for those types of people and less about the industry that they’re working in. And I think that’s just so good. So much more fun then too, because then you’re not like…

getting bored doing the same exact thing, even though you might be doing the same processes over and over again, you’re not dealing with the same content constantly. Because I think that’s something that can get boring is if you’re doing the same industry, then you’re like, okay, I’ve done this like a thousand times already. I’m tired of it. Like I can still do it, but I’m tired of it. And it’s taken the joy out of it. And I think that’s something that doesn’t really happen when you’re dealing with a lot of different types of industries. You’re always intrigued in what you’re doing. And like…

interested in learning. I’m like you, I like learning about different things, even if it’s something that I’m not going to use in my personal life or whatever. I like just learning about different industries and things that are happening in the world. So, it’s fun.

Mara Kucirek (49:04.309)
Yes, I’m the same way. And there’s nothing that motivates me more sometimes than someone asking me a question that I don’t know the answer to. And I’ll be like, I don’t know, but I will go figure out how to do that. Like especially software things. Sometimes people are like, how do I do this in ThriveCard or Kajabi? And if I don’t know, like I love going and figuring it out. And then it makes my business better because someone will ask me that question again someday and I will now officially know the answer.

Stephanie (49:12.068)
Ha ha ha.


Stephanie (49:30.27)
Yeah, yeah, it’s so helpful. All right. I love that. So last thing, do you have any words of encouragement for the woman listening that is either in the newborn phase, pregnant right now and is either starting a business or has had a business like you and is introducing a baby into that business or any of those types of life stages where, you know, business and personal life are kind of like meeting head on?

Mara Kucirek (50:00.813)
I think the thing that comes to mind for me a lot is like you are allowed to have your own experience and it’s not going to be the same as other people because as I have been pregnant and having a baby, there’s a lot of bad stuff people told me it is really amazing how much of the bad stuff people tell you. And throughout the whole thing. There actually wasn’t that much bad stuff but there were so many times people were like, the first trimester is going to be terrible and yeah there were some things that were hard but it wasn’t like

Stephanie (50:17.655)

Mara Kucirek (50:30.253)
worst time in my life. And then people tell you, oh, when you do your glucose test, it’s going to be like terrible, and you’re going to throw up and all of this stuff. And then you do it and you’re like, oh, that’s not my experience. And so I would just say take all of that stuff with such a grain of salt of like you’re allowed to have your own experience. And it is not necessarily going to be what other people tell you because there is so much joy in figuring it out and redefining your vision and figuring out what you want as well. Like a lot of people will

Stephanie (50:41.812)

Mara Kucirek (50:59.509)
tell you all sorts of thoughts about motherhood and how you should run your business and you’re allowed to figure it out and figure out what you want and do whatever you want honestly. And there will be joy in it and your journey is going to look totally different from someone else, which I know that sounds super cliche, but it is good. And I think also like every week it’s going to change like every week of pregnancy. And now I’m learning raising a child, which I think this is for the rest of her life.

no two weeks are the same. So like the thing that’s hard one week, the next week isn’t hard, but then you have like a new challenge that you’re overcoming. And it’s kind of amazing and beautiful. And like, yes, it is hard at times. But it’s also just interesting to see how you grow as a person and change and all of all of that stuff. So there’s so much growth in it all. And it it’s going to be good. That’s, that’s what I want to tell people.

Stephanie (51:27.455)

Stephanie (51:53.226)
Love that. Yeah, that’s, that’s so beautiful. All right. Now let’s do some rapid fire questions. Just some fun little questions for people to get to know you a little bit better and just, you know, something a little bit different from business. Even though this first question is kind of business related, what is your favorite thing to do in your business?

Mara Kucirek (52:15.677)
Oh, that, ooh, such a great question. So probably the long-term vision planning and goal setting. So I will make a Google Doc of like, what do I want in my business? What’s working? So like, what’s working well? And then what is not working? Which I think that’s the biggest question to.

write in and sometimes it’s like really random. Last week I wrote down that we need an ice cream scoop that goes in the dishwasher. That has nothing to do with my business, right? But the whole idea is like making my life easier. And so literally when I was doing my weekly reflection, that came up of like, oh, sometimes I run the dishwasher, and then I’m annoyed that I have to wash the ice cream scoop by hand. And then also sometimes other things come up like

Stephanie (52:43.68)

Mara Kucirek (52:58.053)
email is getting overwhelming. That’s another thing I wrote down recently of like I need to figure out something different with my inbox. So regularly reflecting and I really like that time in my business, but it’s very easy to skip. And I’ve noticed don’t skip like even 20 minutes of like taking some time to think about how can I be happier in my business? I guess that’s the big question I’m asking myself each week and then come up with some answers and then just try to implement like one of those things the next week. You don’t have to implement them all.

Stephanie (53:28.366)
awesome. That that’s really good for sustainability in your business too, because I think business can end up feeling like a job at some point because you have so many things that you have to do. So asking yourself those questions to still make it fun and find the joy in it. That’s, that’s really awesome. So now what is your favorite non work related thing to do?

Mara Kucirek (53:53.825)

going on a walk, like it sounds so simple, but going outside, either calling like a friend or something, which I call people all the time on the phone, or listening to a podcast or like an audiobook. And that also has been something that has brought me so much joy in motherhood. So I did this before I had a baby, actually over the summer, I did this virtual challenge where you walk across the Grand Canyon. And so each day I would like log my miles, it would tell me where I was at in the Grand Canyon. And I was actually just in my neighborhood.

Stephanie (54:18.109)
Oh, yeah.

Mara Kucirek (54:24.371)
I have a baby, it’s like every day, her and I go on this walk of either I wear her or she’s in the stroller. She gets outside, she’s super cute looking around or she’s asleep. And it’s like this magical time where she’s probably not going to cry. She’s never cried on a walk yet, I should like knock on wood or something. And then I get to like think about my business, I usually bring my dog when we’re just like outside. And so it’s so simple. But that’s something that every single day.

brings me so much joy and then if I skip it, I notice I’m a little grumpy at the end of the day that I that I never had that time to just like, be present and let my mind wander wherever it wanted to or to think about life or think about what I want.

Stephanie (55:05.802)
I feel that so much. My walks are my favorite part of my day too, because I have to take a walk in the morning. I usually take one at lunch. And then if I’m feeling antsy in the afternoon, I’ll take one then we don’t live in like a neighborhood we live on, you know, out in the country. So my walks are around my yard and down the driveway. Um, so it’s a little bit different, but I still love my walks too.

Mara Kucirek (55:26.721)
Yeah, sometimes mine are literally around our backyard too in the afternoons. In the mornings right now, they’re usually longer ones. And I’ve been getting in like three or four miles, which has been amazing, but it’s such like a nice quiet… Yeah, it’s so good when you have a baby and like you just know you’re both going to have quiet time and you’re going to get out of the house and like just break up the routine of the rest of the day.

Stephanie (55:38.294)
It’s awesome.

Stephanie (55:48.426)
Yeah, that’s great. All right, so what is a book or a podcast or just another resource that has helped you either in motherhood, pregnancy, business, whatever?

Mara Kucirek (56:03.301)
Ooh, let me think, because I used to have some go-to business books, but now I’m like, oh yeah, what has been really helpful of like motherhood and pregnancy and all of that stuff?

Mara Kucirek (56:22.841)
Let me think here.

Mara Kucirek (56:31.637)
It’s also been so different how you like read books. Oh, okay, so there’s a book called Company of One by Paul Jarvis. So I just had to look it up because I couldn’t remember what the title of it was. So Company of One, and it’s about that thing that I talked about a little bit on this episode earlier that it’s okay to grow a smaller business because so many…

business coaches or advice you get in business, it’s all about scale, scale. And hire, hire. I feel like every time you have a problem in business, a lot of people jump to, well, hire more people in your business. And I don’t like actually think that’s always the answer. I tend to go more and this is what they talk about in the book of what can you stop doing in your business? Like if you have too much going on, is there anything that’s actually a waste of time? Which every time I ask myself this question, I do come up with things that I’m like,

Stephanie (56:59.338)

Mara Kucirek (57:22.721)
Yeah, I’m doing that thing and I don’t think it’s actually working or doing anything for me. I’m just doing it because I feel like I have to. And then like what can you also put on autopilot? So can you automate it? Can you buy a software that’ll do it for you? And now in 2023, there are so many things you can automate. Like there’s always a way. And so eliminate, automate, and then

Stephanie (57:40.73)

Mara Kucirek (57:46.309)
after that you can think about delegating and hiring someone. But that book Company of One has been really helpful for giving me permission of it’s okay to not have this huge like marketing agency or all of these employees and I’m not a failure for that. I was actually in a group coaching program recently and every time I had a problem around like time they were like hire someone, hire hire, and I there is a time and a place for that. Personally I think working with contractors like

Stephanie (58:00.79)

Mara Kucirek (58:14.397)
when Stephanie, you and I did our VIP day, that was so helpful because it was like, we’re going to do a sprint of get all the things done. And we did a couple VIP days, I think there was like one where we did back to back weeks. And then we got so much done. And then it’s like, that’s crossed off of my list. And like, we can both go do other things now. And so I like working like that versus growing this huge

Stephanie (58:24.988)
Mm hmm. Yeah.

Mara Kucirek (58:36.085)
team that I have to communicate with or manage and there’s so much like there’s so many different ways you can manage a team. So for some people it’s the right choice but I’ve really enjoyed that book on it’s okay to have a smaller business but it can still be really profitable as well.

Stephanie (58:50.046)
Oh yeah, I love that. I’m going to have to get that. Do you usually get like actual physical copies of books or do you do audio books or Kindle or something?

Mara Kucirek (58:59.085)
this has completely changed. I used to be pro physical book all the way from the library by the way. One of my life rules is like get it from the library first and then if you absolutely can’t get it from the library you can buy it because otherwise I would own so many books if I didn’t have this rule. So I used to always do physical books then I had a baby. I have not read a physical book since she was born but if I put the book on my phone I do read it and I’ve read so many books since she was born because I’m feeding her.

Stephanie (59:10.894)
I like it. Yeah.

Mara Kucirek (59:26.925)
she’s like up in the middle of the night and she doesn’t, I love her but she’s kind of boring, she doesn’t like talk back right now or anything. So I have been reading a lot of books while she’s eating or she’s really into contact naps, which is a newborn thing where they want to sleep on you, not in their crib alone. And so like sometimes she’ll just be asleep and I’ll just read on my phone. I tried Kindle, but the Kindle is too easy to like forget in the living room and then I’m

Stephanie (59:33.194)

Stephanie (59:45.366)

Mara Kucirek (59:55.349)
our bedroom in the rocking chair. And so it’s like my phone. Usually I have my phone. Yes, so it’s interesting because I used to be all physical books and now I’m like no physical books. I also have trouble making it to the library. I have an overdue book right now and I feel kind of ashamed about it. I have a library fine and maybe I’ll return it this afternoon, but I do.

Stephanie (59:55.69)
Yeah. You always have your phone. Yeah.

Stephanie (01:00:16.462)
That’s so funny. That’s really going to encourage me to go back to the library though, because I haven’t been to the library and actually checked out a book probably since high school. Like it’s been a long time. So that’s, that’s really good encouragement because I do have a lot of books and some of them I’ll probably never read again because they weren’t that great. And I’d really rather not do that and waste space.

Mara Kucirek (01:00:42.165)
Yes, that’s how I feel. And then I felt this weird pressure when you own a book of like, you have to read it and you have to reread it again. And it was this whole thing where if the library just stores it for you, like you can still pretend that’s your book. And there are books I have checked out multiple times from the library. But they will store it for you. And then that deadline of the due date gives you incentive to actually go read it. Of course, now I have a baby and so now I have a fine it’s only 10 cents, but I’m a little ashamed of it.

Stephanie (01:00:47.921)

Stephanie (01:00:55.149)

Stephanie (01:01:05.175)

Stephanie (01:01:10.267)
That’s so funny. All right. So last question before we tell everyone where to find you. This is a question I like to ask everyone on here just because of the name of the podcast. But what does being a homemaker in business mean to you?

Mara Kucirek (01:01:25.833)
For me, it’s really about that balance of figuring out what your vision for your family is because for some people it’s a lot less work or one spouse not working at all. And then for me, I’ve noticed it’s a combination of a lot of different things of some work, some just like

family stuff where you’re just present and enjoying life and playing or whatever. And then also just creating that vision of your life of figuring out what you want and then pursuing it, which I think the figuring out what you want is actually the harder part for most of us, of you know, like, what do we want our days to look like? And what do we want our work to look like and our relationships with people? So figuring out that balance and recognizing that it’s

Stephanie (01:02:02.46)

Mara Kucirek (01:02:13.353)
always going to be shifting. Like balance is always about like things constantly shifting around. I think that’s how I envision it of like that balance of everything you want and having like great relationships and work and family life and then like your home life feels good and fulfills you.

Stephanie (01:02:29.474)

Stephanie (01:02:33.21)
Love that. That’s so good. Amara, this has been an absolute blast. I’ve loved having you on and I will definitely want to have you on again in the future so that maybe you can teach on something course related. I think that would be fun. Cause I think that’s something that a lot of people are interested in. And obviously, I mean, you have an entire business around it. That’s something people are very interested in. Um, but I think that’s something that my audience would like to hear more about in the future. But.

For now, can you tell everyone where they can connect with you and what they can buy from you? Because I know you’re like very sought after right now. So just what have you got for them?

Mara Kucirek (01:03:10.749)
Yeah, absolutely. So I think the best spot to always find me is to search for my podcast create a better course. And I love building relationships with people that way. So there’s a lot of episodes about online courses. But even if you don’t want to have an online course in your business yet, I have a lot of episodes about like, maternity leave, business, how my business makes money, all of that stuff. It’s, it’s all over the place in a way that I think is really good. So create a better course or

my website which is I’m sure Stephanie will put it in the show notes so you can just go click the link because my last name is a little bit hard to pronounce, but even if you misspell it usually I come up in Google so that’s good. And then I’m also on Instagram at Mara Cassaric and I am a lot more frequent on there now that I have a baby. I used to really never be on social media but now I spend lots of time where I have a baby on me and so I’ve

Stephanie (01:03:48.98)

Mara Kucirek (01:04:07.553)
been scrolling on social media and like responding to questions and DMs more, and that’s actually been really fun. So if anything of this was helpful, send me a DM or an email or something.

Stephanie (01:04:19.418)
Yeah, we’ll definitely put all those links in because your last name is hard to remember how to spell, but if you just type in Mara into like Google or Instagram or anything, you’re usually the first thing that pops up because not that many people have your first name either.

Mara Kucirek (01:04:36.157)
It’s true, I did not know that. Okay, I’m gonna go test that after we’re done recording, because if so that would be amazing. But it’s true, there are not that many Maras in the world, which I get a lot of people who think it’s Maria because they read it wrong, or they think it’s Mara, which is at least totally fine. That’s an acceptable pronunciation. It’s, yeah, it’s much closer. That’s good to know though.

Stephanie (01:04:51.015)
You know, that’s closer.

Stephanie (01:04:56.829)
So funny. All right, well, Mara, thank you so much. This has been a blast.

Mara Kucirek (01:05:01.857)
Thank you so much. I’ve loved it just getting to chat and it like, hopefully to all of the listeners just feels like having a cup of coffee together and chatting like friends.

Stephanie (01:05:11.523)
Yep, that’s the goal.

I’m Stephanie, but you can call me Steph!

I design brands & websites that get you butterflies-in-your-stomach-excited about your business again.

Simply put, I’m a graphic designer that specializes in brand identity design and Showit website design - arguably the most important aspects of your business! I live in central Alabama with my high school band directing hubby, Thomas, on our modest homestead in the country.

Grab a cup of cold coffee (be honest, do you ever get to drink it hot?) and let’s chat about your biz needs at my virtual kitchen table


Cleveland, Alabama, USA
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