Any working parent will tell you that finding the right work/life balance can be a daily struggle. We sat down with Lizz Torgovnick, business owner and mom of 2, to learn about her journey as an entrepreneur and how she makes it work between her career and family life. Be sure to watch her Tinybeans Takeover on our Instagram Page on December 4th as she takes you behind the scenes of life as a business owner and shares some of her important lessons she has learned along the way. Hint: you might have to start setting your morning alarm earlier than normal.
Tell us about yourself.
I approach life as I approach every challenge, as an opportunity to be awesome. I’m the Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Sequence, an award-winning events agency specializing in strategic planning, production & design for corporate & non profit clients. I’ve worked with clients like Spotify, TEDx. Women’s Bond Club, and so many others. When I’m not busy running a business, I love spending time with my family. My high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband Pat and I have two daughters, Rosie (3.5 years old) & Parker (1.5 years old). We live in Sunnyside with Queen of the Red Eared Sliders Igor (the turtle).
Running a business and taking care of family sounds super crazy. How do you do it?
It’s a real team effort at Casa TorManto for sure! First, my husband is amazingly capable and loves being a Dad more than maybe anyone I’ve ever met. He’s also a chef, so he owns the kitchen department 100% and we pretty seamlessly share most of the other household and child related duties. Second, we have an amazing nanny Marisa who has been with us since Rosie was 5 months old and has taught both girls so so much. I never have to worry about them during the day for a single second! Third, I have the BEST partners and team at Sequence! I’ve been working with my 2 business partners for almost 15 years now and they know me inside and out. We balance each other in all ways, which has changed a lot over the years but also works fairly seamlessly too.
As the company has grown, I’ve gotten better and better at getting things off my plate and into the hands of the right people on the team. Last not least, I have the most incredible family and inner circle of friends, most of whom I have known since middle school (and the others it just feels like that long!). I love to be in constant contact with them and spend in-person time with them whenever I can. Insert cheesy “it takes village” reference 🙂
What advice can you give to working moms who may struggle with work/life balance?
You’re never going to feel in balance 100% of the time because you live in the actual world! But 10% balance is better than 0% so start by making some real and attainable goals and habits for yourself. When I went back to work after my first child, I started working with a business coach. The first thing she had me do is get very clear about the time I was willing to spend in my business on a weekly basis and what that actually looked like on a calendar. It helped me SO much as a former 24/7 workaholic to see the windows that I could be “just Lizz” or “just Mom” etc. It also made it clear I could not do it all, so that sparked some serious self-evaluation and delegating. She also emphasized making a list of 3 must-dos in a day (not 20), getting more “selfish” with my time during the workday, and focusing on the tasks that only I could do.
This is all still a work in progress for me, but I’d say I average 30% success on it 🙂 Also, I have learned that I cannot multitask in mom mode. If I’m with my kids and trying to reply to work slacks or emails it overloads it’s when I snap. So these boundaries have really helped me to focus and be more IN whatever mode I’m currently in.
ALSO, I wake up at 5:30AM on weekdays. This honestly SUCKS, haha, I am not a morning person. It’s the only way I can make the time to do the things for myself before the kids are up – my PT exercises, a 15-minute meditation, getting myself washed & ready, packing my bag, etc. Then, I can enjoy some snuggle time with the kids and a family breakfast before the day gets crazy.
What are your favorite organization hacks that keep the days running smoothly?
It was such an incredible day when I finally got my husband on a shared Google Calendar! I’d say it works 75% of the time, which again, is better than 0%. If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist.
Routines! Especially morning and bedtime. For morning, we actually have had to tweak these routines as the kids have grown, drop-off time changes, etc etc. We always start with the ideal time to be walking out the door and back out all the steps and allotted times from there (including hugs and snuggles!). For bedtime, we have just kept an eye on what actually stays in the routine. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with 100 steps before bed! This goes for the bedtimes themselves too, we’re a “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” family so early bedtimes and clear nap routines are things we’re somewhat insane about. It also means that we get alone time, breaks and naps of our own!
I’ve tried other apps, but always come back to the Apple Reminders and Lists apps. As my husband says I “have lists of lists!” Reminders is where I keep track of tasks for myself, self-care reminders (facials, classes, friends hangouts without kids, volunteering – each remind me every few weeks or months), recurring tasks (house cleaning, calendar syncing, picking clothes for the week, etc.), tasks for each kid (projects, passports, researching activities, etc.). Lists is where I make any random notes for myself, a list of holiday presents I have already purchased or need to buy per person, ideas for a blog I want to start, outlines of my own routines, etc. These are just super simple for me, sync across all devices and are just my trusty rusty.
Stylebook App – This is a real app that’s like the “Clueless” outfit selector – this is actually what I Googled to find it all those years ago. (Disclaimer, I set this up initially before having kids and it was definitely a time commitment but so worth it). First, I’d suggest a Konmare session to narrow down that closet! Basically, you add all your clothing to the app by taking photos and then creating outfits. My goal is always to select my outfits on Sunday for the week ahead toggling between Stylebook, my calendar (casual vs. client days) and the weather (Dark Sky). That saves me time everyday, also saves the pile of discarded clothes on my floor 😉 and also lets me track what I wear overall including notes about which client has seen which outfit. LOVE.
What would you say to parents who may be looking to start their own business?
Make sure it’s something you LOVE. Also, I personally couldn’t have done this without my amazing partners Adam & Dana. They both know me so well, put up with me, and balance me so well – the fact that we are all so different is a huge plus (most of the time) for Sequence and for the team. Your business doesn’t have to be perfect day 1, but do start putting systems and templates into place as soon as you can because the bigger it gets the harder that gets. Also, as you invest in growing a team, go with your gut! Be genuine, vulnerable, but also confident in your decisions. I also couldn’t do this without my husband’s support and confidence in me too. He’s my biggest cheerleader and a confident when it comes to all things Sequence.
We heard you're a huge Tinybeans fan! Tell us about your experience.
I have been a huge fan of Tinybeans ever since my first BFF with a baby introduced me to it. I personally don’t have an issue with posting every so often on social media about my kids (what did I even post about before, honestly?! No idea), but not all of my family is on social media and I tend to take A LOT of photos. It’s just always been my thing, even since the days of actual film, to document both my experience, my friends and family, and now my kids’ experiences. Tinybeans gave me the perfect platform to share more of our lives with my closest audience and keep the content safe and all the more personal. It’s become something my entire family looks forward to seeing everyday. If I’m late with posting I get texts making sure I am ok 🙂 My sister in law even has a morning routine that starts with a “Tinybeans song” of her own creation and a review of our latest. The everyday moments I can share there bring people into our home and keep those connections so close. I also love that my kids will be able to see themselves growing up – the special times and the mundane everyday times – without having to lug around a shelf full of photo albums or box of disorganized prints. At the end of everyday, I love that Tinybeans gives me a routine that allows me to relive those moments with my family so I can remember what it’s really all about.
I also love it because so many of my closest friends also use it and I get to see their kids and family life more intimately as well. It’s the stuff that social media, or even our shared text chains wouldn’t tell. My older daughter now asks when I take a video of her “Is this for my Tinybeans friends?” and often wants to see her own friends on Tinybeans too.
On the technical side, I love that I have sent suggestions and actually gotten a reply back and even a feature added (you can thank me for the ability to select from your “favorites” folder on an iPhone, everyone! Haha).