Jennifer Hook is an Elite Mompreneur member based out of Halton Region in Ontario, and she is the “Chief Time Manager” at Cherish Time Concierge Inc., where she helps clients manage their time and live a life that has a little less stress and a little more time for what or who they love. We are excited to share Jennifer’s Success Story!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I wanted to spend more quality time with my family, especially my children. I would go to work, having seen my daughter for all of 20 minutes in the morning, and I would have pick up duty at night. She was often very cranky at that point as she was tired from a long day. We would get home and I would quickly make dinner. After eating and bath, she’d be off to bed. I never got to spend any quality time with her. I know that owning your own business is not a walk in the park, and most days you work more hours than you would in the office. However, I wanted to choose when I worked and this allows me the flexibility, to a certain degree, to do so. I also wanted to feel like I was contributing more to the world than I was at my previous job. After losing my mother, as well as being sick myself, it gave me the drive to follow my passion.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part about owning my own business is that I know I’m giving back to the world in the way that I have wanted to, but had not been doing. I’m giving back to my clients by relieving stress and giving them time to do what’s important to them. I’m giving back to my family by being able to be there when they need me. I’m giving back to myself by focusing on what’s important in my life and in turn giving the world (and my family) the best version of me. I’m dedicating time to giving back with my business so I can make a difference to those in need as well.
Can you describe a typical day?
I get up early to dedicate time to myself before the kids are awake. I do either some form of exercise or meditation. If time permits I will try and tackle emails for a little while. I then focus on finishing up lunches (anything that needs to be cooked) and breakfast for that day. I help get my son out the door (if he’s not home with me) with my husband and usually walk with my daughter to school. Once I get home I put on tea and get straight to my prioritized “to do” list for the day/week.
I tackle the hardest tasks first along with anything time sensitive. If I have any tasks for clients that are out and about I save those for later in the morning/early afternoon. I pick up my daughter from school mid afternoon and we head home and have some quality time together, be it playing, arts and crafts, reading or being silly together. I start to prep dinner about 30 minutes before going together to pick up
my son from a home daycare. Once home I get the rest of dinner made and we sit down to dinner as a family – an important tradition in our household. After dinner and bath we put the kids to bed, taking turns with who tucks each one in. Then I sit down to do some sort of work tasks (or do some shopping for clients). I will sit with my husband later on to finish catching up (you never complete a thought with the kids at dinner right?) and watch a show or read to unwind a bit before bed. I also prep breakfast at night (in the crockpot) and parts of lunches for the next day. I always pray before bed.
Who do you count on for help?
There are a number of people I count on for help. My husband is not only my cheerleader when I need it, but my biggest supporter. He also helps with tasks around the house so that I can dedicate more time to my business. I have family (especially my dad and siblings) and a few close friends too that I lean on for support, for questions and advice, to share my successes with and to lean on when I need a shoulder, as well as help with my kids when I am working for a client.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
To this point, I haven’t had to sacrifice anything of significance. I’ve been able to work around things so that I haven’t had to sacrifice one area or the other. I’m sure there will be times when I will have to make that decision, but I haven’t had to yet.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I haven’t had a full day off in quite some time. However, I am looking forward to a trip we’ve planned to Disney World to celebrate my 40th birthday (yes, I’m very blessed to be doing this!). Outside of that, I do take some time to myself where I can, to fit in a massage or a date night or dinner with a girlfriend. This is very important to me. I love spending time with loved ones – my kids, friends and family. So any time off, I’m normally spending it with them.
Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize the importance of community. I support several charities – Canadian Cancer Society, and the Milton District Hospital Foundation, for example. I also have a charity component to my business. I give back time to those that can’t afford my services, but could benefit from it. For example I give my time to families with a sick member. I believe in supporting local businesses whenever possible. I do this with my business as well as personally. I also volunteer on a regular basis at my children’s school.
Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
I have many entrepreneurs that inspire me – some famous ones, like Oprah (who didn’t give up even when it was tough starting her own network). Some are not so famous, but equally as inspiring. The women that I’ve met recently through various networking events (and ones that I haven’t yet – Maria Locker), they have all inspired me in various ways. It’s a tough road at times, but together we can inspire each other to do remarkable things.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
I am excited for the future both personally and professionally. Personally, I will continue to work on improving my overall health; mind, body and soul. I won’t ever let “me” become last priority again like I have done in the past. If I’m not good, then I can’t be good for anyone else. Professionally, my business will be helping many women and families to know that there are options when you need help; that we can’t always do it all on our own. We will be saving time for family members to spend it on what they love – life is too short not to.
Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
Go for it! Don’t have regrets later. Starting a business will take time and is hard work. Don’t be hard on yourself when your first client doesn’t appear right away. It will come. Have faith. Believe in yourself and what you are doing. Surround yourself with the right people. Celebrate successes that you have along the way, and learn from mistakes.