Women Who Work: Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker Karen LeeAnn Fox
Veterans are creative too, and don’t you forget it! It’s time to learn more about Veteran, blogger, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker Karen LeeAnn Fox. She is the founder of My Veteran Woman LLC.
How did you make the leap to your current role?
I retired from the US Military in 2011. I had a very difficult time transitioning into civilian life and almost became homeless because I was unable to find a job – plus I have some medical conditions and also struggle with mental health issues. I was able to get hired with Texas Veterans Commission helping veterans find employment. I also started blogging for fun and learned of all the resources available and how it could provide me income. My blog turned into a place share my knowledge of savings and budgeting, as well and other valuable resources for anyone struggling with mental health or really any issue. I also began making hand-made craft items that I sell at craft fairs and vendor events. The blog has taken the lead on being an income stream and now I go around giving presentations to others (mainly disadvantaged women) to help them get on their feet and work towards independence. I have been so blessed with access to information and resources. I want to use that to teach others how to go from “struggle to hustle” and stop living in poverty.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a marine biologist and swim with the sharks! Seriously! I was obsessed with everything in the ocean. But I soon realized that it was a very small field and not a place to make enough money to sustain a home and kids. I ended up dropping out of school and getting pregnant when I was 17. When my son was 2, my aunt adopted him and I joined the US Navy as a diesel mechanic.
What was your first job ever? Did it help you in your current role?
My very first real job was as a carhop for Sonic when I was 15. It taught me how to work with difficult people–dealing with customers who had order issues was a very challenging thing at 15!
What made you want to start your business? What or who inspired you to do so?
It was first born out of necessity–I needed to pay my mortgage and had 2 kids to feed. But it bloomed into a desire to share what I have learned with others so they can benefit from it and prosper as I have been able to do.
What does your job entail? How do you explain what you do to others?
I guess you could say my job is to talk–but mostly through the pen (or internet). I blog about real struggles that people are going through and offer advice on ways to overcome it. I also do public speaking events to places where those struggling may end up such as the Workforce.
How long have you been doing this? I’ve been doing the blog for about 2 months now hard core, but have been doing the motivational speaking for about 3 years. My craft business started almost a year ago.
What is an average day for you like?
My normal workday consists of getting up at 5am to tend to my 4 dogs (that consists of feeding them and taking them for individual bike runs because they are all very large!). I then do a bit of house work before getting to “work”. My office is in my home so I begin each day with responding to social media notifications, networking among the many Facebook and Pinterest groups I’m involved with, and beginning work on that day’s order. I spend a bit in each area (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, the Blog), but try to work on one core area for the majority of the day. For example, on Tuesdays, I try to spend most of my efforts on reviewing analytics for my Twitter, adjusting as necessary, and scheduling tweets for the week. One day or more per week, I might also go to speak at an event on some topic.
How do you end your work day?
That’s a difficult one to answer! I try to take breaks throughout the day–mainly to get up and stretch from sitting at the desk–and also my dogs are quite needy. I also take a break when my fiancé comes home so I am usually working (via laptop) from the bed well past when he falls asleep. It’s very important to balance work/family when you work from home. My day usually ends with finishing up any social media responses and making a “To-do” list for the next day. Planning is extremely important when you work from home in a business like this. You must plan for times when you know you will be away such as for doctor’s appointments or family outings.
How did you go about starting your business? What were some of your initial steps that you took?
When I decided that I wanted to blog as a “job” I started researching everything I could find on the topic on Pinterest and Facebook. I began following others in the field that were doing well and getting on everyone’s mailing list to get their freebies and information goodies. I always say that college degrees are severely over-rated because you can learn almost anything on the internet! I do have a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management that really has done nothing for me!
What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated by success. The more I succeed, the more I want to succeed. Yes, the money is great, but for me, success isn’t necessarily the amount of money in my bank account. I truly feel successful when I’m able to help someone get back on their feet or get ahead or to show them that it is possible to overcome adversity.
How do you prevent burn out?
I try to plan well so that I can take “me time” with my family or just myself. Pedicures are my go-to for that! I also make it a point to turn off the computer during certain times of the day when my family is home and we do schedule family outings.
What do you think is the most important characteristic to have for someone who wants to take a similar career route to yours?
Discipline and drive. This isn’t easy. It is a lot of hard work and it requires long days and nights to build up your audience and learn. You must be willing to commit the time and stay up late after everyone else has gone to sleep. And, of course, you must be a quick learner that can learn on your own through the internet and social media.
What do you wish you knew before starting out on your own path?
I wish I had known this was an option a lot sooner!
Did anyone help you in developing your own business or side business?
No, aside from the online community of bloggers offering support and guidance.
What is your favorite thing about the industry you work in?
I love that I can interact with so many across the globe and that I can truly impact another person’s life without having to physically be with them. The internet is an amazing tool when used for good!
What are some tools that you can live without?
I rely very much on my 1) scheduling programs (Hootsuite and Tailwind), 2) the amazing support from my web host (Bluehost), and 3) of course I can’t do without my computer and smart phone! Without access to the internet–I have no business!
What do you have on your desk or working space right now?
I have a couple of different pieces of paper that I jot down ideas that come to mind or things I need to follow up on, as well as my Bluetooth–must have music while working!
What do you want other women in similar situations to know about your chosen career path?
I want other women to know that they all have it in them to be successful. Blogging has helped me to impact many lives AND sustain my household income. The idea of blogging may seem overwhelming or out of reach, but I literally started with the free platforms for everything I use. Once I started making money and saved enough, I migrated to the paid versions. Yes, it was a little harder this way but it was still a way. Sometimes the hard way is the best way because you are able to learn so much from taking that route. There are many blogging communities available to help guide you through the process. All it really takes is the WANT and the DRIVE to make it happen.
Do you have any other additional key points that you think would be beneficial to readers?
I would like them to know that nothing is out of your reach. You just have to put on your big girl panties and make it happen. You can’t just sit around hoping for things to get better. You must get out there and make the hustle and don’t stop until you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. I’m not saying it will be easy. It will be a hard road, but that road leads to a really awesome place!