Monday, May 27, 2024

How This Mom Built a Successful Design Company –

The Mom Behind a Design Business that Generated over $400,000 in Revenue in 12 months

Are you interested in design and are tech savvy?

Well, we talked with Chisom Okwulehie and she shared her story of how she started a joint business with her husband, Juntero Design and Junero Technology while working her full-time position as a Senior Architect in the government.

Chisom tells us about the challenges she faces running her business with two young children and gives tips to all working moms.

She is one busy mama and we are so impressed with all she has been able to accomplish!

1. Can you tell us about your journey in founding Juntero? What inspired you to start it?

I excelled at my full-time job, but the desire to run my own business lingered within me. When the pandemic struck and the world slowed down, I saw an opportunity to make my dream a reality. However, I decided to start small by taking on freelance projects on the side.

The journey began humbly. In 2021, I launched the company with my cybersecurity specialist husband. Juntero is an incorporated company that owns Juntero Design and Juntero Technology. I own Juntero Design, while my husband owns Juntero Technology. My first gig involved designing an ad for Indeed.com, which paid a mere $20.

Initially, Juntero Design’s sales comprised mostly one-off graphic design projects. However, the company gradually attracted larger projects, such as creating floor plans for small businesses. I juggled nights and weekends between Juntero and my full-time position as a Senior Architect at my government job.

2. What specific challenges did you face as a mom while launching and growing your company?

2021 turned out to be both enjoyable and stressful, albeit in a positive way. I found myself inundated with requests and projects, all of which I handled solo. Balancing this workload was challenging, especially while caring for my daughter and holding down a nine-to-five job.

In the early days, I dedicated my daytime hours to my government job from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Then, I transitioned to working on client projects from four to seven in the evening or during the early mornings on weekends. Managing this alongside caring for my child proved to be quite demanding.

Despite the after-hours workload, I had to refine my prioritization skills and manage my time meticulously to ensure I completed everything. I owe much of Juntero’s initial growth to my supportive husband, who has been an invaluable co-parent throughout this journey. My husband plays a pivotal role in my achievements. With his hands-on approach, I never feel like I’m navigating this journey alone.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

As Juntero expanded, I transitioned to delegating much of the workload to a team of designers. Essentially, it operates as an agency where I oversee a pool of talented individuals and assign them tasks.

In the year of 2023, I found myself personally handling only about 10% of the workload, while over 30 skilled architects, interior designers, and 3D modelers take care of the rest. These days, my role at Juntero primarily involves interacting with clients, managing marketing efforts, and supervising the team’s progress.

During a typical week, I devote approximately five to 10 hours to Juntero, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and that our clients are satisfied with our services.

I don’t have a typical day. I juggle the roles of being a mom of a toddler and infant, a wife, an employee, and an entrepreneur. My days are in a constant state of flux, filled with diverse responsibilities and ever-changing tasks.

Architect drawing plans

4. How do you balance the demands of running a business with family responsibilities?

Balancing my family, a full-time job alongside running a business isn’t a walk in the park; it often leads to burnout. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for professional success and personal well-being.

From my experience, mastering time management is key. For those managing a family alongside entrepreneurship, prioritizing time management is essential.

It takes considerable organization, confidence in one’s abilities, and effective time management skills to keep everything in check.

Learning to prioritize tasks ensures productivity while safeguarding against exhaustion. It’s about finding harmony between work and personal life to thrive in both realms.

5. How much do you earn with your business?

Last year, I generated over $400,000 in revenue and earned a $37,500 salary. This year, I aim to double last year’s revenue while raising my salary to $60,000, allocating half of it to investments.

In addition to my pension, I plan to maximize contributions to my 401k and other investment accounts to secure long-term financial stability.

By focusing on doubling revenue and increasing personal income, with a significant portion directed towards investments, I aim to fortify my financial position and ensure a prosperous future for my family by creating generational wealth.

6. What do you think are the most important qualities or skills for a successful entrepreneur, especially for moms in the design/tech industry?

The most critical qualities for successful entrepreneurs, particularly for moms in the design/tech industry, include adaptability, resilience, and effective communication.

As a mom navigating this field, multitasking and time management are paramount. Being adaptable to market changes and technological advancements is essential for staying relevant. Resilience helps in overcoming challenges and setbacks inherent in entrepreneurship.

Effective communication fosters collaboration and client relationships. Additionally, creativity, problem-solving, and a growth mindset are invaluable assets.

Balancing business responsibilities with family commitments demands flexibility and prioritization. Ultimately, the ability to innovate, persevere, and connect with others forms the cornerstone of entrepreneurial success.

7. What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My primary communication tools with my diverse team, comprising local and international professionals, are WhatsApp and text.

For client coordination, particularly with developers, builders, and design-related firms, I rely on Slack for ongoing project requests related to their monthly, quarterly, or annual subscriptions.

Interactions with homeowners and fellow business owners who require one-time payment models typically occur via text or email. For virtual meetings, I tend to rely on Zoom or Google Meets.

Production work is facilitated by various tools such as AutoCAD, Revit, Lumion, Adobe Suite, among others. To effectively organize and manage projects, I depend on Monday, a comprehensive project management platform.

This array of tools ensures streamlined communication, efficient project coordination, and effective production workflows within my business operations.

Architect drawing plans

8. What advice would you give to other moms who aspire to start their own business?

To fellow moms aspiring to start their own business, I offer these insights that I learned from my journey:

  • Define Your Vision: Clearly outline your business goals and vision, aligning them with your passions and strengths.
  • Start Small, Dream Big: Begin with manageable steps, gradually expanding as you gain momentum and confidence.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Flexibility is key when balancing family commitments and entrepreneurship. Adaptability helps navigate challenges.
  • Prioritize Self-Care: Ensure to prioritize your well-being amidst the demands of entrepreneurship and motherhood.
  • Seek Support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of family, friends, and mentors who uplift and inspire you.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay curious and committed to learning. Seek knowledge in areas relevant to your business and personal growth.
  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge milestones and achievements, no matter how small. Celebrate your journey and embrace the learning experiences along the way.

9. Looking back, is there anything you wish you had known before starting your own company, particularly as a mom in your industry?

Reflecting on my journey, there are a few things I wish I had known before starting my own company, especially as a mom in the industry:

  • The Importance of Delegating: Initially, I underestimated the value of delegating tasks. Learning to trust others with responsibilities could have alleviated some of the initial stress and workload.
  • Seeking Mentorship: Having a mentor, especially someone who has navigated similar challenges as a mom entrepreneur in my industry, would have provided invaluable guidance and support.

Overall, while there have been challenges along the way, each obstacle has provided valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. Embracing the journey with openness and a willingness to learn has been instrumental in navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship as a mom in my industry.

10. What is your vision for the future growth and development of your business?

To date, our most prominent client at Juntero is a property developer who utilized our interior design and 3D visualization services to successfully market a portfolio of homes, resulting in multimillion-dollar sales over asking price.

Looking ahead, I aim to propel Juntero’s growth by forging strategic partnerships with developers across the United States. Despite this focus, I remain committed to working with homeowners and small businesses on smaller projects.

I find joy in solving people’s problems and will continue to provide personalized service to individuals and small business owners seeking our expertise, ensuring that Juntero maintains its dedication to both large-scale ventures and individual clients.

11. How can others find you- as we are all fans of you now?

This is a pretty awesome story of a husband and wife duo. We love how they teamed up to build a successful business that works for their family. Thank you Chisom for sharing your story with us.

We will be following Juntero to see what happens next. Make sure you check out Juntero’s social links listed above to find out more information.

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