6 In motherhood

Mompreneur: Katie Koentje of NEAT Method

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Today I am so, so excited to kick off a series I’ve wanted to do for probably a year! Since becoming a mom and an entrepreneur myself (“mompreneur”), I’ve watched from afar as amazing women in a similar position seem to do it all and make it look easy. I wondered if I could get them to share their secrets, and thankfully they are happy to do so. To kick things off, my friend Katie Koentje from NEAT Method—who you may remember from this post—is sharing about business, motherhood, home life and how she finds balance between it all. 

First things first, tell us a little bit about your family and where you live.

My husband, Erik and I live in Encinitas, CA (North County San Diego) with our 20-month old son. Erik and I met at work, and he still works for that same company today. We are both originally from the east coast but are so glad that our love for the beach and trying new things led us to sunny San Diego. Although both sets of grandparents wish we lived closer!

Mompreneur: Katie Koentje of NEAT Method

Which came first, the baby or the business?

Technically, the business, but with the baby in mind! I was working a pretty grueling schedule in medical device sales and after a night in the Operating Room until midnight and being back at the hospital at 7AM, I decided that was not a schedule I wanted to maintain with a family. I kept brainstorming and writing lists of things I loved and would want to do and kept going back to organizing. I found NEAT Method and the rest is history!

Mompreneur: Katie Koentje of NEAT Method

What made you decide to be an entrepreneur?

I’ve always known I wanted to be my own boss and more importantly, that I could do it. I have the discipline and self-motivation to stay on track and work without anyone telling me how and when to do it. I’m a self-proclaimed control freak so naturally I like to be in control of my own destiny. Being an entrepreneur came pretty naturally.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Both! Although my husband would likely laugh at this answer. As long as I am up and busy I am good. At night, when I sit…I sleep (I have a habit of falling asleep while watching movies – I need to be moving!). As a mompreneur I work both first thing in the morning and after my son goes to sleep at night. It’s amazing what kind of lightening speed I work in during nap time.

Mompreneur: Katie Koentje of NEAT Method

Coffee or tea? (Or are you a unicorn who does not need caffeine?!)

Tea! Green tea usually.

What does your morning routine look like? What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Our dog Roxy wakes me promptly at 6AM (we laugh that I have given her a little OCD too). I check my email right away….it’s so bad, but don’t we all?! I make tea, take Roxy for a quick walk, shower, get ready, answer emails and then get Ryan up between 7-7:30am.  I can get a lot accomplished during this time before he wakes up.

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Balance—we can’t do this interview and not talk about it! Mostly because I’m desperate to know all of your secrets. How do you make it work?

Lists! I have always been a list person and now as a mom and business owner my lists are endless. I am sad to report that I have total “mom brain”…pre-child I could remember endless amounts of info and would never forget to do anything, now I rely on my lists more than ever!

I work 3 full days a week and have 2 days with our son and then the weekends are family time. Naturally I am always working, but I am trying to be better about not checking my email every second and only returning calls at nap time and emails after bedtime. I think it is only fair to give my clients and my child my full attention.

I realize not everyone can have this schedule, but that’s what being a mompreneur has allowed me to do. Make your schedule work for YOU so you can have the work/life balance you deserve.

Childcare is a big factor—what’s been working for you? Nanny, daycare, school or the stay-at-home/work-at-home life? 

We have had a nanny since our son was 3 months old. Ryan is starting pre-school 3 days a week in the fall and I am excited for that experience too!

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How do you make room for personal time for yourself? When you do get down time, what do you do to relax, refresh and/or get inspired?

I am confused by this question…what’s personal time?? HA! Being a mom really is the most selfless job, but it is exhausting and it’s important to check in with yourself. I try to schedule at least monthly time with girlfriends. Honestly, my work days are my re-charge…I am so passionate about what I do that that time has become my “me” time. When I do have down time I like to enjoy a nice glass of wine with my husband and a meal with just the two of us. We are taking a stay-cation in July for our 5-year wedding anniversary, and we are both very much looking forward to the adult-only time.

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What one bit of advice would you give to a fellow mompreneur trying to make it all work?

Ask for help. “It takes a village” sounds so cliché, but is so true. Delegate assignments, ask your friends/family for help with your kid(s), take a break and go get yourself a pedicure. As women we take on everything and it’s ok to take a step back and not do it all.

Thank you so much for sharing your secrets and wisdom with us, Katie! So thankful to have you to inspire me in this mompreneur life :)

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 13, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I’m not a mom or even married yet. lol But I love hearing about women who started their own businesses! So inspiring! I’d love to do that someday. Still in the brainstorming phase. :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      April 13, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Well hopefully this series will continue to inspire you!! I love hearing the ins and outs of how people make it work.

  • Reply
    Kristin
    April 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    I love this! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, its very inspiring. Thanks Natalie!

  • Reply
    Anna Love
    April 13, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    As a fellow mompreneur I love reading how other moms tend to their work/life needs. Katie is one of the best at this!

    • Reply
      Natalie Borton
      April 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      Right?! That’s the reason why I wanted to start this series—I’m always so curious how people get everything done!!

  • Reply
    Gail
    April 16, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    What a wonderful article! Sounds like the balance in Katie’s life is spot on for a happy family, and she’s following her passion! And little Ryan is adorable. My favorite comment is when she said ask for help. It really does take a village! Looking forward to this series, Natalie!

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