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Meet Trailblazer Laurie Castillo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurie Castillo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am the product of entrepreneurs. I was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley by my two amazing parents who have owned their own architectural design and mapping company for over 40 years! My paternal grandparents before them were entrepreneurs too. In my elementary school years, I loved running lemonade stands and snow cone stands and selling pencils at school until I got in trouble for creating “competition” for the library pencil sales. Regardless, I was definitely bitten by the entrepreneurial bug pretty young.

Shortly after starting college, I began dating my (now) husband. As an entrepreneur at heart too, we fed off of each other’s crazy ideas. From the time we first started dating, we opened a cell phone store and then a screen printing company. We were, and still are, two crazy love-birds on a mission to make something happen for ourselves. However, like with anything else, time and life tend to take over. He had a full-time job as a Detention Service Officer and I continued my education and began helping a friend build his plumbing company. I worked with my friend, building his company from zero to 12 employees and seven figures in revenue. It was during that time though that a few major life changes took place that eventually led me to where I am today.

In 2013, after quite a few years of trying to conceive and undergoing a few different fertility treatments, my husband and I were blessed with the news of having a baby on the way! And in 2014, along came our happy and healthy baby boy. All eight pounds, 1 ounce of him, ready to challenge my Type A personality and teach me so much more than I could have ever even imagined. The following year though, my family lost a matriarch, my grandmother, Gloria.

My grandmother was an avid gardener, so for her funeral service, I created some tiny little custom flower seed packets to pass out to all of our family and her friends who attended the services. Months after her services, I posted the packets online and within a very short period of time, they took off! While still managing the plumbing company and with a baby at home, it was a bit trying, but with my two sisters, we decided to make a real business out of it, and created an online memorial & live celebration boutique that we aptly named Gloria’s Garden, in memory of our grandmother, where we design & create unique favors and gifts for every type of memorial & life celebration event.

Through the past few years, Gloria’s Garden continued to grow, which eventually, and with the full support of my amazing husband, allowed me to resign from my position within the plumbing company, and work 100% in the business. Being able to resign from the plumbing industry and begin to work for myself was amazing, and easily, I could have stopped there, but with my son growing and starting to play sports, and the business growing, and as an entrepreneur always on the go, thirsting for personal development, the balancing act became quite tough again.

I had multiple planners, notebooks, notepads, and sticky notes piled everywhere in an attempt to keep myself “organized”, not to mention the calendar full of events and notes on my phone, just to keep up with everything. Each planner and notebook I owned was very unique and awesome in its own rights, but I continued finding myself writing between the lines, creating my own lines, doing whatever I could do to make it work for me. I would say, “I wish I had a planner that had this page, or that page, or did this, or didn’t do this,” and after receiving a semi-custom notebook for my birthday, pieced together and customized by my mother-in-law, a self-proclaimed #planneraddict, the idea hit me! With my self-taught background in graphic design from the printing company, why not create a planner/notebook for myself! One that not only included my love and needs for multiple types of to-do lists, and calendars, but also specific pages for my reading notes, learning notes, business planning, and even a pre-laid out meal planner and grocery list. As a mom & entrepreneur, I wanted it all! I needed it all! And so the Momtrepreneur Planner was born!

I came to the realization that life wasn’t about a balancing act, it’s about integration. It’s about weaving the threads of motherhood and entrepreneurship that define me and make me who I am. So, I began working on the planner, and with the help of my husband, in a time frame that would sound absurd to any other planner company, I managed to design and create over 150 pages of pure Momtrepreneur bliss! And now… the realization of another dream is coming true! My planner is currently in pre-sale and will be delivered in late November / early December, right before the holidays and before we set the clocks back to zero and begin the new, organized, and fully-integrated new year with my Momtrepreneur Planner by my side. A tool that every momtrepreneur needs!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I think about the journey I took to get to where I am today, I actually laugh at myself. I laugh at the time I wasted fighting with my own thoughts and beliefs. While going through it, I vividly remember some of the toughest moments, that, at the time, seemed so unmanageable, but in retrospect, I realize that it was really all in my own head. It was a struggle against my own perceptions of who I was, who I wanted to be, or thought I wanted to be, and what I thought others wanted of me.

Other people have struggles. Other people have life-altering situations and events. I didn’t have that. I was completely supported by my parents and my (now) husband, so why was I feeling like this? Feeling so horrible. Feeling so lifeless. I went through a slight depression for a few years because of it, early on while in college. Of course, I didn’t know it was a depression at the time, but it was a feeling of being stuck, having no clue what I wanted to do, frustrated with school, not wanting to let my parents down, and feeling like a complete failure. I would stay up late, thinking, worrying, stressing, and then not want to function in the morning or throughout the next day, but I did. I put my face on and just kept keeping on. Again, it was just a complete internal struggle that I wish I would have realized so much sooner.

Building businesses were so much fun to me, and I learned more through reading business and personal development books, networking and joining online webinars and groups than I ever did in the classroom anyway. Deciding to leave school 3 classes shy of obtaining my bachelor’s degree in mathematics was another struggle that I faced for a very long time. I had so much guilt for leaving because it was something my parents had worked so hard to help me get through, and I had already gotten so far, but I left because my vision for myself changed. While helping my friend build his plumbing company, I found a place for myself. I decided that, for one, the politics in the teaching field were not for me (which is what I had originally planned to do with my degree), and two, I had found something I LOVED doing. I loved building businesses. I loved working under my own rules.

For a long time, I carried around that guilt and fought with myself internally over it. I drove myself crazy, but when I finally decided to let it go, forgive myself for it and not be ashamed of it, I finally found my feet and I began to flourish.

We are often our own worst critics and the worst judges of our own decisions, and it is a daily struggle, but we need to take the time to turn those voices down or off, forgive ourselves and move on.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Momtrepreneur Planner – what should we know?
Creating Gloria’s Garden with my two sisters has been such an amazing experience. Being able to create a legacy of my grandmother’s memory in the form of tiny little flower seed packets and many other memorial and life celebration gifts is quite surreal. It is humbling to hear the stories of others who are knee deep in grief over the loss of their loved ones, share how our tiny little seed packets made such a difference in celebrating the life of their friend or relative or child. It’s heartbreaking and warming all at the same time.

For my Momtrepreneur Planner, I am most excited to share a tool with so many other women who are moms and entrepreneurs as well. As moms we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, trying to not only raise tiny human beings but build them into decent human beings and maintain a household while we’re at it. As entrepreneurs we try to change the world, either by one tiny seed packet at a time, or offering tools, or services or other products to help others, all while immersing ourselves in our own personal development to help our businesses grow.

At any given time, we have hundreds of tabs open in our brains with to-do lists miles long and somewhere out there a vision we once had or a dream we are currently trying to pursue. My Momtrepreneur Planner is a tool to help us keep it all together. With 150 pages, it is an all-encompassing monthly and weekly planner, as well as a fully thought out notebook for mapping out our vision, realizing our goals, planning the action steps needed to reach those goals, and then working with us through all of our own personal development, businesses and life planning & organization, such as both reading and listening notes pages, social media & blog planning, meal planning & grocery lists, bill pay & finance tracking, gift ideas, a password keeper and other pages in between! It was my ultimate goal to create a place where I can keep everything organized, on paper, out of my head, without a mountain of sticky notes to follow, and the Momtrepreneur Planner is just the place!

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
I believe the planner industry is primarily female dominated, so I really don’t see any barriers when it comes to that, but where I do see, and have witnessed first hand a barrier to female leadership, is the dependence on us within the household to continue to be the nurturing figure that everyone depends on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even while running our own careers or businesses. Why are we faced with insurmountable guilt and judgment for wanting to do, and doing, what our male counterparts do to run theirs? While there is definitely a shift in our society of men taking on larger roles in the household, there is still an uneven division of the mental load we bear as females to maintain a functioning daily life for ourselves and our families.

Pricing:

  • I worked hard to keep my planner at the most reasonable price possible to make it affordable for Momtrepreneurs in all stages of business development. From now through September 30th the early bird pre-sale price (including a few freebies) will be $34.95.
  • From October 1st through mid-November a pre-sale pricing option will be available
  • Regular price thereafter will be $39.95.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Los Angeles Aerial Image

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