Many will remember Erica Ehm from the glory days of MuchMusic, where we’d see her gallivanting with some of the biggest rock stars of the day and presenting the latest, hippest music videos. Since then, the self-confessed “serial entrepreneur” has transitioned through a number of different roles: broadcaster on other networks, record label honcho, author, voice artist, successful songwriter, wife, and mother.
It was parenthood and, in her words, “totally sucking” at it that led Erica to a number of children-focused endeavours which ultimately led her to establish a tremendously successful home-based business: YummyMummyClub.ca, the go-to digital destination for Canadian moms.
We spoke with Erica about the motivation for and challenges involved in re-establishing herself in the Canadian media landscape and building a hugely successful business from scratch.
Brother Canada: Tell us about transitioning from the MuchMusic television personality people knew so well to positioning yourself in a whole different way. What was the genesis of YummyMummyClub.ca?
Erica Ehm: I had an idea for a TV show called “Yummy Mummy” which would be a show that addressed the realities of motherhood. It was NOT a parenting show, because I thought, “Why is no one paying attention to the moms? We’re all drowning here, and everyone’s worried about the kids. The kids are fine, it’s the moms who are having a hard time!” Life Network picked it up, it was broadcasted around the world, it’s still being shown in some places, and when the show finished its run, I thought, “I’m not finished.” I have a really important message for moms: they’re not the worst moms on the planet, they need to take time off from being a parent, to take care of themselves, and we’re all experiencing the same kinds of guilt, exhaustion, and isolation. So I started a little one-page website, and I built it myself into 300 pages, at which point I hired my first co-conspirator which was around six years ago. Now I have about 45 bloggers and 15 full-time staff who run YummyMummyClub.ca.
BC: Tell us about your entrepreneurial approach to getting YummyMummyClub.ca up and running?
EE: I didn’t realize it was a business when I first started. It was a passion play. I loved what I was doing, was desperate to connect with other moms around the country for me personally, and I used what I knew: the tools of communication. But I think one of the things about me is that I work really hard. I’m not afraid of what is essentially “pulling the bus uphill.” I’m relentless, I’m fierce, and I’m a great collaborator. So when I meet like-minded individuals, my creativity flowers and I’m able to create a great sense of community and team which makes a project grow exponentially because I couldn’t do this myself. Instead, I found like-minded women, and some guys who understood the vision. They each own a part of it now, emotionally and intellectually. Together we’re creating this really amazing platform for moms, but I could not do it myself. I would say that because I work so hard, I set the bar really high for people who work with me.
BC: From your experience in building YummyMummyClub.ca from the ground up, are there any key learnings or bits of advice you’d offer to someone out there saying “I have an idea that I think could really fly?”
EE: Surround yourself with people who are significantly more talented than you are! I did that without understanding what I was doing, and then one day I looked up and I realized that I created an amazing team of accomplished women. They all have certain characteristics in common: they’re all good, kind people. They’re all self motivated, they all have a unique voice, and a unique take on the world, and they’re all amazingly kind people in their lives. They’re all whole individuals. There are a lot of people out there who are kind of broken, and they make people’s lives around them kind of miserable, and there’s no one like that on my team: they all shine. Together, we really have an amazing time, day after day, because our company is essentially virtual. My staff is across the country, and we only connect digitally. So we have a secret Facebook page, and a secret Skype chatroom, and the conversations that go on behind the scenes among my team are so inspiring to read, because not only are they incredibly supportive in their lives, but nobody ever says “that’s not my job.” Instead, it’s like, “I can help with that – what do you need me to do?” I don’t even know how I got so lucky!
BC: Being a home-based digital business, what kinds of technology do you rely on to make YummyMummyClub.ca go?
EE: I’ve got my laptop and I’ve got my iPad. When I travel I’ll take one or both, depending. I have a desktop computer which I use infrequently. I have an iPhone which basically is my third appendage. I just got a new Samsung Galaxy camera which is unbelievable it basically works like my cell phone but there’s no phone attached. The camera is magnificent, and it’s completely wi-fi, so I can edit and upload to my website, Instagram, Facebook, anything. It’s my crazy new fantastic toy! My printer that I got from Brother is unbelievable! It’s a wireless printer, my husband also works from home, he works from the basement and sends it upstairs, so I’ll hear the printer going off, plus, it’s also a fax machine, and a scanner. It double-sides when it prints, so it saves us money, which helps because I have kids who are printing stuff out all the time. It’s essential, and I’m not saying this because Brother gave it to me to try out. I freakin’ LOVE my printer!
The printer that Erica loves so much is the Brother Business Smart™ Inkjet All-in-One (MFC-J4510DW). Check it out: www.brother.ca/en/business-smart
And be sure to bookmark www.YummyMummyClub.ca
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